Carol Sumbry dedicates her life to helping dogs, and her friend, Wendy Smith-Ozug, feels that what she does is amazing.
“She’s rescued hundreds and hundreds of dogs out of really terrible, abusive situations,” said Smith-Ozug. “She’s…rescued dogs right out of puppy mills. She just has this special way, not with only the dogs, but with people too.
“…I think by giving other humans the skills that she has, by passing them on and teaching, we can all save more dogs. ...I just think that makes her a great leader.”
Sumbry, of Waukesha, was honored by Local Modern Woodman members with a dinner, an award grant and event on Thursday at Magellan’s in Waukesha. The Modern Woodman’s Hometown Heroes Program seeks out such heroes and recognizes them for their commitment and achievements.
”I know she’s touched a lot of people’s hearts,” Smith-Ozug said. “I think she’s brought a lot of happiness too because she brings these dogs into people’s lives.”
Smith-Ozug nominated Sumbry for the award because of her work and commitment to man’s best friend. Like most heroes, Sumbry is humble and says that it is really a team effort.
“I’m honored,” Sumbry said. “I feel like I’m just one of a team of many animal lovers who do so much and there will be many people at this award [ceremony] that I work with on a day-to-day basis that in my opinion do just as much as I do, if not more.
“I’m humbled and honored to receive it, but I feel like none of us can do this alone.”
Sumbry not only works at Elmbrook Humane Society part-time, but also has her own business of dog training and volunteering with rescues and transports, according to Smith-Ozug. On the day of her interview with Waukesha Patch, Sumbry said she had already talked to three people concerning their dogs’ behavioral problems and gave free advice, worked on coordinating homes for 10 Italian Greyhounds coming out of a puppy mill in Missouri, would be doing a therapy visit a nursing home and teaching classes at Elmbrook Humane Society.
The Humane Society is where Smith-Ozug first met Sumbry.
“She really taught me a lot of tricks on how to work with dogs that have special needs,” said Smith-Ozug.
In addition to teaching classes at Elmbrook Humane Society, Sumbry volunteers by fostering dogs and being part of the Elmbrook Humane Society Therapy Team. This team is made up of human and canine volunteers, many of which are rescue dogs and Elmbrook alumni.
The dogs are brought into nursing homes or schools. At the nursing homes they bring comfort to seniors who may have had to give up their animals when they went into the home. In schools the dogs are brought in as part of a reading program, where the kids that may have problems reading, read aloud to a dog.
“That’s been one of my proudest things that I’ve been really honored to be a part of,” Sumbry said. “Not only are we teaching children kindness to animals, we are helping them learn to read.
“…The great thing…is that it’s shown to increase their confidence because for a minute, they’re the teacher and they actually have a student that knows less than them and it also takes away the peer pressure.”