Who saved whom? Rescue dog makes life brighter for widow

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Shelly Birkelo
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

JANESVILLE—Lenore Green's late husband wanted her to have a pet before he died.

Friends of Noah animal rescue worked with Mercy Hospice Care to connect Green with Maggie May, a 2-year-old Lhasa apso mixed-breed dog.

It was love at first sight.

“She was just so sweet, quiet and calm,” Green said.

Maggie May has become a comfort to Green since the death of her husband, John, in August.

They have become a story of who rescued whom.

Green gently petted Maggie May and lavished her with treats while they recently entertained guests in their west side Janesville home.

Maggie May was found abandoned in April near Milwaukee and fostered by Friends of Noah volunteer Laurie Sullivan for two months.

“When she came to us, she was matted, dirty and scared,” said Lois Corwin, Friends of Noah founder.

But after several months with Sullivan, Maggie May's personality came out.

“She was Maggie May again and no longer living in chaos, stress and fear,” Corwin said.

Maggie Mae is among 100 to 125 stray and abandoned animals rescued and fostered by Friends of Noah each year. Of those, 75 percent are dogs, Corwin said.

Friends of Noah, founded in 2010, is an all-volunteer program with no paid staff. All of the profits from its fourth annual Arftic Art for Animals fundraiser Saturday, Feb. 15, will be used to support the nonprofit organization's programs.

Among the organization's services:

-- Educating young people about the responsibilities of pet ownership.

-- Providing free food for pets through nine local food pantries.

-- Fostering hundreds of stray and abandoned animals.

-- Helping people who have fallen on tough times with low-cost emergency vet care.

"Noah's ultimate goal is to keep pets and families together. No one should have to make a decision based on financial need on whether they can keep their pet," she said.

Arftic Art is an exhibit of some of the latest products in pet care and will feature some of the top animal artists from throughout the Midwest. Alicia Reid of Raven's Wish in Janesville will focus on distinctive animal art while Mushy Face Cookie Co. will sell dog treats.

More than 50 animal art and pet-related vendors will be at the event promoting their goods and services. Friends of Noah will offer silent auction items, including an autographed Green Bay Packers football, a Kindle Fire HD, a Keurig coffee maker, a Samsung Galaxy tablet, handcrafted items and dozens of raffle baskets of pet-related items.

“If you're an animal lover, you should come, but there's going to be something for everyone,” Corwin said.

“The event has evolved to be much more than pet supplies and services. It is very artistic,” she said.

Green had never heard of Friends of Noah until last year, but since then has become a supporter of the organization and is excited about attending her first Arftic Art for Animals event.

“They've been wonderful,” she said.

Life without Maggie May is almost unimaginable for Green.

“It would be very different, quiet. I'd sure miss her,” she said.

Instead, Green has found a buddy.

“She's always there for me and a good friend,” she said.

Friends of Noah rescued Maggie May, but Green said Maggie May rescued her.

“She's been a real comfort to me.”

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