Virginia holds Charlie, a pup unsure that love exists for him in this world given the rough treatment he suffered. Lakota children who participate in the Sunka Scouts program help show Charlie that he is wanted. Since that time Charlie has been a mentor to several hundred other dogs rescued through Lakota Animal Care Project!
Ms. Virginia Ravndal, Founder of the Lakota Animal Care Project, is a senior consultant to the United Nations on nature and wildlife conservation and has undertaken assignments for the United Nations in more than 45 countries around the world. Ms. Ravndal firmly believes that every individual does make a difference, and has devoted much of her life to enhancing the welfare of animals and people in need. She founded the Lakota Animal Care Project because there is no veterinarian on the huge 2 million acre Pine Ridge Reservation where she once lived and which is home to an estimated 20,000 dogs and an unknown number of cats and horses. Although the Reservation is huge and the task is daunting, Virginia�s efforts to enhance awareness, compassion and respect for all our relations is not limited to this vast Reservation. Virginia established a school for shelter dogs in Mexico which helped to save lives by increasing adoption. She regularly visits hospitals, orphanages, schools, and homes for the elderly with animal companions who were abandoned or neglected and who have subsequently become champions for their own kind while they assist others. In addition to founding the Lakota Animal Care Project, Virginia is also the founder of Camp Laugh A Lot, another 501c3 non-profit organization. Virginia believes that children are not just our future, they are children today and deserve to enjoy childhood. Camp Laugh A Lot provides opportunities for Lakota children to go camping and study nature in the Black Hills, the ancestral sacred land of the Lakota people. According to Virginia, life is better with a four-legged friend and better still when you can hear the laughter of children enjoying life with a four-legged friend!
Ms. Frankee White Dress
Frankee volunteers to help out on the Lakota Animal Care van to teach volunteerism byexample & to show that each person does make a difference! She certainly has!
Frankee is a member of the Lakota Sioux Tribe and lives on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where she has for most of her life (except for college years). She and her husband have 5 adopted children living at home and others now grown. Frankee has worked in the education field all her life, serving in important leadership positions including as Principal of several schools on the Reservation, Department Head and School Reform Coordinator for the Pine Ridge School, Project Wakanyeja Program Director, and Education Coordinator for the Tribe�s Head Start and Parent Child Centers. She has been a teacher and administrator on the Reservation for almost three decades. She is committed to community development through education and has authored numerous papers on Lakota Community Leadership. Frankee is an animal lover who cares deeply for the welfare of our animal relations. Over the years she has rescued many stray dogs and cats, and routinely has a house full of animals in need whom she is fostering. Along with other Board members who live on the Reservation, Frankee has been key to Lakota Animal Care Project�s effort to encourage the Tribal government to find a humane solution to the dog overpopulation situation on the Reservation. She frequently helps out at the Lakota Animal Care Project spay/neuter clinics, taking everything in stride as she cares for all our relations, one by one.
Dr. Peggy Behrens
Dr. Peggy Behrens & her team at the Veterinary Technology Program at the National American University in Rapid City (the closest big city to the Reservation 100 miles away) help Lakota Animal Care in many ways including with our rescue, foster and adoption program. Above, Dr. Behrens gives Gorilla Boy a treat. Gorilla Boy was starving and mangy when he was rescued as a puppy at the dump along with 4 others.
Dr. Peggy Behrens, D.V.M., is the Chair of the Veterinary Technology program at the National American University (Rapid City, SD). Peggy was awarded South Dakota Veterinarian of the Year in 2002. She has served on the South Dakota Veterinary Medical Association Executive Board for 10 years and from 2007 to 2008 served as President for that Association. Dr. Behrens is a very active Board member, assisting with both our Rescue and Adoption program as well as our Spay/Neuter program. Since Lakota Animal Care Project has no shelter and no building, Peggy offers critically important support by offering veterinary care and other needed help including temporary shelter to many dogs each year before they go on to foster homes or partner adopting shelters.
Ms. Alice Phelps
Alice is a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe and the Principal of the Wounded Knee District School on the Reservation. She graduated from Little Wound High School, then earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Oglala Lakota College (OLC), and a Masters degree in Education Administration from OLC in 2004. Alice taught school at Rockyford School, part of Shannon County Schools for seven years before becoming Principal at OLL for the next six years. Alice and her family travel the pow wow circuit, dancing and singing. In addition to competing in the jingle dress competition each pow wow, Alice was honored with being the head woman�s judge at the United Tribes pow wow. Alice gives a great deal of credit to her family and tiospaye, and to the Looks Twice and Jumping Eagle families who helped set her roots, her foundation for her self identity, her cultural values and goals. Alice is an active Board member volunteering to organize Sunka Scout activities for the children. The Wounded Knee District School actively participates in the Lakota Animal Care Project�s Reading With Animals program. Alice and her family have also fostered many dogs in need, caring for them until they are ready for adoption or ready to be transported to an adopting rescue group where they all find new homes. Alice has also been key to Lakota Animal Care Project�s effort to encourage the Tribal government to find a humane solution to the dog overpopulation situation on the Reservation, working together with the Tribal Attorney General and others to find a respectful solution.
Dr. Rick Dill, D.V.M.
Dr. Dill grew up in a small farming community in Ohio. After graduating from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University in 1979 he started a large animal ambulatory practice in Colorado. In 1985 he started the Animal Medical Center of Estes Park and built an American Animal Hospital Association accredited small animal hospital. He continued doing small and large animal mixed practice until he sold the clinic in 2002. Dr. Dill and his wife moved to South Dakota in 2006. Since joining the Board of Lakota Animal Care Project, Dr. Dill has volunteered many times to come out to the Reservation to do health exams and rabies vaccinations for dogs rescued by Lakota Animal Care Project before they are transported to partner adopting shelters. Dr. Dill has often volunteered in extreme weather conditions, travelling long distances sometimes in blizzard conditions to help the animals of Pine Ridge.