Meet the Team: MJ Schwebler

If you have ever called us, you have talked with our wonderful Office Administrator, Mary Jane (MJ) Schwebler! MJ began her journey with DAWS by volunteering in the Cattery in 2019. She often drove by the shelter and knew she had extra love to give our animals. “I was amazed at the care, attention, and love each animal received,” she remarks, reflecting on her first shift. After that, she continued volunteering more, growing her skills, and caring for the challenging feral cats, and she felt fulfilled with their unconditional love.

Before volunteering at DAWS, MJ was an assistant ESL teacher in the Danbury Public Schools for 25 years. When she retired, she continued to spend her time helping others by volunteering at Danbury Hospital, Bethel Social Services, the Bethel Community Food Pantry, and the Community Action Food Pantry. She enjoyed listening to people’s stories around the community and hoped her kind ear put people at ease.

MJ and her husband Ralph’s home is bursting with love from their four rescue animals, two from DAWS! Tess is a boxer-pit mix, and Sadie is an unknown breed but an adorable puppy who loves to give kisses and cuddle! They also have Abby, a golden mix, and Lexi, a four-year-old cat who is the Queen of the household! They are also the proud grandparents of their sons’ two dogs, Callie and Gemma!

As the Office Manager, MJ witnesses the journey of a DAWS rescue. She says, “I feel fortunate to be part of the journey with our rescue dogs and cats from the beginning. I remember terrified cats hiding under bedding; within no time, they were snuggling and seeking your attention. In the shelter, many animals come off from transports being frightened and untrusting. But, seeing how much they decompressed and trusted the staff and volunteers is amazing.”

MJ is proud to be part of our organization, and we are fortunate to have her. Director of Development Alice Meenan says, “MJ has been such a delight to work alongside in the various roles she has held at DAWS. She shows true compassion for everyone she engages with, especially the animals she has cared for. MJ supports many programs, especially Paw It Forward, helping fulfill requests from pet owners in need of assistance. We are fortunate to have MJ on our team; she is a true asset to DAWS!”

MJ is looking forward to returning to the newly renovated shelter and interacting with the animals, staff, volunteers, and adopters – listening to their stories and watching each animal fall in love with their new families.