In January I will start a new job -- and a new professional chapter -- as executive director of the Wisconsin Humane Society.
It's hard to express what an honor this is, and what a responsibility. WHS is the largest animal welfare organization in Wisconsin and one of the oldest and most respected in the country, with a 130-year history of care and advocacy. For the last 15 years, it was led by Victoria Wellens, who earned the love of her staff and a deserved national reputation before she passed away far too young, of cancer, in March. Since then, longtime operations director Ellen Clark has served with steady skill as interim executive. She'll continue, thank goodness, as deputy executive.
Animal welfare is people welfare
The scope of WHS's impact might surprise you. First, like other leading animal welfare organizations around the country, WHS is a "people welfare" organization too -- and that's not just because of all the people who live with loving companions they found there. The link between animal abuse and community violence is established, and in programs like WHS's "PAL" curriculum, kids learn compassion that could literally change the future. In addition, WHS has one of the country's largest wildlife rehabilitation hospitals; information and classes on dog training (if you can learn to live with the dog, you might not need to give up the dog); legislative advocacy; programs to help feral cats thrive but not multiply; and much more. I'll need, and hope soon to have, another blog to describe it all.
My work on this blog, though, will come to an end, with deepest thanks to all who and helped it along.
My law firm, Milwaukee's Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren SC, needs to be thanked first. To put it mildly, blogging was a new concept to my partners when this blog started, and they were supportive and interested from the start. After more than 28 years at Reinhart, it will be strange to work anywhere else. But the values I learned there will come with me, as will my friendships with the amazing lawyers and clients I have worked with.
Then there are the friends of this blog: those who have linked to it, commented on it, said kind things about it, and challenged it. I know I must be missing some people, and I'm sorry -- but I know I need to thank at least Robert Ambrogi, Judge Daniel Anderson, Barry Barnett, Emma Barton, Mark Bennett, Dan Berexa, Niki Black, Beth Bochnak, Ken Broda-Bahm, Michael Connelly, Judge John DiMotto, David Donoghue, Blawg Review's Ed., Carolyn Elefant, Dennis Elias, Karen Franklin, David Giacalone, Gideon, Melissa Gomez, Scott Greenfield, Grant Griffiths, Jon Groth, Stephen Gustitis, Rita Handrich, Scott Henson, Mark Herrmann, Michael Heise, Christopher Hill, Thaddeus Hoffmeister, Rick Horowitz, Dan Hull, Suann Ingle, Katherine James, Jon Katz, Paul Kennedy, Karl Keys, Pat Lamb, Susan Cartier Liebel, Susie Macpherson, Judge Gregory Mize, Brent Nistler (he gave me the title), Kevin O'Keefe, Walter Olson, Sean Overland, the guys at Popehat, Rob Precht, Vickie Pynchon, Colin Samuels, Judge Richard Sankovitz, Brooks Schuelke, Edward Schwartz, Paul Scoptur, Bonnie Shucha, Anne Skove, Dan Solove, Jamie Spencer, Dr. Sunwolf, Ron Sylvester, Brian Tannebaum, Suja Thomas, Tara Trask, Eric Turkewitz, Bill Tyroler, Lew Wasserman, Diane Wiley, Cindy Zautcke, WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio's "Lake Effect" program, the Wisconsin Law Journal, the American Society of Trial Consultants, and all my juror artists, especially Mike Rohde, who was brave enough to let me post his drawing when there were no other juror artists yet.
The length of that list is a testament to the power of blogging. I didn't know most of you when I started here, and you've become trusted colleagues and in many cases close friends. To each of you, and to everyone I missed, I am grateful.
One more thing . . .
Finally, I'm going to jump into one of the most important parts of my new role. If you liked this blog at all and are moved to do something to show it, you might donate here to the Wisconsin Humane Society. It would mean a lot to me, and much more to the animals whose lives you would save.
Whether or not you do that, thank you. It has been a privilege to know you were reading, and that this blog was sometimes of help.