NEWS10’s Steve Caporizzo on adopting those hardest-to-place animals

How many rescues have you fostered, and do you have a story of one of your favorite pet rescues? 

Caporizzo with Tippy, dressed for the Fourth of July
Caporizzo with one of his rescues, Tippy, dressed for the Fourth of July. Image courtesy Steve Caporizzo

Steve Caporizzo dodges the questions. 

For Caporizzo and his wife Lisa, every single one of the dozens of pet rescues they’ve taken in over the last several decades — mostly disabled, senior and hospice dogs — has had its own meaningful story.

“They’re all special because we know they have no chance, and we know if we didn’t take them, more than likely they wouldn’t be here,” says Caporizzo, NEWS10’s chief meteorologist and host of Pet Connection with Steve Caporizzo, a popular segment that introduces Caporizzo’s viewers to pets in desperate need of homes. “We find it so rewarding to give them an extra six months, a year, two years, and try to make each day the best for them. There’s not one particular one. They’re all special to us.”

Caporizzo, 63, says he and other senior pet parents get as much as — or far more than — they give.

“Every one we have is a therapy dog,” he says of his own rescues. “To come home after a busy day to our dogs and cats brings us so much joy and happiness. We’ve had dozens of pets over the years that we’ve fostered in hopes of finding a home. If I told you we (now) have three dogs, five, 10, it doesn’t matter. They’re not with us for a long time. We have them for however long we’re lucky enough to care for them. We just love them, and that’s all that matters.”

Caporizzo's Pet Connection
News Channel 10 Chief Meteorologist Steve Caporizzo has found homes for thousands of difficult-to-place pets through his Pet Connection television spot. Image courtesy Steve Caporizzo

More than 30,000 pets have been directly helped since the mid-1980s through Pet Connection and the regional adoption clinics, adoption fee sponsorships and fundraising events that Caporizzo organizes, he says. He works with about 30 regional rescues and shelters to help find homes for some of the most difficult-to-place animals.

“I have a soft spot for senior dogs or dogs with disabilities, or basically any pet having a tough time finding a home,” says Caporizzo. “Anyone can find a home for a puppy or a kitten. So I ask the shelters and rescues to bring in something that needs an extra helping hand. It just takes the right person to see the pet and say, ‘Hey, I need to meet them.’”

In his three-minute Pet Connection segments, which can be viewed on NEWS10’s website, Caporizzo tells each animal’s story — whether they’re surrenders or strays, puppy mill breeders, or spent their lives in hoarding situations, outdoors in the cold, in cages. Many of Caporizzo’s picks need a little extra TLC, he points out to potential pet parents.

He learned his compassion for animals from his mother who, he says, “was a pet person who taught all us kids that we need to be their voices. That always stuck with me. If she had a dollar in her pocketbook at the end of the month she’d send it to the Humane Society.”

He started Pet Connection in the mid-1980s at another television station in Springfield, Massachusetts, and brought it with him to NEWS10. “And here we are, almost 40 years after the first pet I had on TV,” he says. “My mother was always happy that I did that.”

He credits the network of animal advocates working “in the trenches every single day” who rescue, care for and nurture unwanted pets. “I’m just a little tiny piece of it, the happy ending to the story.”

Caporizzo with Gabe
Caporizzo with Gabe, a rescue that was near death as a kitten 12 years ago. Image courtesy Steve Caporizzo

Caporizzo agrees that adopting a senior or disabled pet or one in hospice is not for everyone.

“It’s difficult,” he says. “My wife and I don’t have children, so our children have always been our pets. With senior or hospice pets, the rewarding thing is that you have a closer bond because you know they depend on you every day, and you know what you have, their good points, their bad points, their medical issues. It doesn’t come as a surprise, so instead of getting upset you embrace that.

“At the end of day or however long they’re with you, as painful as it is, it’s just as painful as if you had a pet for 17 years. At the end you feel you did all you could, you gave them more time, gave them something they wouldn’t have had. It’s not easy, but at the same time it makes us, my wife Lisa and I, better people.”

Top photo by Kris Qua.

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