The past 12-18 months were certainly epic for HAWS.

We saw the expansion of our spay/neuter clinic, watching it rapidly grow to become both one of the nicest facilities in our sheltering system in Wisconsin and also one of the most respected. We forged and expanded partnerships with HSUS; with our local emergency service responders such as police, sheriff and aging/disability resources; and with Carroll University. We added a number of new educational programs for dogs and people. Our expansion came quickly, and our growth in programs seemed to accelerate throughout the year.

We said goodbye to some excellent staff and had a number of great new contributors join our HAWS team.

This year I developed a new appreciation for our volunteers and our community partners, from our Kohl’s groups who have come to work alongside us to the opportunities to visit Aurora facilities with our adoptable pets for much-needed breaks in the daily routine. High school groups have helped with our fundraisers and our Critter Club student members help on weekend mornings to get our shelter ready to roll. We certainly could not have had the success we did with a “turn on a dime” ability to help on a national level without our committed volunteers and community.

One of the most outstanding things this past year is how these groups and activities transformed our shelter. For me personally, they changed my thought process. I find myself more willing to trust our volunteers, staff and community. With this trust, and a more open ear, we accomplished many things, and will accomplish many, many more. A personal thank you to Jo, Larry, Lori and Merry for kindly asking me “what if” and “why”…and for having, in turn, the trust that I heard their message (knowing that it takes time to make a smooth shift or transition). A thank you also to my strong and outstanding second-tier staff (Leads, Level 3’s, trainers and the like) who plant a seed, give me time to ponder and time to observe. You are the future, and we will be an excellent organization for a very long time with you standing next to our current leadership team.

HAWS’ future is bright!
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