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Kewaskum woman dedicates her life to finding sick dogs forever homes

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jan 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-12 18:11:08-05

Helen Summerfield-Brown is from Perth, Australia but has lived in Kewaskum for several years. She lives with her wife and dogs that need special care.

“He's a very special guy,” Helen said while holding one of her dogs, “He should be dead actually but somehow he's made it through despite everything.”

In 2017, she adopted him from India. He was malnourished, had a broken pelvis, a broken elbow and was in bad shape. She was going to foster him and take care of him before helping him find a good home but instead, couldn’t let him go.

“My wife kind of said to me, if you don't stop adopting dogs, you know, it’s divorce,” she joked.

After seeing how her dog was treated, she realized how poorly so many dogs were being cared for across the world. So, she started her non-profit organization called Stray Dog Support.

“I literally thought [to myself]international rescue, are you crazy?” Helen said.

Right now, she has about 400 dogs in her care and has been doing the work on her own.

“I've got dogs that get beaten all the time. I got a puppy yesterday that somebody beat, and his jaw was basically hanging to his chest and we had to do emergency surgery. I had dogs that had acid thrown on them,” Helen said.

The stories are heartbreaking. Every morning Helen wakes up to messages from people in different countries, desperate for help.

“It’s like ping ping ping ping,” Helen said as she described her message alerts. “There's like hundreds of them saying 'please help me with this dog. I found this dog.'”

The photos and videos are hard to stomach. Just when Helen thinks she has seen the worst, she says there’s another photo or video that tops the list.

“When she first gets them, I even say, 'I don't want to see it. Please don't show me the pictures.' It's really hard because she gets really sad and then I get sad,” Helen’s wife, Teresa Summerfield-Brown said as she choked up.

Helen has rescue partners in several countries that help provide assistance for the animals. Anything from vet appointments to vaccinations, to boarding, the rescuers are one call away.

“It’s emotionally draining, it's physically draining, but then I just kind of go into a triage mode and then it's just like alright, ok what needs to get done?”

Helen regularly uses social media as a way to reach a broader audience for donations. Whether it’s $1 or $100, she says she responds to every donation.

“I will email them a thank you because I think it's so awesome that someone would spend their hard-earned money.”

A woman named Debbie Pearl was on the receiving end of Helen’s work. She saw a dog's photo being shared on social media and knew she wanted to help him.

“Someone had chopped off the bottom of his legs in Egypt, half his tail and parts of his ears and left him to die,” Debbie says.

She began to research and found Helen who was already on the case.

“I have such respect for somebody who's trying to help the ones that are truly helpless,” Debbie said. “Because of her, he's here, he's alive.”

These dogs and other animals have a chance. A chance not many of them make it to see.

If you would like to learn more about Helen’s work or donate to help animals in need, follow this link.