When Judy Hughes thinks about her love of animals, she fondly looks back at the 1960s television series, Lassie, which told the tales of a young boy and his intrepid Collie.
“Goodness and kindness to animals was on display each Sunday night, and it went right to my heart and soul and has stayed with me my entire life, and continues to grow as I volunteer at Dane County Humane Society,” said Judy, who has also gone through the process of arranging for part of her estate to be inherited by the shelter.
Judy got her first pet at age eight: a cat she named Pussy Willow. As a child, Judy understood the responsibilities involved with taking care of a house pet.
“She was always with me from morning through the night. I picked out her food, made toys for her and put her on a leash and walked her outside each day after school,” Judy said. “Taking responsibility for a living thing that you loved and cared for so deeply shaped my life so that I was able to give love and compassion to all the animals and people in my life.”
As she entered adulthood, Judy wanted to do more to help animals so she signed up as a volunteer at DCHS.
“DCHS is my way of continuing to give to animals in need,” she said. “Even though they may not be part of my family, they are still part of the world and deserve everything good, just like our own special pets in our homes do. They need that exact same love, care, and compassion. They deserve a chance to find a forever home and I want to be part of that process for them.”
Judy has the greatest appreciation for DCHS’s relationship with pets for the homeless, and she said the support provided is very important.
“Many people go through life never having any issues. They always have a job and a home and are able to care for their pet,” Judy said. “Others are not so fortunate. Each person, no matter their circumstances, deserves to have the love and companionship of a pet. And sometimes they just need a helping hand.”
While Judy has no children, she considers the loving pets that are part of her life to be her children. That’s why she is proud to include the shelter in her will.
“Through their short lives or through their long lives, I have cared for them, loved them, and given them the best life possible,” she said. “I want all animals to have the best life possible. If being a Legacy Society Supporter can help make that happen, then I will know that my own life was well lived.”
Assuming her responsibilities toward animals and making sure they are treated with love and care will continue to be Judy’s passion.
“I want us to realize that we share the world with a lot of living things. We all have to take responsibility to care for each other and make the world a better place,” she said. “One always gets what they give in life. If you give your love and share your life with an animal, you are truly rewarded with the best life possible.”