Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Are Ready for a New Home in the New Year

The weather finally cooperated enough for me to meet the first new pooches of 2017! There are lots of cuties at Orphans of the Storm® right now. It was hard for me to decide who to take out first.

Riley the five-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix came from an owner who could no longer care for her, but she came with a glowing review that she certainly lived up to! Riley is friendly, affectionate, gets along with children, and walks nicely on the leash. (Though she is mostly muscle, so if she happens to have a direction she wants to go then you will most likely be going in that direction also.) Riley might look big at first, but her legs are pretty short and stubby (and cute), so she stays low to the ground.

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Riley has the sweetest face

Riley enjoyed exploring the off-leash run and did lots of snuffling behind and underneath the bushes. When I asked if she was ready to go for a walk, she immediately headed to the gate and wagged her tail while I put the leash on. After our walk around the woodland preserve, I sat down on the bench and patted the spot next to me. Riley hopped right up, put her front paws in my lap, and covered my face in enthusiastic doggy kisses. Come in soon to meet Riley and see if she’s the sweet family dog for you!

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Riley following her nose

Lucy the three-year-old Treeing Walker Coonhound mix is so well-behaved. She was sitting politely in her kennel, just looking at me, so I couldn’t ignore such good manners. Lucy did some signature Hound baying once she was in the outside portion of her kennel, but as soon as the leash was on, she didn’t make another peep for the rest of our time together. A lot of Hounds will be off and running as soon as the gate opens, but Lucy walks nicely on the leash and mostly stayed by my side.

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Lucy climbing into my lap

Lucy is a great snuggler. When I knelt down next to her, she put a paw on my knee. Then I sat all the way on the ground and she put both front paws on my lap and didn’t budge for as long as I pet her. Even when I told her we should keep walking, she just looked at me like, “No, I’d rather stay here and cuddle.” Lucy politely sniffed a Beagle we passed on our walk, so she seems to get along with dogs of different sizes. Be sure to say hi to Lucy on your next visit to the shelter! (You can also say hi to Lucy the Boxer mix and Lucy the Terrier mix while you’re at it. All Lucy’s at the shelter are super sweet!)

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Lucy showing off her spots

Copper the eight-year-old Chow Chow mix is a fluffy lovebug. She does the cutest thing that you will have to see in person, but I will try my best to describe. When Copper wants you pet her, she’ll tilt her head to the side, and then hop forward and give you a little nudge or head-butt. This happened at least four or five times while we were out, and it never stopped being adorable. And then once you do start petting her, she’ll plop right down next to you if you’re sitting or lean against your legs if you’re standing.

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Copper leading the way around the woods

Copper is a good walking companion. She didn’t walk too fast or too slow, she occasionally stopped to sniff, and she didn’t get overexcited if other dogs were nearby. Copper gives very convincing “sad puppy dog eyes” when she’s inside her kennel, but perks up as soon as you take her out. Copper’s heart is as golden as her fur! Stop in soon to see if Copper is the pooch for you.

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Copper looks particularly majestic in the sunlight

Buddy the eight-year-old Rottweiler mix was snoozing on his doggy bed when I came by his kennel, but as soon as I opened the doggy door to the outside, he was ready to go. Buddy is yet another great leash-walker. I don’t think he pulled on the leash even once. He came from an owner, so he has plenty of experience being a pet in a home.

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Buddy says, “I love you!”

Buddy was content to just meander around the off-leash run and come back to me every once in a while for a scratch on the back. He looked at a tennis ball and a giant rope toy but didn’t seem too interested in fetching either of them. Buddy knows some basic commands and would be happy to demonstrate for you. If you’re looking for a more mellow companion, Buddy may be the right buddy for you! Stop in soon to find out.

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Buddy is more of a sniffer than a player

I also saw AstridBella, Blaze, Blush, Juno, MerlinNoah, and Tino.

Staying Cozy in the Orphans of the Storm® Cat Room

It was too cold for dogs or people to be outside much this past weekend, so that meant I got to visit the cat room at Orphans of the Storm®. I can’t think of a much nicer way to spend a cold day!

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This one did a good job posing for pictures

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This orange one was not interested in sharing lap space

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This cat was pretty mellow

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This little cutie could use some extra TLC

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A cat who likes belly rubs! We were meant to be.

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The crowd that suddenly appears when the staff walks in with treats and toys

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This cat let me know it wanted a treat

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The orange cat still was not sharing lap space!

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This sweetie wanted some treats too

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People say black cats are unlucky, but when I had FOUR black cats all trying to climb into my lap at once, I couldn’t have felt luckier (you can see the fourth’s tail and whiskers in the bottom right corner). The one with the blue collar is the cuddliest cat I have ever met.

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This gray cat is super pretty

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This little cat just wanted to be pet all the time

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What better way to stay warm in the middle of winter than snuggling with your 15 closest friends?

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This sweetheart only has one good eye, but that doesn’t slow it down at all

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This one monopolized my lap for quite a while (and the one in the back is wondering when it gets a turn)

After spending about an hour in the cat room, I got to know a few cats that are in individual kennels. Zoe ended up at the shelter after her owner passed away. She has come out of her shell a lot and once she spends a little time with you, she gets very snuggly. I also met Buster, who likes people but isn’t a fan of other cats, so if you’re a one-cat kind of household then you should meet him. Lastly was Smiley, who hangs out with the kittens and likes being held like a baby.

I’ll be back to meeting more pooches next week!

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Who Found Their Forever Home, Part XV

Our first Success Story of 2017! Jeff adopted Cassidy, formerly Heidi, on Good Friday in 2013. Here is their update:

We have five dogs in our home and Cassidy rules the roost. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out at first since we already had two when we adopted her, but it’s been great. Can’t imagine life without her.



First off, we had looked at Orphans of the Storm® a few years earlier when our first dog went to the rainbow bridge in 2011. Nothing seemed to click then, but having grown up in Northbrook, adopting from Orphans was always in the back of my mind. We ended up with two puppies that year, so for the rest of 2011 and 2012, my wife and I were pretty consumed with those two but by the spring of 2013, our first two had passed their puppy phase and had settled in so we thought it would be good to adopt another dog. We already had two so what’s one more, right?

On Good Friday 2013, my wife and I were both off work, and we thought it would be a good opportunity to go down to Orphans of the Storm® and see if there was a dog there that might fit in with us. So I got our other two dogs and put them in the car and we made the trip south. After seeing all the dogs that were available for adoption, my wife and I liked a Boxer mix you had, and we took it out to one of the pens in the back. He was very high energy and was constantly running all over the pen. When I brought my other two dogs from the car, they both seemed very skittish around the Boxer mix. I am glad we did have our current dogs with us so we could see up close how they seemed to get along and in this case, it didn’t seem like it was working out okay.

But we were determined, and we had noticed another kennel that had Heidi, a Feist mix, and a 9-month-old Beagle puppy. I was leaning toward the Beagle puppy, but for some reason my wife felt a connection with Heidi, and we decided to take her out to the pen. She was definitely lower energy than the Boxer mix from before, and since that seemed to go well, I went to retrieve our other two dogs from the car again to see how they would interact. It was almost the completely opposite reaction from the Boxer where our two were more dominant and Heidi decided it would be better to snuggle up with my wife than deal with two crazy 2-year-old dogs. Based on that interaction, we decided to adopt Heidi on the spot.


Cassidy on her first day home from the shelter

Since she was not spayed, I had to pick her up the following Monday at your medical facility in Vernon Hills. The first few days, she was definitely under the weather, and kept to herself for the most part, but after the first week, she began to come out of her shell. It was very funny to see how our other dogs reacted to this. They had been with us for almost 2 years already, but Heidi–now named Cassidy–decided that she was in charge. Now that did not come without a struggle, as my other two needed to adjust to the new social order. It definitely wasn’t simple and there were a few fights that needed to be separated along the way, but as time went on and everyone, including us, adjusted to the new social order, things began to settle down.


Cassidy (right) with her two siblings, Christmas 2013

It really took almost a year for Cassidy to really begin to settle in to the point where she really felt like she was safe and home. We had come to find out that she was on a euthanasia list three different times in Tennessee where she was from and the third time, the woman who busted her out of the shelter wrecked her car on the way to get her and a Tennessee State Trooper who responded to the accident drove the woman the additional 45 minutes to the shelter so Cassidy could be saved. Knowing what kind of a background this little dog has had, it’s no surprise that she might have been a little hesitant to trust people again, but the good news is that she’s fully bought in to the program and we spoil her like the little princess that she is.

I can’t believe it will be 4 years with her already on April 1st.

Thank you, Jeff, for sharing your and Cassidy’s story!

If you would like to share your own Orphans of the Storm® success story, please email meetthepooches@gmail.com.

Call for Success Stories!

To get 2017 off to a warm and fuzzy start, let’s share some Orphans of the Storm® success stories! If you adopted your furry friend(s) from Orphans of the Storm®, we would love to hear how they’re doing in their forever home. Pictures are very welcome!


My own Orphans alum, Cooper, celebrating Christmas this year

You can find a full list of previous updates on the Success Stories page. Feel free to write your story in whatever format you’d prefer. If you’d like to go with a more formal Q&A, below are some questions adopters have answered in the past:

  • Why Orphans of the Storm®?
  • How did you hear about Orphans of the Storm®?
  • What made you want to adopt from a shelter?
  • Was this your first dog and/or cat?
  • Did you have a specific breed/age/size/other trait in mind when you first came to the shelter?
  • How many dogs or cats did you visit with before you decided on your pet?
  • What was it about your pet that sealed your decision to adopt him/her?
  • How did your dog and/or cat transition from shelter life to home life?

Please send your success story to meetthepooches@gmail.com and it will be posted right here on Meet the Pooches. We’re excited to hear from you!