Volunteer Spotlight: Gail Downing

Gail Downing is presently in her seventh year at DAWS and currently oversees the feline program as Cat Chairperson. Nearly a decade ago, Gail came into our shelter to adopt a kitty named Chloe. “I was so drawn to DAWS the moment I stepped inside the building,” shares Gail. “I went to orientation and began volunteering two weeks later. Being a part of DAWS is without a doubt the most satisfying experience I have ever had.” Gail has always loved animals and has even rescued cats in her own backyard. Over the years, she has fostered pregnant cats and kittens with and without mothers. “Volunteering in the cattery and fostering animals is always an amazing adventure – everyone should try it as there is always a need,” says Gail.

In addition to working with animals, she has met many wonderful people along the way. Gail explains, “It’s just so nice being around individuals that share the same passion as you. Everyone is extremely dedicated and work so hard in finding these dogs and cats, each with their own story, their forever homes.” Alice Meenan, Development & Marketing Director at DAWS states, “Gail’s genuine love for all felines makes her a natural fit as chair of our growing cat program. Her daily commitment to ensuring the purrfect match is made is truly her life’s work. We are so grateful to have Gail be part of our cat leadership team.”

Even to this day, Gail still receives pictures and updates from many of the adopters she has worked with. “When the match clicks, you can feel it, and what a wonderful feeling it is,” exclaims Gail! Two special adoptions that she will always remember were of two senior cats, Warrior and Jack. Warrior was a very tough feral cat, that with much work by determined staff and volunteers, became one of our favorites when he decided that humans weren’t so bad after all. Gail was lucky enough to have adopted him to a wonderful family who actually adopted a kitten that same night FOR Warrior as he loved being around the babies. Jack was another kitty who won over everyone’s heart. He had a long list of medical issues and the most amazing couple came in, fell in love, and adopted him. He is healthy and now living the life of a king!

Gail and her husband live with their three cats in Danbury. When she’s not busy volunteering, she enjoys traveling with their Airstream travel trailer and yes, even the cats come!