Volunteer Spotlight: Wendy Vassak

Wendy Vassak became involved with the Danbury Animal Welfare Society 15 years ago! “At the time, I was in a job that was unfulfilling and making me unhappy. I wanted to feel like I was making an impact. I ended up rescuing my first dog and got a small glimpse of how many animals were in need and knew I had to help,” she says.

Wendy began her DAWS journey as a dog walker but now serves as a Dog Team Lead and Adoption Counselor. On the weekends she works as a staff member in the cattery. “I love my job and get so much joy from interacting with the cats. I have learned so much about our feline friends from both a medical and behavioral perspective. Now I am not only a crazy dog lady but also a crazy cat lady!” In addition, Wendy assists with our dog program where she responds to adoption inquiries.

One thing Wendy loves most about volunteering at DAWS is spending time with the dogs and cats and watching them go off to loving families. “When we get pictures and stories from adopters and see them thriving in their new home, it is heartwarming,” explains Wendy. “DAWS has opened my eyes to the world of rescue. I had no idea about animal overpopulation and the issue of people not spaying and neutering their pets. Now I understand what a concern it is and try to educate others on the reality of rescue. Don’t buy from a breeder or pet store when there are so many animals in need.”

Being a volunteer for over a decade, Wendy has seen many dogs and cats adopted. Her favorite part is watching all those longtime residents finally go home. “I think of dogs like Blaze, Lilly, Happy, Chelsey, Charity, Panther, Gideon, Maccabee…the ones who were with us for months, and sometimes years. Knowing they are not going to spend another night in a kennel environment and will be getting the life they deserve is such a great feeling.”

While volunteering can be a challenge at times, the rewards make it all worth it. Wendy’s devotion, kindness, and leadership is truly admirable. “For anyone looking to volunteer with DAWS or a local rescue, I say do it! You will find it so rewarding, you will meet wonderful people that share your passion, and you will get to spend time with animals that are so grateful for your time and love.”

A New Fairfield native, Wendy has lived in Connecticut all her life. She has two rescue dogs, Ethel and Toby, two rescue cats, Emily and Michaela, and a rescue guinea pig named Midge! When she’s not at DAWS or taking care of her “home zoo,” she enjoys walking, hiking, traveling, reading, and gardening.