An act of kindness never goes unrewarded.
Sherri Stanekewitz moved from Michigan to California in hopes of pursuing her dream to be a fashion designer, but as fate would have it, she ended up changing the lives of abandoned dogs. Now she mans West Coast Animal Rescue (WeCARE), and it currently stands as one of the largest animal rescue centers in Long Beach.
“I actually rescued [animals] my whole life,” Stankewitz shared to TODAY.com. “When I moved to LA and was working downtown I noticed all these dogs running loose, and people said they were just street dogs. So I started picking them up.”
The no-kill center had it’s rough start, but with the help of Stankewitz and other volunteers, it can now hold up to 75 dogs at a time. But with the amount of dogs that come, it regularly outweighs the expenses needed to raise them.
Stankewitz is jobless herself and devotes her whole life for a cause she strongly believes in. She actually lives in the property where the shelter is situated just so she can closely monitor the ongoing process. It can sometimes go for long hours, but even without any sort of income generated from it, she is still passionate about her work.
For the shelter to survive, it relies on donations given by the community and warmhearted sponsors. Stankewitz makes sure herself that the pets not only get homes but they get the right ones. “It’s about education and getting everyone on the same page,” she says. “Some people want the dog they saw on Petfinder. I try to tell them, ‘This might not be the dog for you, so come to the facility.’ Many times people come with one dog and leave with another.”
We all know that her acts of selflessness toward animals should come with a reward not just for the shelter she’s been working so hard to maintain but for herself. Little did she know, that help was coming soon enough.
Prank It FWD is a charity that plays light-hearted pranks to raise money for good causes. Notably, they were behind the epic pranking of Smosh creators Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox and even enlisted the help of megastar Jennifer Lawrence. Back in August, they organized an “epic pet adoption” with Stankewitz’s friends. The prank was staged as a mass adoption event and even had a camera to “document” what was happening. But when things started to go spiraling down, it was revealed to be for a good cause.
The video of the prank drew an audience of 2.8 million views. WeCARe did get the mass adoption that day as well as a year’s worth of paid expenses. Even Stankewitz got her well-earned vacation to Aruba.
“I was like, this has to be a joke!” Stankewitz recounted. “I almost passed out, I was so overwhelmed.”
She knows that while her job will never be done, seeing the dogs getting new homes is all that matters in the end.