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updated: 4/7/2014 11:49 AM

Human Race: Volunteer drawn to help at Naperville Area Humane Society

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  • Laura Cosenza, a volunteer with Naperville Humane Society, will join the 2014 Human Race to benefit the organization. In 2013, her dog Maggy, adopted through the shelter, was the first dog to cross the finish line.

      Laura Cosenza, a volunteer with Naperville Humane Society, will join the 2014 Human Race to benefit the organization. In 2013, her dog Maggy, adopted through the shelter, was the first dog to cross the finish line.
    Courtesy of Laura Cosenza


Naperville Area Humane Society provides temporary shelter for up to 18 dogs and 40 cats in need of homes.

The shelter on Diehl Road treats the animals' health needs and evaluates their personalities before beginning to pair them up with potential owners. In addition, the organization offers education programs such as seminars for adults, after-school classes, summer camps and more with the goal of helping people and pets develop mutually beneficial relationships.

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The humane society is among nearly 60 organizations that will benefit from the Human Race. Volunteer Laura Cosenza of Aurora tells us how she got involved with the shelter and why she's joining the race to benefit the organization.

Laura Cosenza

For me, it all started with walking.

When my kids got to a certain age, I was ready to give back to my community with some form of volunteering. I have had a lifelong love for dogs, and it took until I was 10 years old to wear down my parents to the point of being allowed to get a puppy. It was a natural fit, and I knew I would enjoy walking and socializing dogs.

I initially picked Naperville Area Humane Society because it was close to home. I never expected I would begin to get to know the staff and meet other volunteers.

Over time, I felt so comfortable and really enjoyed every moment I spent doing things for the shelter, so I expanded my volunteering to help with outreach on weekends at local businesses like Two Boston's, Petco and PetSmart. Now I was able to share our message with the general public and get the shelter dogs out of the kennel and exposed to potential adopters. Many times a match was made and that dog went home the next day. It really warmed my heart.

In the shelter itself, I could see there was constant need to raise money or save money, so I decided to help out on both ends. I drive many of our dogs and cats to the Animal Care League for their spays and neuters because it saves the shelter money. I also joined the fundraising committee to help network and put on events that bring in the needed funds. It is never easy, but it is so much fun and so rewarding.

It took me a long time to really tie all the loose ends together, because running a great shelter requires so much and on so many levels, but a core driving force at the shelter is education. It doesn't jump out at you, but it is everywhere. Naperville Area Humane Society provides camps and after-school programs for kids to teach them about humane education; we reach out to kids at local schools to help them become better readers as they read to a non-judging canine companion; our volunteers take dogs to nursing homes; and in a domestic abuse situation we take care of that person's beloved pet until they can safely bring them back home.

This is my second year doing the Human Race fitness walk. Last year my Maggy was the first dog to cross the finish line -- and with her short basset legs that was a big accomplishment. She is a rescue from NAHS and I am so blessed to have her.

Nothing happens when people stand still, so please walk or run and think about how education changes the lives of both people and animals. That is the best reason to pick NAHS as the nonprofit to register under or to donate to. Check out for information and to help NAHS.

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