Best of Springfield®

UNSUNG HERO

Charlene Powers

click to enlarge UNSUNG HERO
Photo via facebook.com/charlene.p.walsh

This unsung hero has courage, conscientiousness, perseverance, resilience and passion. Charlene Powers, a volunteer board member of WILD Canine Rescue, was raised with grit and inspired by her father, who was a commercial trapper. Powers said her dad would take her along when he was trapping, and he taught her how to think outside the box, or outfox the fox, because the fox is the trickiest animal to trap. He inspired her to do what she does – rescue dogs each and every day.

Powers begins each morning by checking two Facebook pages, Sangamon County Lost Pets and Central Illinois Lost Pets. Powers said, "I usually get tagged after a dog has been missing for a couple of days." This is when she reaches out to the owners to offer suggestions as to how they might track their lost dog, and she offers her help. Powers said it's imperative to have people looking out for lost dogs and reporting those sightings, because dogs will create a pattern of activity and that's how she knows where to set the traps. Not all dogs are lost from a home, however. She rescues dogs that are feral, those that are lost due to being in a car that was involved in an accident and rescues from puppy mills.

Powers said, "I'm relentless once I get on task; there's nothing more important to me than getting an animal safe. I've spent many nights in my truck during cold weather watching the traps so that a dog won't freeze. It's the most gratifying feeling to pull up in someone's driveway and give them their animal. I imagine it might be like what it feels like for a doctor to deliver a baby and hand it to its mother. The longest I've ever looked for one dog was 23 days. I spent over 200 hours looking for that dog, and I found it."

Although Powers' dad passed away 19 years ago, he's present in her daily life. Before she sets out traps to track lost dogs, she says a prayer that her dad guides her and that God helps her find the lost dogs and bring them home safely.

Powers has been with WILD for three years and is involved in every aspect of dog rescue from start to finish. In addition to her full-time passion of rescuing dogs, she will be retiring from the state of Illinois at the end of 2022. She said she wishes she would have found her calling earlier in life, but after recovering from having both knees replaced, she'll be ready to get back at it.

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