It’s been said that a dog is man’s best friend.

But Daniel Wolski has been a pretty good friend to dogs who come to the Dodge County Humane Society.

For a dozen years, the Fremont man has walked and worked with those of the canine set, predominately the larger — and sometimes goofier — dogs.

Yet that’s where his specialty lies.

“Dan has given a large number of dogs a lot of love and guidance to help them reach our ultimate goal of finding a forever home,” said Kelly Stuehmer, shelter manager. “He’s helped a lot of dogs become adoptable.”

Wolski started volunteering at the humane society in Fremont about 12 years ago.

“I’d been by here many times and I stopped in,” he said. “At first, I was afraid I’d get emotional about seeing all the dogs.”

Yet he decided to see if he could help.

He began working with smaller dogs, but his heart went out to the larger ones.

At 6 foot 4 inches tall and 240 pounds, Wolski figured he could handle the larger dogs on leashes more easily than other volunteers.

Wolski, who is retired, volunteers at the shelter for about 1 ½ to two hours a day, typically six days a week. He walks the dogs and plays with them — and doesn’t always pick the easiest cases.

“He generally chooses a few of those who have a lot of energy and not a lot of manners and he spends time with them individually to teach them to walk nicely on a leash,” Stuehmer said. “He generally tries to teach them to sit.”

And he works with them in other ways.

“Some of the dogs he’s worked with don’t even know how to play with toys and he keeps after it until they realize the enjoyment of playing with them,” Stuehmer said.

Wolski has a heart for the dogs — some of whom don’t come from the best of situations.

He works to gain the trust of those that have been abused or neglected.

“Without trust, you can’t get love,” he said. “They’ll still do what you want, but it will be compliance — reluctant compliance.”

Giving dogs the attention they need brings out their goodness, he said.

“You have to realize not every dog is physically attractive, but there’s a lot of love in them if you give them a chance,” he said.

He noted something else.

“The dogs have to feel like they’re part of a family,” he said. “You have to interact with them. You can’t adopt a dog and expect them to sit in the corner until you want to pet them a little bit and then expect them to sit in the corner until tomorrow.

“It isn’t all that hard. It’s just a matter of caring about the animal.”

Wolski has two dogs of his own: Callie, a mixed breed, and Roscoe, a German short-haired pointer.

Callie was found abandoned on U.S. Highway 275 and brought to the humane society. She was very sweet, somewhat independent and extremely well-house broken.

Roscoe was turned in by another individual. The dog had lots of energy.

“I really like loveable goofballs as pets,” Wolski said, adding, “He loves me to death and doesn’t like being separated.”

And Roscoe has proven that.

One day, Wolski went out for a bike ride and stopped to mail a letter in a mailbox at 23rd Street and Nye Avenue.

He looked down and saw Roscoe, who was supposed to be at home with Callie.

“I took him home and watched him like a hawk,” said Wolski, who discovered that Roscoe had learned how to hit a door latch with his nose and get out.

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Now, Wolski makes sure both dogs are inside, before closing inner and outer doors.

He has taken Roscoe and Callie traveling.

“Callie has been with me everywhere — from the Sawtooth Mountains in central Idaho to walking the streets of Tombstone, Arizona,” he said. “Once a year, I get them into the mountains of Idaho to run around and sniff, snort and explore.”

Due to an injury from an active life, Wolski said he can only work with three or four dogs at a time at the humane society now.

But he enjoys it.

“It gives me a chance to feel that I’ve accomplished something,” he said.

Wolski previously worked for the Chicago and North Western Railroad and owned a pet store for five years.

“I enjoy working with animals,” he said.

He plans to keep helping dogs at the humane society.

“I’ll probably be in Fremont for the rest of my life so as long as I can contribute I’d like to continue helping the mutts — as long as I’m physically able,” he said, smiling.

On Monday afternoon, Wolski hugged and played with an active dog called Loki.

“All they want to do is be with you and you have to watch out for them — and the love you give them is given back to you many times over,” he said.

Stuehmer pointed out Wolski’s importance to the humane society.

“He’s a true asset to us as far as volunteers go,” she said.

And the friend to dogs probably does something that helps him make a few human pals, too.

“He brings us candy and doughnuts,” Stuehmer said. “All around, he’s a good guy.”

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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