Collar and Leash owner dies six months after store goes humane

Collar and Leash owner dies six months after store goes humane
Collar and Leash, Chicago's oldest pet store, moved to an adoption model with the help of The Puppy Mill Project in April. One of the owners died on Saturday, one day after turning the keys of the store over.

Just Friday, the owners of Chicago’s oldest pet store – Collar and Leash – turned over the keys of their store to concentrate their efforts on their boarding and grooming facility at 3541 West Columbus Avenue. This weekend, they are mourning the death of one of their owners.

Dan Raymond died suddenly yesterday morning a day after closing their Wells street location. His death comes nearly six months after the store made the move to stop selling puppies and to concentrate on moving to an adoption model, making the store the first Chicago pet store that had sold puppies to go humane.

On April first, Adopt-a-Bulls, helped Collar & Leash launch adoption events along with The Puppy Mill Project.

On April first, Adopt-a-Bulls, helped Collar & Leash launch adoption events along with The Puppy Mill Project.

“It had been an honor to work with the Raymonds on this journey as they made the move to stop selling dogs obtained from puppy mills and focus on adoption,” says Cari Meyers, founder of The Puppy Mill Project. “They have been excited about continuing to work with rescue organizations at their boarding and grooming facility to continue to promote adoptions.”

Since April first, Sonja and Dan Raymond had been holding adoption events at their store on Wells Street in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood working with The Puppy Mill Project and many Chicago animal shelters and rescues. The Saturday events were sometimes held in conjunction with pet wellness organizations to promote overall pet wellbeing.

At the time of the announcement this spring, Sonja Raymond had talked to me about how they were seeing more and more sick dogs come into their care from brokers that were their go betweens from mill operators. At the same time, she had been volunteering as a groomer at the Animal Welfare League, one of two large open access shelters in Chicago, and was seeing first hand the number of abandoned dogs needing homes.

Cat rescues, like St. Sophia's Forgotten Felines, also held adoption events at Collar and Leash.

Cat rescues, like St. Sophia's Forgotten Felines, also held adoption events at Collar and Leash.

“There are so many homeless pets at the Animal Welfare League and at Chicago Animal Care and Control that just need a second chance or they’ll be destroyed,” she told me at the time of the changeover. “We can make a difference hosting pet adoption events in conjunction with rescues.”

The Raymonds had decided in recent months to focus their time and efforts at their boarding and grooming facility closer to home. They have big plans for the future at that location including hosting adoption events and doing more to promote animal rescue in Chicago.

Until early this year, Collar and Leash had been the site of protests held by The Puppy Mill Project. On a snowy afternoon this past winter, the Raymonds and Meyers sat down and mapped out a plan to move to an adoption model at the store.  On April 1, Collar and Leash started adopting out dogs and cats – with some of the first animals coming from rescue organizations that saved pets from Chicago Animal Care and Control.

Condolences may be sent to the Raymond Family at 3541 West Columbus Avenue, Chicago, 60652.

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    Raining Cats and Dogs

    I'm an animal lover who has counted rescue pets as a member of my family since I was a child. As a writer and public relations specialist, I'm passionate about advocating for homeless pets and the rescues that give these pets a second chance. i also love to connect with the many pet businesses in Chicago that support animal rescue.

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