Wilton is home to a much over-worked and over-burdened cat shelter called Animals In Distress (AID). The volunteers and staff who run it are dedicated to the care and placement of homeless cats and kittens on a year round basis. They do so much with very little–despite being housed in Wilton’s Town Hall campus, the shelter does not get any additional funding from the town.

Animals In Distress typically doesn’t cage the cats they rescue and they don’t put time limits on residency. They are also a “no-kill” shelter, unless a severe health problem or quality of life issue necessitates euthanasia. They say their first priority are cats who are truly in distress. Unless a cat’s medical history is known and documented, new additions are brought to a veterinarian for FIV and feline leukemia testing, rabies, distemper vaccinations, and when necessary, spaying or neutering.

There are several Wilton residents devoted to helping Animals in Distress, who give much time and what they can financially to help the non-profit organization. According to the AID website, the volunteers “participate in the feeding, cleaning and general duties of care associated with providing an environment of love and well being to our residents.”

One such volunteer happens to be much younger than most–Hudson Hagmann, a Miller-Driscoll 2nd grader, has been very involved with supporting the shelter and giving of his time–and money.

That’s right, Hudson has given $800 to date, money that he’s earned in a very enterprising way. We asked his mother, Suzanne Hagmann to tell us what motivates Hudson’s generosity and devotion. She wrote the following:

“Mommy, can we get another cat?” Oh how often this question comes about.

We moved to Wilton on August 1, 2004. Within two hours, we had our first cat, Roy Hobbs. He and his brother were abandoned in a box on Rte 7 (another family adopted his brother). One month later, Gracie followed from Wilton’s Animals in Distress.

In 2014 we read that the shelter was seeking donations for a new heating unit. Thankfully, the funds were raised and the cats did not go cold. It was at that time we decided to take our son, Hudson, over to see where Gracie came from.

Hudson was immediately in love with ALL of them. We continued to visit the open houses on Saturdays and Hudson made sure we brought food/toys for the cats. We were always so excited when adoptions took place.

After a few months, we decided to adopt two kittens, Henrik and Marty. We now have four indoor cats and last winter, a feral Tuxedo showed up at our door. We named him/her Ranger. Ranger lives on our deck and it’s our hope that one day he’ll trust us enough to come inside and join the fun. In the meantime, he’s very well fed and sheltered. We have another visitor, we named him Barney, who has been here off and on for seven years but now seems to be showing up daily. Maybe he’ll move in one day too.

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Hudson has collected Lego sets over the years. He came to us one day and asked if he could reassemble the sets, sell them, and give the money to Animals in Distress. One of the proudest moments in our lives was to hear him come up with this idea all on his own. So, [my husband] Dan and Hudson spent many hours, day after day putting them back together. It’s taken them several months, but they got it done. To date, Hudson has raised $800 for the shelter. The Legos were then donated to other children so the project continues to pay it forward.

We still get this question from Hudson:  “Can we get another cat?” Uh…no, not right now, but we’ll continue to visit and support our wonderful friends at Animals in Distress. Please consider visiting and/or donating, the cats love the company!

Suzanne felt it was also important to include Katherine Reid, the president of AID.  Suzanna wrote that it’s Reid “who sits in the cold waiting for cats to come out of trees, decks, roofs, collects injured and abused cats, etc. to bring them safely indoors.”  She also said that there are other children who are equally dedicated to the cats at the shelter and have done their own fundraising.

There’s an upcoming effort being organized on behalf of the Animals in Distress shelter–organizers are calling it a “Foodraiser.”  On March 14-15 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. both days, there is a drop-off of needed items at the Advocacy Offices of Faith Filiault at 196 Danbury Rd.. Some of the items include Purina Beyond dry cat food, grain-free fish, Temptation treats, Fancy Feast canned food only (grilled, classic), Friskies canned food only (pate, shreds, other), paper towels, Amazon gift cards, Petco gift cards, Petsmart gift cards, Walmart gift cards, small fleece throws, Advantage 2 flea treatment any size, and wire kitty brushes.  To find out more visit the event page on Facebook and contact organizers to find out what’s needed.