Caloosa Belle

Anthony Conti – Making a Difference

The Mission of Caloosa Humane Society is to ‘serve, shelter, and protect the homeless pets in our care’. Their goal is to find permanent and loving adoptive homes for animals in need. This no-kill facility provides low cost spay or neuter services to the community with the goal of reducing the extreme overpopulation of unwanted pets.

Anthony loves dogs and they love him. (Caloosa Belle/Amanda Nelson)

Just as the folks at Caloosa Humane Society help local pets, they have also taken the time to help a wonderful volunteer. A quiet and humble young man who has already faced many challenges, Anthony Conti donates hours of his time to help less fortunate animals in need of love and support at this shelter.

After moving to a group home in LaBelle from Tampa in 2015, Miss Jones took Anthony in and made him feel like a part of the family. He thinks of the staff members at Caloosa Human Society as a part of his extended family as well. These caring employees most definitely feel the same way. It’s easy to feel the love radiated between this group of people and the animals they care for every day.

Debbie Steigert, an employee at the animal shelter, stated that “Anthony is a good boy who just needs a hand. He doesn’t have a traditional family of his own. We, the staff at Caloosa Humane Society, are his family by love.” She knows that “he has great hopes and dreams, and we don’t want him to think he can’t because he can”.

Anthony, who is currently a junior, hopes to graduate from LaBelle High School in 2018, and then further his education by studying mechanics. His dream is to attend Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in Orlando so that he can learn more about gas and diesel engine repair.

Anthony stated that he “loves dogs.” When he was younger, he lost his dog to old age, and it “broke his heart.” His former school in Tampa had a program that allowed students to train therapy and service dogs. This program helped Anthony realize that he has a passion for helping dogs in need and wants to give back as much as he can. Although he is not extremely fond of cats, he still finds a special place in his heart for these fur-babies too.

Susan Keener with Caloosa Humane Society noted that “Anthony is really good with dogs who have never been socialized”. He has a way of gaining their trust and helping them become socialized members of society. He is a little like LaBelle’s own ‘dog whisperer’.

For Anthony, a typical day of volunteering involves everything from cutting the grass, working outside, performing maintenance, giving the dogs loads of attention, assisting with feeding and watering the animals and even learning the ins and outs of necessary office work. Although it is a lot of responsibility for this teen, Anthony takes pride in his work and does not complain.

Anthony Conti is a very compassionate young man with a contagious smile and positive outlook on life. He thrives on helping animals that come to the shelter abandoned or abused, and teaching them what unconditional love truly is – much like his family of love has shown him since he began volunteering at the shelter.

Even though Anthony has faced many challenges over the years, he and his kind heart are shining examples of perseverance and determination. No matter what life has thrown at him, he is continuing to remain upbeat, work hard and move forward. He is working on finding his place in this world – one day and perhaps one dog at a time.

Caloosa Humane Society is located in LaBelle at 1200 Pratt Boulevard. For more information about programs, volunteering or making donations to Caloosa Humane Society, please call 863-675-0997 or visit www.caloosahumanesociety.org.