My name is Kelly, another member of the Wags social media team, and I’m so excited to share my journey from adopter to volunteer with you!
Ever since I can remember, I have loved animals – growing up in Oregon, my family had two dogs, all kinds of goldfish, hamsters, parakeets, mice and rats, even a couple caterpillars - and a worm that I “rescued” from the sidewalk and named Susan (after Susan from Sesame Street)! I begged my parents constantly to get a cat, but it never came to fruition because my dad was allergic. Sigh. I got lucky when I moved to LA almost 13 years ago though – I ended up living with a roommate who had two cats so I got all kinds of kitty cuddles then! I continued my small animal parenting for years, adding more parakeets, hamsters and even a hermit crab into the mix, but I yearned for a dog of my own.
Fast-forward a few years, after my husband and I moved into a very dog-friendly apartment complex and became the go-to dog-sitters for our friends. It broke my heart every time we took the dogs back to their owners – the apartment always felt so empty – so I was beyond ecstatic when we finally decided that we were ready to start looking for a dog of our own. Adoption was always the way we were going to go, as we knew of the overpopulation problem in LA, but that meant that it would take a little bit more time to find just what we were looking for. I spent every moment I could scouring the internet for a non-shedding, house-trained dog no younger than two years (who has time to train a puppy these days?) but every one I found just didn’t seem to be right.
Then I stumbled across Dustin, a ridiculously cute tan cockapoo, who was available for adoption through a rescue called Wags and Walks. I had to have him – he was perfect! I scoured the Wags website, taking in as much information about the organization as I could, and found a photo of Kristen, one of their volunteers who just so happened to be the roommate of a coworker of mine. I vaguely remembered her mentioning a dog rescue that she volunteered for, and when I discovered it was Wags I knew these were the folks we were going to get our new family member from. Unfortunately things with Dustin didn’t work out (we were out of town the week of the adoption event where he ultimately found his forever family) so I kept looking. A few weeks later, I found a picture of a litter of spaniel mix puppies that Wags had recently scooped up and showed my husband – forget everything I said about not wanting a puppy, one of these guys was it! After filling out an application and waiting a week or two until they were old enough to adopt, we set up a time for a meet & greet.
Charlie and I both had an idea of which dog we wanted – the tan boy with white markings on his face. Luckily for us, that exact pup was the one who trampled over all of his other siblings to come say hello, and he couldn’t stop licking my face when I picked him up! It was instant – this little guy was our new puppy!
Fast-forward a few months. I couldn’t believe that such an amazing little pup (who we named Clyne) and his family had been on the streets, and became obsessed with spreading the word about shelter dogs all across LA. I even created a Facebook page for Clyne so he could act as an advocate for his fellow shelter dogs! Then I noticed a Facebook post from Wags looking for more volunteers to help in various avenues, including social media. With my job, I don’t have a lot of spare time to volunteer in person, but social was something I could do from home (and during down time at work), so I offered to help. I was so grateful to this organization for finding our newest family member, and every volunteer I had been in touch with had been so friendly and helpful that I just knew this was the perfect way for me to repay them for the joy they’d provided my husband and I. Plus, I could play a small part in saving lives!
It’s been just over a year since I joined the Wags team, and in that time I have been able to watch us grow from operating out of a garage to a bona-fide office! We have saved almost 700 lives, grown both our social and leadership teams, gained a TON of amazing fosters and volunteers, and have formed great partnerships with companies and organizations all over the city. We have amazing adopters who love to share photos and updates of their pups, and even hold reunions for our past litters so they can play with their siblings and we can see how they’ve grown! I have made amazing friends and couldn’t be more proud to be a part of such a wonderful, warm, caring group of people who want nothing more than to help change the lives of dogs (and humans!) all over Los Angeles.
Are you involved in dog rescue? We would love to hear the story of how you got started - feel free to share in the comments below. If you’re in the Los Angeles area and interested in getting helping Wags and Walks, please fill out a volunteer application - the more amazing people we have on our team, the more lives we can save! Oh, and follow Clyne and his adventures on Facebook and Instagram! I’m not as good at keeping up with it as I used to be, but with our first kiddo due any day now I have a feeling there will be some pretty adorable photos to check out in the future.