Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Thank you to Lost Dogs of Wisconsin and Illinois

This is a blog post that is long overdue.  This is about two very different, yet very similar organizations and two people I admire very, very much. 

I started volunteering for Lost Dogs of Wisconsin sixteen months ago.  Before joining Lost Dogs of Wisconsin’s ranks, I had been out of rescue work for a while and had no serious thoughts of resuming that type of work in the future. 

I started volunteering with Lost Dogs of Wisconsin because I could work from my laptop…and, to be honest, that was the appeal.  I wasn’t going to bring animals into my house yet I was still helping animals that I dearly loved in the comfort of my own home. 

When I joined Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, the organization was fairly new. I don’t remember how new it was at that time, but it was new enough.  The person who trained me, Susan Jacoby, was extremely nice.  After working with Susan for a while, one of the group’s founders contacted me.  Her name was Kathy Pobloskie. 

It didn’t take long for me to realize that Kathy is a very special person.  She is someone who is honest, truthful and trustworthy.  I have seen her demonstrate these traits over and over again in countless interactions with people.  She acts the same with each person she meets.  She treats everyone in the same, respectful manner.  I’ve never witnessed any other person enact his or her personality characteristics as consistently, as steadfastly as Kathy does.  Kathy is a leader who has no problem sharing everything she knows with anyone who asks; she is not threatened by the knowledge others may gain from her.  To me, Kathy’s honesty, trustworthiness and consistency, combined with her willingness to share her vast knowledge unconditionally are what make her such a strong leader.
Within its frameworks, Lost Dogs of Wisconsin has the same values as its leader, Kathy Pobloskie.  That’s not to say that Lost Dogs of Wisconsin is perfect.  The organization is relatively new, after all, and still going through some growing pains.  But this organization possesses something that is lacking in most animal welfare organizations - strong leadership.  There are no paid staff at Lost Dogs of Wisconsin and that in and of itself says a lot about Kathy’s ability to attract and retain unpaid, dedicated, capable volunteers.  Although I no longer volunteer for Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, the group and its leader have made a lasting, indelible mark on me.  And it’s good one at that.

Lost Dogs Illinois has in its ranks another person who also exhibits traits that I feel are lacking in this field, Susan Taney.  Susan is a wonderful person with an encyclopedia of information in her brain and yet her knowledge is not what is most impressive about her.  Like Kathy, Susan has leadership skills that motivate her crew of unpaid staff to do whatever they can to reunite lost dogs with their owners day in, and day out.  Susan is truly an inspiration to her organization’s volunteers and everyone else she meets.

Lost Dogs of Wisconsin and Lost Dogs Illinois work together, hand in hand.  They do it well and they have brought to the forefront an issue that has never really been appropriately approached before, the issue of lost dogs.  Lost dogs are what populate the majority of all shelters.  Most people acknowledge these dogs as strays when, in reality, they are lost pets who need to be returned to their owners.  These two organizations are making huge strides in educating people about how to go about getting their lost dogs back.  They are also making an impact on local shelters.  Both organizations are very young and it will take some time to record accurate, reliable numbers that demonstrate their effectiveness, but I know the stats are being collected and they will ultimately produce very fine data.

This brings me up to the reason I’m writing this…or, should I say, one of the reasons I’m writing this.
Lost Dogs of Wisconsin is holding its first fundraiser ever on July 26, 2012.  The event will be held in Milwaukee at Hamburger Mary’s.  Although I’ve never been to a fundraiser at this establishment, I have heard that hosting an event at Hamburger Mary’s guarantees every attendee will have great fun. 
I would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone who is available on July 26 to attend Lost Dogs of Wisconsin’s inaugural fundraiser.  Both Lost Dogs of Wisconsin and Lost Dogs Illinois need remote control nets to help return nervous and/or shy dogs to their owners.  These nets cost about $5,000 apiece. 

I also want to encourage everyone to keep their eyes on Lost Dogs of Wisconsin’s website and/or Facebook page to learn further details about this fundraiser.  Personally, I’m looking for more information daily because this is an event I’m going to do my best NOT to miss.

And just for the record, thanks to everyone who works so hard to make Lost Dogs of Wisconsin and Lost Dogs Illinois the successes they are.  Every dog returned to his or her owner is a testament to your commitment and dedication…to your love of dogs everywhere.  All of you are pretty special.