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2012 Angels Among Us: Ordinary People Make a Difference

2012 Angels Among Us: Ordinary People Make a Difference
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Janet Wendle | Lucky Pups

There are dog lovers, and then there are people like Janet Wendle. In 2007 the Kennebunkport, Maine, resident–a teacher and the owner of three dogs at that time–launched Lucky Pup, a rescue service that places shelter canines with new owners. “I had no idea what I was getting into,” Wendle quips.After connecting with a large animal shelter in Arkansas, Wendle soon found herself shuttling back and forth between the South and home and meeting with prospective dog owners in New England. Much of her work stems from her mission to be as thorough as possible. In considering a new home for one of its dogs, Lucky Pup requires a detailed application. There are veterinarian and personal references to review and, of course, home visits. “It’s important to us that the dog’s needs are met,” Wendle says.

That’s because the animals come from a mix of stressful circumstances: Some are strays; others have been abandoned; and some have been turned in by short-tempered owners who’ve seen their cute untrained puppy morph into a full-grown untrained dog. Since its start, Lucky Pup–which includes a core team of 10 volunteers and operates through a network of foster families (it’s not a physical shelter)–has found new homes for more than 1,000 dogs, making it one of the biggest dog-rescue services in New England.

“I just love the stories, and I’m just such a sucker for these dogs,” says Wendle, now the owner of five dogs herself. “Seeing these dogs go to a wonderful home with a new owner–it’s really neat to see.”

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