Honoring Waterford Volunteer Joe Zmachinski
Humans of all ages, dogs of all breeds—Joe Zmachinski has been there for them!
Joe’s been a dog walker volunteer for the Connecticut Humane Society since September 2017. After he retired from his job as an EMT, he decided he wanted to help animals—lending a hand (or paw) to those in need is simply what he’s all about.
He proved to be a quick learner at CHS’ Pet Wellness and Adoption Center in Waterford. After starting with the mellow, easy-to-please pooches, he was walking nervous nellies and dogs with sassy sides in no time. Not satisfied with just one shift a week, he offered to take on a second shift (yes, please!).
But Joe saw there was more to be done. His affection for dogs, especially those with extra needs, led him to join the foster care volunteer program in January. His first “assignment” was only supposed to be for 2 weeks with a puppy named Button who had some skin issues, an eye infection and a cough that just wouldn’t let up. Luckily, Joe didn’t mind that the pup needed to stay in his home for over a month, as he nursed her through coughing fits, gave her eye drops and, most importantly, showed her what it was like to be loved.
In fact, he so missed having Button around after she came back to CHS and got adopted, Joe soon found a new foster project—one of his dog-walking companions, a Cocker Spaniel named Checkers. The 10-year-old pooch was under medical treatment for a skin condition and ears that were painful to the touch. Plus, he had teeth that had long needed a second look (and x-rays and surgery).
When asked if he would be interested in fostering Checkers, Joe was at the shelter within 15 minutes to pick him up! And—get the tissues out— Joe and Checkers have formed such a special bond over the past several weeks, that he and his wife have decided to adopt him.
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