"April is 'Pet First Aid Awareness' month," said Lisa Wagner, Director of Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid. (Note the similarity between the company's and her name.)
Many have taken a human CPR or first aid class, but have no idea that pet first aid classes are also
It is a miracle that Lisa is so deeply involved with pets because her childhood dreams of becoming a veterinarian were dashed with "...poor marks in High School Biology," said Lisa, "I had a passion for animals, just not for science. No one suggested alternative careers such as; Veterinary Technician, Humane Society, Guide Dogs, Groomer, etc.."
Instead, she earned a Psychology degree, but inwardly knew that is was not her life's
passion so she accepted a 'regular' job.
At work, she sat staring at her dog's photo wishing she could be with him. Then one day, she realized she could if she started her own dog walking business!
With her customer service, and business experience, and love of dogs, it was the purr-fect future for her. Brilliantly, she moved forward by taking business classes, pet first aid classes, and creating a website. She built a successful dog walking and
in-home cat sitting service.
Lisa's life changed again after completing the 'Pet First Aid Instructor Class’ and once teaching it she realized that "Love of pets and their health is my life's passion!"
Imagine the emotional benefits of empowering pet parents to save their pets' lives in an emergency, injury or choking episode!
Following the thread of her business she found 'World Vets International'. Volunteers
from North America travel the globe helping communities and their animals. Lisa's first trip was to Guatemala at the tail end of a tropical storm. Both people and animals were displaced, hungry and in dire need of support. The rewarding experiences had her immediately signing up for further travels to Tanzania, Colombia, Honduras, Peru and most recently to Soi Dog Foundation in Phuket, Thailand. She also traveled to Nicaragua for 'Pet Rescue' and 'Animal Disaster
"People around the world love their pets," said Lisa. "Many don't have the advantage of a Veterinary staff's help. We convert buildings into makeshift veterinary clinics and soon their hallways are lined with pet parents, cats and dogs. Over three days, we neuter/spay and provide free veterinary care to as many pets as paws-ible."
"In Cusco, Peru a dog arrived with one of its legs tightly wrapped close to its body in a
tensor bandage. The owner explained that her dog '...had been hit by a car - three weeks prior.' She didn't have funds to access veterinary care; however, she had heard that World Vets was coming and made her dog as comfortable as she could while she awaited us. The dog's leg had to be amputated; but it was wonderful knowing that we were able to end the dog's pain and saved it's life." Three legged dogs are resilient, and World Vets gave it a new "leg up" on
"Our exhausting workdays are 10-12 hours," adds Lisa, "But it doesn't matter - our passion driven group is eager to start early the next morning. I'm addicted to this group's mission and have made lifelong friends. It is deeply fulfilling making a difference. If I could afford to volunteer full time, I would!"
Thailand's 'Soi Dog Foundation' is a large animal rescue organization that also advocates ending the illegal dog meat
trade out of Thailand. I was proud to volunteer at their animal shelter, spay/neuter/health clinic.” www.SoiDog.org
Taking care of animals, in any community, in any country, is a bit like the analogy of the man tossing star fish into the sea when someone asked him, 'Why are you doing that? There are so many on the beach. You can't save them
'It makes a difference to this one,' declared the man as he tossed another star fish into the surf.
In Colombia, Lisa helped neuter/spay 208 animals and gave first aid to 99 others, making a difference to them.
"I hope my story inspires others to take a leap of faith in their life when the time is right," adds Lisa.