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Jefferson Awards Winner: Crystal Louden

Eau Claire (WQOW) – This month’s Jefferson Award winner said she’s always loved animals and has made it her mission to spread that love.

Crystal Louden has been a volunteer at the Eau Claire County Humane Association for more than a decade, but her willingness to help extends past the cages and kennels.

Since she could remember, Louden’s home has been full of two things – love and animals.

“I’ve always been drawn to helping others, not just people, but animals too,” Louden said. “I think it says a lot when you can help something that can’t defend yourself.”

Since 2008 she has made animals a priority, helping at the Eau Claire County Humane Association. Inevitably, she said her work comes home with her.

At most, 15 foster pets have called the Louden house home.

“Everything from cats and dogs to a baby goat that I raised from two days old and bottle fed every two hours,” she said. “I had an iguana, chinchillas. kind of anything and everything.”

Her mission is to get those animals a forever home.

“You’re really changing lives,” Louden said. “It’s so neat to see families excited to get animals, to come together with them. To be able to help save lives on all ends – people and animals.”

She has also helped save one dog’s life – quite literally.

“We have a lot of animals that come through here that need advanced medical care and Tootsie was a special case,” Louden said. “They were talking about doing some pretty major surgery.”

Tootsie was severally injured and had advanced mastitis. So, Louden helped raise money for Toosie’s medical care.

Louden is also helping service members care for their pets.

“When you’re signed up for the military, you’re signed up,” Louden said. “You don’t have the option to call in for drill or for training or anything like that because your pets are ill or they need medications.”

So, Louden and her husband, a veteran, go to service members’ houses and take care of their pets while they are away.

“They can continue to train and serve our country and we can help at home, in the most minimal way that we can, by taking care of their pets,” she said.

Louden said the countless hours are all spent trying to make lives better – human and animal.

“I feel reward from it just as much as they do,” she said.

Her love of animals also became her career after getting her veterinary technician.

If you know a volunteer making a difference in our area, click here to nominate them.


Stephen Kelley

Stephen Kelley joined the News 18 team in August 2006. He is currently the Executive Producer.

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