Stories of People Like You

Lollypop Farm supporters like you are a compassionate group, intent on protecting and providing loving care for years to come. Learn more about some Lollypop Farm friends who have expressed their commitment with a legacy gift, making compassion for animals a highlight of their life stories.

Rosemary Bergin & Kevin Masterson

Rosemary & Kevin discuss their involvement with Lollypop Farm and their passion for animals in this video. Kevin shares, “Lollypop Farm has become very dear to us.” Rosemary adds, “Since I’ve been involved with Lollypop Farm, I’ve always wanted to be sure that it was part of my legacy. I hope that it helps animals in the future.”

Julia Grant: Believing in Lollypop Farm

Animals have always been a passion for Julia Grant, especially the rescues. In her video, Julia talks about the Lollypop Farm programs that are important to her, and how the gift in her will shows that she believes in Lollypop Farm. 

Emily Bonsignore: Helping Animals in Need

“I’ve had a love for animals since I was a very young girl,” shares Emily Bonsignore in her video. “It’s our duty as humans… to give back, and to do the best by them, and that is work that Lollypop Farm does.”

Barb Berman: For the Love of Bunnies

My first love affair was bunnies. My friend, Tina (who lived two doors down) and I went to Lollypop for our first two rabbits. I was 5 years old and she was 4. Tina’s was white and named “Powder Puff“. Mine was a New Zealand red named “Puff Ball.”

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They multiplied rapidly (not rabbitly). When I was 7, our next-door neighbors had a rare Chow named “Morgan.” He let me bury my little face in his beautiful cinnamon-colored fur while he slowly closed his large almond eyes. My older brother, Tom, promised me a big surprise for my 8th birthday. As soon as my parents went to the movies, we ran over to Morgan’s. Tom smiling ear to ear, handed me a cardboard box while screaming “happy birthday”!” Inside was my very first puppy a collie and German shepherd mix. I named that tiny ball of fur “Bonnie” and my parents named Tom “Mud.” This began my lifelong love of animals.

Giving to the animals via Lollypop Farm is deeply gratifying for me. Lollypop is the pinnacle of the animal community that does so much for so many. They outshine in generosity by helping anyone who needs it. I am very impressed by the highly trained medical staff and the employees are as compassionate as they are professional. Above all, Lollypop could not be more gracious regardless of the donation amount. Who doesn’t enjoy being thanked and appreciated?

I feel so lucky & so blessed to have my dog, Sparrow; particularly, during the panicdemic. I simply gaze into “Sparrow’s” Hershey brown eyes warmly wrapping me with their unconditional love. Admittedly, it has been a frightfully difficult and lonely time. But “Sparrow” has been my savior. I think about how many lonesome animal lovers can be pacified with their very own furry companion. And I have witnessed Lollypop’s unparalleled gift of matchmaking pets with partners. If I can make other lonely people as happy as my little buddy makes me, I cannot think of a better organization to bank on. Giving to Lollypop’s four-footed residents comforts me completely. Nobody does it better!

Mary Therese and Kent Friel: A Model Pair of Animal Lovers

Many of us consider our pets our children. But few of us have over two dozen fur children at any one time… but the Friels do! Currently, Mary Therese and Kent have six horses, three dogs, eleven cats, five rabbits, two rats, one ferret and a fish. You read that right! And all but 4 of these 29 family members, are from Lollypop Farm.

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Mary Therese grew up visiting Lollypop Farm as a child, and though her career in modeling has led her around the world, Lollypop is where she feels at home. “That’s why we’re leaving everything to Lollypop” states Mary Therese.

Both she and Kent are proud and honored to be a part of the good work by volunteering at every opportunity. One of their favorite past times is Pet Assisted Therapy. They bring several of their pets to visit individuals who need a laugh and a smile; and that makes them smile. They do channel 8’s Pet of The Week, Pets Meals on Wheels, help out at the Telethon and their company MTF, LLC often supplies volunteers to the many events Lollypop holds.

They also foster, “Adoption is where it’s at, but fostering is also important,” states Mary Therese.

The Friels encourage others to give back to pets in need, too. They organize a “Comfort Campaign” every year, collecting a trailer full of supplies to donate during the holiday season, and encourage donations during their annual Fashion Fest each year, raising money for pets and pet parents in need.

Anthony and Angela Nicoletti: Animal Advocates

Tony and Angela’s family are huge animal advocates…they’ve always loved them and
always will. Says Tony, “they give you everything they have and ask for nothing in
return.” That’s the reason he and Angela knew they wanted to give back to Lollypop
Farm in their will.

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Tony recalls one of his first experiences with Lollypop Farm… It was the early 60s
and he had a Border Collie that lived in a doghouse out back. Turns out, he would
always escape and was known to take down a farmer’s sheep. As a result, Tony was
told he would have to put the dog down. Off he went to Lollypop Farm with tears in
his eyes. Even the dog was crying on the floor when they arrived. One of the staff
members picked up the dog, hugged him and said “We won’t put you to sleep. We’ll
find you a new home where you can’t get into that kind of trouble.”

Tony’s been grateful ever since. And we are grateful to you, Tony and Angela.

Patricia and Ron Ahrens: Animals are Family 

Animals are such an important part of our lives; we love them and they are members of our families. Because of that, we need to support organizations that care for them and oversee their well-being.

Sandy and Tom Wheeler: For the Love of Cats

Sandy adopted her first cat ever from Lollypop Farm. When Sandy and Tom met, he fell in love not only with Sandy, but with Kingston too!

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Ever since then, they’ve been ardent supporters and believe strongly in our mission. When they decided to leave Lollypop Farm in their estate plan, it was because they knew that, unfortunately, there would always be a need for our services. “We want to make sure that every cat – especially the older ones – has the chance it deserves to find a wonderful home,” states Sandy.

Nancy A. Booth: Helping all Pets With a Gift in her Will

I believe the lives of animals have just as much worth as any human. My pets are my best friends, which makes me want to help all pets.

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I truly believe it’s important that we look after those that can’t help themselves. Since I can’t adopt them all, I can at least contribute and leave something in my will to help homeless pets.

It’s my wish that through my support, we can put an end to animal cruelty and expand spay/neuter services.

Jane Ann McAllister: Helping Local Homeless Pets

I may not have a two-legged family, but my 4-legged rescues are the best family anyone could ever ask for. I have three dogs and four birds whom I know Lollypop will find a new home for if something were to happen to me.

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It breaks my heart to see pets without a home. Those sad ads on TV caught my attention and I wanted to help, but I knew in my heart it is so much better to help homeless pets right here where I live. And Lollypop Farm has been doing a great job helping every animal it possibly can.

Rita Murphy: Creating a Legacy of Compassion

I learned about Lollypop’s Legacy Society at a presentation given at 5 Star Bank. That’s when I decided to get involved. After all, I’d been coming to Lollypop Farm since the 70s when we adopted two cats. We couldn’t bear to split them up so they both came home with us!

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Later on, my next Lollypop cat actually picked me when she jumped out of the cage and into my arms.

My daughter even interned at Lollypop Farm so I have seen all the good they do. One of the most important things my bequest will help to ensure is humane education. It’s so important to teach children the values of kindness, caring, compassion and respect for all living beings. I want that to be my legacy.

Robert Salmon: A Life-Long Connection to Animals

Like many of you, when Robert Salmon was a young child, his parents brought him to Lollypop Farm to visit with and enjoy the rescued farm and companion animals. In his own words, Robert describes it as “the start of a life-long connection to animals that has enriched my life in more ways than I can ever describe.”

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This love of animals led Robert to begin contributing to Lollypop Farm as soon as he began working his way up in the business world. He knew there was an over-abundance of homeless pets needing help, and he wanted to make a difference. So strong was the pull to help, he made the decision to leave a significant portion of his estate to Lollypop Farm – long before he had the opportunity to join its Board of Directors. “I felt when it comes time for me to leave this world, the best legacy I could hope to leave would be to Lollypop Farm. Animals can’t care for themselves in many instances, and with my contribution, it would help ensure that the good work would continue,” claims Robert.

Now, as a member of the organization’s Board, Robert sees first-hand the success stories and “happy tails” donors make happen every single day. Not merely an animal shelter, Lollypop Farm is bettering the lives of animals through justice, prevention and life-saving care.

Dr. Beth Benson: An Animal Lover from the Start

Growing up in New Jersey, Beth always had pets. After taking a job in Rochester, she was thrilled to learn about Lollypop Farm. “It’s important to me,” she said,” to know that the good work currently being done will continue into the future.”

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When I took a job in Rochester in 1990, I was excited to learn about Lollypop Farm and to find out what a wonderful local organization we have dedicated to animal welfare. I’ve adopted several cats from Lollypop Farm since then and have enjoyed volunteering at various events.

Knowing there is much more to be done, I am committed to continue supporting Lollypop Farm and have joined their monthly giving program. It was also an easy decision to join the Legacy Society by including Lollypop Farm in my will. It is important to me to know that the good work currently being done will continue into the future. I know this will depend on the donations from our community. It is rewarding to know that my contributions are being used locally and are having an impact helping animals and educating people about responsible pet ownership.

– Beth Benson

Shaggy Stoltz: A New Life in Retirement

Looking for something interesting to do in her retirement, Shaggy began volunteering at Lollypop Farm, and that led her to give a gift in her will. “I may end up leaving a percentage of my entire estate to Lollypop Farm,” she said.

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Contemplating retirement, cat-lover Shaggy Stoltz knew she wanted to do something to keep herself active, but wasn’t quite sure what. Then a friend recommended she volunteer at Lollypop Farm. Not wanting to bring home every cat she saw, Shaggy, a nurse for 42 years, thought maybe she could work in our veterinary clinic instead of the cat room. Unfortunately at the time, volunteers were not working in the clinic, so Shaggy decided to become a dog walker!

Under the mentorship of Clyde Glover, Shaggy not only walked dogs, she began training them too. This simple volunteer role grew over the years to providing our dogs with enrichment, bringing them to Channel __ Pet of the Week segments, and handling them for their website picture photo session.

It wasn’t long before Shaggy knew she wanted to do more, and decided to leave a legacy through a bequest in her will. “I’ve designated a specific dollar amount in support of the animals, but I may end up leaving a percentage of my entire estate to Lollypop Farm.” “That’s one of the great things about leaving a bequest; you can always change it,” states Shaggy.

For passionate donors, end of life gifts also ensure that your support will live on and that your voice is heard. For Shaggy, that was an important factor. “I feel good knowing my voice is heard and that my money will go to causes that mean the most to me.”

If you, like Shaggy, want your voice to be heard, contact Cathie Wright, CFRE, Vice President for Development & Donor Relations, at 585-223-1330 ext. 245.

Diane and Jerry McCue: For the Love of Zak

After their cat, Zak, captured Dianne’s and Jerry’s hearts, they created a trust that will provide quality care for shelter pets at Lollypop Farm. “It feels good,” Diane said, “knowing that we are making a difference.”

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Zachary, the cat of their hearts (or Zak as the McCue’s call him), was the onus for Diane and Jerry’s legacy gift to Lollypop Farm. Having ingrained himself into the McCue’s life, they didn’t think twice about providing the care Zak would need when he became ill. Visits to the vet and emergency room became weekly home-care visits from a veterinary technician. The experience made Diane and Jerry realize how much even the most basic of veterinary care can cost, and decided they wanted to help other less fortunate cats.

The McCue’s created a trust that will benefit Lollypop Farm after their deaths. Their goal is two-fold; to maintain the high quality of care afforded to shelter pets at Lollypop Farm, and to provide on-going spay/neuter surgeries to get at the root problem of pet overpopulation. “No other organization helps build that human/animal bond like Lollypop Farm does, nor provides the same full range of services,” states Diane. “It feels good knowing we are making a difference and I would encourage anyone who has ever loved a pet to consider a bequest to Lollypop too.”

Gail Schilling: A Soft Spot for Strays

Gail always brought home strays as a child, which is why she respects the work of Lollypop Farm so much. It’s also why she’s decided to make a gift in her will. “I know the donation,” she said, “will be used to help animals long after I’m gone.”

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Gail has been passionate about animals all of her life. In fact, she remembers bringing countless stray dogs home as a child. She found homes for some and brought others to the shelter. “I believed that each one would wind up in a loving home. While we all know this was an ‘impossible dream’, so much has changed!” Gail cites Lollypop Farm’s work on behalf of local animals, dedicated staff, strategically planned and executed special events, exceptional facilities, and financial stability as reasons for deciding to include a bequest to the organization in her will. “I know the donation will be used wisely to help my best friends, the animals, long after I’m gone” says Schilling. Gail currently works part-time at Bryant & Stratton College. She is pictured with her husband Rick and her dogs Murphy and Ryan.

Gavin and Kathleen Hurley: A Lifetime of Loving Animals

When Gavin and Kathleen moved to Rochester, they adopted a pet from Lollypop Farm, and ever since, they’ve been active with us. So when the time came to update their wills, they included a gift. “It was a no-brainer,” Gavin said.

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Animal lovers to the core, Gaven, a member of the Pittsford Rotary, and Kathleen, Professor of Harp at the Eastman School of Music, have had an animal organization in their wills for years. When they moved to Rochester from New Jersey, they knew they had to update their wills and immediately thought of Lollypop Farm. “We had adopted Macy from Lollypop Farm soon after moving here so we already had a great relationship…” states Gaven. “It was a no-brainer.”

After losing Macy, Gaven & Kathleen adopted Luna, a Lab mix – and their relationship with Lollypop Farm continues to grow. Kathleen periodically donates household items that Lollypop Farm can always use, they’ve been to dog obedience classes with Luna, and Gaven recently joined Lollypop Farm’s Planned Giving Advisory Committee.

Gaven says it’s their way of paying back the years of unconditional love pets have given them.

Joan and Lee Salmen: 30 Years of Support

Joan and Lee adopted their first pet from us 30 years ago and remained supporters ever since. Joan decided to set up a legacy gift that will pay her income and protect their beloved animal for years to come.

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“I’ve been an animal lover all my life,” says Joan Salmen. A self-confessed “farm girl” at heart, Joan and her husband, Lee, adopted their first pet from Lollypop Farm over 30 years ago. “Princess” was a Shepherd/Collie mix and the love of their life. As a result, they eventually began to contribute financially to the organization that helped save Princess’ life. Joan also began volunteering in the Lollypop Shop and then with Lollypop’s Pet Assisted Therapy team.

But their travel schedule made it difficult and Joan really wanted to be able to make a lasting difference for the Humane Society. That’s when she decided to establish a charitable remainder trust for Lollypop Farm. Together, Joan and Lee decided to give specific assets to the Humane Society once they both pass on. The trust offers substantial tax and other benefits for everyone involved – including Joan and Lee.

First, because the assets come out of their estate and into the trust, they are not subject to capital gains tax. The trust also establishes an income stream – 8% of the value of the trust – for the remainder of Joan’s life. Any interest earned over 8% goes to build the trust’s value.

The Salmen’s continue to contribute annually to Lollypop Farm, and thanks to their forward thinking, have left a legacy of love for the animals less fortunate than their own.

Mark Schork: Devoted to His Animals

After an accident and relocating to Florida, Mark realized he’d have to surrender his beloved cats. The staff at Lollypop Farm was so understanding that Mark decided to leave a gift in his will. “Every animal lover should do it,” he said.

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A riding accident in 1995 opened Mark Schork’s eyes to his own mortality. “It was a difficult time, but it made me realize what’s important in life and that I wanted to make plans for my favorite charities if something were to happen to me,” claims Mark.

He immediately thought of his dear cats, George and Gracie, and the experience he had with Lollypop Farm when he needed to surrender them. Mark had just bought a winter home in Florida and didn’t think the back and forth plane trips would be fair. “You can’t sit them down and explain to them about riding in a plane, and I certainly wasn’t going to just leave them.” That, combined with George’s house soiling that had been going on for years, made Mark realized that the dreaded day had come… he had to say goodbye to George and Gracie.

The first organization he brought them to made Mark’s difficult decision that much more painful. They did not treat him well and pre-judged him for surrendering his cats. “If they were treating me like that, how would they have treated George and Gracie?” Mark took the cats and left. He says that when he brought them to Lollypop Farm, the staff was very understanding and comforting. He appreciated their concern – and is still appreciative to this day. That is why he decided to remember Lollypop Farm in his will. “It’s so easy to do, and it makes you feel good. Everyone who has ever loved an animal should consider doing the same,” says Mark.

Marty Britt: In Love with Lollypop Farm

“As a former board member,” Marty said, “I know how responsibly Lollypop Farm uses its donations. I’m honored to help the cause, both now and tomorrow, and I know that donations from my estate will be put to good use.”

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Lollypop has had a place in my heart and family for decades, as we have benefited from loving companions over the years. Whenever my heart was broken, new hope came my way via a cold wet nose and sloppy kisses. Each pet has taught me so much, and I wanted to find a way to give back to Lollypop for such wonderful memories.

Without children to plan for, my dogs are my most precious legacy. When I was planning my estate, I was in frequent electronic communication with an attorney, but the first chance we had to talk live, he answered his phone with an enthusiastic “woof!” He recognized how important animals were in how I lived the present and planned for the future.

As a board member, I know how responsibly Lollypop uses its donations to preserve and advance its mission of creating lifelong bonds between people and animals. I am honored to help the cause, both now and tomorrow, and know that donations from my estate will be put to good use.

Genevieve M.: Furthering the Life and Comfort of Animals

Genevieve M.’s first spoken word was “kitty.” She believes the humane treatment of animals is important because animals cannot protect themselves.

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Genevieve M.’s first spoken word was “kitty,” so it makes sense that as an adult, she left Lollypop Farm in her will. As a fifth generation resident of a Catskills dairy farm, Genevieve received love and companionship from many animals. “I grew up with horses, cows, chickens and geese, as well as my pets,” says Genevieve.

She believes the humane treatment of animals is important because animals cannot protect themselves. “Lollypop Farm has a great reputation for taking care of animals in need,” Genevieve said. “I’d like my legacy to be furthering the life and comfort of the animals.”

For more information, contact Cathie Wright, CFRE, Vice President for Development & Donor Relations, at (585) 295-5260 or wright@lollypop.org.

David Richards: Just Like You, David Loves Animals

Just like you, David Richards loves animals. He loves them so much that when he started volunteering in the 70s he took on one of the hardest jobs…cleaning kennels.

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Just like you, David Richards loves animals. He loves them so much that when he started volunteering in the 70s he took on one of the hardest jobs…cleaning kennels. Dave says he “felt the responsibility to create the cleanest environment possible” so there would be no distractions to keep pets from meeting their next family. Dave went on to become a member of the Board of Directors, and continues to support Lollypop Farm now that he lives in Wisconsin. He’s even generously left Lollypop Farm in his estate plans.

For more information, contact Cathie Wright, CFRE, Vice President for Development & Donor Relations, at (585) 295-5260 or wright@lollypop.org.

Share Your Legacy

Please let us know if you have included Lollypop Farm in your will or estate plan or by beneficiary designation so that we can ensure that your gift will be used the way you intend and welcome you into The Legacy Society.

Have questions? We're here to help!

Cathie Wright, CFRE

Cathie Wright, CFRE

Vice President of Donor Relations

Robin Harisis

Robin Harisis

Legacy and Gift Planning

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Donate with confidence! Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to Lollypop Farm are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. The tax identification number for The Humane Society of Rochester and Monroe County PCA, Inc. is 16-0743047.

The content found on this site is general in nature and intended to be used for informational purposes only. It should not be relied upon as legal, tax, accounting or other professional advice. To determine how a gift or estate planning decision might affect your particular circumstances, it is expressly recommended that you consult an attorney, financial advisor or other qualified professional.