Like many second-graders, Tommy Weglarz loves dogs. Unlike his peers, Tommy is dedicated to helping them by participating in fundraisers, championing their causes and fostering rescue dogs.
Tommy’s efforts have been noticed. He received 28 nominations for Oswego’s Person of the Year and has been honored by his school, Prairie Point Elementary.
“It’s like I’m famous or something,” the seven-year-old laughed of the attention.
Tommy takes after his mother, Jill Weglarz, who is also an animal lover. This past year, Jill Weglarz started asking Tommy if he wanted to participate in various fundraisers. She said he jumps at the chance and always wants to participate.
Tommy contributed to a Chicago French Bulldog Rescue fundraiser held last fall. He made and sold bottle cap magnets, raising more than $100 toward veterinary bills for the dogs.
Jill Weglarz, said that Tommy is 100 percent into gathering donations. When he was selling his magnets, he chased after people and wouldn’t easily take no for an answer, she explained.
Tommy also volunteers his time and efforts to The Warrior Dog Project, which raises money to provide Military Working Dogs with necessary equipment and assists these dogs in retirement.
Tommy explained why The Warrior Dog Project is important to him:
“The dogs save people. I feel glad because I get to help people who I don’t know,” Tommy said.
During the holiday season, Tommy’s school collected donations for the Kendall County Food Pantry. He worked with his school to include the collection of dog food. He decorated a special box and sent letters home to the students, explaining that dogs needed the food donations too.
Jill Weglarz said Tommy has enjoyed fostering dogs. Since last summer, the Weglarz family has fostered three dogs. Their current foster, Marce, was rescued from a puppy mill and they are working to get her into a healthy state to be adopted.
“He just loves it. He works to bond with the animals and gain their trust before they move into a new home. It’s great for the kids to see that they are helping this animal get ready for a new family. Fostering is not for everyone, but it is definitely rewarding,” she said.
“Dogs are really silly and they make me feel happy… Fostering makes my heart happy and everyone should do it,” Tommy said.
Tommy authored and published the book, Winston’s New Friend, which he dedicated to all animals who need a home.
“I feel awesome because I made a book by myself and I might give a copy to my school library,” Tommy said.
Jill Weglarz said the book was a large effort, taking six months to create. The story is of a dog that loses his best friend and how he welcomes a new dog into his family. The story mimics the Weglarz family’s welcoming fosters into their home.
Jill Weglarz is amazed by her son’s dedication.
“Every day is a proud moment for me with him,” she said. “I just love it. It’s so amazing that he wants to help and his dedication and love for animals. Maybe someday he’ll work with rescue animals. I am really, really proud of him.”
Tommy is the oldest of three boys. In addition to their current foster dog, the family has two other dogs: Winston and Kaci. Tommy enjoys learning Science, swimming, Legos and loves reading. “I especially love playing with my dogs. They are the most wonderful thing in the world,” he said.
Here's look into what others are saying about Tommy:
“His involvement in French Bulldog Rescue is a shining example of the power of one person’s ability to make a difference.” –Deb Morse
“Because even as young as he is he understands what it is to give selflessly and fully and opens his heart to animals in need. He is a good example to everyone no matter their age and he renews my faith in humans!” – Lisa Ethridge
“Tommy may be young but he is a big advocate for animals and has done wonderful things for so many pets. He has raised food for pets owned by those having hard times meeting ends, he has helped foster several dogs, he has even wrote his first book about his love for dogs!...Tommy is an inspiration to everyone – young and old, to help those without a voice – his heart and love is endless and his generosity is heart-touching.” – Mary Scheffke, President of the Chicago French Bulldog Rescue