Local | Volunteer Salute

Local woman is proud to be canine matchmaker

From top: Lily, Bella, Michael, Allison (with Woody) and Sage Wexler (with Jessie)
From top: Lily, Bella, Michael, Allison (with Woody) and Sage Wexler (with Jessie)

Allison Wexler is not your average Jewish matchmaker. Not only is half of every pair she connects non-human, but they generally come from a pet shelter. “I can’t go anywhere in town without being called the Dog Matchmaker,” says Wexler, laughing. “For the last five or six years, people have been asking for assistance getting a dog. Rescue and adoption is the answer, and since I am at the Pima Animal Care Center so often, I see all of the dogs that come in. I’ve made at least one hundred matches.”

Although she has been volunteering in animal rescue for the last 20 years in various capacities, Wexler currently volunteers at P.A.C.C. six to 12 hours a week, in addition to fostering homeless dogs through a local foster-based rescue organization called In the Arms of Angels. When she receives a call from someone looking for a canine companion, it is not unusual for her to spend an additional 12 hours looking at shelter animals to find the right fit.

Her tireless dedication helped her find a full-time job at GreaterGood.org, where she was recently promoted to development director after spending time as a program director focusing on animal rescue. The line between career and volunteering can easily blur for Wexler, as they did last November on a business trip to Thailand. “I see homeless animals all the time, and I don’t ever feel compelled to take dogs home. When we were in Thailand, and I saw the work GreaterGood.org was doing to care for 5,000 dogs that were being saved from abuse and torture, I had to adopt one. She is an ambassador for a cause that is bigger than this community,” says Wexler.

“In my home, growing up with Jewish values, it was embedded into me to do tikkun olam and repair the world and I’ve always wanted to do more,” says Wexler. She and her husband, Mike, have integrated these values into the upbringing of their children, Lily, 13, Bella, 11, and Sage, 5. Lily will become a Bat Mitzvah in April and has turned her passion for helping rescue animals into her mitzvah project. She spends time cleaning kennels and enthusiastically helping with adoptions, in addition to fostering two underage puppies for In the Arms of Angels and raising money for international animal rescue.

Laura Wilson Etter is a freelance journalist, grant writer and artist in Tucson.