Adopting Fred: Behind Beth Skogen’s recent addition to her family

“Rescuing Fred, it just aligned with all of my values at the moment,” Skogen says. “It all just kind of came together perfectly.”
Adopt Fred 1
Photo by Sharon Vanorny

The timing felt like fate. Beth Skogen was taking a trip to Illinois, so she stopped into bad dog frida to pick up a few bones to occupy her 9-year-old Airedale, Geoffrey. In the back of the Atwood Avenue pet supply shop, Skogen spotted Fred. He was with his brother, Felix — sandy blond Fred and black-and-gray Felix come from the same terrier mix litter — for a meet-and-greet event hosted by Lola’s Lucky Day, which rescues dogs and puppies from Texas. Skogen didn’t have immediate plans to adopt, but something compelled her to fill out an application after holding Fred. She did a Zoom call with someone from Lola’s. Then she filled out another sheet and gave references. Skogen went to an in-person interview and then visited the foster mom who was taking care of Fred. She paid the $350 adoption fee to Lola’s, as well as a $100 deposit to ensure she neutered Fred within six months. The next week — about three weeks after first stumbling upon Fred at bad dog frida — Skogen and her boyfriend took him home.

“Rescuing Fred, it just aligned with all of my values at the moment,” Skogen says. “It made a lot of sense. It all just kind of came together perfectly.”

That perfect alignment had to do with some of Skogen’s recent lifestyle changes, all of which center around her love and compassion for animals. She became vegan in October 2021 (after being an on-and-off vegan or pescetarian for 10 years) and founded a vegan cycling team for Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, an annual multiday bicycle event. The RAGBRAI team, Powered by Plants Cycling, will consist of 17 cyclists, and they hired chef Lauren Montelbano and her husband Kyle Julius to cook vegan food throughout the event. Skogen notes that Iowa is the nation’s biggest producer of pork, and it had been difficult for her to find food she could eat during past RAGBRAI events.

The other big change Skogen made at the start of the year was to fulfill her longtime goal of committing to a six-month volunteer position with Heartland Farm Sanctuary in Verona. It was Wisconsin’s first farm animal sanctuary when Dana Barre opened it in 2010, and it has since evolved into a sanctuary for animals and people, says Executive Director Jen Korz. In addition to giving a home to more than 75 farm animals of 12 different species, Heartland Farm Sanctuary offers humane education programs and experiential therapy.

“It really is amazing to see how walking the sanctuary grounds and interacting with animals leads to such connecting and healing for kids,” Korz says.

As a volunteer, Skogen also enjoys the connection she feels to Heartland’s rescues. She feeds and tends to Cookie the mini horse and Joan the sheep, among others.

“It takes an emotional toll on me thinking about animals suffering,” she says. “[This] is one more thing to give me a positive outlook in a dark place in my heart.”

And after her Thursday volunteer shifts working with the farm rescues, she happily returns home to her own new little rescue, Fred, and his big brother, Geoff.

Find other rescues in the area here.

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