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Blenker employees fundraise for Crossroads K9 Rescue at Packers games

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Oden Charles, a German Shepherd dog, needs both of his hips replaced before he can be adopted and is in need of donations to cover his medical costs.
Oden Charles, a German Shepherd dog, needs both of his hips replaced before he can be adopted and is in need of donations to cover his medical costs.
Chief, a German Shepherd dog in need of medical donations to cover his medical costs, poses with Toni McCormick, a puller, a person who physically retrieves dogs and gets them to the veterinarian to obtain a health certificate and then holds onto them before they get transported to Crossroads K9 Rescue.
Chief, a German Shepherd dog in need of medical donations to cover his medical costs, poses with Toni McCormick, a puller, a person who physically retrieves dogs and gets them to the veterinarian to obtain a health certificate and then holds onto them before they get transported to Crossroads K9 Rescue.
Adopters, Rita Stang and John Salsmahn, prepare to take their two German Shepherd dogs, Luna (left) and Nero (right), to their new “furever” home.
Adopters, Rita Stang and John Salsmahn, prepare to take their two German Shepherd dogs, Luna (left) and Nero (right), to their new “furever” home.

Blenker Companies, Inc. employees are teaming up at Packers concession stands this football season to fundraise for Crossroads K9 Rescue, a charitable organization that gives German Shepherd dogs a second chance at a loving home through training, rehabilitation and adoption.

Sean Dumais, project manager at Blenker Companies, Inc., who serves as the vice president and a trainer for the charitable organization, said Crossroads K9 Rescue will run two concession booth stands, with 12 to 18 people at all Packers home games. He hopes to run even more stands but volunteers are still needed.

“The more we have, the more potential for earning we have,” Dumais said. “This year, we are committed to two booths, 686 and 674, but if we have extra people, they will give us more.”

Dumais said volunteers can sign up for each game up to 48 hours before game day.

Jessica Anunson, project manager clerk at Blenker Companies, Inc. said there’s several reasons why she chose to volunteer for two of the games this year.

“People choose to bring animals into their lives— those animals deserve to be taken care of—if for whatever reason those animals have to leave their homes: they need a safe place to go that will provide food and care for them so they stay healthy,” Anunson said. “K9 rescues and animal shelters are usually run by volunteers but it still costs money for food, medical care, lights, advertising and more.”

Dumais said he hopes to raise $10,000 for Crossroads K9 Rescue this year and 10 percent of the total sales per game will go toward making that possible. The donations will go toward financing a couple of medical procedures that he said needs to happen.

“One dog needs both hips replaced and another has severe histoplasmosis, which requires a very expensive six month intensive treatment,” Dumais said.

Crossroads K9 Rescue has had people fundraise at Packers concession stands for five years, but the event is actually never-ending: the organization works year-round to fulfill their mission of ensuring that these animals live a safe and happy life.

“As we move dogs into the rescue, we rehabilitate them, move them out and then we move new dogs in to replace them,” Dumais said.

To Dumais, his love for dogs is a lifetime commitment and mission.

“I’ve worked with German Shepherds pretty much my whole life, with police departments and the military and my current fiancée is a nurse so she brought the compassion portion to it and decided that it was a good fit that we rescue dogs and rehabilitate them and get them back out,” Dumais said.

Dumais does all of the temperament training for the dogs and then he gets the dogs ready for adoption. He then evaluates the new pet owner and sees whether they will be a good fit.

Dumais said if the pet owner lives in an apartment building or a place that rents, they require that the dog has certification to live there. As a part of the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program, Dumais helps dogs earn this certification.

“Most adopters keep in contact with us after they’ve adopted a dog,” Dumais said. “They feel pretty good about it. They’re generally happier and we’ve also adopted a few of our dogs out to the service dogs—people with disabilities—so that’s become a very enriching part of it.”

Dumais said his greatest accomplishment with this organization was getting involved with this service dog program and gaining more traction with them.

“We get a dog prepared for them and then it helps somebody that’s in need,” Dumais said “And we don’t charge anything other than our boarding and training fees. So that way it keeps the costs reasonable.”

Someday, Dumais hopes to bring in more animals than he actually has. They generally have around 12 to 14 animals at one time.

“It feels good to help the animals and put them with good homes,” Dumais said. “As far as work goes, this current position with Blenker definitely made it better for me because I have a regular schedule that I’m at home and I have weekends off for the most part so it gives me ample time to take care of the dogs as opposed to my previous job, where I traveled a lot and didn’t have much time.”

Dumais encourages people to learn about the cause through the organization’s Facebook page located at www.facebook.com/CrossroadsK9 and inspires people to donate their time and money.

Jenny Knutson, cabinet specialist at Blenker Companies, Inc. said it’s Dumais’ dedication to the cause and her love for animals, which motivated her to volunteer for the cause.

“It is important to volunteer and support any cause you believe in and are passionate about—know your cause and spread awareness,” Knutson said.

Knutson said how canines think, learn, behave and adjust to the human way of life has always fascinated her and she said it’s important to save lives and make a difference for these animals through volunteering.

“I have a love for animals and I believe that we share this world with them,” Knutson said. “They deserve to walk this earth just as much as we do and I want to make sure that they live a safe and happy life. A pet’s love is untainted and conditional—they accept us whole.”

Crystal Rowland, administrative assistant at Blenker Companies, Inc., will also be volunteering at the Packers games. She said she will be going at least five times to support the organization.

She said she wants to volunteer for the Crossroads K9 Rescue at the concession stands out of her love for the Packers and animals.

“I hope to spread awareness and help as much as I can,” Rowland said. “I’m passionate about all animals. Everyone deserves to have that companionship—an animal can provide comfort in times when other people can’t—they become family.”



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