Carlson Helps Home for the Holidays to Support Medical Care for Shelter Animals


By Pam Johnson / • 11/24/2021 8:30 AM EST

Fundraising for the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter is a job Lena Carlson is happy to take on, especially when every dollar raised will help build a fund that helps ensure the necessary medical care is provided to give the animals in the shelter. a second chance to live and a chance to find their forever home.

On Monday, December 6, readers can join Lena and shelter staff, volunteers and community supporters at The Home Restaurant, 1114 Main Street, Branford, for a special Home for the Holidays fundraising cocktail at 5 p.m. at 21h. As well as serving delicious homemade appetizers, the event will be filled with prize baskets that will be drawn that evening.

All profits are donated to the shelter’s medical fund. Tickets for the event, $ 25, are on sale now and can be purchased through Paypal at or at the temporary shelter location at the old Canoe Brook School, 11 Cherry Hill Road in Branford. The refuge is open to the public.

“We usually sell full for this event,” explains Lena. “We hope we will sell again. We started a little late this year due to the uncertainty of COVID, and we are so excited to be coming home. “

The refuge gives special thanks to Jared Schulefand, owner, operator and chef of Home, for graciously opening the doors of his downtown restaurant for the return of this annual event. Home for the Holidays has been taking place at the restaurant for several years, but could not be held in 2020 due to the pandemic. To add to the excitement, Home for the Holidays is the first in-person fundraiser for the shelter’s medical fund since COVID struck in 2020.

Lena, who runs and hosts Home for the Holidays, was hired about two months ago as the shelter’s new full-time program coordinator and is exactly the right fit for the job, shelter manager Laura Burban said. .

“Lena is energetic, motivated and positive,” says Burban. “She comes from a digital marketing background and has been invaluable in helping organize data, develop spreadsheets, learn all about animal care and behavior, and pursue new programs. “

Lena says that while she is still “fairly new to this role”, she has been very familiar with the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter’s cause for some time.

“I really knew I wanted to work for them,” says Lena, who grew up in Manhattan and now lives in Branford with her husband, Jonathan Carlson, who grew up here. The couple met while attending Boston College.

Seeing Home for the Holidays from start to finish gave Lena even more insight into the support that is so frequently returned by this community, and beyond, to help with the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter’s mission.

The municipal shelter, which is currently undergoing a major expansion and renovation at its location on Main Street East, serves the towns of Branford and North Branford. For many years, he received national and international attention and support due to his efforts to save, rehabilitate and relocate every animal, including some suffering from abuse, injury and serious illness.

A single example is Jason, a kitten recently found crying under a bush with a seemingly broken leg and paw that sadly had healed to a point of pain beyond correction. Thanks to the care provided by the shelter, a specialist veterinarian surgically amputated the damaged limb last week. Jason is now recovering and recovering at the shelter.

Right now, the shelter is seeing an increase in the number of abandoned animals during what is a “very strange time,” says Lena – a combination of those who adopted pets during quarantine bringing them back due to their return to work and those who have encountered financial difficulties during the pandemic abandoning their pets because they can no longer afford their care.

“It’s a very strange time, because on the one hand, there are people who go back to work and seek to abandon their animals, but there are also a lot of people who are going through a very difficult time financially, and they don’t just can’t take care of their animals, says Lena.

In fact, the shelter recently added information to its website to help families of pets who may be in financial difficulty. Visit to learn more.

“We’ve added a new page with resources to help you out if you’re having difficulty or need help finding things like a low cost sterilization and sterilization clinic. We’re also happy to help, so they can call us anytime, ”says Lena.

The refuge can be reached at 203-315-4125.

An important post that the shelter recently shared frequently on its popular Facebook page (@dancosgroveanimalshelter) is “don’t leave animals outside,” Lena also notes. The Facebook page is filled with photos of animals, especially cats and kittens, left in the cold and picked up by the shelter.

The shelter currently rents kennels at the Guilford Animal Shelter to help house dogs and large animals at the temporary site, while some smaller animals, including cats and kittens, are housed at the Cherry Hill site.

“One big thing we’ve noticed this year, in Connecticut in general, is a lot of upper respiratory problems in cats. Especially being in our temporary shelter, it is difficult to quarantine those who are sick, so we went back and forth to the vets and a lot of emergency visits to the vets as well, ”explains Lena. “So I hope the Home for the Holidays event will raise funds to help with this.”

To help raise funds, Lena is working to collect even more donated items, or entire prize baskets, to include in the Home for the Holidays raffle. Donations of gift cards or one or two items that can fit into a larger basket are also welcome until December 5. Donors can drop any item off at 11 Cherry Hill Road or send an email to [email protected] Lena says many community members have already made contributions and many baskets have come from local businesses.

“Honestly, we couldn’t do it without the community,” says Lena. “And a lot of those baskets come from businesses in the community. I think it’s great to see how we all find ways to support each other. This is another thing I love about Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter.

In addition to helping with fundraising in addition to her work for the shelter, Lena plans to receive more hands-on animal training.

“The animal care part is inevitable if you work here,” she says, adding, “and it always helps to be able to walk into the next room and snuggle up with cats or guinea pigs. I love it.”


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