Honoring Newington Volunteers Greg Marsdale and Ana Dobbs
It must have been fate when a family friend introduced Ana Dobbs to Greg Marsdale 38 years ago in the Bronx. These two cat enthusiasts have been together ever since and helped hundreds, if not thousands, of cats.
Growing up in rentals, Greg couldn’t have pets of his own and helped stray cats wandering his neighborhood. His cat rescuing really amped up when he and Ana joined the Connecticut Humane Society’s foster team in 2001. For the past 16 years, Greg and Ana have been regular foster caregivers for pregnant cats and young kittens, often returning one group of kittens ready for adoption and swapping for another that same day.
What made fostering so appealing to them from the get-go? The idea of non-stop kitten antics always filling their home! And not having to pay for the kittens’ supplies or medical expenses was an added perk, since CHS provides everything foster animals need.
Mother cats have given birth in Ana and Greg’s home. And they’ve loved and cared for kittens with medical conditions, from simple colds to kidney disease. In one litter, three out of four kittens with leg deformities required special care while learning to stand and walk. This cat-savvy couple has even socialized semi-feral kittens and showed rebellious cats that taking business to the litter box is indeed a worthwhile habit.
Not only do Ana and Greg foster regularly, Ana also comes to CHS Newington weekly to cuddle and socialize cats awaiting adoption. And Greg is a volunteer pet transporter—he escorts CHS animals to any off-site appointments with medical specialists who partner with CHS’ veterinary team.
On top of all that, Greg and Ana are unofficial kitten rescuers in their neighborhood, rescuing countless strays off the streets. Some stay with them for care and socialization before they find them homes, and others are brought to CHS for adoption. They have albums upon albums with photos of every group they’ve nurtured. It’s no exaggeration to say the work they do is lifesaving.
You’re probably wondering how many kitties are now officially part of their family. But they’ve shown great restraint over the years—only adopting two of the hundreds of CHS kittens passing through their home! Tuxedo has since passed, but they currently have Ralphy, a kitten who needed extra socialization after being rescued from a hoarding situation this past spring, and Rocky, a neighborhood stray they rescued.
Believe it or not, Greg and Ana do find time for other hobbies. They enjoy traveling, and now that they’re retired from careers in IT (Ana from Aetna and Greg from Hartford Hospital) they have time to indulge their wanderlust ways. Avid bikers, they’ve biked on tours in North America and Europe, most recently biking 250 miles over five days in Canada. And when they’re looking to relax, they enjoy taking cruises. And cuddling kittens.