A Refuge Since 1965



A 30-Year Reflection

An Interview with Renee Gardner, Shelter Manager, Animal Welfare Society, Inc.


June 1, 2021. To commemorate this milestone, Renee took a few moments to reflect on her last 30 years with AWS. Below is the transcript between Renee Gardner, Shelter Manager, and Diane Saraceni, AWS President.


Diane: Renee, congratulations on your 30-year work anniversary here at Animal Welfare Society, Inc.! What an accomplishment. Hard work, loyalty, and diligence make for wonderful employees. Your contributions have inspired us, and you have helped the shelter come such a long way over these last 30 years.


Diane: What made you want to work for AWS?

Renee: I saw what a difference AWS made in the lives of so many animals; I wanted to be a part of it.


Diane: How did you first get involved with AWS?

Renee: I was working for a local vet and AWS boarded some of the rescued animals here. I became a volunteer helping to place them in homes.


Diane: Do you remember your first day?

Renee: My first day at AWS was a very quiet one; the phone did not ring. I had one dog and seven kittens in the building.


Diane: What is one thing you wish you knew before starting here?

Renee: I wish I knew how quickly the shelter would fill up. There was a learning curve in the beginning.


Diane: How has your role evolved over the years?

Renee: My role has changed over the years from working on my own, to working with an incredible staff, to being more involved with the board and the community.


Diane: What was the biggest achievement or success story from your time at AWS?

Renee: I think the biggest achievement for AWS is the part it played in overcoming the overpopulation of dog and cats in our area with the spay/neuter programs.


Diane: What is your favorite part of your job?

Renee: My favorite part of my job is seeing the animals go to their homes and hearing from their families regarding how well they are doing.


Diane: What were some of the best memories you have while working here?

Renee: I have so many memories from the last 30 years. Great friendships, animals that against all odds were adopted and are now living their best life. I loved seeing Spirit, an older shepherd mix, who was left on the side of the road sitting on her bag of dog food, live out the rest of her life in a loving home. Finding a cat in a box freezing at the front door in February with frostbite, getting better and finding a home in spite of the damage to his ears. Frosty lived to be a very old guy.




Animal Welfare Society

8 Dodd Road

New Milford, CT 06776

Tel. 860.354.1350

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Animal Welfare Society is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization.