A special message from our Chairs

Greetings from Jenni Gasbarro, DAWS Capital Campaign Chairperson and Cheryl Rykowski, DAWS Renovation Chairperson:

As a special friend of DAWS, you know that we do things differently than the typical animal shelter. Our no-kill philosophy means we will never euthanize an animal because of lack of shelter space: Our mission is to provide love and industry-leading care to all of our animals until they are adopted, no exceptions.

In 2020, we broke our record and our most optimistic expectations by placing 1,200 animals in their forever homes. An extraordinary accomplishment during a pandemic, no less.

Now, we are thrilled to announce the launch of the DAWS’ $2 Million Capital Campaign to fund our urgently needed shelter renovation…and to be successful, we need your help. 

Our shelter is an amazing place, with a heart-warming history and the opening scene of tens of thousands of successful animal adoption stories. But the building — never designed to be an animal shelter — is old…very old. It leaks, it is hard to heat and cool, and the dog kennels are all but crumbling.  We have “made-do” for a long time and need to dramatically improve our space to continue to properly care for the many dogs and cats we rescue and rehome each year.

We are ready to give our animals the shelter they deserve. We hope you can join us on this life-saving mission.

The renovations will include:

  • Tearing down and rebuilding the dog kennels
  • Installing a puppy nursery
  • Modernizing the cattery
  • Creating a new visitor entry
  • Adding adoption meet-and-greet rooms
  • Installing a kitten nursery
  • Moving the clinic to the first floor, updating the surgical center, and creating a separate clinic entrance
  • Creating designated office space for staff and a welcoming community room for educational programs
  • Updating all heating, cooling, water, sewage and electrical
  • An endowment to ensure the building can house and care for animals for many years

Tary Tarlton, Kenosia Construction with “Cookie”

Over the last few years, the DAWS team has been diligently preparing for these much-needed renovations by securing ace architect, Lynne Persan, and master builder, Tary Tarlton of Kenosia Construction, who have both generously donated their services in full. Lynne has completed the architectural and mechanical plans and the Town of Bethel has granted us our building permits. Most importantly, we have secured generous initial donations and pledges towards the work.

What can you do?  Please…

  • Visit renovation.daws.org for more information and to watch our explanatory videos.
  • Donate or pledge towards the capital campaign, contact us or make a gift online.
  • Consider a sponsorship or naming opportunity.
  • Donate construction goods and/or services.
  • Reach out to us, or our Development Director with questions or to discuss ideas.

With gratitude beyond measure from DAWS’ humans, head bonks from our cats, and wet-nose kisses from our dogs.

Thank you!

Cheryl A. Rykowski


Jenni Gasbarro


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