This month’s Inspiring individual started Lola’s Lucky Day, which is a non-profit dog rescue group in Houston. I know I know I know. I’ve already mentioned Lola’s Lucky Day in a couple of posts (here and here), but I just can’t help but be inspired by Larissa and her mission to help dogs. Although I’ve mentioned Lola’s before, I never really explained exactly what they do.
There are approximately 1.2 million homeless animals in Houston. Shelters are full, which means many dogs are put to sleep or left to fend for themselves. So where do you turn when there is nowhere else to go? Wisconsin. At least that’s what Larissa did. Larissa realized that although the shelters in her community were full, that wasn’t the case in other areas. So to Wisconsin she went with a van full of dogs. And just for a reference, it takes 18 hours to get from Houston to Milwaukee. 18 hours. Three women. 18 dogs. And one mission.
I had the opportunity to ask Larissa a few questions about Lola’s Lucky Day. I think you’ll find her pretty inspirational…
What inspired you to start Lola’s Lucky Day? And how did you take your idea and turn it into a non-profit?
My sister adopted a dog from Corridor Rescue in November of 2013. In December of that year we wanted to give back and find out where Fiona came from, learn more about the program. That was a pivotal changing point in my life – to see the problem first hand with my own eyes when we toured the area where she was found. I did not know just how bad the problem was here in Houston.
There is an area (like many pockets of Houston) 10 minutes from my office downtown where literally hundreds of dogs are homeless and fending for themselves on the streets. I decided I had to do something about it. Knowing that the problem in WI was nothing like this; in fact some shelters had very few dogs!! (mainly due to education, laws being enforced, spay/ neuter programs, their mentality on how they value animals) I teamed up with my good friend Erin Housley from my hometown in Fort Atkinson.
Erin began Paddy’s Paws as a way to help facilitate finding great adoptive families for homeless pets not only in WI; but also to help these poor animals who would otherwise never have a chance in Houston. Initially it started out as everything being personally funded. However, we were running it like a rescue program and several people encouraged me to form a non-profit. Lola’s Lucky Day became a reality and a 501c3 officially on January 8, 2015.
I decided on the name because whenever we are able to bring a dog into our program; it is truly their Lucky Day – it is the day their lives change! I chose to make it Lola’s because she was one of the first puppies that I rescued and was adopted to an amazing family here in Houston. She is the perfect example of a rescue pup’s life being dramatically changed for the best by our organization and she just so happens to be very photogenic as well.
Have you always had a passion for helping animals?
Yes I have always loved animals and helping them. Our parents would never let us get a dog, so I think I might be making up for that now. They have now also adopted a dog from me too!
I’m sure you’ve seen some heartbreaking situations while rescuing dogs. How do you stay positive and find the courage to keep doing what you do?
It can most definitely be heartbreaking at times; but I try to stay positive! I recently saw something that said; If not you, who; if not now, when? Knowing that we are making a difference for these pups, families that adopt them and changing the overpopulation problem in the city of Houston is my motivation to keep on doing it. Nothing beats rescuing a dog and giving it a chance they never would have gotten. Dogs know when you save their lives and don’t forget that.
It’s my passion and I will follow it! Wine also helps 🙂
What has been your favorite moment with Lola’s Lucky Day?
Hearing from adoptive families and seeing pictures of pups we rescued; living amazing lives. That is the most rewarding part of it all. Here are some of the “soda pop” puppies who we rescued from underneath a vacant house. They overcame mange and parvo and have amazing families in WI.
What’s it like to travel from Houston to Wisconsin with a car full of dogs? What’s the biggest challenge? I’m guessing there are a lot of potty breaks…
Exciting!! We are really excited for our first trip in our own vehicle. The dogs actually do really well and sleep most of the way. The biggest challenge is all the planning that goes into these trips!
What are a few things anyone can do to help the homeless dogs in their community?
Adopt/ foster/ donate/ volunteer/ advocate/ spread the word 🙂
Today Larissa has saved 125 dogs! This goes to show how much of a difference one person can make. Will you be the one?