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If you love dogs, you love Lesley Brog. 

As the Founder and CEO of Wags and Walks, she has made it her life’s mission to rescue dogs in need, provide them with the medical care necessary to save their life, and adopt them into loving homes who are better for it. 

Wags and Walks is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of dogs stuck in kill shelters and matching loving families with their perfect canine companion. Since its humble beginnings in Lesley’s backyard, to the larger Adoption Center they operate today, Wags and Walks has rescued thousands of dogs (including my own sweet pup, Murphy), all thanks to Lesley. 

So many of us love dogs, and hate to see them suffer in shelters. However, most of us haven’t been galvanized to permanently change the landscape of dog rescue in Los Angeles (and now also, Nashville). What committed Lesley to this cause? 

“It was not a choice for me,” the CEO tells L.A. Weekly. “I grew up as the daughter of a veterinarian and never spent a childhood day without at least one dog in our home. I remain amazed at how much they adore us unconditionally and truly have the ability to keep us company in the best and worst of times. They are a constant companion and provide so much support and love for the people that get to be around them. The thought of any dog suffering knowing myself and my team can help is unbearable.”

“That’s how Wags and Walks was born. I learned that dogs were overcrowding the many shelters in and around the L.A. area and they had to euthanize due to space,” she continues. “That day, I saved one amazing Mastiff and we continue to save as many family-friendly dogs from high-kill shelters and provide them loving homes as possible.  In fact, since inception over 5,500 dogs are safe and loved.” 

Lesley, along with the dedicated staff and volunteers at Wags and Walks, have changed the rescuing landscape of L.A. County and beyond by facilitating a shift in conversation regarding breed stereotypes and rescuable dogs. 

“These wonderful dogs are not in shelters due to anything they have done wrong, it’s a people problem. Many people don’t realize the commitment required to own a dog and end up bringing them to shelters when they realize,” explains Brog. “We know we can’t adopt our way out of the overcrowding crisis but we have saved thousands of dogs that never would have made it and to see them in their loving homes does make a difference.”

As someone who has made a career out of her desire to help and a love of animals, what advice does she have for others who hope to follow their own dreams some day? 

“Follow your passion. Nothing feels better than doing what you love everyday,” she wisens. “Chances are, if you are passionate about something and work hard, you will be successful.”