Jon had a smorgasbord of interests, but when he set his mind out to do something he put his whole heart and soul into it. Where there was a will, there was a way.
More than anything, Jon had a love and passion for animals. After a massive snowstorm in Bethany, a barn collapsed trapping horses inside, first responders didn’t know what to do. Jon saw a need for training in such emergency situations and the Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) was born.
Jon learned everything he could about large animal rescue then made it his mission to teach others what to do.
In the event of a fire or flood that adversely affected any animal, EARS volunteers were there to help. As he was building his organization, Jon realized that people often needed assistance safely lifting and transporting sick or injured larger dogs. So he began to dream of having an animal ambulance that would provide the animal with constant monitoring and care during the transport to an emergency animal hospital.
He tirelessly found ways to raise money for the vehicle and before you knew it, EARS had an animal ambulance. Domestic animals weren’t the only creatures EARS helped. The Beardsley Zoo had a Maned Wolf with a hernia that they couldn’t treat in their own facility, so they called upon Jon and EARS for help. The Wolf was brought to a hospital in the animal ambulance. One spring he responded to several calls of fledgling hawks that had crash-landed while learning to fly and needed assistance.
Jon was the most caring, genuine person I’d ever met. He always looked at the big picture and had a plan on how best to deal with every aspect of it. As long as Jon Nowinski was around EARS would provide its services free of charge, because he knew that not everyone was rich and in times of need the last thing anyone needed to worry about was a bill.
He loved working with the various law enforcement, fire department, EMS, and animal healthcare specialists around the region — and they loved working with him. He told me that he got a kick out of the reaction the EARS ambulance got when he was on the road, especially from traditional ambulance crews.
When my dog, Mi Sun was at the emergency hospital in Shelton, where Jon was a vet tech, he would visit her and sit with her in the overnight hours, take her outside and send me “selfies” of the two of them to put my mind at ease.
Jon never had an unkind word for anyone. Even when people who had called for assistance were then rude or impatient and shot off their mouths. Jon told me, “thank you” would have used less words, and been more appreciated.
So what’s the purpose of this story? Jon Nowinski, the kindest most caring animal advocate in CT, passed away this week at the age of 37. He succumbed to cancer on Wednesday surrounded by his family.
Orange Live has a lot of stories about Jon and EARS on the site, just do a search to find them. He was an amazing young man. His enthusiasm was infectious and he is, and always will be sorely missed. Dozens of people have left comments on various Facebook pages expressing their love for Jon. He had that effect on people. If you met him, you couldn’t help but love him. What a legacy he leaves behind. If only the world had more people like Jon Nowinski, we’d be in a much better way.
For those who were familiar with Jon through his appearances on News12 Pet Talk with Lauren Collier, you can rest easy knowing that his mother is taking care of his dog Coyote — or is Coyote taking care of her?
We will post details of his funeral arrangements when they become available.