Community Conversation with Dawn Tongish: Meet Karol Wilson, an outspoken advocate for spay/neuter services for pets, who dedicates her time to the Paws Cause organization. For nearly two decades, Wilson has been involved with Paws Cause which raises funds to support the free or low cost spay/neuter clinic offered by the North Texas SPCA.
Each year Paws Cause and its volunteers organize several fundraising events where the monies raised are channeled toward decreasing the number of unwanted pets. We wanted to know more about the mission of Paws Cause and Wilson was kind enough to answer a few questions.
Dawn Tongish: Please begin by telling us about the mission of Paws Cause.
Karol Wilson:We support the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter Clinic of the SPCA of Texas in South Dallas where the need is greatest. The Clinic provides free or at low-cost surgeries for thousands of dogs and cats a year.
DT: What are your duties at Paws Cause?
KW: I'm an advocate these days. I've been involved for about 19 of our 20-year history. We're an all-volunteer group. Diane Brierley and I co-chaired the event about 10 years ago (may be off by a year or two on that one). It's just a great group of about 75 or so men and women who realize how important the spay/neuter issue is. Plus, we have a ton of fun working together. Our annual event draws around 300 or so a year.
DT: How did you get involved with the organization, and why are you so passionate about the work being done?
KW: I got involved through my friend Gigi Potter Salley. She's a community leader, pet lover and well-known Realtor. She's chaired the event and has served as honorary chairman of our signature/singular event. I feel so strongly about Paws Cause just by looking around. You'll see mama dogs and pups roaming around, homeless dogs. Let's solve this problem!
DT: Your organization relies heavily on volunteers whose goal it is to help support the SPCA of Texas' free and/or low cost spay or neuter services. Why are these services so important, and why are some pet owners reluctant to make sure the pet population is controlled?
KW: You see dogs and cats everywhere who appear homeless. I'm a fairly new resident in the White Rock Lake area and it's amazing how many animals are just dumped there. I am hesitant to say why pet owners are reluctant to spay/neuter their pets...do they just not know about the problem, do they think it's someone else's problem to solve? I think there are probably hundreds of reasons...but people need to realize spay/neuter will solve so many animal issues.
DT: Your organization helps raise funds for the spay/neuter clinic. How successful are you at continuing to raise critical funding for the SPCA?
KW: I think being so specific in our mission that people have happily supported us for years. I tend to think that people like the idea of supporting one thing that you can wrap your arms around and Paws Cause just makes sense. The annual event raises significant funds as the first 150K we raise goes to the Clinic's bottom line and the remaining goes to an endowment fund for the future. Knock on wood, but I don't see us declining in support. Paws Cause just makes good sense and it's a "doggone" fun party. Sure, our chairs work their hearts out on organizing the components of the event...but it's an easy way as a guest to make an important difference for the community and our furry friends.
DT: How hopeful are you that at some point we can begin to turn the corner on pet overpopulation and avoid the travesty of seeing so many healthy animals euthanized each year?
KW: I think there has been a change of thinking in Dallas lately and it's been great that city/county leadership have become advocates for animals and the overpopulation issue. Just recently, our new DA has championed animal issues and wants to have more resources and oversight over their plight. So I think we're on a good path for the future. Plus, I'd point to folks like "Skip" Trimble (Paws Cause's hero), Jonnie England, Mary Spencer and of course James Bias at the SPCA who have been vocal, positive advocates who have made great inroads in the "buy in" to spay/neuter efforts by Dallasites.
DT: What is the most memorable moment in your experiences at Paws Cause?
KW: I think just watching the event move to larger venues to become one of the "Big Three" of the SPCA's events is pretty cool. (The other two are Fur Ball and Strut Your Mutt)