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About Us

When times get tough people have hard decisions to make about either feeding their children or feeding their pets. In most cases, the pets get sent to a shelter or rescue group, put to sleep or maybe adopted out. That is why Pet Partners of the Tri-State Berkshires was created. We provide free pet food, reduced rate spay and neuter, and assistance with basic veterinary care costs on a case by case basis.

Pet Partners' Founders

The organization was launched in early 2009 by two area women, Faith Connolly and another animal advocate, to offer assistance to those families so that they could keep their furry family member at home.



Faith Connolly
Founder, President, Director

Faith grew up with animals and has been an animal advocate throughout her life. She has been involved with different animal shelters as a board member and volunteer. She is always striving to give animals the best possible life. After witnessing repeated surrenders of companion animals firsthand, Faith felt driven to find a solution to this heartbreaking situation for both the animals and their owners. Realizing that there were not enough homes for the unwanted pets, and that over population is one of the main causes of this circumstance, she strongly believes that spay/neuter is the one sure way to a "no more homeless pet" world. Her belief that all pets deserve basic veterinary care enhances her vision of making this a better world for all those creatures who cannot speak for themselves. Faith is a business woman who has owned and operated her own small business for many years. She currently is a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator for the state of New York. Faith has also worked with reptiles and amphibians for many years. She is licensed with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation contingent on strict compliance regarding Endangered/Threatened Species, allowing her to possess the non-releasables and to educate the public in such matters. Her speciality is in working with Endangered/Threatened Species of turtles and tortoises.

 

Shirley Cogswell
Director, Clerk

Shirley is a long time owner of antique businesses. She is currently at Great Barrington Antiques Center, which she opened in 1999. An experienced businesswoman, she has hosted several Antiques Appraisal Days at her store for the benefit of nonprofit animal organizations. She was a veterinarian's assistant for a number of years. She has been involved in the catch, spay and release of many feral cats - some she kept, some she found homes for and some were released back into the wild. She owned and showed first Great Danes and then English Mastiffs and was a member of the Great Dane Club of America, as well as the English Mastiff Club of America. Now that the Great Danes and English Mastiffs have all gone to their "Great Reward", she is owned by a 10 pound Shihtzu.

 

Joan Khat O'Brien
Director

Khat is an artist and designer, among many other interests. She has also been a small business owner, a lecturer and advisor on metaphysical topics, and is a web and graphics designer. Khat has a great love and respect for all animals and has always had animal companions of many different shapes and sizes. She likes to help when help is needed, and has assisted in finding homes for displaced animals throughout the years. She currently lives with three cockatiels. Khat designed and maintains Pet Partners website.

 

Ellen Whitbeck
Volunteer Coordinator

Ellen has always had an interest in animals. At age 5 she started riding horses. She was active in 4H for several years, and showed Paso Fino horses both in the show ring and in parades. Ellen and her family also showed Percheron horses in cart classes and parades. As a teenager Ellen's summer jobs included working at a summer camp in their stables, working at a veterinary/ boarding facility for dogs and cats, and a job helping out at the Berkshire National Fish Hatchery. In her junior and senior years of high school, she learned the basics of vet tech duties by participating in an internship at two local veterinary clinics. She was able to use her vet tech training, as an adult, by volunteering with veterinarians in out of town clinics, assisting with spay/neuters and other small surguries. Ellen has also taken a course in large animal rescue. Ellen's trade by day is as a K-9 cosmetologist. She is also a kennel assistant. Until recently, she and her husband were owned by their retired greyhound "Barley". Barley was an extraordinary friend and companion. He was awarded the canine good citizen certificate, through a training program. Barley was also trained by Ellen in obedience, rally and agility.

 

 

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