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When Winston, Bing Crosby, and Robin Tierney go for a walk in their Stony Creek neighborhood, they get noticed.
That's because whenever Tierney sets off for her morning walk with Bing Crosby (a lovable Lab-pit bull-boxer mix), Winston, the orange tabby cat, is sure to follow.
The sight of the fuzzy friends out for a stroll is a crowd-pleaser, for sure, but for Tierney, a teacher, it also creates a teachable moment that allows her to encourage others to adopt their pets from shelters, as she does.
"Moving here to Stony Creek has made them stars," said Tierney, who moved to the 'Creek three years ago. "It's an area where people appreciate pets and animals. Sometimes they stop their cars to tell me it's the cutest thing they've ever seen. I always make sure to tell them they're from shelters."
The New Haven public schools teacher adopted both pets from New Haven shelters, but also has adopted pets through Branford-North Branford Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter.
"All of my pets are shelter animals. I think there's a sense of gratitude when you go and find them and bring them home."
As for Bing and Winston, the two may have arrived separately to the Tierney family, but they have been fast friends since the day they met.
"Since we've had them, they have always been together and they love to cuddle up together. When Bing and I go for walk, Winston feels that's his thing to do with him?I stand in the middle and Winston comes trotting along."
Tierney takes a safe route on less-traveled roads around School Street and Watrous Avenue when Winston comes along, and stays away from the busy village center. Neighbor Roberta "Bobbie" Blake recently took some photos of the strolling three, and contacted The Sound with photos and news of how Tierney turns the walks in the opportunity to spread the news about adopting shelter pets.
But even when it's just Tierney and Bing out for a walk in the village, whenever someone stops to admire her friendly dog, they'll likely learn he's a shelter pup.
"People have a misconception about shelter animals that you don't know their background, so perhaps it's more questionable and even dangerous. I have only found that they love you and they are so very happy to be with you. It's a great thing to do," said Tierney.
Learn about adoptions and other information from Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter, 749 East Main Street, Branford, www.branfordanimalshelter.org or call 203-315-4125.