Meet Molly.

| 5 min read | 34 min listen

“It makes me so happy to see them happy in their new homes. I just want to rescue as many...

“It makes me so happy to see them happy in their new homes. I just want to rescue as many dogs as possible.”
13-year-old Molly Wogan has always loved animals, but it wasn’t until her family adopted two rescue dogs that she realized her true calling. Her pups Riley and Gracie were in a high-kill shelter before kind strangers helped them find their way to Molly’s door. When she learned how many dogs like hers get euthanized every year, Molly knew she had to take action. So for her birthday, she started a movement to help dogs in hopeless situations cross the country—and find their forever homes.
“I always wanted a dog, but the first dog I got was in 2nd grade,” says Molly. “It took a while to convince my parents.”
But once they adopted Riley, they all quickly became dog lovers. And together, 9-year-old Molly and her family started volunteering at a local shelter so they could help more dogs coming from similar situations.

Two years into volunteering, the coordinator asked Molly and her mom to take out a dog named Gracie for some exercise. She had been barking nonstop in her cage and was clearly unhappy. But as soon as she got outside, she ran and played and sat down at Molly and Mindy’s feet. Immediately, they knew she would be a part of their family.

After they filled out the adoption papers, Molly and her mom discovered a letter from a woman named Sue Ann. The letter detailed Gracie’s past: After she became pregnant in Georgia, her owner abandoned her. On the streets, Gracie contracted heartworm and pneumonia and was hit by a car. At the county shelter, she delivered her 10 puppies, whom she cared for despite her pain. Eventually, Gracie and all of her pups traveled north to Molly’s shelter to get adopted thanks to Sue Ann and a team of rescuers.
“There are so many people who rescue dogs who don’t really understand what rescue means,” says Molly’s mom, Mindy. “We didn’t. I didn’t realize the conditions these dogs came from until I read that letter from Sue Ann. I emailed her right away to tell her that Gracie was safe and in a loving family. And that’s when this all started.”
Immediately after reading Sue Ann’s letter, Molly knew that she wanted to help, too. “I wanted to give back to the people who rescued Gracie and my other dog Riley,” she says. ”And I wanted to help rescue other dogs like them.”
Molly decided to take her once-a-week volunteer shift to the next level and started the Precious Animals Wonderful Shelters (P.A.W.S.) Project for her birthday. Her goal was to raise $2,500 to give to 14 local shelters along with items like leashes, collars, and toys.
“When we first started, we were just going to raise money at events, but we realized that a lot of people wanted to donate online,” says Molly. “So we started the GoFundMe, and we really quickly got a lot of donations. Our initial goal was $2,500, and we got that in less than a month. The GoFundMe really helped people who weren’t able to come to events donate online.”
Over the year, her project grew. Molly ended up volunteering over 400 hours and sold homemade dog toys, treats, and keychains at 45 different events in addition to her GoFundMe. In just a year, she raised $38,000 — enough not only to support local shelters but also to partner with Sue Ann’s organization, EARLS Hope Rescue, to save dogs herself.
Over two separate transport trips from Georgia to her home state of Massachusetts, Molly moved 110 dogs who would have been euthanized in high-kill shelters to the Northeast, where she helped every single one find a forever home.
Soon, Molly and Mindy will embark on their third transport trip with the rescue group Road Trip Home, where they hope to save 50 more dogs. With the money they’ve raised, they can get every dog its shots, vaccines, medications, vet visits, food, and transport — about $200 total per pup.
After this next trip, Molly hopes to make at least two more transports to save 90 more dogs. To make that happen, Molly hopes to raise another $18,000 through her GoFundMe.
No matter what happens, Molly’s family couldn’t be prouder. “As a parent, watching my daughter be so selfless has been an amazing thing,” says Mindy. “She’s given up going to birthday parties and the mall to put up a table somewhere and raise money for the dogs. And what’s amazing is that she doesn’t think of it as giving something up.
“She spends a lot of her free time researching how to start her own shelter one day. She looks on real estate websites and makes inspiration boards. You know she’s committed. You’ve never met anyone more passionate about animals than this girl.”