Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shelter Shiver: Crazy Fundraising Event!

Oh, it's no secret that we're crazy about our Project Rescue Chicago pups. We gladly dedicate our days, evenings and weekends to finding them in the various city in-take facilities; getting to know them so we can begin the search for their perfect families; sharing their ups when they fall in love with someone and their downs when it sometimes just doesn't work out. We teach them manners if no one else has done so. We learn their play style so we can ensure they find homes that match their energy level. We celebrate their virtues and help them learn to minimize their less desirable behaviors. We give them everything we've got.

What we didn't know until just a year ago is that we're not just crazy for our PRC pups, we're downright crazy in general! A year ago we participated in our first Shelter Shiver to raise much-needed funds for Project Rescue. We turned in late on New Year's Eve 2010. We woke up early on New Year's Day. We headed down to the shores of Lake Michigan—and then we went in. Yep, in January. In Chicago. When it's guaranteed to be fridgid and windy and snowy. And it worked! We raised over $6,500, which went a long way toward ensuring that we would continue the good work we committed to when we founded Project Rescue Chicago.

And now we're asking for your commitment, too. Not to us, of course, but to the dogs in our program that we're crazy about and the dogs you've met through us who captured your attention (and maybe your heart). We're asking you to join our Shelter Shiver team in one of three ways:
  • Stone Cold Chilla: Join us for every crazy step of it (this is the one where you put your head under!)
  • Shiver me Timbers: A nice introduction for new-comers—legs only
  • Warm and Dry Barfly: A perfect way to be part of our team if you're traveling or just can't bear the thought of Lake Michigan in January (we won't hold it against you!)
And if you need a little motivation, meet some of the crazy-good inspiration we use to make jumping in Lake Michigan in January seem like a perfectly sane idea:

Jubilee is one of those dogs we thought would be with us for a minute, find her forever home right away and have her happy ending. Her gentle demeanor, her love of play, her sweet manners, her affection for everyone big and small, her whip-smart mind—they all said "incredibly adoptable" to us. And yet, after nearly six months in our program, Jubilee is still waiting patiently for her forever family to find her.

We jump for Jubilee and our other dogs like her, who remind us that even when you have everything going in your favor, sometimes your happy ending is a little slow in coming.

Leah will always hold a special place in our hearts. Leah was living the life we try to give all of our dogs: She had a comfortable home. She had a family who loved her, a warm bed, plenty to eat—she had it made. Then one day she waited at the door as her mom went down the driveway to get the mail from the mailbox. As Leah watched, a driver sped through the cul-de-sac, struck her mom and then raced away. She broke down the door to try to help her mom. She stood watch over her and howled for help until a neighbor came home from work. Unfortunately, her mom did not survive the impact and Leah came into our program. We posted her profile online and immediately heard from a woman who had been looking for an adult mastiff. Nikki came to meet Leah and it was love at first sight. Leah now lives with Nikki and has a labrador brother, Gator. She is happy and safe.

We jump for Leah, for your dogs and even for our own dogs, in the hopes that if tragedy strikes, Project Rescue will be there to soften the blow.

Quinn's story is a true rags-to-riches one. Quinn, pregnant and emaciated, was tossed over a fence and into the yard of an abandoned house. As crazy luck would have it, the house was right next to Animal Welfare League's Wabash facility. Someone saw poor Quinn and took her in out of the 100 degree weather and into the shelter. But there was more work to be done. Quinn had likely never known an act of kindness in her life. She didn’t know how to take treats, snuggle into our laps or smile. But we knew there was a happy dog in there waiting to be introduced to the world. First through her time with us and then through the love and attention of her foster mom, Pam (who would soon become her forever mom), Quinn has blossomed into the happy, loved and loving, confident dog she deserves to be.

We jump for Quinn and other dogs like her—those in our program now and those we will surely meet in the coming year—who are just one lucky break away from escaping a lonely and undeserved death without ever knowing love.

Martha is a doll and we loved having her in our prgram, but she is one of those "thanks for the memories" kind of girls. Martha put her best self out there, met her forever family right away and headed out the door without a backwards glance. Of course, we couldn't be happier for her! We jump for all of the Marthas in our program who really just need a little help in getting to the right place at the right time in order to meet the people who will call them family.

In memory of Annie and her puppies
Annie was supposed to be one of our success stories. Annie arrived at Animal Welfare League's (AWL's) Wabash facility underweight and very, very pregnant. We don't often take puppies into our program, but something special about Annie prompted us to make an exception and we agreed that when she and her puppies were ready to make the move, they would come into the Project Rescue program. Annie and the pups were set to come "home" with us the same day we hosted a volunteer event at AWL. As our volunteers excercised dogs, cuddled with them, folded laundry and sorted donations of food, Bridgid checked in our new recruits—only to find several of the puppies showing signs of parvovirus. Extremely contagious, parvovirus has an over 90 percent fatality rate when left untreated. Unfortunately, treatment is lengthy, expensive, intense and has a low success rate. It quickly became clear that the entire family was infected. With heavy hearts, the obvious decision to euthanize this young family was made. We were forced to say good-bye to this spunky little lady and her puppies before we'd even finished saying hello.

And so, for Annie, her puppies and all of the dogs who miss their lucky break by an inch or a mile, we say, "Yes! We will jump into Lake Michigan in January—gladly!"

We hope you're feeling inspired, too, and invite you to join our Shelter Shiver team, either literally at the lake front or in spirit through a donation. Your participation will allow us to tell more stories with happy endings—there's nothing crazy about that!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dear World, It's Me—Roscoe!

Hello, world! My name is Roscoe and I’m looking for my forever family.

"I'm Roscoe! Pleased to meet'cha!"
My first family gave me up to a shelter either because they were moving or because they couldn’t afford vet bills. Either way, I was sad because at the shelter I didn’t get to spend any time hanging with humans—which is my favorite thing.

I had been there two months when Project Rescue Chicago discovered me. PRC took me outside and it was so nice to finally stretch out in the sun and get belly rubs. I was in heaven. Before I knew it, I got the best ride of my life—a ride away from the shelter. I knew I was on my way to a better life.

But, sadly, my troubles weren’t over just yet. When PRC took me to the vet, they found out that I had a bad case of heartworm.

"Boo crate rest; hooray no heartworm!"
It was a terrible time to have heartworm—there was a medicine shortage because some factory shut down or something. But PRC and some amazing volunteers scoured the ends of the Earth and found me the precious medicine!

After two months of treatment and bed rest, I was totally cured! Now I’m as healthy as can be. I love to run and I just learned how to swim.

As you can tell from my pictures, I’m a pretty dapper dude with my one blue eye, athletic build and shiny coat.

I’ve even got this cool white thunderbolt on the back of my neck. Speaking of lighting, I should warn you that I may steal some of your thunder. People actually stop me on the street to comment on how good-looking I am.

My foster sister is a hound/pointer like me and we get along great. We like to run, wrestle and steal chew toys from each other. I love to hang out and watch movies.

I’m also into yoga—I let my front legs fall off the bed, then I walk out so my hind legs are on the very edge of the mattress for an awesome stretch. I adore car rides and every day I get better on the leash.

When my foster parents are out of the house, I stay in my crate and chomp on my peanut-butter-filled Kong. I snuggle at bedtime, but after an hour, I usually go to my crate to curl up for the night. I’m pretty close to being fully potty trained—I can hold it until 8:30am!

As I'm about to become a free agent, here are my vital stats:
  • Breed: Hound, Australian shepherd mix (We think the shepherd half gives me my coloring and my one blue eye, and the hound part keeps my hair short and gives me my athletic profile.)
  • Gender: Male
  • Age: ~1.5 years
  • Weight: 67 lbs.
  • Vaccinations: Yes
  • Microchipped: Yes
  • Dog friendly: Yes
  • Cat friendly: I do great with my foster brother cat, but I get a little curious with cats I don’t know, so I need to be supervised when I meet a new cat.
  • Favorite foods: Ice cubes! Duck and beef treats.
  • Food aggressive: No
  • Awesome: Absolutely!

"What?! You want to meet me?! I'm coming!!"

Can’t wait to meet you!


Many thanks to Roscoe's foster parents, Meaghan and David, for taking dictation from Roscoe so he could share his story. To learn more about meeting or adopting Roscoe, please complete an application with Project Rescue Chicago.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meet Gracie: A True Lady

Gracie looks like a tough lady, but she's much more lady than tough. She keeps quiet, and she's not demanding. She follows her people around most of the day and sleeps happily in her crate when they're gone. The other day I came out of the shower to find that she pulled the throw blanket off the couch and made a little bed out of it in front of the bathroom door. When I opened the door and laughed at her, she looked up at me as if to say "What did you expect? You were taking too long and the linoleum was not very comfy."

"Enough with the camera—let's do something else!"

We used to have a no dogs on the couch rule in our house, but Gracie snuck her way into our laps little by little. If you're reading book on the couch she'll put her head on your thigh, a few minutes later her paws will come up, then her front legs, followed by half her body, and by the time you finish a chapter she's curled up in your lap and you're wondering how she got there. She has an incredible ability to turn into dead weight right as you want to get up off the couch. "No," she insists, "It's much more comfortable on the couch. Stay on the couch."

She trained us with the couch business, but we are training her on some basic commands. She has a very solid "sit" and she's doing well with  "touch," "come," "stay," and "down." Though, she doesn't so much lay down as she melts—she's a character. Gracie is naturally very attentive to people, and she easily figures out what you want from her. She waits very patiently in her open crate as her breakfast and dinner are being poured, and that takes a lot of restraint. 

Gracie and our dog have a ball playing tug and chasing each other around. The games don't get rough and when we tell them play time is over, they obediently quit. The one thing that makes Gracie go wild is toys. We took her to a softball tournament and she really wanted to catch every single ball that went in the air. She had most everyone watching laughing and feeling bad for her. "Oh man, stop throwing that ball, and someone give it to the cute dog!" Her toy drive makes her a lot of fun to play with. This girl's got some hops, but the only time you see it is if you hold a ball or rope up for her to jump for. She will snatch up any shoe or sock that's left lying around, however, she hasn't destroyed anything yet. The reason is, she likes to be by people, so she'll carry her find over and plop down next to you before she starts chewing. Um, no. Give me that, Gracie. She's not a squirrel chaser or dog barker, though, which makes walks very nice. She doesn't even flinch when other dogs go nuts on the other side of a fence or in the park. She's just happy to be walking along and sniffing. 

"I'm even good during bath time!"
On walks we get comments about her all the time. "Wow, that's pretty Pitty!" Yeah, you can't beat those amber eyes. "She's going to get big, isn't she?" No, actually, she's full grown. "How did you get her to sit at crosswalks?" Um, we told her "stop" when we reached a corner, and she figured it out. My favorite comment was, "She's so chill with you, how long have you had her?" One week. We didn't make her chill, she came that way.

Gracie has a good tolerance, and doesn't react to much at all, really. She'll give one low bark if someone is at the door. She lovingly greets all visitors. She's not the kind of dog that gets excited about baths, but she doesn't mind taking one. She doesn't care if her ears are tugged, her toes are inspected, or you reach into her mouth. Gracie doesn't even care if you lift her in your arms or pick her up over your head. She just loves being with people. She wants to hang out and make you happy. I have no doubt she's going to be some lucky person's best dog.

"I think someone's comingmaybe it's my forever family!"
Many thanks to Jubilee's foster mom, Monica, for sharing Gracie's story. To learn more about meeting or adopting Gracie, please complete an application with Project Rescue Chicago.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall: The Perfect Time to Adopt

So many people think that spring is the perfect time of year to adopt a new furry family member. We can see their point, of course. The days are getting longer. Everyone is excited for the warmer weather and looking forward to being outside to enjoy it (perfect timing for those training walks with their new buddy). Some people wait until their kids are on summer break or even go so far as to plan a vacation around helping their new pup settle into their home. We totally get it.

But as you can imagine, we also think fall is a perfect time of year to adopt a new furry family member. Here are just our top five reasons:

This is Jubilee.
  1. A new dog in the house will keep you moving, even in the bad weather. That’s right—your new schedule, which includes training, walks and playing (it’s a lot more fun when you’re doing it than when you’re talking about it!) will help keep you moving and help keep those extra winter pounds from sneaking up on you. 
  2. Chachi would love to be your lap warmer.
  3. Coming home to a happy face helps beat the winter blues. The Midwest is downright depressing when the sun rises after you’ve gotten to work and sets before you head home. Knowing that your evening commute will end with a greeting that is 100 percent genuine adoration (and a wagging tail and a sloppy kiss) can cure even the worst winter blues.
  4. Lower your thermostat. No need to keep your thermostat as high when you have your own personal fur blanket who is happy to ensure that every single inch of your lap (or as much of it as he can cover) is nice and cozy.
  5. Settling into a regular routine right off the bat helps everyone make a smooth transition. It does sound ideal to spend a week’s vacation getting to know your new pup, but sometimes the best setting is the one you and your pup will experience on a regular basis. This can be especially true for puppies and other dogs who thrive on routine. Letting them know right away what to expect in their new home can be the best way to ensure that you all settle in together quickly and comfortably. 
  6. It’s never the wrong time to bring more love into your life. Some of our most appreciative adopters are those who didn’t expect to adopt at all. And whether they accidentally fell for their foster pup or were humoring a friend or family member by “just going to meet the dog,” they will all tell you that their dog has literally changed their lives for the better. You don’t even have to take our word for it—you can read some of our adoption stories here on our blog. So why wait? Some lucky pup in our program can hardly wait to meet you!
Stella would love to meet you!

To find out more about our adoptable dogs, visit our website: And if you have a story to share with us about your own adoption experience, please email us.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Meet Jubilee: Every Minute is a Celebration!

Jubilee is an enigma. Spuds McKenzie mixed with 101 Dalmatians. She is calm, stoic, goofy, athletic, energetic, gentle, obedient, independent, smart, clumsy and agile. She is learning SO fast. She will learn anything anyone wants to teach her. She has these "old soul" eyes that just look at you and say "I get it."

Jubilee challenges PRC alumni Callen to a Soulful Gaze Contest.

But then she has the goofiest puppy smile when she runs and plays.

"I'm also part Tigger."

Jubilee is living in a full foster house. Two cats, a dog, and a seven-month-old baby! She's just good with everyone. She loves every dog she meets but she doesn't overwhelm them. She is a master of balance. She wants to greet every child she sees, but she doesn't jump on them. A perfect sit paired with a slow lean in for a sniff and, if they stay invitingly close to her face, a quick kiss. Not too much, not sloppy or slobbery. Those perfect dog kisses that you only see in the movies. :)

And then there's the playful, goofy Jubilee. We took her to one of the dog-friendly areas of the forest preserve. And she ran. Like I have never seen a dog run before (well, I saw a greyhound on a near full-on run once... she is an athlete). She was overjoyed to run on the trails with other dogs. She bounced and hopped and threw it into fifth gear for some all out sprints. She swam. Jubilee is a lover of the outdoors. She can go anywhere. She loves meeting dogs, kids, people, everything and everyone. Jubilee is an absolute joy to take anywhere.

But then, there's this girl:

The napper. The cuddler. She'll curl right next to you and sleep. She cuddles so well. She doesn't smother you. She just finds herself a good fit right next to you. She has so many great aspects to her personality. She will find her perfect, forever fit. No doubt about it. Maybe it's you. Maybe it's someone you know. She is very patient. She'll wait. That perfect match is out there.

"Is it you I'm waiting for?!"

Many thanks to Jubilee's foster mom, Amy, for sharing Jubilee's story. To learn more about meeting or adopting Jubilee, please complete an application with Project Rescue Chicago.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Happy Unofficial Birthday Taylor

This post is recreated from PRC adopter Amy Sayre's blog, My So-called Life Lessons. Thanks to Amy and Mike for giving Taylor a happy home. A special thanks to Amy for allowing us to share her post and for donating her time to take photos of our adoptable pups so that they, too, can catch someone's eye.

Happy Unofficial Birthday Taylor

When Mike and I originally talked about getting a dog a year ago, we thought it was something we'd have to put off until we had a few things in place, things like a bigger house, less hectic work schedules and a few less cats. A dog just didn't seem to fit in the mix.

But then we saw this photo:

Photo courtesy of Project Rescue

And we knew we had to see if this dog might be able to fit into our lives. A year later, this dog, our dog Taylor, is a part of our lives, a big part. I hesitate to say he runs our lives, although some days it does feel like that.

We fostered Taylor for a week and then we adopted him. Mike and I knew there was no way we could give him back and hope he'd find a better family. We felt like we were his family already. However for that week we fostered him, Mike and I had several conversations about how we thought having a dog would change our lives.

There was no doubt having a dog would be an added expense. Having a dog would mean we'd need to come home on time from work on a more regular basis. We also knew it would make traveling a little more complicated. Looking back now I kind of have to laugh because there were so many other things that never crossed our minds. Having a dog has enriched our lives in ways we didn't foresee.


Taylor has improved my and Mike's relationship. Mike and I have to communicate in ways we didn't have to before getting our dog. We constantly talk and compromise on who will walk him, who can head home from work on time and what he should and shouldn't be fed. We haven't always agreed on things, and there may have been a few times that we argued over whose turn it was to take him out. But we always talked about it, and as a result we've learned a lot of the fundamentals of the general give and take of a healthy relationship.


Taylor has introduced us to many of our neighbors. Before getting Taylor, I always saw dog owners talking to one another on my street and suspected there was some secret dog club. There totally is a secret dog club. And I'm now a part of it. It's an automatic conversation starter when your dog walks up to another and starts sniffing its butt. I have started conversations with many a person because of this very thing. A few weeks ago Mike and I attended a concert with a couple who lives down the street from us. This couple has a dog named Rose who is quite fond of Taylor and vice versa. Suffice it to say, we probably would have never met this couple had our dogs not loved playing together so much.

Taylor has also gotten Mike and I to be a lot more active. His energy level varies from high in the summer to warp speed in the winter. He's kept us on our toes from the day we got him. I don't think he's ever had less than three walks a day and most days its four. I now rise every week day between 6:20 and 6:40 a.m. just to make sure he gets in a good hour's worth of playtime in the morning. Mike and Taylor also run now pretty regularly after work, something Mike didn't do before getting Taylor. In the summer months, Mike, Taylor and I go down to the doggie beach frequently. Lake Michigan's shoreline is one of Taylor's most favorite places in the whole wide world. On warm days, Mike and I actually get in the water and play with Taylor. Not once did we go to the beach before getting our dog.


As a result of getting Taylor, Mike and I also have gotten involved with some really great rescue organizations. I take photos of the new dogs that are taken in by Project Rescue on a semi-regular basis. We also have both donated money and attend fundraisers benefiting local animal rescue organizations. We figure it's the least we can do after Project Rescue took a look at our heartworm-positive, mangy dog and thought he deserved a second chance at life.


Mike and I often times say we lucked out because we somehow got the best dog. We could have wound up with a lot of different dogs, but this dog, our dog Taylor has made all the difference. It has been a great year with Taylor. Sure we've had to change our lives in a lot of ways (I still don't enjoy getting up at 7 a.m. on the weekends), but everything we have gotten back from inviting Taylor into our home has been so worth it. He's a great companion. He makes us smile. He makes us laugh. Some people may just think he's a dog, but he's more than that to us. He is a member of our family. And a darn cute one at that.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On Becoming “Dads”

We nap more. That’s for sure. We say “aw," make dinner at home, have an earlier bed time, laugh, and get kissed more. We slow down and enjoy everything more.

Things have changed since we became “dads” of…well…dogs. 

Meeting Dexter and Charlotte was much like one of those slow motion scenes in a movie. You know the ones: Eyes lock from across the way, the camera pans close to each set of eyes (while a heart-melting soundtrack plays in the background), as we run to each other in absolute adoration.

OK. It wasn’t like that. Adopting our two (not one, but TWO!)  pups have slowed us down, but not in a bad way—more like in the way we see things. Yes, we see more sunrises, squirrels, and squeaky toys. Not to mention more dog hair, slobber and poop bags.

But we also see something bigger.

Our first adoption was Dexter. Seriously, you need to see this pup. He’s a collie-mix with brown eyes that spell “I will steal the world’s love” and a howl that screams cartoon. He cuddles, kisses, nuzzles, and loves peanut butter. He demands attention as he should—a puppy that was scooped up by Project Rescue ONE DAY before his euthanization date just demands attention. There isn’t a moment where my partner and I don’t look at him while he’s sleeping and say, “Who would let this little guy go?” The Kentucky-born hound now lives in our loft and has become a member of the family. For real, I think our parents are excited for their “grand-pooch” more than our visit.

The first time we met Charlotte she was sick, scared and in desperate need for attention. Always knowing we wanted a “sister” for Dexter, we found out about her by the Project Rescue team. They kept us posted on her recovery and, like friends, ensured we’d be the best parents for her. It was so eerie how similar the dogs looked, but being almost four months apart, there was no way they were related.... A few weeks later, Charlotte moved in with us. She’s been dominating the belly scratches and the end of the bed. Her fan-like tail and soft fur makes for a perfect pillow.

Life slows down when you have two critters that almost didn’t have their lives to slowly enjoy. You start seeing their smiley, tongue-dangly faces as a mantra for life. Start each day (sometimes sunrise!) with a newfound excitement for the normal. Enjoy each walk while discovering something every step of the way (Charlotte always stops to smell the neighborhood flowers), and of course say I love you—whether it’s a lick on the face, that’s up to you.

Most importantly, our dogs have a better life—a life that was almost taken away from them, but saved by an organization that will always have our support. Project Rescue isn’t just an “adoption agency”—they are heroes. They save lives. They offer protection. They work their, well, tails off to ensure that animals get what they deserve: a slow motion run towards an owner they love.

Thank you, Project Rescue, for giving us two dogs that are constantly teaching my partner and I tricks: sit, stay and slow down life for a while.

Thank you to Byron Flitsch for sharing his family's story.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It all starts somewhere

As you probably know, we would not be able to do nearly as much on behalf of Chicagoland dogs were it not for the people who are willing to offer a temporary home to our dogs in need of fostering. These homes provide a stable, calm environment for the dogs in our program. They offer an opportunity for our pups to learn manners, tricks and the essential characteristics of being a good companion. Our foster parents make our work possible because in addition to helping the pup in their home, they also open a spot for a new dog to come into our program, get through its basic vetting, introduce himself to us and begin his own journey on the road to his forever family.

But before the pups make it to PRC, they have to make it into a rescue system. Many of our dogs come from right here in Chicago. In addition to our regular networking, we spend a lot of time at both Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) as well as Animal Welfare League (AWL). The dogs that are taken to both facilities come in all sorts of manner (family relinquish, strays picked up by city officials, strays picked up by a person kind enough to care, etc.), all sorts of conditions (loved and cared for; pregnant; injured or wounded; with and without fleas, heartworm or worse; etc.) and with as many unique personalities as there are dogs in the system (happy, frightened, angry, concerned, hopeful). The volunteers and staff at these organizations do the very best they can with not enough help, not enough money and not enough resources.

With this in mind, PRC decided to participate in AWL's volunteer day. A small group of PRC supporters met other volunteers from other rescue groups at 10 AM this past Sunday for a facility tour, an overview on safety and smarts—and then we went to work. Some of us lent a hand with general work (food sorting, folding towels and more). A few helped bathe and groom dogs to give them a little comfort and dignity in an otherwise rough situation. And many of us jumped at the chance to shower the pups with treats and TLC while we took them outside for fresh air and exercise. Most of the pups were ecstatic for the attention, rolling over for belly rubs, taking treats and generally wagging their tails in appreciation. A few dogs that day had a harder time of it, probably due to mistreatment in their past. We did what we could to show them that things could get better in the short time we had with them.

Of course, the best part is that we didn't leave empty-handed! We're very pleased to introduce you to three of PRC's future alumni who joined us that day:

This is Cooper. He's about 10 months old, a mix of hound and terrier (maybe). He's a heart-stealer!

Say hi to Harry. Harry is a four-year-old Jack Russel/Westie mix with a fantastic sense of humor!
Handsome Shadow is a one-year-old German Shepherd mix who is going to rock someone's world!

And we want to thank the volutneers who made such a difference on Sunday to so many pups: Samantha, Eric, Anne, Julie and Joe. We'll plan these volunteer days with AWL monthly—it's hard to resist events that make such a difference to the people and the pups involved—so keep be sure to Like us on Facebook so you get the information for the next volunteer day!