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GoFundMe Goes To The Dogs At Bridgeport Animal Shelter

Charlotte Lynne, left, and Chief Animal Control Officer Jennifer Wallace spend some one-on-one time with shelter guest Charlotte. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Jennifer Lynne, left, and her daughter Charlotte visit Chief Animal Control Officer Jennifer Wallace at the Bridgeport Animal Control shelter. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
One of the three pens that will be transformed into a dog play area at the Bridgeport Animal Control shelter on Evergreen Street Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A city chiropractor is stepping up to help dogs at the Bridgeport Animal Control shelter get their kinks out.

Jennifer Lynne, who owns The Backstroke on State Street, has set up a GoFundMe page seeking $40,000 to turn three fenced-in outdoor spaces into play areas for dogs, fostering sociable and — ultimately — more adoptable behavior in the penned pooches.

Because it’s owned and managed by the city, the Evergreen Street shelter cannot do any fundraising of its own. Lynne, an animal lover, took it upon herself to raise the money needed.

“They needed a person, so I’m that person,” the Milford resident said Friday.

The expansion idea is a no-brainer, said Jennifer Wallace, the city’s chief animal control officer. The three large spaces already exist; they just need a little love.

The plan, which has been approved by the city and state, includes gutting the areas, providing level cement floors and connecting drainage to the city sewer lines, so the spaces can be kept sanitary. Some of the fencing may have to be extended to make sure dogs are safe and secure, Wallace said.

“It’s modifying what we have and making it better,” she said.

In addition to Lynne’s efforts, Antinozzi Architects, also in downtown Bridgeport, donated time to draw up plans for the expansion.

Dogs are naturally social animals, who thrive on time together, Wallace said. Currently, the shelter has a few small dog runs and shelter staff and city employees trained through a volunteer dog-walking program exercise the animals, but there is no adequate space for them to interact, she said.

“The whole goal here is enrichment,” Wallace said.

The expansion is part of a range of little extras Wallace has initiated at the shelter since taking her post in March.

Shelter staff pipe in “bio-acoustically designed” classical music for the canines. Composers create the classically inspired score by testing the effects of certain chord progressions on stress hormone levels, Wallace said.

A pheromone diffuser also helps lessen stress levels, Wallace said.

New “Treat for Quiet” training teaches dogs to greet potential “parents” politely and feather wands are left near kitty cages to encourage those passing through to interact with them.

“We’re looking for all aspects of the dog’s life here,” Wallace said.

Lynne, who owns two dogs, a cat, a guinea pig and some fish, said she offered to help, in part, because this is a doable project.

“We have a lot of starts with no finishes,” she said. “This project is actually something we can accomplish.”

Those who wish to learn more can go to Lynne’s GoFundMe page .

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