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Our Story

Although Milwaukee Pets Alive officially launched in 2012, it really “started”

over a decade ago.


Animals – starting with my own beloved cat – saved me as I was going

through a very difficult time in my life.  As I watched every human leave,

there she was – a constant, providing unconditional love – no matter if

life had me feeling sad, happy, or somewhere in between.


I began volunteering walking dogs and when I was with those animals my

troubles didn’t exist.  They were literally gone.  Nothing in my life had such

an impact as animals did.


Animals are amazing beings and what they do for humans – including their

ability to save our lives – is even more amazing. So to learn that they were

being killed in large numbers in our own backyard was horrifying.  If we

learned thousands of humans were being killed in our community and no one

was doing anything about it, it would be headline news, so why was this any different? 


A life is a life.  This is a crisis.  I knew I had to do something.  It was time to repay the favor.


What already existed didn’t seem to be solving the problem.  The same number of animals were being killed year after year here. 

We had to do something different because what was being done wasn’t working.


I wanted to create an organization where animals were on equal footing with humans.  A life is a life – one is not less than another – though companion animals have been treated as such for so long.  My own cherished cat loved me no less when I was scared, ill, injured, or as I aged (and in fact, she seems to know I need love more when I am those things) yet animals who are these things are the first to be killed in shelters.  How can we expect animals to be outgoing and brave when they are put in a situation that is scary and uncertain?  How can we say, when they have injuries and illnesses that require similar treatments and healing times that humans require with the same ailments that humans can have all the time they need to get better but animals aren’t worth the time needed to heal?  How are our elderly humans honored and uplifted, but our aged pets discarded and abandoned?  How can we hold our companion animals to standards that we humans cannot live up to?  I was tired of companion animals being treated like second class citizens.  A double standard existed that I just wasn’t comfortable with.


So I set out to create an organization where every life truly matters, as it should.  We seek out those animals from our Milwaukee animal control that have been passed over by other organizations – because they are shy, scared, aged, need extra medical resources, or just have been at that facility for too long for whatever reason – and have no other option for life.  We seek out these animals specifically because everyone deserves to be loved and cherished – whether we are blessed to have them in our lives for 20 years or 1 day, whether they have 2 eyes or no eyes, whether they have 4 legs or 1, whether they’re outgoing or prefer a more quiet reserved life – it makes no difference.  If you’re here on this earth, you should be loved.  YOU matter.


Companion animals are members of the family – no different from a human family member and should be regarded as such.  Through thick and thin, ups and downs, sickness and health - come babies, moving, job changes, you name it – because that is LIFE for all of us – and if we stick by our human family members through all of these things, we should stick by ALL of our family members through all of these things – the furry ones included.


Life is sacred.  All of it.  And we as a society need to start acting like it is.  Every one of us.  Milwaukee Pets Alive is creating a world where that is the case, and are leading by example.  Precious lives depend on it.



Dr. Lisa Grabowski

Executive Director

Milwaukee Pets Alive, Inc.

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