National Volunteer Week Honoree–Cherie Owen
Cherie Owen has been volunteering in the rescue of animals for 32 years. She moved to Gardnerville, NV in 1992 with her dogs and started volunteering at the Douglas County Animal Shelter.
Cherie felt that the killing of the shelter animals for lack of space, money, and lack of will was not the way to think. Cherie founded and is the president of Douglas Animal Welfare Group (DAWG). DAWG is a nonprofit 501©3 organization formed in 2000 with approximately 100 members, all volunteers, who rely solely on donations to support their work.
DAWG is devoted to improving the lives of the companion animals residing at the Douglas County Animal Shelter. This is accomplished by working with the animals to ensure they are socialized and ready for a family, supporting the spaying and neutering of the animals to decrease the number of homeless pets in the county, providing medical treatment when necessary, and through educating the public about the shelter and proper animal care. In addition, DAWG assists in emergencies with general tasks at the shelter, in order to keep the shelter open. DAWG volunteers also act as foster parents when animals need special care, fill in when there are staff shortages, and help with animal adoptions.
In 2005 they transported and paid for the spaying or neutering of over 70 animals. Since 2000, DAWG assisted with 464 adoptions. In 2006, DAWG paid for 17 spay or neuter for animals and assisted in 92 adoptions. Due in part to these efforts, the most important accomplishment has been the elimination of the need to put down any adoptable animals. No adoptable animals have been put down in the Douglas County Animal Shelter since DAWG was formed.
In 2005, the Nevada Appeal Newspaper in Carson City, Nevada named DAWG the "Organization of the Year." In 2006, the Douglas County Historical Society honored Cherie Own for her "significant historical contribution to the quality of life", in Douglas County for forming DAWG. In November of 2006, the Chamber of Commerce named DAWG as the "Service Organization of the Year." In 2007, Channel 2, KTVN, picked Cherie Owen as "Someone to Know" which is a five-minute segment on their nightly news program once a week.