Valparaiso woman spends time helping dogs in need

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News, Featured, Pets

Published on April 18, 2018 with No Comments

Abbey Johnson’s passion for animals has steered her to assist the less fortunate dogs in her community at Lakeshore PAWS. Spending nearly 30 hours a week, Johnson spends her time aiding dogs who truly need a helping hand at a prosperous life.

Johnson has been with LSP for nearly seven months. Prior to this occupation, she worked with people at a small company called the Zielbeck Group. She has always worked with people and thought she could help animals as well.

A key element that drove Johnson to aid these animals is that they cannot speak for themselves. “They don’t have their own voice. Only certain people can do it. Working here has good and bad days and it isn’t for everyone,” said Johnson.

LSP’s main objective is not only to get dogs adopted, but to make sure they become placed in their forever home with a loving and extremely fitting family. For this to happen, LSP has a program it puts every dog through to make sure it is capable of finding a permanent home.

There is no such thing as the typical day at LSP. “Every day is so different,” said Johnson. We have pretty hectic mornings. We prepare, take care of dogs, clean up the whole place, and noon to 6 p.m. we take care of customers.”

Since every day is different for the staff and volunteers at LSP, memorable moments occur quite often. Johnson has a specific type of incident that stays in her mind.

“When the long-timers get adopted. Seeing one of those go home is memorable,” said Johnson.

LSP is a privately owned animal rescue which means they are not a part of the government, thus obliging them to rely heavily on volunteers.

“We have to rely on volunteers, but since they are volunteers we don’t really know if they are going to come in when scheduled,” said Johnson.

LSP is a strict non-euthanizing animal rescue. Some dogs may have to be put down due to severe health issues. Last year, the rescue only put down ten dogs due to complications, and any lost takes a toll on the crew.

“It’s a big deal when we have to put a dog down. We try everything until it’s just not working,” said Johnson.

Johnson has dedicated her time to make sure these dogs find the proper means of care, love, and eventually a forever home. Johnson and the volunteers do not only look after these dogs, but form a relationship with them as well as the customers.

“People think it’s great that we know every dog. We take time to walk people through the whole place to make sure they find a dog that will fit them,” said Johnson.

When looking for a dog to adopt at LSP, one must consider the past of these dogs and contemplate what journey they have been on. “We’re a rescue, not a shelter. People need to remember rescue dogs are not perfect dogs. These dogs haven’t had the best experiences in their lifetime,” said Johnson.

For more information pertaining to LSP and their events, go to, visit the shelter at 4611 Evans Ave. Valparaiso, or call 219-476- PAWS (7297).

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