Vern StockerVern Stocker

Greetings from Williamsburg, Virginia, a southern outpost for MAESSR. I’m Vern Stocker, recently nominated to the Board and most happy to accept that position as an honor. My wife Geraine and I are solid Springer Spaniel people, having raised four over the last 20 years. Our current Springer, Chelsea, is 13 and suffering somewhat from arthritis, but still hanging in there. She has all the comforts of life, including a day bed and a night bed. The night bed is our King size mattress, which we were forced to buy when it was finally conceded that our pups would sleep nowhere else. She gets the middle 50% of the mattress and my wife and I hang on for dear life with a mere 25% each on the edges.

My professional background does not take long to discuss. I’m a University of California graduate and native of that state. I spent 26 years in the Navy as a Supply Corps Officer, followed by another 22 years working for a contractor in the Washington DC area, providing consulting services to the Federal Aviation Administration and other Government agencies. I retired from the latter position in December 2011 and am now a full-time volunteer for MAESSR. Geraine and I have held three fund raisers so far at Christmas. She interviews prospective adopters for Rescue Springers, and also does adoption follow-ups and training of new volunteers.

I initially became interested in MAESSR three years ago, when my wife told me that MAESSR was having a hard time arranging a transport for one of its Springers down in North Carolina. I volunteered to fill out the final leg of that journey and the transport was a success. Of the many transports I have done since then, I believe that one was a record for distance – over 300 miles! Talk about an initiation into the life of being a transporter!

I also assist my wife in preparing letters to donors thanking them for their financial contributions. We have been able to improve the timeliness of these outgoing letters, because of our sincere conviction that if people are immediately recognized for their generosity, they will continue to provide financial assistance to MAESSR over the long term.

My heart still lies with transporting rescue dogs. I know of no other rescue organization that goes to such lengths to get Springers into loving homes. It gives me great pleasure to be a part of it, especially for animals who have been abused by their owners or given up as too old to care about anymore. I have a saying … I love them all, even the ones I haven’t met yet.

MAESSR is truly a wonderful organization because of the people in it. Oftentimes they strive as rescue facilitators, transporters, foster parents, and in many cases permanent parents for pups who have finally found their homes. And they do these things with minimal thanks, if indeed any recognition at all. In my opinion, this is the highest form of giving because there is no expectation of a reward. But on the other hand, maybe there is a reward. I know a Springer dog trainer and breeder in northern Virginia who put it very succinctly:

“Springers (or indeed any family pet) give back to you a hundred times over the love and attention you give them.”

Thank you for the opportunity to serve on the MAESSR Board.

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If you have limited email access, or if you know of a Springer in need, you can contact MAESSR by telephone at (301) 362-0423 or you can always email us.

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