Helping out is all in a days work

Helping out is all in a days work
Animal shelters are overloaded with adult cats needing homes. Cat Karma Monday celebrates the great cats at Heartland Animal Shelter.

My husband jokes all the time that I'm the crazy cat lady.

Really, at the height of our cat household, we had just three kitties - our old senior Scarlett and Max and Ellie. But I guess that deep down, it's a fear of becoming that cat lady that has driven me to do what I do in animal rescue - blog about animals in need and lend my PR talents to various groups.

It's like this...there really is a limit to the number of pets I'm able to help in my own house. When I'm at the shelter a lot, I want to rescue more of them and add them to my home. But, there is no limit to the stories that need to be told about animals in need. Senior pets, adult cats and dogs, black and FIV positive kitties - all overlooked groups in need of a little attention.

When I finished my MBA, I was looking for an outlet for my new found "free" time. I kept thinking of the shelter where I adopted my cats - nestled in Northbrook - and not well known. So, I headed off to Heartland Animal Shelter.

At any given time, there are over 100 cats and 25 or so dogs there needing homes. So, I started to work with the various teams inside the shelter to create feature stories about some of the harder to adopt groups. I also worked with the local media to feature some of the harder adopt pets as pets of the week.

Then, a funny thing started to happen.

Black Cats and seniors like Miss Understood - an 11 year old cat - have a hard time finding homes.

Black Cats and seniors like Miss Understood - an 11 year old cat - have a hard time finding homes.

Many of the pets we featured that no one wanted - the older pets, the black cats, the shy ones - started to get attention. We would actually have people pull pictures out of the TribLocal, Pioneer Press or What's Happening? to meet these pets. Sometimes they were adopted by those families and other times families would gravitate to another pet that needed a home just as desperately.

During my tenure, I was happy to report that adult cat adoptions were up considerably. I also did a lot of black cat education and there was in increase in adoptions there as well.
One of  my favorites was a senior lab mix that was at Heartland for over a year. He was a great dog that just kept getting overlooked. One day a women came in with a copy of a feature we did on this particular dog for What's Happening? six weeks earlier. Something drew her attention and she pulled the article...then was busy with work. She wanted to know if that dog was still available. I'm not even sure if anyone else had asked about the dog. She welcomed him into her home in a matter of days.

Chappie was a senior dog that waited a long time to find a home.

Chappie was a senior dog that waited a long time to find a home.

I was also very happy to have promoted an old Shepherd mix named Chappie - loved by volunteers and overlooked by adopters until a man came in with his elderly mother looking for Chappie in particular. It was a match made in heaven.

There are times now as a blogger I connect various rescue groups to help with transports or do stories to build awareness and draw attention to issues. I'm very proud of those stories...but...the stories that stick in my mind the most are these individual animals that I felt I had helped find their forever home.

Through my blog, I'm now able help on a much larger scale and able to help out more organizations and pets in need. That is why every day, I feel like I am helping someone.

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    Raining Cats and Dogs

    I am a crazy cat lady and puppy mill warrior that blogs to advocate and educate about pet issues. In American animal controls, millions of pets are abandoned each year and an estimated 4 million die just because there are not enough homes. It truly seems like it’s Raining Cats and Dogs.

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