Volunteer Spotlight: Stu Kaufman

Stu Kaufman has been involved with DAWS for over eight years. He currently serves as a Dog Adoption Counselor (AC), transport driver, and most recently, a Lead AC. These are all very important roles in getting our animals to the shelter, and eventually, into their furever homes. Our transport coordinator, Karen Pasieka, exclaimed, “At DAWS, we like to say, Stu is ‘THE MAN!’ He is always willing to go that extra mile for the animals. You will never see a bigger smile than when Stu is sending a dog to their new home!”

Stu considers animal rescue to be one of his greatest passions and something he was destined to do. “From the time I was a young boy, my family always had a dog and I felt very connected to them. My greatest memories are of the many hours I spent walking and playing with our dog, in addition to the summers spent relaxing at our vacation home in upstate New York.”

Stu’s first experience with animals began over 15 years ago when he started volunteering at Green Chimneys farm in Brewster, NY. From there, he discovered how great volunteering was and then found DAWS.

“The DAWS organization has very efficient staff, but it’s the countless volunteers, like me, who give many hours to help these wonderful animals find a better life! I can’t say enough about the great people here who give so much of their time to these dogs and cats. My motto is, “do it all for the dogs,” and I’m proud to work alongside these folks.”

Transporting animals to our shelter is an essential part of what we do here at DAWS. A majority of the ones we save are at risk of euthanasia and Stu is one of the first people the dogs and cats meet after many legs of travel. “Driving the transport van and then ultimately seeing them all go home is a great feeling. We’re part of what I refer to as the “underground railroad for dogs and cats.” Pick up is generally in New Jersey on weekends and as Stu crosses the state line, he proudly welcomes them to Connecticut.

As an Adoption Counselor, Stu plays a crucial role in matching families with just the right dog. “It isn’t always easy, but when I find the right one, it’s a great feeling.” While there is no paycheck being a volunteer, Stu says, “I find the release of a dog to its furever family to be my payment…and that makes it all worth it.” After nearly a decade of being at DAWS, he has sent hundreds off dogs home. Some of his favorites include long-term resident, Jilly, a senior mini poodle named Watson, and Rosie, a mama hound that needed a second chance. Each dog has a story and Stu graciously helps them begin writing their next, and much better, chapter.

Stu resides locally in Bethel with his family, which consists of two rescue pups, Tucker and Maggie (a former DAWS alumni), and a cat named Bennie. His daughters, Jenna and Chelsea, also have rescue dogs of their own, Sophie and Cali.

“A buddy of mine once asked me, ‘how can you do what you do without wanting to take em’ all home? Isn’t it sad?’ I explained, ‘what’s sad is what might have happened if they had not been rescued. Sure, I want to take them all home but matching them to just the right family is incredibly rewarding!’ DAWS has truly changed my life for the better and I will be forever grateful for all the furry friends I have met along the way.”