Pet supply

Behind Beth Skogen’s recent addition to her family

“Saving Fred was all my values ​​at the time,” Skogen says. “Everything sort of went perfectly.”
Photo by Sharon Vanorny

The timing felt like fate. Beth Skogen was going on a trip to Illinois, so she stopped by Bad Dog Frida to pick up some bones to occupy her 9-year-old Airedale, Geoffrey. Deep in the pet store on Atwood Avenue, Skogen spotted Fred. He was with his brother, Felix – sandy blonde Fred and black and gray Felix come from the same mixed terrier litter – for a meet and greet event hosted by Lola’s Lucky Day, which rescues Texas dogs and puppies. Skogen had no immediate plans to adopt, but something compelled her to fill out an application after she held Fred. She had a Zoom call with someone from Lola’s. Then she filled out another sheet and gave references. Skogen went to an in-person interview and then visited the adoptive mother caring for Fred. She paid Lola the $350 adoption fee, plus a $100 deposit to ensure she castrated Fred within six months. The following week — about three weeks after first bumping into Fred at Bad Dog Frida — Skogen and her boyfriend brought him home.

“Saving Fred was all my values ​​at the time,” Skogen says. “It made a lot of sense. Everything kind of went perfectly.

This perfect alignment tied in with some of Skogen’s recent lifestyle changes, all of which focus on his love and compassion for animals. She became a vegan in October 2021 (after being an intermittent vegan or pescetarian for 10 years) and founded a vegan cycling team for Register Across Iowa’s annual Great Bicycle Ride, an annual multi-day cycling event. The RAGBRAI, Powered by Plants Cycling, team will be made up of 17 cyclists, and they’ve hired chef Lauren Montelbano and her husband Kyle Julius to cook vegan dishes throughout the event. Skogen notes that Iowa is the nation’s largest pork producer and that it had been difficult for her to find food she could eat during past RAGBRAI events.

The other big change Skogen made at the start of the year was to fulfill its long-standing goal of committing to a six-month volunteer position with Heartland Farm Sanctuary in Verona. It was Wisconsin’s first farm animal shelter when Dana Barre opened it in 2010, and it has since evolved into a sanctuary for animals and people, says executive director Jen Korz. In addition to giving homes to more than 75 farm animals of 12 different species, Heartland Farm Sanctuary offers humane education programs and experiential therapy.

“It’s truly amazing how walking around the sanctuary and interacting with the animals leads to such a connection and healing for the children,” says Korz.

As a volunteer, Skogen also appreciates the connection she feels with Heartland rescues. She feeds and takes care of Cookie the mini horse and Joan the sheep, among others.

“It costs me emotionally to think about the suffering of animals,” she says. “[This] is one more thing to give me a positive perspective in a dark place in my heart.

And after her volunteer Thursday shifts with the farm lifeguards, she happily returns home with her new little rescue, Fred, and big brother, Geoff.

Find other rescues in the area here.

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