Life-long Girl Scout aims to help pets in need

By raising awareness for dogs and cats in need, Wilton High School senior Caroline Costello is working toward earning the highest award in Girl Scouting — the Girl Scout Gold Award.

To earn a Gold Award, a senior or ambassador Girl Scout, in grade nine through 12, must identify and investigate an issue, assess community needs and resources, build a team, create a plan, and make a sustainable impact on the community.

Caroline, a Girl Scout since kindergarten, said her love of animals is the reason why she decided to make them the focus of her project.

“Five years ago, my family and I adopted a Teacup Yorkie, Shaylyn, and have become such dog lovers and animal lovers from adopting her,” said Caroline.

“We now love seeing animals at other people’s houses and understand the unconditional love people have for them and the unconditional love they give back to people.”

Caroline set up bins at Super Stop & Shop, 5 River Road, and the Pet Pantry, 3 Godfrey Place, about a month ago to help gather food, toys and comfort items such as blankets for dogs and cats in need.

Until late January or early February, Caroline said, people may drop off their donations, which will later be given to the Connecticut Humane Society, which seeks people to adopt or foster a pet in need.

“I have collected a lot so far — about 50 toys and comfort items, along with 30 different items of food,” said Caroline. “I’m really happy with my progress so far.”

However, Caroline said, the main purpose of her project is not to simply collect food, toys and comfort items but to raise awareness of all the animals available for adoption.

“When I first thought of my idea and went into the Westport Humane Society, one of the things they told me was that they get so many cats and dogs from down South because spaying and neutering isn’t as common down there as it is up here,” said Caroline.

“Anyone in Connecticut has access to a Humane Society or a little pet store here and there. The Connecticut Humane Society is located in Waterford, Newington and Westport, and adopting any kind of animal will bring such joy to people’s lives. I couldn’t imagine living without mine.”

Anyone interested in adopting or fostering dogs or cats may call the Connecticut Humane Society at 203-227-4137 or visit Animals in Distress in Wilton has many cats available for adoption. Visit

To donate items or learn more about Caroline’s project, email