Thursday, January 26, 2012

Indy: A Surprise (and Well Deserved) Happy Ending!

We are a happy, two-dog family, but our story wasn’t always so great.

In February of 2011, we adopted Indy (formerly known as Raef) from PRC.

We expected to have a few accidents in the beginning, but about a week after his adoption, the accidents were getting worse. Indy didn’t just poop and pee in the house…it was as if he would paint and grout the floor with his messes. The anxiety spread to tearing down every single curtain he could reach each time we left the house. He became anxious around doorways, hallways and stairs. There were times when we would be home and we would hear him crying from another room, simply because he went in the room and was too fearful to walk through the doorway to get out.

We took advice from everyone and we tapped into dozens of resources, but nothing worked.

After three months of this, I emailed Bridgid, feeling defeated. She mentioned that Indy might have isolation anxiety and that adding another dog to the house may help the situation. That’s when we decided to foster!

We fostered two dogs. The first dog, Foster #1, was young and adorable. The first day we came home, the dogs had torn apart the Sunday paper and made a huge mess, but there was only one accident in the whole house and the curtains were all in place! This gave us hope that Indy could be happy at home. We were so happy, we even took a photo:

One week later, Foster #1 was adopted and Indy reverted to his old ways.

At this point, our vet prescribed a medication called Reconcile for isolation/separation anxiety. Within the first three days, we saw a difference so we emailed Bridgid for another dog. That’s when we got Foster #2.

Foster #2 was the perfect dog. We contacted Bridgid right away to see if we could foster-to-adopt.  Once we brought Foster #2 home, Indy had the same positive reaction. Indy loved her, we loved her, she loved us…but she did not love Indy. We thought she would grow to love Indy like we had, but unfortunately, she became aggressive towards him.
I cried the day we made the heartbreaking decision to return Foster #2 to PRC, so that she could find the right family. But due to our situation, we couldn’t leave without another dog. This is when Tessa came into our lives.

Tessa was a big girl, and she had no problem playing with Indy. She was awesome, but this time we put our guard up. We couldn’t fall in love with another dog, only to give her back again.

Things weren’t smooth at first. There was definitely an adjustment period where things weren’t so great. Bridgid explained that this is the way siblings are at times. They fight, they steal from each other but they still end up loving each other. And as the weeks went by, they did learn to love each other.

BFFs in the making!

They started to get more playful; they napped in the yard together, started having sleepovers in the same bed and even cleaned each other’s lips after meals. I started asking Joe, “Can we adopt her?” but he kept giving me a line about needing to be sure that she is our dog before we made that commitment. That didn’t stop me from asking at least once a week.

She kind of hogs the blankets, but I still love her.

On Thanksgiving Day, three months after taking Tessa into our home, I walked into the kitchen and saw a PRC adoption contract sitting on our stove, signed by Joe. I cried again that day. (I later found out that he and Bridgid had been emailing, setting up Tessa’s adoption as a surprise.)

It’s been 10 months since we adopted Indy and it has been a crazy journey of ups and downs. There were times when we wondered if we were doing the right thing. There were days when we seriously considered giving Indy back, but we knew he would do the same thing for another family, and who knows how many times someone else had given up on him. We were determined to make it work.

Although Indy’s adoption was grueling for the first few months, and things still aren’t perfect (Indy still gets stuck in rooms at times, items get eaten and we still find the occasional accident) we couldn’t imagine not having him in our lives now. He’s constantly making us laugh and taking us on new adventures. And through fostering (and medication), he is truly happy! And because we made the decision to foster, we met Tessa! She’s the sweetheart of our home, giving unconditional cuddles and kisses. But none of this would have been possible without the help of PRC. For any new adopters out there, we would strongly encourage you to reach out for help from PRC when you are feeling discouraged – they will go above and beyond to help you determine the best solution for everyone.

Thanks again, PRC!
Laura, Joe, Indy & Tessa

A big thanks to Laura and Joe for going the distance for Indy and Tessa, and for sharing their story with us.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wow! We're Overwhelmed!

We've been posting about this year's Shelter Shiver fundraising event since November. First launched in January of 2011, we thought this would be a fun, unique way for us to raise funds for our rescue work. In our inaugural year, we had about 18 people who joined us on New Year's Day to brave the Chicago winter and jump in Lake Michigan to support Project Resuce and ALIVE Rescue. We had a lot of fun and we raised a few thousand dollars—we decided to make it an annual gig.

So this year we set the stakes higher. We challenged our friends and supporters to join us. We set the bar for dollars raised at $10,000—not sure if we could do it, but sure hoping! We talked up the mild weather and encouraged people to rope their friends into jumping with them.

This past Sunday morning, we were overwhelemed to have over 200 people join us as we headed down to the chilly sands of Lake Michigan! Groups and individuals; costumed, bare and bundled up; young at heart and just plain young—we even had a few furry spectators.

A special thanks to Busy Bee Productions—their team raised $2,000!

Temerpatures hovered just over 40 degrees!

None of this would be possible without the dedication of Kristen (ALIVE Resecue), Lindsay (Project Rescue Chicago) and Bridgid (Project Rescue Chicago).

Go time was 11 o'clock sharp—no exceptions!

It wasn't miserably cold, but it was certainly cold enough to ensure that no one lingered!

Afterwards, we all convened at the Old Town Ale House to commiserate, raise a glass to the weather gods in thanks for the mild temperatures, and warm up.

And here's the most amazing part: We didn't just meet our goal. Between our individuals lake jumpers, our team jumpers and some corporate matching donations, the event raised over $40,000—and $21,000 goes straight to Project Rescue! We still can't believe it!

We've always known our pups are very special pups. Yesterday's turnout and the amazing fundraising support just shows us that we also also have very special people backing us up. To those of you who helped make Shelter Shiver 2012 a raging success, we can't begin to tell you how much it means to us and how grateful we are to have your support. To those of you who weren't able to join us, consider some of the reasons we dreamed up this crazy fundraiser—and then consider joining us next year!

To view more photos, visit our Facebook photo album.