79+ Reasons Why She’s Pet Parent of the Year

By Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Simply put, Erin Kowalski helps animals with special needs.

But there’s nothing simple about what she does or how many animals she’s helped.

In January, I had the great honor of presenting the Pet Parent of the Year Award to Erin at the 2016 Petplan Veterinary Awards.

Kristen Levine awards Erin Kowalski Pet Parent of the Year

I got to know Erin better that night and what I learned about her dedication to helping the most helpless of unwanted animals, is something I need to share with you.

Erin Kowalski Pet Parent of the Year

Erin Kowalski of Chicago, Illinois, fell in love with animals at an early age – her mom was a veterinary technician – so Erin would often accompany her to the veterinary clinic.

That love grew into a passion, particularly for rescue animals. Ten years ago, Erin started volunteering by transporting dogs from overcrowded shelters to rescues, and then began fostering dogs who needed a transition home between the shelter and their forever home. As of January, she was on her 79th foster!

One of those foster dogs, a paralyzed puppy named Bialy, became the inspiration for an organization Erin founded to help special needs animals. In just 14 short months, Bialy’s Wellness Foundation has sponsored 18 special needs pets.

Erin with her rescue pup

As if that wasn’t enough, Erin has been a nationally certified canine massage therapist for five years, and continues to educate herself to help pets. She currently works full time at Integrative Pet Care, a veterinary rehabilitation facility in Chicago, and will soon be certified as an animal rehabilitation therapist through the Canine Rehab Institute.

At home, she is mom to Josh, a 1 ½ – year-old paralyzed pit bull, and a foster puppy named Lieutenant Dan. To give you a first-hand look at the work she does, I invite you to watch this video about Erin’s work.

You can follow Erin’s work on Facebook here.

Please join Petplan and me in thanking Erin for her incredible work by commenting below. I’ll gladly share your sentiments with her.

Now, have YOU ever fostered a pet? How was that experience?