Local Hero – More than Just Compassion

Compassion ProgramVolunteers spend their time with dogs in their final moments, creating lasting memories

Every night one of nine people shows up at the Animal Care and Control center in New York to spend the night, and create a lasting memory for a dog who will be euthanized the following morning. Whether it is a long walk, a special treat, or just time spent cuddling, members of the Compassion Program make it their priority to ensure the dog is happy and loved on his final night.

The Compassion Program, which started four years ago, focuses its efforts on animals that need extra support and love–animals that will be euthanized. It is primarily run out of New York’s ACC Manhattan shelter, with the hope of expanding throughout the state.

Members accept donations, host drives, and hold events to raise money to purchase special treats and toys to give to the dogs on their final night. “It’s about providing last minute tender love and care,” said volunteer Yolanda Crous.

Compassion ProgramThe program was started when a combination of staff and volunteers came together in an effort to make sure dogs are given the same care as humans in their final days. It isn’t a job for the weak of heart, as each night the volunteers are given a list of dogs that will be euthanized the following morning. A kinship is born immediately, but at the same time the volunteer knows the next day the animal won’t be there.

“It’s one of those things where I don’t think I would have ever expected myself to do,” Crous admits. “But once you see the need, you can’t walk away.

The overpopulation of pets is a problem throughout the United States, and in New York there just isn’t enough room for all of the dogs in need. Crous said dozens of dogs enter the shelter everyday and its the goal of the Compassion Program to make sure the dogs are loved as much at the beginning of their lives as they are at the end.

“I feel like I am making a difference every moment I spend with the dogs,” she said. “And one of the best parts is the dogs give back just as much compassion as we give them. It is just amazing.”

Compassion Program

Compassion Program

Compassion Program

Compassion Program

Compassion Program

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  1. kathleen cliffordJuly 25, 2013 at 7:52 pmReply

    “lasting memories” for who? all these dogs were killed the next day.

    • Elaine U.November 24, 2013 at 7:31 pmReply

      What a shame that you don’t get it.

  2. Judy CJuly 25, 2013 at 11:06 amReply

    Thank you each for being able to do this. I cried just looking at the pictures of the dogs. It takes a special person to be able to do this and how wonderful for the dogs.
    You are all angels in disguise.

  3. RitaJuly 25, 2013 at 10:57 amReply

    Kindness is a great thing and this can be viewed as such by us human beings that have allowed the companion animal population explode to a point where society has accepted that killing them is an acceptable solution.

    So giving them the equivalent of a last meal to a human being on death row is somehow viewed as valiant and kind.

    To the animal it is a betrayal of trust, a slap in the face for his loyalty and love. This animal who gives ALL of their entire being to love, trust, and even lay down their lives for people is given a last meal, and a man made wish before killing them.


    Everyone in this country should fight against the likes of the AKC and their members be they breeders of one dog, or be they backyard breeders, or puppy mills, which by the way the AKC supports and fights for every time there is a law proposed for mandatory spay neuter and or laws that impose quantities of animals that can be bred in a given facility.

    This last meal death row bullshit kindness that they are touting is quite disturbing, adding yet anther acceptable layer to the KILL solution of overpopulation of companion animals.

    To achieve the kindness they would like to have people believe they are committing they would have to rescue these dogs and cats, and bring them to safety and sanctuary…and NOT THE NEEDLE OF DEATH!!!!!

  4. TeresaJuly 25, 2013 at 12:17 amReply

    What you are doing is wonderful, but how “lasting” is a memory for an animal that is to die the next morning?

  5. Kevin CrawfordJuly 14, 2013 at 8:07 amReply

    You are the true heroes here. What an amazing thing you do for these beautiful animals. I am in awe and we thank you,

    my 4 pack and me
    Amber, Smudge, Zeke’, & Rainey

  6. D.M. CejgJuly 12, 2013 at 10:27 amReply

    I just found these Facebook pages where we can learn more and lend support:



    Julie Banks is truly an evil person and is taking abominable actions as leader of the NYC ACC.

  7. christinaJuly 11, 2013 at 10:16 pmReply

    Thank you guys for doing this xo

  8. NicoleJuly 11, 2013 at 2:44 pmReply

    There are some pretty amazing people in this world and in the above story are some of them. I could never do what they do bc I would take them all home or let them loose and free. Rip poir angels

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