GREENWICH, Conn. — Three decades ago, Donna Nives and several of her friends from Greenwich were concerned about the growing number of dogs winding up in pounds and shelters. They decided to connect these potential pets with people looking for dogs, performing a valuable service by acting as canine matchmakers. Using their own money, they took out ads in the local newspapers, trying to find homes for a few dogs.
Now, 30 years later, the resultant organization, Adopt-A-Dog, has placed thousands of dogs with new owners. It runs its own kennel in Armonk, N.Y., purchased in 1999, where dogs as well as cats find temporary housing while awaiting adoption.
"It's really grown over the years, more than we could even have imagined," says Nives, who has adopted several dogs who share her Lake Avenue home with her husband, Fred, and her horses.
The group, which received nonprofit status in its second year of existence, raises funds throughout the year for the kennel's operations and other efforts. The major event, Puttin' On The Dog, will celebrate its 24th edition on Sept. 25 at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park. "It's a fun event, with demonstrations, food, vendors and play areas for kids," says Nives. "Of course, we'll have lots of dogs and cats there waiting for adoption, too."
Adopt-A-Dog will celebrate 30 years of success with a benefit gala on Oct. 15 at Burning Tree Country Club. Several other fundraisers are scheduled in the fall as well.
Donna Nives is still a guiding force for the organization, serving as co-chair, and still matching unwanted dogs with good homes, even her own.