Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Celebrate St. Pawtrick’s Day

This weekend, March 14-15, Orphans of the Storm® is hosting a St. Pawtrick’s Day adoption event! The adoption fee for dogs and cats 6 months and older will be waived (final vet fees still apply). New adopters go home with a goody bag! We are especially hoping to find families for dog-friendly dogs who can go to a home with another furry friend. Since the dog wings have been closed due to kennel cough for the past two weeks, we are excited to be back open and hoping for lots of happy adoptions this weekend!

Chili the two-year-old American Bulldog mix is super playful. He particularly enjoyed playing with a big, long rope toy–he ran around with it in his mouth, shook it back and forth, and plopped down to chew on it. Chili then brought the toy over to me and leaned into my lap while continuing to chew. When we eventually went for a walk, Chili didn’t want to leave this fun toy behind!

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Chili with his favorite rope toy

Chili is a good walking companion. He likes to walk at a quick pace but doesn’t pull too often. He also likes to stop and snuffle his nose through piles of leaves or in tall grasses. Chili has become a play group regular and has a long list of doggy friends that he actively likes to play with, so he could go to a home with or without another dog. If you’re looking for a fun-loving pooch, be sure to say hello to Chili!

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Chili being a good walking buddy

Ziggy the one-year-old Labrador Retriever/Hound mix loves to snuggle. He gave me a doggy hug as soon as he came out of his kennel and just wanted to stand still there, getting lots of pets. He gave me many more doggy hugs during our time together. Ziggy always waits for the person to end the hug first because in his mind, a hug can never be too long! When Ziggy wants attention, he’ll sit at your feet and look up at you expectantly until you start petting him.

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Ziggy gives the best hugs

Ziggy enjoys playing with a variety of toys: stuffed squeakies, ropes, balls, etc. He’ll happily plop down next to you and chew on a toy while you pet him. If you stop petting him, though, he’ll stop chewing and poke your hand so you continue. Ziggy also hopped up to join me on the bench. He just wants to be close to his person! Ziggy can occasionally pull on the leash, but he’s barely out of puppyhood so he just needs some extra practice. Ziggy has participated in a few play groups and gets along with the other dogs, so he could go to a home with or without another dog. Come in soon to see if Ziggy is the one for you!

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Ziggy happy with his big toy

Crema the two-year-old Shepherd mix loves her toys so much that she even carries them in her mouth during walks. Soft squeakies, tennis balls, ropes–she’s happy to have them all! Crema is also great at playing fetch. She prefers to play with a person, but she can also keep herself entertained by throwing the toy in the air herself and catching it. She may even be able to figure out how to use an automatic fetch machine in her new home because she’s such a smart girl.

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Crema’s face of contentment/satisfaction

Crema likes to lead the way on walks. She keeps up a quick pace and doesn’t stop too often for sniffing. Crema doesn’t pull too much if you’re able to keep up with her, though. Crema participates in play groups regularly and her favorite form of play is to chase or be chased. Sometimes she gets overexcited with a lot of other high-energy dogs, but after a quick breather she settles down again nicely. If you’re looking for an active dog to participate in your active lifestyle, stop by the shelter soon to meet Crema!

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Crema says, “Yay! TWO toys for me!”

I also saw Hayden, Hunky, Rusty, Scooby, and Titus.

Orphans of the Storm® Has Singles Looking for a Valentine

This weekend, February 15-16, Orphans of the Storm® is hosting a “Singles for Singles” Valentine’s Day Promo! Several dogs and cats are designated as needing to go to a “single-pet” home where they can be the only one to get all of your love and attention. For the specific dogs and cats listed below, their adoption fee will be waived (final vet fees still apply). So if you’re a one-pet kind of person, be sure to stop in this weekend to find your perfect match!

Eligible Dogs:

Eligible Cats:

This is also a big week because we celebrated our one-year anniversary of implementing play groups! More than 8,000 times in just this one year, a dog has entered the play group yard to join the fun. Play groups make the dogs happy, make the staff and volunteers happy, and make potential adopters happy because we can tell them even more about a dog’s personality from the way they behave in play group. It’s a win-win-win!

And here are some more sweet dogs also looking for a Valentine!

Lenny the eight-month-old Labrador Retriever mix was rescued from a hoarding situation, but his unfortunate beginning hasn’t dampened his spirits! He is a happy, playful puppy with plenty of energy. Lenny loves racing around the Enrichment Park. He did a few laps on his own and then slowed down long enough to sniff each corner of the yard. Lenny also enjoyed chasing after and playing with a bouncy ball.

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This was possibly Lenny’s first time experiencing snowfall, but he seemed to like it

Lenny likes to give doggy hugs and likes getting pet, when he does eventually slow down! Despite all of his energy when he’s off-leash, he is actually a pretty easy walking companion on-leash and rarely pulls. Lenny occasionally participates in play group, but is still learning some doggy manners and can pester the other dogs when he wants to play but they don’t. If you’re looking for a playful pup, be sure to say hello to Lenny on your next visit to the shelter!

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Lenny on the move!

Duke the three-year-old Feist/Australian Cattle Dog mix is super sweet. He gave me a doggy hug as soon as he came out of his kennel and continued wanting to cuddle when we were in the off-leash run. He climbed right into my lap (or as much of him as would fit) and covered my face in doggy kisses. Any time I knelt down to his level, he came right over for more pets, snuggles, and kisses.

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Duke being a cutie

Duke likes meandering around the yard, casually sniffing and exploring. He is one of the easiest leash-walkers I’ve walked in a while. Duke doesn’t pull at all and stays by your side or just a couple small steps ahead. Duke participates in play groups and actively plays with the other dogs. Come in soon to see if Duke is the one for you!

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Duke is a champion snuggler

Douglas the one-year-old Pit Bull Terrier is a little shy when he first comes out of his kennel, but perks up the longer he’s out. It was almost impossible to get a picture of his adorable face because every time I knelt down to his level, he tucked his head into my lap and leaned into me. It was so sweet! Douglas loves getting his sides and hips rubbed when he does this. He’ll happily stay in this position until you stand up again.

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I wasn’t lying about Douglas getting too close to get a good face photo!

Douglas got more playful as we spent more time together. He had a lot of fun chasing after toys and chewing on stuffed squeakers. Douglas walks nicely on the leash and rarely pulls. He’s been in one play group so far and did pretty well, though he was getting a little anxious being with several other large males. We’ll find the right friends for him! If you’re looking for a super snuggler, come in soon to meet Douglas!

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Douglas in the snow

Achilles the four-year-old Pit Bull Terrier mix is a gentle giant. If you love ginormous, wrinkly faces, then you will absolutely love Achilles! But he’s more than just good looks. Achilles is an easy-going guy. He particularly likes getting his hips scratched and will turn his head around to look at you as if to say, “Oh good, you found the right spot.” Achilles wasn’t too interested in toys, and was mostly just making his way through the snow to explore the yard.

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Achilles looking very gentlemanly

Achilles likes to move at a quick pace on his walks. Even though he’s big and could be strong, though, he doesn’t pull as long as you’re keeping up with him. Achilles is already a play group regular and likes being with the calmer, gentler dogs. He politely sniffs each one in greeting but isn’t too interested in actively playing. You’re more likely to find him sitting at the feet of one of the people in the yard. Be sure to say hello to Achilles on your next visit to the shelter!

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Achilles enjoying his back scratches

I also saw Bailey, Meshai, and Polly.

Play group this week included Achilles, Bailey, Cocoa, Douglas, Jupiter, Meshai, Prince, Rudgie, and Spooky, as well as the not-yet-profiled Barrett, Buffer, Chaco, Chili, Crema, Flower, Ink, Nina, Pumpkin Spice, Rambo, Roxie Marie, and Zeb.

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs and Cats Want You to Come Out and Clear the Shelters!

This Saturday, August 17, Orphans of the Storm® is again participating in the national Clear the Shelters initiative, in partnership with NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago. Orphans of the Storm® will be waiving adoption fees for dogs and cats over the age of 6 months. The waived fee includes a spay or neuter, but costs for final shots still apply.

If you’re planning on attending this Saturday, here are a few things to know:

  • If you will be considering a new dog and there are other members of your household–human or canine–please bring them to the shelter! Your new pet will need to meet everyone to make sure it is a good fit.
  • If you bring your current dog(s) with you to the shelter, please bring someone else to help you with them and don’t leave them in the car.
  • If you are renting your home, bring your lease or rental agreement that shows you are allowed to have a pet.
  • Please no fingers in the kennels–both for your safety and for the safety of the animals.
  • Although the $90 adoption fee will be waived for all adult cats and dogs, the normal adoption process is in place and you will need to pay for the final veterinary care at the vet.

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This year, Orphans of the Storm® is featuring 20 special dogs who are volunteer favorites. Their kennels will be specially marked, and you will be able to talk to volunteers who can tell you more about why they’re a favorite and why they should go home with you! In alphabetical order, this year’s featured dogs are:

  • Big Boy the five-year-old Boxer mix. Big Boy arrived at the shelter with his mom, Mojo (see below), but they’ve been living in separate kennels for a while now, so Big Boy can either be adopted by himself or with Mojo. Big Boy loves being around people and is super snuggly. He enjoys climbing into laps and cuddling. Big Boy can be choosy when it comes to doggy friends, though he’s been participating in play groups more often and is getting more comfortable socializing. He can get a little bark-y and pull-y when he passes other dogs on leash, but otherwise is a good walking companion.
  • Bo the eight-year-old Labrador Retriever mix. Bo is a snuggler. He’ll just plop down right next to you (or if you’re standing, he’ll lean against your legs) and look at you with the sweetest puppy-dog eyes. Bo participates in play groups, but lets us know right away if he doesn’t like a certain dog. He would probably be most comfortable as the only dog in his new home, or with a very mellow furry friend.
  • Brutus the three-year-old Hound mix. Brutus is a super-dog! He participated in last year’s Top Dog Competition and mastered the agility course. He also attended obedience courses and knows his basic commands. Brutus is a high-energy dog looking for a playful home. He is currently sharing his kennel with another dog, and he is also a play group regular. Brutus could go to a home with or without another dog.
  • Carlos the five-year-old Black-and-Tan Coonhound mix. Carlos is a big, strong boy who loves toys and is also happy to play dress-up! He cooperates very nicely when we put the dogs in costumes for holidays and special occasions. Carlos has a great time playing with certain doggy friends, but in general prefers the company of people to that of other dogs. Carlos would do best in an adult-only home.
  • Cass the six-year-old Catahoula Leopard Dog mix. Cass lived with another dog in his previous home, before his owner could no longer afford to take care of him. That means Cass has experience being a pet and could also go to a home with or without another dog. Cass can be a little strong when he first comes out his kennel, but settles into a nice walking buddy. He likes going to play group.
  • Chevy the seven-year-old Terrier mix. Chevy is the smallest dog on this list, and he makes for a great lapdog! Chevy likes to cuddle and be held. He’s a little shy and nervous, so he’s looking for someone who can give him extra TLC and make sure he’s loved. Chevy was sharing his kennel with another dog when he first arrived at the shelter, and he has also participated in small-dog play groups. He doesn’t play much, but he doesn’t mind being around other dogs.
  • Cheyenne (Shyanne) the six-year-old Hound mix. Cheyenne is a total sweetheart. Whenever I walk by her kennel, she sticks her front paw out so I can hold it. She also loves to give doggy hugs and get lots of pets. Cheyenne used to not be too fond of other dogs, but now she is a play group regular and gets along with just about everybody.
  • Cocoa the three-year-old Labrador Retriever/Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix. Cocoa got the nickname “crazy Cocoa” when she first arrived because she has so much playful energy. Cocoa loves toys (especially jolly balls) and loves playing with other dogs. She has a rambunctious play style, but has learned to tone it down when needed with calmer dogs. Cocoa graduated from Level 1 obedience classes and is part of the way through Level 2!
  • Delilah the ten-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix. Delilah is a sweet, calm girl who enjoys taking it easy. She sometimes wants to nibble on the leash, but once she’s on the trail she prefers spending her time sniffing and enjoying the fresh air. Delilah likes having a toy nearby. She gets along with other dogs in play group but isn’t much of an active player. You can read more about why Delilah is a volunteer favorite here.
  • Elijah the five-year-old Labrador Retriever/Mountain Cur mix. Elijah is another athlete who competed in the Top Dog Competition. Besides knowing how to do the agility course, Elijah also knows basic commands like “sit” and “paw” and is eager to learn more. Elijah enjoys playing with other dogs and is best friends with John Boy, who is currently his kennelmate. Elijah loves being with people and will happily snuggle with you. He would probably do best in an adult-only or teenaged children home.
  • Huckleberry the two-year-old Hound mix. Huckleberry is our play group rockstar! He has yet to meet a dog he doesn’t like (and only one dog who didn’t like him back). Huckleberry would love to go to a home with another dog so he has a constant friend to play with. Huckleberry attended obedience classes and knows his basic commands. He is also super affectionate and loves to give doggy hugs and doggy kisses. He’s a tall, lanky boy, so getting a hug from him is basically like getting a hug from a human. Huckleberry is the sweetest and most fun!
  • Lucy the eleven-year-old Boxer mix. Lucy is a sweet senior who still has plenty of spunk. She jumps up and down in excitement when she realizes it’s her turn to come out. She is a great, easy walking companion. Lucy attends play group, but is more of an observer and only plays on rare occasion. She can get a little grumpy when play gets too rowdy around her. Lucy would prefer to be the only dog in her new home so she can be spoiled for her golden years.
  • Maggie the seven-year-old Shepherd/Labrador Retriever mix. Maggie is a short and stocky girl, but she holds her own! She doesn’t mind playing rowdy with the big boys and gets along well with other dogs in play group. Maggie loves toys and always gets to bring one back to her kennel after a walk. But she also loves tearing out the stuffing when given the chance! Maggie is a super easy walking companion.
  • Mojo the seven-year-old Boxer mix. Mojo arrived at the shelter with her son, Big Boy (see above), but they’ve been living in separate kennels for a while now, so Mojo could be adopted by herself or with Big Boy. Mojo is gentle and sweet. She’s a nice walking companion, though some days she doesn’t want to go too far and would rather lie next to you and get petted. Mojo attends play group and gets along with other dogs, but mostly sniffs hello and then keeps to herself.
  • Polly the three-year-old Mountain Cur mix. Polly loves to play, either with people or with other dogs. She particularly likes fetch (with people) and tag (with dogs). She’s an affectionate girl who likes to give doggy hugs. Polly can pull a bit when she first comes out of her kennel, but settles into a nice yet fast-paced walking buddy. Polly is looking for a lifelong playmate!
  • Sox the eight-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix. Sox is a sweetheart. She loves to give doggy kisses and will happily join you wherever you’re sitting. Sox also loves toys, especially stuffed ones, and will proudly carry one around or toss it in the air and chase after it. Sox attends play group but mostly keeps to herself, so she would probably be most comfortable as the only dog in her new home. Sox has had a few mammary tumors removed and will probably need future monitoring, but that doesn’t slow her down.
  • Tiger the five-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix. Tiger is the only featured dog I haven’t profiled yet! He’s such a volunteer favorite that he’s always one of the first ones to go out in the morning, so I haven’t gotten the chance to walk him myself yet. I did hold his leash for a few minutes when someone else had him out, and he treated me like a longtime friend and gave me lots of doggy kisses. Tiger absolutely loves being around people. He would do best as the only dog in his future home.
  • Tom the three-year-old Labrador Retriever mix. Tom loves playing with toys and can entertain himself by playing fetch with himself. He’s an active dog looking for an active home. Tom has made some female doggy friends in play group, but he still isn’t too fond of most other males. He would probably do best as the only pet in his new home.
  • Whizzer the eight-year-old Hound mix. Whizzer was the winner of the Top Dog Competition! He excels at agility. Whizzer also attended obedience classes and knows his basic commands. He absolutely loves toys and would probably have a toy in his mouth at all times if he could. Whizzer did a sleepover with another volunteer and was a great houseguest. He also got along with this volunteer’s dog. Whizzer attends play group and sometimes plays, sometimes just watches the action happening around him.
  • Wombat the six-year-old Hound mix. Wombat would make a great walking or running companion for an active person. He does great on the leash and likes to move at a quick pace. Being a Hound, he also likes to sniff thoroughly. Wombat is a smart, happy boy. He would do best as the only dog in his new home.

Orphans of the Storm® is also featuring a special long-timer who has been at the shelter for 6+ years: Riley (Diamond) the eleven-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix. Riley was adopted out for several months a couple years ago, but returned due to her severe separation anxiety. Her new family will hopefully have someone at home the vast majority of the time, and be willing to train Riley to ease some of her anxiety. Riley has started to participate in play group more often, but would still prefer to be the only dog in her new home. She is also looking for an adult home.

Earlier this week, I also saw Barney, Mabel, Thelma and Louise, and Wombat, as well as not-yet-profiled dogs Orlando, Zane, and the bonded father/daughter Shadow and Betsy.

Play group this week started off with Barney, Huckleberry, and Cocoa having a fun romp. Then we had Beatrix, Big Boy, Bo, Bruno, Cass, Cheyenne (Shyanne), Donny, Dunkin the Red, Elijah, Harper, John Boy, Mojo, Maggie, Polly, Quinn, and Roscoe, and not-yet-profiled dogs Al, Cheese, Cindy, Felix, Heath, Henry Hippo, Hunter, Kraken, Major, Onyx, Pixie, Red, Salem, Tex, Tiny, Val, Zane, and Zimma.

There are so many amazing dogs (and cats!) for you to meet this weekend. Please help us make this the most successful Clear the Shelters event yet!

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Are Ready to Let Freedom Ring

This weekend (Friday the 28th through Sunday the 30th), Orphans of the Storm® is hosting a “Let Freedom Ring” adoption event! Adoption fees will be waived for adult dogs and cats. There will be a Pet Stuff Sale, raffles, giveaways, and a Red, White, and Cute petting booth. A big event with big hopes for lots of happy adoptions!

Sawyer the two-year-old Hound mix was a little timid when I first came to her kennel, but she warmed up quickly and gave me a couple doggy hugs as soon as I put her leash on. We started in the off-leash run, where Sawyer did what Hounds do best and followed her nose all around the perimeter and underneath the bushes. As soon as I went to the gate to get her leash, though, Sawyer came running over without even needing to be called and was ready to go for a walk.

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Sawyer doesn’t mind a little drizzle

Sawyer is a perfect walking companion. She stayed right by my side or just a couple steps ahead of me, and didn’t pull at all. She had one spurt of energy when a chipmunk ran in front of us, but otherwise walked at an easy pace. Sawyer loves other dogs and has already become a play group regular. She wants to say hello to everyone and tries to get the shier dogs to come out of their shells. Come in soon to meet sweet Sawyer!

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Sawyer is a sweetheart

Karla the two-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback mix is a super lovable girl. She is easy-going and mellow, and happy to sit by your side as long as you’re petting her. Karla did some of her own exploring around the off-leash run, but often came back to me for some more attention. Karla is also an excellent walking companion. She walks at a nice pace and never pulls on the leash.

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Karla knows to smile for the camera

Karla attends play groups and although she doesn’t actively play with other dogs too often, she walks around with her tail wagging constantly and occasionally sniffs hello. She gets along with larger dogs similar to her size, but isn’t as much a fan of smaller dogs or cats. She also prefers adults and older children to small kids. Be sure to say hello to Karla on your next visit to the shelter!

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Karla standing at attention

Polly the three-year-old Mountain Cur mix is a bundle of energy. She’s a regular in the “rough and rowdy” play groups and enjoys wrestling, chasing and being chased, and occasionally woofing to get other dogs to play with her. Polly knows when it’s play group time and heads straight for the gate! Polly also likes to say hi to other dogs when she’s out for walks, though she might be a little exuberant for smaller or more timid dogs.

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Polly’s ears are the cutest

Polly can pull a bit on the leash when she first comes out of her kennel, but she settled down once we were on the woodland preserve trail. She can sometimes have spurts of energy where she would rather run than walk, but mostly preferred walking at a quick pace. Polly enjoys people’s company too and will give the occasional doggy hug. If you’re looking for a playful pooch, come in soon to say hello to Polly!

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Polly caught in a blink

I also saw Alec(k), Cheyenne (Shyanne), Clyde the Heeler, Cocoa, Donny, Kacy and Oliver, Maggie, and Thunder (who is so well recovered from his surgery that he jumped on and off every single bench we walked past!).

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A big group today! Polly, Peterson, Cocoa, Reeco, Bart, Elijah, Sawyer, Huckleberry, John Boy, someone too far in the back to ID, Kodi, Karla, and Heidi

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Gia (Pippa), Kodi, Chubby, and Huckleberry

Play group this week included Beatrix, Brutus, Cheyenne (Shyanne), Cocoa, Daisy, Elijah, Gia (Pippa), Huckleberry, John Boy, Karla, Maggie, Polly, Pumpkin, Sasha, Sawyer, Sox, and Whizzer, as well as not-yet-profiled dogs Amadeus, Baby Girl, Bach, Bart, Billy, Chance, Charley, Chubby, Cowboy, Faith, James, Katie, Kerrigan, Kodi, Lucy, Peterson, Sandy, and Tintoo.

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Gia (Pippa), Daisy, John Boy, Pumpkin, Maggie, Heidi, Chubby, and Kodi

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Daisy, Gia (Pippa), Kodi, Pumpkin, Karla(?), Cocoa, Elijah, John Boy, and Heidi

Orphans of the Storm® Is Hoping to “Empty the Shelter” on May 4

This Saturday, May 4, Orphans of the Storm® is participating in the national “Empty the Shelters” event, sponsored by BISSELL Pet Foundation. All dogs and cats age 6 months and older will have their adoption fee lowered to $25 (additional veterinary fees may still apply). There are more than 70 dogs waiting to meet you! Here are just a few.

Clyde the four-year-old Hound/Mountain Cur mix is a sweet, happy boy. He’s very patient about getting his leash put on and does a nice job walking on the leash. He usually just stayed a couple steps ahead of me and rarely pulled. Clyde, being a Hound mix, enjoys occasionally pausing to smell the flowers and other interesting scents when he’s on a walk.

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Clyde giving a little smile for the camera

Clyde loves getting pet and will lean against your legs while you scratch his hips and back. He also gave me a few doggy kisses. Clyde attends play groups regularly and gets along well with other dogs. He doesn’t engage in too much active play-wrestling, but he politely sniffs everybody hello and his short tail is always wagging. Be sure to say hello to Clyde on your next visit to the shelter!

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Clyde has a cute ridge of fur right down his nose

Eastside the two-year-old Heeler mix absolutely loves going to play group. In fact, he barely wanted to walk around the woodland preserve with me because he was so eager to join all of his doggy friends in the yard instead. Eastside’s play style can get a little intense sometimes (Heelers are known for being very focused!), but overall he gets along with pretty much everybody.

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Eastside has fox-like ears and tail

Eastside can pull a bit on the leash when he first comes out of his kennel, because he’s so excited to be out and about. Once we got about a third of the way around the trail, though, he settled into being a pretty good walking companion. Eastside is looking for an active home (maybe with teenagers–he was found as a stray hanging out at a high school and the students there loved him) where he can be your new best playmate. Come in soon to meet Eastside!

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Eastside says, “Play group, please!”

Cooper the two-year-old Mountain Cur mix arrived at the shelter very shy, but he is starting to come out of his shell and showing what a sweetheart he can be. He’s a little skittish with loud or strange noises (like when his leash rubbed against a tree trunk), but does better as he gets more comfortable being out. Cooper is a great walking companion and was walking so close to me that his side was touching my leg.

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Cooper is the cutest with his little tongue poking out

Cooper likes to snuggle once he gets to know you. He even gave me a few doggy kisses eventually. Cooper has participated in play groups and can be a little overwhelmed at first when there’s a large group, but has found some doggy friends that he likes to play with. He also likes to go on his walks with another dog. If you want to help Cooper come out of his shell even more, be sure to say hello on your next visit to the shelter!

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Cooper keeping an eye on things

Yellow the one-year-old Mountain Cur mix is still very much a puppy. He has lots of happy exuberance that he wants to share with people. Yellow is super friendly and loves to give doggy hugs and doggy kisses. He enjoys standing on his hind legs and resting his front paws on your arms while you pet him. He even smiles!

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Yellow leading the way on our walk

Yellow is a playful pooch. He sometimes went into a play bow while we were on our walk and did a quick spin or two. Yellow politely sniffed a couple dogs on the other side of the fence, but doesn’t normally do play groups. He’s one of those extra-pretty dogs with one brown eye and one blue eye. If you’re looking for a fun-loving puppy to join your home, come in soon to meet Yellow!

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Yellow showing off his bright blue eye (cameo by Gracie)

I also saw Apollo, Barney, Dusty, Gracie, and Princess.

The first play group I attended this week included Brutus, Clyde, Elijah, Gia (Pippa), Huckleberry, Jack, John Boy, Lucy, Romeo, Sasha, and YoYo (Yeyo). There were also not-yet-profiled dogs Harry, Pumpkin, and Zaxby.

The second play group included Alec(k), Brutus, Cheyenne (Shyanne), Clyde, Cooper, Donny, Eastside, Elijah, Gia (Pippa), Gracie, Huckleberry, Jack, John Boy, Maggie, Pony Boy, Romeo, Sasha, Whizzer, and YoYo (Yeyo). There were also not-yet-profiled dogs Clyde (we currently have two Clydes!), Harry, Henry, Mamba, Pumpkin, Thea, Zaxby, and Zorro.

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Playing for Life

Last week, Orphans of the Storm® was excited to welcome Dogs Playing for Life! Dogs Playing for Life is a program that travels to shelters around the country (and internationally!) to “demonstrate both the practical efficiencies of play groups for the rescue organization, as well as the emotional and behavioral benefits for the animals.”

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Bonus (who has since been adopted!), Leon, and Nando (with Roxy doing her own thing in the background)

Dogs are naturally social animals, but if you’ve visited or seen pictures of most animal shelters, dogs are kept separate in individual kennels. They get to socialize with the human staff, volunteers, and potential adopters, but don’t often get an opportunity to socialize with other dogs. Implementing play groups for shelter dogs has many benefits, including:

  • Dogs get more physical exercise during a play group than during a leashed walk
  • Dogs learn important social and communication skills
  • Staff can do more accurate assessments of individual dogs’ personalities
  • More dogs can get taken out of their kennels in a shorter period of time, meaning there’s a higher chance that every dog gets out every day and some dogs can go out twice in one day
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Nando, Bonus, and Leon

Dogs Playing for Life leads multi-day seminars that include a presentation and several days of hands-on training. At Orphans of the Storm®, more than 40 volunteers attended the presentation and almost all of those attended at least one of the six hands-on sessions. Several members of staff attended as well. We learned about different play styles, how to introduce dogs to the play group, and–most importantly–how to keep both the dogs and people safe.

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Bonus and Roxy

A key part of Dogs Playing for Life is that it really is all about the dog-to-dog interactions. There are usually only 2-4 people inside the yard with the dogs (depending on how many dogs are in the yard at the time) and they are mostly there to keep an eye on things. The people don’t pet the dogs or play with them in any way. They’ll correct a dog’s behavior if the other dogs aren’t correcting it themselves, but it is truly amazing (especially to me, who has only ever owned one dog at a time and has very little experience with multiple dogs in one space) how well the dogs communicate with each other and work things out on their own.

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Ruth ended up being a great “greeter” dog who welcomed new dogs into the yard

During the hands-on training, almost every dog at Orphans of the Storm® got to join a play group at least once. This includes dogs that we all thought didn’t get along with other dogs! Some examples include Barney, Cheyenne (Shyanne), and Tom. Successfully playing in a group is not a guarantee that these dogs can go to a home and spend all day, every day living with another dog–but it is still great to know that they are capable of appropriate dog-to-dog interactions!

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Ruth, Leon, and John Boy (sorry for the blurriness, I got snow on my lens!)

Play groups don’t only benefit the super-energetic dogs. Shy dogs, like Quinn and Ruth, came out of their shells and were playing in the course of just one group outing. Jax the German Shepherd (who I haven’t had a chance to profile yet) arrived at the shelter scared and overcompensated by barking at everything–but in the play groups, he’s a happy and playful pooch. When you just let dogs be dogs, incredible things can happen!

Orphans of the Storm® would like to thank the ASPCA and the Petco Foundation for bringing the Dogs Playing for Life program to us.

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Can Be Your Furry Valentine

Orphans of the Storm® is having a “My Furry Valentine Adoption Event” from February 9-11! The adoption fee will be waived for all dogs and cats 6 months and older. The waived fee includes spay or neuter, the first round of vaccinations, worming, flea and tick treatments, two weeks of aftercare, and a Valentine goody bag with a leash, collar, and special treats. (Please note that additional vet costs may still apply.) So if you’re looking for love this Valentine’s Day, come in to Orphans of the Storm® to find the furry kind!

Pony Boy the one-year-old Labrador Retriever mix has that signature puppy exuberance. His tail is constantly wagging and he gets excited about everything. Pony Boy greeted me with a doggy hug and then we quickly made our way to the Enrichment Park. He likes to chase after toys, but needs a little more practice when it comes to bringing them back. He has a good nose and was pawing through the snow to find frozen treats.

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Pony Boy will make you laugh with his funny faces

Pony Boy can pull a bit on the leash at first, but about halfway around the woodland preserve he settled into a nice walking pace. He likes getting pet and has the cutest wrinkled forehead. He was previously sharing his kennel with another dog, so he could go to a home with or without a furry friend. If you’re looking for a big puppy to call your own, come in soon to meet Pony Boy!

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Pony Boy doing his racehorse (racepony?) impression

Nando the two-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix came from an owner who could no longer afford to keep him. That means he already has experience living in a home and is ready to find a more permanent family! Nando has only been at the shelter for a short time, but multiple volunteers are already gushing over how sweet he is.

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Nando caught in the act of being cute

Nando likes to lead the way on walks, but doesn’t pull much. He will stay by your side as long as you’re petting him, but is ready to start moving again as soon as you stop. He had a good time exploring the Enrichment Park and liked running through the snow. He politely sniffed a couple dogs through the fence but didn’t pay them much attention otherwise. Stop in soon to see if Nando is the one for you!

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Nando didn’t mind wading into the deeper snow

Evelyn the one-year-old Shepherd mix is calm inside her kennel, but absolutely loves to run and play when given the space and opportunity. Most of my pictures of her are just a black blur because she was speeding all around the Enrichment Park. Evelyn likes other dogs and spent most of her time in the park racing Tom on the other side of the fence–and she always won!

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Evelyn says, “Oh hi!”

Evelyn wanted to continue running on our way around the woodland preserve trail (though as I’ve mentioned before, it seems like the majority of dogs prefer running through snow but walk at a slower pace when the ground is clear). Evelyn didn’t mind pausing every once in a while, though, to get a pat on the back or a scratch behind her ears. Be sure to say hello to Evelyn on your next visit to the shelter!

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Evelyn with some snow on her nose

Peepers the two-year-old Labrador Retriever mix has lots of energy and is hoping to go to a home where he can get plenty of exercise, whether it be running in a big yard or going on lots of walks (or ideally a combination of both!). Peepers had a fun time exploring the Enrichment Park. Whenever I knelt down to his level, he would come bounding over. This sometimes led to a crash if the snow was too slippery for him to stop in time.

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Peepers with a wagging tail

Peepers is very affectionate. He put his front paws in my lap and covered my face with doggy kisses. He likes getting pet and will wiggle around to make sure you pet his favorite spots. He’s attentive and alert, and liked keeping an eye on things through the fence. Peepers seems to prefer to walk quickly, but he can also match your pace if you move slower. Come in soon to say hello to Peepers!

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Peepers using his peepers to keep an eye on the parking lot

Lolabell the five-year-old Bluetick Coonhound mix is very friendly and outgoing. She likes to be where the action is, so she would probably prefer to have company if she’s out in your backyard rather than being alone. Lolabell likes to give doggy hugs. While she enjoyed sniffing around the Enrichment Park, she would come back to me every couple of minutes to check in and get pet.

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Lolabell not so sure about this whole “ice” thing

Lolabell gets along with other dogs and is currently sharing her kennel with Maebe (see below). She politely sniffed the dogs on the other side of the fence and wanted to stay by them rather than going for a walk. Lolabell can sometimes pull on the leash but overall was a nice walking buddy. Be sure to say hello to Lolabell on your next visit!

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Lolabell coming over to cuddle

Maebe the two-year-old Bluetick Coonhound mix is a little shy at first. Once she gets to know you, though, she loves getting her ears and neck scratched and will stay by your side as long as you keep petting her. She might even give you a doggy hug or two! Maebe, being a Hound, spent most of her time following her nose around the Enrichment Park and uncovered a couple frozen treats that had been lost in the snow.

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Maebe is a sweetie-pie

Maebe gets along with other dogs and is currently sharing her kennel with Lolabell (see above). Maebe likes to move slowly when she’s walking on the leash because she wants to make sure she picks up as many scents as she can. She has those soulful Hound eyes that just make you want to give her a reassuring hug. Stop in soon to meet Maebe!

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Maebe doing what Hounds do best

I also saw Barney, Cass, Huckleberry (who is currently taking off-site obedience classes once a week), Sasha, and Tyson.

Get to Know Orphans of the Storm®’s Top Dog Competitors!

Remember to stop by Orphans of the Storm® this Saturday, October 27, from 11am-12pm for the Top Dog Competition! Here are the 7 teams eager to leap over the hurdles and into their furever homes:

  • Whizzer the seven-year-old Hound mix: The Class Clown
  • Elijah the four-year-old Labrador Retriever/Mountain Cur mix: The Energizer Bunny
  • Prince the five-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix: Prince Charming
  • Brutus the two-year-old Hound mix: Brutus the Bionic
  • John Boy the five-year-old Labrador Retriever mix: Jumpin’ Johnny
  • Reeco the five-year-old Boxer/Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix: Rootin’ Tootin’ Reeco
  • Kacy & Oliver the four-year-old Rat Terrier mixes: Tiny but Mighty

You can read more about all of the competitors and see video updates of their training on their Orphans Top Dog Competitors Facebook page.

In addition to these teams showing off their skills on the agility course, there will also be a Halloween (or “Howl”-o-ween, if you prefer) doggy costume parade with more adoptable dogs. Here is a sneak preview of Rudy:

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Watching these pooches do their tricks will be a great treat right before Halloween!

Orphans of the Storm® Clear the Shelters 2018 Summary

Clear the Shelters 2018 was another great event for Orphans of the Storm®! 34 dogs and 25 cats went to their new happy homes. NBC 5 Chicago’s LeeAnn Trotter was there for several hours, meeting dogs and interviewing adopters. You can see one of her clips here. Below are just a few behind-the-scenes images from before the gates opened on Saturday morning, but you can see the full Orphans of the Storm® Clear the Shelters photo album on Facebook.

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There was signage all around the shelter

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The cat area was all decked out for the event, too

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The adoption tent was the place to be!

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This year, several dogs were marked as “Volunteer Favorites” and got a gold star

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All of the dogs got either a bandana, a flower, or a bowtie to look their extra-best

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The NBC van was there to capture all the excitement

While waiting for potential adopters, I also spent some time with Bella, Big Boy and Mojo, Cass and Crowley, Hobbs, Jack, Nash, Oliver, Quinn, and Sullivan (who showed off his affectionate side when he joined me on the bench, covered my face in doggy kisses, and then laid down in my lap). If you couldn’t make it in last weekend, there are still plenty of dogs who would be so happy to meet you this weekend!

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Invite You to Clear the Shelters

Tomorrow, Saturday, August 18, is the annual Clear the Shelters nationwide event! Orphans of the Storm® is participating for the fourth year in a row. On this day, adoption fees for dogs and cats 5 months and older will be waived. This waived fee includes spay/neuter, but additional veterinary costs (such as final shots) will still apply if needed.

There are more than 100 dogs ready and waiting to join a new family this weekend. Here is a list of the longest long-timers, who have been at Orphans of the Storm® for 2 or more years, and who have their paws crossed that this year is their year!

And below are some newer dogs for you to meet, too!

Monte the one-year-old Vizsla mix found himself at the shelter because he was too nervous for his first family. He is still skittish, but has come a long way since he first arrived. He’s afraid of some things, like walking past the big dumpsters in the parking lot or having a branch of the bush he’s sniffing touch his back unexpectedly, but doesn’t seem fearful of people. Monte greeted me with a doggy hug as soon as he came out of his kennel, and gave me a few doggy kisses during our walk.

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Monte is a handsome pup

Monte is an excellent walking companion. He only pulls on the leash if something spooks him. Otherwise, he’s super easy. Monte enjoys being pet and always came straight to me when I knelt down to his level. Monte gets along with children, so he could join a family with kids. He’s just looking for the right loving home to help him fully come out of his shell. Be sure to say hello to Monte on your next visit to the shelter!

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Monte cooling off in the shade

Ruthy the one-year-old Chow Chow mix is a poofball whose face makes her look like she’s half-bear, half-fox. Even though she’s young, she already knows some manners. For example, she didn’t take a single step away from her kennel until I put the right walking collar on her. Ruthy walks nicely on the leash for the most part, though she does get the occasional burst of energy and wants to run a little ways.

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Ruthy is so fluffy

Ruthy hopped on and then over one of the benches during our walk, and then joined me on another bench later so I could pet her some more. She can get a little bark-y when she passes by other dogs, so Ruthy would do best as the only pet in an adult home, with someone who has experience with her breed. If you love Chow Chows, come in soon to meet Ruthy!

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Ruthy showing off her black Chow tongue

Trent the five-year-old Black and Tan Coonhound mix is a pretty typical Hound dog. He can be talkative with that signature baying, but was mostly quiet when we were out on our walk. Trent pulls on the leash a bit when he first comes out of his kennel because he’s excited to go for a walk, but he settles down quickly and is a good walking companion.

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Trent loves the outdoors

Trent seems to be particularly fond of walking through tall grasses. His nose goes high and low to pick up as many scents as it can. It’s fun to watch! Trent is a sweet boy who likes getting pet and is gentle when taking treats from your hand. If you ain’t looking for nothing but a Hound dog, come in soon to meet Trent!

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You will often find Trent with his nose to ground

Cass the six-year-old Catahoula Leopard Dog mix came from an owner who lost their job and couldn’t take care of him anymore. He used to live with another dog before he came to the shelter. Cass attends play group regularly and gets along with other dogs.

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Cass and Crowley are a dynamic duo

Cass is easy to walk. He didn’t pull on the leash at all, even when he first came out of his kennel. Cass enjoyed exploring the off-leash run. Cass is definitely more of a sniffer and was snuffling around behind the bushes for a while. He is affectionate and will give you doggy kisses. Cass is looking for a home with either just adults or a family with older children. Be sure to say hello to Cass!

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Cass’s eyes are mesmerizing!

Chip the ten-year-old Beagle mix may be a senior, but don’t let his age fool you. Chip still has springs for legs! When I was putting his leash on, he jumped straight up and booped my nose with his nose. Chip is a silly boy who starts barking when he sees or hears people in the distance. He also apparently doesn’t like golf carts and got a little huffy when one passed by the other side of the fence at the far end of the woodland preserve.

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Chip making his way through the woods

Chip is a problem-solver. It was a hot day, and he was getting tired by the end of our walk. So what does he do? Goes to the shady underside of a bush, digs himself a little bed in the cool dirt, and plops down to take a breather. Genius! When it isn’t too hot of a day, Chip is a nice walking buddy who moves at an easy pace. If you’re considering an older dog but still want some spunk, come in soon to meet Chip!

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Chip is a smarty-pants

I also saw Big Boy (who thinks he is a lapdog) and Mojo, Conny (who loves belly rubs), Elijah, Jasmine (who is super sweet), Nash (who enjoyed romping around the Enrichment Park and found a new favorite squeaky toy), Rudy, and Sadie (who covered my face in doggy kisses).