Rescue Pups in Need Deserve Your Help, Indeed!
Brittney Frazier, CPDT-KA, Found Chicago Boarding and Training Center
With spring finally creeping out of the darkness of winter here in Chicago, many of us are really itching to get out and about with our dogs! However, as you might have noticed on social media, there are actually many dogs out and about in Chicago currently, and not for the right reasons.
With Chicago Animal Care and Control overflowing with dogs and cats that are strays, surrendered by their “owner,” or, even worse, confiscated from a horrendous situation, it has become obvious that we have a long way to go before the homeless animal population is at a manageable number. Chicago has proven to be fairly “dog-friendly” and it seems you can almost always find a group of “dog people” socializing at your local park. The fact that the numbers of animals walking through the shelter doors is at such an alarming rate that we are still unable to support them effectively despite our city’s “dog culture” is quite worrisome.
So, if a person is unable to adopt one of these loyal and loving abandoned pets, what could people in our community be doing to further the mission of placing them in their Forever? In my years as a dog trainer of many rescue dogs and now as a rescue advocate myself, I have found that adoption is only one of the many ways we would love to see our community support these animals. And with the ever-growing stray animal population we have in Chicago, the time to support is now.
- Foster! – Many people do not understand that shelter dogs rely on rescue organizations with approved foster homes to make it out of the shelter alive, where they may not have a chance of making it out at all. And, the larger the population of the shelter (Chicago Animal Care and Control has close to 300 dogs housed at fully capacity), the more competition each individual dog has. With foster homes, rescue organizations are able to place the dog in a temporary situation where they can decompress and wait for a suitable Forever Home to arrive. Most rescues will cover all food and medical costs and only require you love and care for the dog as you would any other. Consider allowing a shelter do to crash at your place for a few weeks and see the difference you can make in quite a few lives, actually.
- Donate! – Rescue organizations are usually volunteer run and have a difficult time transporting dogs to vet appointments or new foster homes. If you often have days where you may be able to assist in that department, donating your time and vehicle for a few hours could be a lifesaver for a rescue dog. If you are unable to spend time to further an organization’s mission, money can be a great way to support medical bills, feeding, and housing for shelter dogs in need. When a non-profit’s bank account is low, but there is a dog in need, your donation can really make all the difference, no matter how big or small
- Get the word out! – Social media and word-of-mouth is oftentimes the best way to let others know about a great rescue dog looking for a home. Especially for the dogs who have been at the shelter or rescue for the longest amount of time, networking is their best chance at finding the right match. Help rescues inform your community about dogs available to adopt in their area to increase their chances!
- Educate! – At the end of the day, the only real chance we have at combating this convoluted, but also dire, issue is educating the public about what causes the extreme amount of animal homelessness in Chicago. Spaying and neutering dogs is the probably the most obvious and helpful way of physically solving the issue. However, spreading the word on the importance of training and exercising dogs in order to prevent the need to surrender them is also helpful. Help break stigmas against certain breeds and help others understand the value of adopting a shelter dog because you can be the voice the dog doesn’t have.