Run for Rescues – a Wildlife Fundraiser

You’re probably wondering why you see a picture of squirrels instead of dogs. Just for fun I thought I’d share something a little different with you. Do you like to run, or perhaps hike? I love running and hiking, almost as much as I love animals. So my husband Jeff and I decided to use our love of running for a good cause, and that’s how Run for Rescues began.

Running for a Cause 

We launched our first fundraiser in 2015. Jeff and I ran to raise money for two local dog rescue organizations. We pledged per mile until we wrapped up in October at the North Face Endurance Race. Suddenly running had a greater purpose, and for me it gave me the push to lace up on those early mornings when I wasn’t feeling so motivated. There were plenty of mornings when I’d start running and immediately feel better. The sunrise is very powerful!

Running became more fun, and we shared our adventures along the way. We took fun photos and kept everyone updated on our progress. Jeff and I ran the fundraiser for a couple of years, raising money for different rescues each time. The best part? Together with our supporters, Run for Rescues helped rescue organizations that were trying to help dogs in need.

We’re Back! 

After fundraising for a couple of years life got busy and we took a break. We were still running but not quite as much. Not with the same focus and determination. Because of this, Run for Rescues was on pause.

Well I’m so happy to say we’re back! Once again we’re running for a cause, and this time it’s for wildlife. Last year we moved out to La Grange, Wisconsin. Our home is nestled within pine trees on five glorious acres, surrounded by Kettle Moraine State Forest. The wildlife is abundant! There are squirrels, birds, deer, turkeys, coyotes and so much more. 

Squirrel on Bird Feeder Shadow Dog Photography

As I write this I’m looking out my window, watching a squirrel help himself to the bird seed. The birds seem patient, waiting for their turn at the feeder. Truth be told I have many feeders, and at any given moment there are more squirrels than birds! This seems to be the norm around here, and it’s quite funny watching everyone. 

Red Cardinal on Feeder Shadow Dog Photography

Wildlife Rehab Hospital

Realizing how much we enjoy our wild, furry, and feathered friends, we were inspired to help a different type of rescue organization this year. It didn’t take long to choose Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital in Lake Geneva.

This is a non-profit organization that relies entirely on donations to provide care for injured and orphaned wildlife. This professional wildlife hospital cares for approximately 2,000 animals each year, providing urgent medical care, food, safe shelter, rehabilitation, and eventually release back into the wild whenever possible.

Our Run for Rescues 2019 campaign began January 1st, and will wrap up on May 11th. This may be crazy, but I’ll run my first 50K at the Ice Age Trail Race! Jeff is running this race also, his second time at this distance. 

Why Am I Doing This?

I decided a long time ago to treat running like an adventure. Every time I lace up I’m heading out into nature to possibly see or learn something new. I’m not fast, and not competitive, instead I run to see things. And to challenge myself. Good health is also important. Mostly though, I run to get outside and enjoy myself.

I have my morning meetings out on the trail. Yes, me and my canine coworkers spend time brainstorming while running. Okay, it’s usually me that comes up with the ideas, my dogs are a little slack in that department. However I’ve had some of my best creative moments out there on the trails. My head clears and my mind becomes focused. 

Morning Sunrise Shadow Dog Photography

As a professional dog photographer I realize I am very fortunate to be able to work from home. Every day I am thankful I have the opportunity to work on my own schedule and often in a location of my choosing. Spending time on the Ice Age Trail is very inspiring for me, and any unexpected moments watching wild critters is always a bonus.

That is why this year I am running for wildlife. I have an incredible appreciation for these amazing creatures with whom we share this space. Living out here, a little closer to nature, reminds me we are all guests in their home. As I tiptoe around refilling the bird (squirrel) feeders I know I’m being watched. It’s April, so many of my wild friends are now raising babies. I’m sure these busy parents are pretty hungry and I like to think they’re happy to see more food arrive.

Squirrel Eating Corn Shadow Dog Photography

This guy seemed to appreciate the free meal.


Run for Rescues 2019

Jeff and I have about five more weeks to prepare for our 50K race in May. This Saturday we’ll run our final long run, 22 miles. We’re going to spend this time together out on the Ice Age and Nordic Trails, running (and walking). There are hills, big hills! Lots of roots and rocks, and lots of hills. This is very challenging but so very rewarding. Then on Sunday we’ll go back out and do it again. Not quite as far, but far enough to feel it!

Ice Age Trail Shadow Dog Photography

This year I wanted a running goal that would make me a little uncomfortable. Something that made me quiver a bit whenever I thought about the challenge. This will be my first 50K and I am so glad I have the good fortune to run it while raising funds and awareness for a great rescue organization. 

If you’d like to follow our running adventures click here for our Run for Rescues page. Follow us on here on Instagram. If you’d like to learn more about wildlife rehabilitation, check out Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital. Hope to see you out on the trails!


Hi, I'm Jan

I help dog parents celebrate their best friends with adventurous portrait sessions and extraordinary artwork for their home. Tail wags and smiles guaranteed! Based in Whitewater, WI.


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