Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Who Found Their Forever Homes, Part XXV

We love our Orphans of the Storm® success stories! Sandy was adopted from the shelter last September, and this is what her new family has to share.

We just wanted to write & say thank you for all you do at your organization. We were rescued by Lucky (shy Sandy) in September and she has been such an incredible addition to our family. Our sweet older rescue dog is in his later years and we knew he needed a friend. We looked for months and the second we saw Lucky, we knew she was the one.

She was so scared when we first brought her home that we had to carry her outside to go potty and hand-feed her in her bed. Now, that same sweet dog is full of love for her furry brother and for her human brother and sister. She gives kisses all day, runs crazy laps through the yard, and has found her voice. She loves to snuggle and her favorite treat is carrots.

She used to be scared on walks and at the dog park, and now those are her favorite activities. She refuses to go anywhere without her furry brother–she won’t get into the car or go on walks without him. We are so truly Lucky.

Thank you so much. From Ross, Christine, Isla, Tres, Bubba & Lucky

Thank you for sharing Lucky’s story with us!

If you would like to have your own Orphans of the Storm® adoption success story here on the dog blog, please email meetthepooches@gmail.com.

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Who Found Their Forever Homes, Part XXIV

Another happy success story! Nico was adopted by Orphans of the Storm®’s Canine Enrichment & Playgroup Coordinator, Carrie. His first “gotcha” day is coming up next week! Here is how Carrie and Nico came together.

I met Nico nearly 3 years ago, when I was a volunteer at Orphans of the Storm®. I had always been a “big dog person” and barely glanced at the littles. Nico came on my radar when he started having behavior problems, biting to be specific. There were about 2 staff members that could handle him, and no volunteers. I always stopped by his kennel to give him treats; he would growl, snarl, snap at me, but I still loved him. I felt so bad that he didn’t get walks with volunteers. I started spending time with Nico and getting to know him. I learned that he was an affectionate dog, under all his layers. He wanted to be with his people, but was very defensive of being touched. We would go on walks, I would toss treats on the ground for him, he started slowly trusting me more. He would jump up with his front paws on my lap, wagging, saying, “I love you! You can feed me treats, take me on walks, talk to me…but DO NOT TOUCH ME!” I did not attempt to pet Nico until after I had been working with him for 9 months. I was sitting with him and he came over and I just knew it was the time. He let me pet him, and it was a very happy moment for me.

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Nico and I continued to bond over the 2 years he was at the shelter. He would still snap/bite at me when he felt threatened. We knew Nico could not be adopted out to the public; it was too risky for his and the public’s safety. He would spend the rest of his life as a “shelter mascot.”

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After 2 years of time with Nico at the shelter, I decided to bring him into my home as a foster. I had no idea what he would be like at home. I fostered him for 6 weeks; we built a solid routine and a great relationship with my other dog, Koopa. Koopa and Nico got along right away.

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On May 4, 2019, I decided to officially adopt Nico. I promised him I would be his mom, even with the behavior problems, and that I would do everything I can to help him live a happy, healthy life.

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Fast forward a year: Nico is thriving. He loves his sister dog, Koopa, and loves his home. He has helped me foster countless dogs. Although he likes to “protest” when a new dog comes, once he lets his walls down–he’s a great foster brother. Nico still has behavior problems that he will always have, and things that I cannot change–only manage. I made a commitment to him, and to be totally honest–we do have challenging moments. But I wouldn’t trade Nico for the world. He has taught me SO much patience, and a new love and appreciation for small dogs. I no longer consider myself a “big dog person.” I am an “all dog person,” with an extra soft spot for the “angry Chihuahuas.” I am forever grateful for Orphans of the Storm® for bringing Nico to me, and visa versa. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us.

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Thank you, Carrie, for sharing your story about Nico!

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

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Who Found Their Forever Homes, Part XXIII

Here is another success story to put a smile on your face today! Dog walker volunteer Christy adopted her two dogs, Westley (tricolor) and Preston (brown-and-white), from Orphans of the Storm®. Here are their stories.

We adopted Westley (formerly Toby) in October 2017, when he was about 2 years old. We had walked a few other dogs when we saw him, and there something about his eyes that we connected with.

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He had some separation anxiety when we first brought him home (which usually involved him gathering things we had recently touched, like our shoes, into a pile) but he was basically potty trained and seemed to have had some training in his previous home as he picked up commands really quickly. He also got along well with our two senior cats right away.

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He didn’t seem sure about toys when he first got home, but after a few weeks we found a toy he loved (his Kong Wubba). Over time he has amassed a large collection of squeaky toys that for the most part he is gentle with. After a few months, the separation anxiety went away (he figured out that we would always come home) and we couldn’t imagine our life without him.

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Last year we started thinking about getting a second dog so that Westley could have a playmate. We tried a couple of dog meets but the look with Westley’s eyes told us we hadn’t found the right dog. Then last September, we came in and saw Preston. Just like with Westley, there was something in Preston’s eyes that said we should take him for a walk. He was a bigger dog than we were looking for but he was such a gentle soul. He walked well on a leash and he knew some basic commands. He also gave amazing hugs. We came back later with Westley and it was clear that Preston was meant to be his brother.

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Westley and Preston at their first meeting at the shelter

When Preston came home, he and Westley quickly became inseparable. They walk really well together on the leash and really enjoy their neighborhood walks each day. It took several attempts, but Westley did teach his brother to “play” with him in the backyard. Each morning after breakfast they run in the backyard to chase squirrels up a tree and then play for a few minutes (sometimes it’s zooming around the yard together, other times it’s playing together with squeaky toys–Preston can actually throw the toy and then chase it all over the yard). Preston was also about 2 years old when we got him. They are both totally bonded to us and to each other and we can’t imagine our lives without them.

P.S. We did DNA tests on both of them. Westley is an Australian Cattle Dog mix (50% Cattle Dog) and Preston is more of a mutt (25% Australian Cattle Dog, 25% Boxer, 25% Staffordshire Terrier, 12.5% Chow Chow, and 12.5% other).

Thank you, Christy, for sharing your adoption story and these adorable pictures and videos! And for being a dedicated volunteer!

If you would like to have your own Orphans of the Storm® adoption success story featured on the blog, please email meetthepooches@gmail.com.

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Who Found Their Forever Homes, Part XXII

With Orphans of the Storm® closed to the public (including volunteers), there won’t be posts about new dogs for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I’d like to help spread positivity by sharing more success stories! If you’ve adopted a dog or cat from Orphans of the Storm® and would like to be featured on the blog, please email meetthepooches@gmail.com. These happy tales put a smile on everyone’s faces!

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you might remember Courage. After waiting three years at Orphans of the Storm®, she finally found her forever home with volunteers Ron and Lucy. Here is their success story!

We adopted Courage, our Black and Tan Coonhound, in September of 2017. My wife Lucy and I are volunteer dog walkers at Orphans of the Storm®, so we were familiar with Courage as we both had walked her several times. When we were ready to adopt a dog, we had a couple of other dogs that we were interested in and Courage was not one we had considered. One weekend we came and walked a couple of dogs on the wonderful wooded trail at Orphans but did not feel a “connection” with those dogs. We were looking for a bigger dog that was an affectionate “people dog.”

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We were feeling frustrated when Lucy said, “How about Courage?” Lucy had recently participated in an off-site adoption event at Chalet Nursery, and Courage was one of the dogs chosen to be there. After spending several hours with her at the event, Lucy saw just how sweet (and quirky) this pooch was. So we took Courage for a walk and when we stopped to sit down on one of the trail benches, Courage jumped up and licked my face and demanded a belly rub! Lucy and I looked at each other. We both knew Courage was the one!

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Courage has made a phenomenal transition from shelter dog to family pet. She is housebroken and only had a couple of accidents when we first brought her home. Now Courage goes to the back door when she needs to relieve herself in the yard, then she barks when she wants to come back into the house. She enjoys a long walk every day as well. We thought that because she was a Hound she would bark a lot, but she does not. She follows us all over the house and tries to be a 65+-pound lapdog. Her morning routine includes laying on the floor waiting for us to rub her tummy. Courage loves to play hide-and-seek with treats hidden all over the house.

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She is definitely a member of our family and we can’t imagine life without her. It is hard to believe that Courage had been at the shelter for over 3 years. She is so sweet, and we would recommend to potential adopters that Hounds do make excellent house dogs. She makes us laugh every day. Adopting Courage has enriched our lives beyond what we could ever hope for.

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Thank you, Ron and Lucy, for adopting Courage and sharing your story! And for being dedicated volunteers!

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Who Found Their Forever Homes, Part XXI

Here is another happy success story! You may recall in my play group summaries that Baby Girl was a regular. Although I didn’t get a chance to do a full profile of her before she was adopted, I took her in and out of play group several times and she was a sweetheart. Leslie and her family saw that sweetness and took Baby Girl home! Here is her update:

Hi, this is Baby Girl’s new mom. I wanted to let you know that she is so very loved! She has only been home with us for two weeks but we cannot imagine our lives or home without her. We are her forever family and we absolutely adore her. She was meant to be ours!

I am attaching a photo of Baby the day she came home with us. She found the softest spot in the house and fell into a deep sleep! It fills my heart with joy that after so much time spent on concrete, we have the honor of filling her golden years with love, treats, and soft beds!

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Baby sleeping in the softest spot in the house

I have told everyone who asks about our adoption story that it was “almost love at first sight.” The reason I say ALMOST is because I looked at Baby Girl in her kennel twice on my first visit–once as I was walking in and once as I was walking out–and she did not make an impression on me. She ignored me.

But before I left, I stopped by the front counter to chat with the staff. I said that I was interested in adopting a dog that was overlooked. I am truly sorry that I did not catch the name of the staff member who looked at my adoption application and said to me, “I have the perfect dog for you. Take Baby Girl out for a walk.”

I did not have time for a walk that first day, but I brought my daughters back to Orphans the very next day. They looked at every single dog. They had several favorites but neither noticed Baby Girl.

As we were waiting our turn in line, the couple in front of us inquired about the dog who was our first choice. We did not want to adopt a dog who had multiple adoption options, so I asked to see Baby Girl instead.

This is where the “love at first sight” part happened. I could live to be a hundred years old and I will never forget what happened next. The three of us did not walk more than ten feet from Baby’s kennel when we looked at each other… and we knew. Less than 10 steps and we all simultaneously KNEW that this gentle, quiet dog was supposed to be ours forever.

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We took this photo with Baby at Orphans. This is the face of a little girl who is about to adopt her best friend!

I would say, “For the life of me I cannot fathom why such an amazing dog was overlooked by everybody,” except do I know why. She was introverted and even worse, she was 10+ years old. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to adopt a younger dog. But I can say without hesitation that adopting Baby was one of the most joyful moments of our lives.

It would mean the world if you could find the staff member who recommended Baby to me and deliver our gratitude. I remember that she had dark hair and dark eyes. I want her to read our story and know from the bottom of my heart what a difference she made. I also want to thank everyone at Orphans–all the staff and volunteers. Without your tireless hard work and dedication, adoptions like ours would not be possible.

Thank you for sharing your and Baby’s story, Leslie! I’ll track down that staff member for you.

If readers have their own Orphans of the Storm success story, please email meetthepooches@gmail.com. These happy tales never get old!

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Who Found Their Forever Homes, Part XX

Here is a short but extra sweet success story! The previously profiled pooch Frisco, who now goes by Hadji, was adopted by the Leato family. Here is their story, and the most adorable pictures!

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Five years ago, we adopted Frisco (now Hadji) from Orphans of the Storm®. Without a doubt, Hadji is the best dog that has ever walked into our lives and our family would be lost without him.

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Hadji is very loved and has many roles in the family. He is a cat sitter, bus stop greeter, patient for his cousin’s “veterinary clinic,” imaginary princess, big brother to a miniature heeler, and a nap time buddy.

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We are very thankful to have found a piece of our hearts at Orphans. Thank you for all that you do.

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Thank you to the Leato family for sharing your story!

If you would like to share your own Orphans of the Storm® success story, please email meetthepooches@gmail.com. We never get tired of hearing all these happy “tails”!

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Who Found Their Forever Homes, Part XIX

I have a double success story to share today! Margie and her brother adopted Francis and Randy, who now go by the names of Buddy and Cubbie. Here is their story:

My brother and I adopted “Francis” and “Randy” on February 28. We went to see Francis and even though I called that morning to make sure he was in Deerfield, he was taken to the Highland Park location. While we waited for him to come back, we looked at dogs who had just been brought in that morning from Tennessee. And there we found “Randy.” I guess it was meant to be to adopt them both! Francis is now “Buddy” and Randy is now “Cubbie” (brother is a Cubs fan).

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Francis/Buddy (L) and Randy/Cubbie (R)

Buddy was returned by a couple who said he peed in the house and barked when alone. Our luck that they couldn’t bother to train him. He has had a few accidents in the house but is getting better. He does bark when I leave him alone in the house to take Cubbie for a longer walk. He limps due to a swelling on his right leg that doesn’t stop him from much, but he gets a shorter walk than Cubbie does. Buddy is around 8 years old and is a pretty chill dog. He is the alpha of the two and barks when Cubbie bothers him too much or craves too much attention from us. Buddy immediately took to his doggie bed and sleeps there most of the time, half of his body off and half on. He likes attention (sometimes) and will put his paw on you if you stop before he’s done. He’s not into toys that much but has destroyed a few rope toys already, chewing them up.

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Cubbie didn’t stay at Orphans for long. We saw him the morning he came in and picked him up at the vet’s the next day. He tested positive for worms and fleas/ticks and had to take medicine. He is very smart and I had to figure out different ways to get him to take it. I had to fight with him to take the pills and he never once snapped at me. He’s about 4 years old and is a cuddle-bug. He craves attention and will nose Buddy out of the way to get it. Since he’s younger, he likes to play a bit more, especially out on walks when he should be doing his business. He will bark and whine at dogs going by but he just wants to visit. He whines when a neighbor walks by and wants to stop to be petted. We have met a lot of our neighbors this way! Cubbie doesn’t know what a doggie bed is for, he tries to play with it. He likes sleeping in a corner on the floor.

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Both of them must have had families. They can sit and heel and somewhat know some other commands, like “no,” “come,” and “drop it.” They are both very people-oriented. We had some friends over for lunch and after they got their petting in, they slept the rest of the lunch.

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Both dogs are the sweetest things and are bonding well. I don’t know how we lucked out getting two such good dogs!

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Thank you for sharing Buddy and Cubbie’s story, Margie!

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

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Who Found Their Forever Homes, Part XVIII

Here is a success story from Rubina about her family’s new dog, Lily (formerly Belle). This story shows that it can sometimes take a few tries for a dog to find their right home, but when they do, it’s extra sweet!

We found Lily (Belle) our new best friend, 5-year-old German Shepherd/Border Collie mix girl. As history goes, she was saved from a kill shelter by Orphans of the Storm® and then was adopted by an old lady who returned her as she was too much for her, and once again returned by another couple who had her for just 2 nights. Terrible! My daughter had gone to volunteer at Orphans and we all fell in love with Lily in those 3 hours we spent with her. Being a clean freak, I have to say Orphans does a wonderful job of keeping their animals and their kennels clean.

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We went back to the shelter the next day and brought her home and she has been nothing but a bundle of joy since then. Luckily, she is house-trained, but quite a fussy eater. She is playful and super smart. A little nervous at times, probably from what she has been through for the past few weeks… scared of rain and froggies, but quite the strong independent lady when it comes to meeting other big dogs! She loves to run and is super friendly to kids. My husband, who is scared of all animals, had warmed up to her in the last 3 days… really that’s got to say something about Lily’s personality. We hope to give her a good life and I believe in my heart that pleasure will be ALL ours while she is with us. We are a happier family with sweet Lily!!

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Thank you for sharing your story with us, Rubina!

If you have an Orphans of the Storm® success story that you would like posted on this site, please email meetthepooches@gmail.com.

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Who Found Their Forever Homes, Part XVII

What better way to start the week than with another Success Story! Cayrne and her husband and daughter adopted Maude and Lola eight weeks ago. Here is their story:

To be honest, we weren’t even in the market for another dog, let alone two! We happened to have been at Northbrook Court when my husband stumbled over the Orphans of the Storm® store front. He went in for a “dog fix” while my daughter and I shopped.

Once my husband spotted the two Hound mix puppies, he texted my daughter for us to come there. It has been three years since we put down our previous dog, a rescued Beagle.

I walked in and like a ton of bricks, it hit me how much I missed having a dog in my life.

Orphans of the Storm Success Story Lola and Maude

Two amazing friends my husband and I adopted eight weeks ago. We can’t imagine life without our “girls.” Thank you Orphans of the Storm® and to Carol Ross, our trainer.

My husband pointed to the Hound mix sisters and my daughter and I melted. When the puppies came to me and sat quietly at my feet, I knew they had to come home with us.

I had no reservations about adopting dogs from a shelter as my previous dogs were also rescues. Orphans has a great reputation. I know many dogs that have come from Orphans and they are sweet, happy pups. When we visited the actual site to complete the paperwork, I was really impressed at the cleanliness of the facility. The dogs were clean, well cared for, and loved the nature walk.

Our puppies are happy and enjoying their forever home. I truly believe they are thankful they were able to stay together. We never get tired of all the puppy kisses Maude and Lola bestow on us!

Thank you for sharing your story, Cayrne!

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

Orphans of the Storm® Dogs Who Found Their Forever Homes, Part XVI

We have another Success Story to share! Diana wrote this sweet letter to her dog, Piglet, who she adopted from Orphans of the Storm® eight years ago.

Dear Piglet,

Today marks you and I being a family together for eight years. I think. I was wrong about this date, but now the year seems foggy as well. My one regret is that I never saved your picture from the Orphans of the Storm® website that made me say, “That’s my dog.”


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You were in a kennel that was a middle corner spot, barking your little face off. Your bark was terrifying. I would be terrified too if I was in a cage. Your story was that you were found wandering the streets of Mundelein. I have a hunch that you were living by a pizza place because you always go crazy when we have pizza. Someone threw you away because you never had to be trained and always had a lot of energy back then. You also came with a little note of nots. “Not good with small children, not good with other animals,” but none of which panned out to be true.

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We started together in a place in Lake Forest. You would play with the kids on the lawn of the library. We’d run together for many miles in your youth. You busted your knee as we fondly call now “The D-Rose Incident.” You were attacked by a German Shepard while we were on a walk. It was one of the most horrifying things that I had ever experienced and forever changed your demeanor towards bigger dogs. You are still so sweet and so lovely. They were wrong about you and your list of nots.

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Since then, we’ve lost some people. We’ve definitely gained some people and other animals too. We’ve moved quite a bit, but I know that you understand now, you are my dog, I am your person, and even if we lose everything, you and I will always be together.

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Happy Gotcha Day, Piglet! I hope we get to celebrate many more. Love always, the lady you taught to be a Mom

Thank you for sharing your and Piglet’s story, Diana!

If you have adopted a dog and/or cat from Orphans of the Storm® and would like to share your own success story, please email meetthepooches@gmail.com.