Local Family Rescues Man’s Best Friend


Graphic by Connie Zhou ’12

Stevie Klein ’12
Web Features Editor

Graphic by Connie Zhou ’12

Callie Loparo ’12 has always grown up with dogs. Whether it was a pit-bull, husky mix or Chow mix, the dogs were all from shelters. The six dogs she owns now are also from shelters. Not only has she and her mother rescued these dogs, but they in fact rescue dogs for others as well.

Loparo’s mother, Julie Loparo, is the president of WASA, Westport Animal Shelter Advocates. Her job is to raise awareness about the great dogs in shelters, and how there is no reason to go to a breeder or a puppy store to find a great fit between dog and family.

There are thousands of crowded shelters and don’t have room for all the dogs they receive; they have to put a lot of dogs down,” Loparo said. “Dogs are getting killed not just by the hundreds, but by the thousands.”

Loparo and her mother rescue dogs from local animal controls as well as the South. In the South the shelters are so crowded that dogs are put in gas chambers to kill them by the dozens.

“It’s like what Hitler did, [the shelters are] like dog concentration camps,” Loparo said.

The Loparos rescue dogs of all types from bad areas or shelters, bathe and clean them, take them to the vet, and give them good homes. They advertise the dogs on westportnow.com, petfinder.com and westportwasa.org.

“Hopefully people come across them on the Internet, and if they are interested, they fill out an application. We do a home visit to make sure it is a good fit, and if so, we give the dog a new family and a new chance,” Loparo said.

Currently, they are fostering an eight-month old Stassordshire Terrier named Karina, whose owner went to jail and abandoned her in his apartment. Animal Control found her and brought her to a local shelter where the Loparos found her.

“When she came she was skinny, but she’s a great dog,” Loparo said.

They also fostered a German sheppard puppy named Cece. They went to Bridgeport Animal Control. She ended up going to the owner of the Westport ice skating rink at Longshore and has become a pretty famous dog in Westport. In the same room as Cece, they found a Sheltie puppy. This dog went to the owners of Max’s Art Supply. Both families love their dogs.

However, there are some applications for adopting dogs that the Loparos do not approve.

They work hard to make sure the dog is going to a family who will love and take care of him or her, and if the potential owner does not fit that criteria, they have no choice but to reject them and look for a different owner.

The kennel manager of Bridgeport Animal Control agrees. In fact, one day he put a German sheppard in their car because a “bad guy” was coming to adopt him and he wanted the Loparos to find the dog a better home.

“Everyone that we have found dogs for have been the perfect match. All over people are starting to realize not to pity shelter dogs, they’re great,” Loparo said.

Adopting dogs is especially important because there are so many bad situations that they are put in, such as being owned by bad owners, being abused, the owners not being able to afford them, or being forced to become fighter dogs.

The Loparos are known by many kennel managers who call them if a dog seems adoptable. Once the Loparos get a new dog, they bring him all around Westport promoting him.

“It’s important that people realize there are other options besides pet store and breeders and you can find any type of dog you want. They’re all great dogs too,” Loparo said. “Me and my mom’s motto is Don’t buy, adopt.’”

Any families in the market for a new lovable, four-legged best friend should make sure to check with the Loparos and see if they have a dog that will be a perfect match.