There almost isn’t a day that Valerie Juengst doesn’t have a foster pet in her house. From litters of guinea pigs and puppies, to a senior cat with breast cancer, she’s opened her home to them all.

“My latest foster was Jerri and her nine puppies! Nine puppies was unbelievable!” the Connecticut Humane Society volunteer says.

Valerie sees firsthand how much the pets need, especially when she brings fosters back to CHS for medical care. That’s why she wanted to donate her retirement account distributions to CHS pets.

When someone turns 70.5 years old, they must make periodic required minimum distributions from their IRA retirement account, per federal law, even if they don’t need the money at that point.

If they keep the money after withdrawing it, they must pay taxes on the amount—but if they donate it to a 501(c)(3) charity like CHS, it’s exempt from income tax. The bank or financial adviser holding the account makes the distribution.

“It’s a wonderful way of giving. It’s a super tax benefit. And it can be any amount of the RMD (required minimum distribution),” added Valerie, who’s also a CHS dog walker, community ambassador and laundry assistant.

She wants the donation to be used wherever needed, but is especially passionate about CHS’ reduced-fee veterinary care for family pets.

“I think I’ve probably always been drawn to creatures who don’t have their own voice,” said Valerie who has three CHS alumni dogs, Bella, Luna and Cinnamon. “Since I retired five years ago, I’ve been volunteering at CHS. I’m so devoted to it because it’s such a wonderful organization.”

To inquire about donating your RMD to CHS pets, contact Kerry Garofano at or via phone at 860-594-4502, ext. 6328.