Woodbury Philanthropy Award - Christopher & Susan Mastroianni

People with Humane Awards plaque

The Richard and Nathalie Woodbury Philanthropy Award is named for a couple whose vision and legacy secured Dakin’s future by sharing time, talent, and resources to improve the lives of animals at Dakin. This year’s recipients personify those ideals through their impressive dedication to the animals and people of their community and beyond.

Between them, Christopher and Susan Mastroianni have volunteered their time and efforts for area organizations including The Rotary Club of Springfield, The Gray House, and the Springfield Museums, in addition to being Dakin supporters for over a decade.

According to Chris, “While national and global organizations do important work, we feel that directly helping local groups is a better use of our support.  It’s very rewarding to see the immediate impact of our efforts and to know the people involved in making our contributions work for the community.”

Being animal devotees, the Mastroianni’s desire to assist Dakin springs from their belief that it is, as Chris noted, “an integral part of the community.  They face diverse challenges, and any support that we can provide is put to immediate and meaningful use.”  Sue added, “We felt Dakin was the perfect fit to help improve animals’ lives in our area.”

The Mastroianni's have recently become foster caregivers for some Dakin birds.  “We thought birds would be an easy entry point into the world of fostering,” stated Chris.  “They add a bit of life to the house.  We love interacting with them and giving them a temporary home.”  Sue added, “Even though Ziggy (the couple’s rescue dog) has the hunter/retriever instinct, he’s been very good around the birds, and of course they stay caged!”

Ziggy, pictured in the photo with his people, is a striking Catahoula/Lab/Beagle mix with one blue and one brown eye who gets a lot of attention when he’s out for a stroll with the couple.  “He can look stern, but he’s a real marshmallow,” laughed Sue.  “We know we won the doggie lottery when we got him, although he’s been told the same thing from our friends!”