by Sarah Nelson
I’ve asked my parents a thousand times to bring my golden doodle puppy, Maximus, to visit my apartment for the day, but every time they respond with the same, lame excuse: “Well, what if your RA kicks you out?” I decided that I needed some new dog interactions to compensate for missing my Max. The Chicago Canine Rescue Foundation (CRRF) offers exactly that, and it is just a 10 minute bus ride west on Foster Ave.
Second-year student Abby Imperial and I trekked there on a mild, Monday afternoon recently, praising the fickle Chicago weather while we made our way past Mother Cluckers and found CRRF nestled on Elston Ave. While waiting in the lobby for our pair of dogs, we stuffed our pockets with the complimentary treats and became acquainted with an old, fuzzy sheepdog named Fozzy. I got the impression that he had been there for a while, but overheard the volunteers discussing a home visit scheduled for him that afternoon. CRRF offers a very good first impression to say the least, actively planning bright futures for their at-risk pets.
We were assigned Khloe and Haylee, an adorable pair of german shepherd mixes. We walked north to a forest preserve nearby, with winding paths and a hidden creek. Haylee had a pattern of spastic sprinting while Khloe steadily plodded on, until our dogs finally walked shoulder-to-shoulder down the muddy trail. It was an all-around, great way to spend the afternoon, and in the words of Imperial: “The dogs: amazingly adorable; the company: fantastically funny; the day: perfectly puppy-filled.”
We had a very positive experience at CCRF, and I truly believe that the dogs sheltered there have an equally positive experience. The foundation was founded in 2001 to help find permanent, loving homes for homeless dogs in Chicago, and has saved the lives of over 3,000 dogs and cats. Their mission is a noble one: “CCRF assists the animals that are the MOST vulnerable in our city – the dogs and cats that are slated for euthanasia because they are too old, too young, too injured, have disabilities, or have simply been overlooked for too long by potential adopters at other shelters.” They use creative ways to raise funding for their animals, including a Mutt Madness event during the month of March. They rely on fellow pet-lovers to contribute time, money, or both, to the constantly-fluctuating number of canines housed there. It is a great opportunity for North Parkers to be located so close to a foundation full of animals in need of compassion.
It is surprisingly easy to become a dog walker there – they only require a signature and hold onto your license while you walk their dogs. If you’re scared of mammoth-sized dogs or annoyed by tiny, yappy dogs, don’t worry – you can request any size of canine at the rescue. If you fall in love with one of their pups, you can ask for them specifically when you walk, assuming they don’t get adopted between your visits. They have other options for volunteers, such as playing with the dogs or signing up for the foster care program. Since I’m too far from home to see my own dog, much less adopt another, the next sunny day will find me walking the dogs of CCRF. As all North Parkers and Chicagoans know, a temperature above 55 degrees is never to be wasted inside. So the next time you are looking for something go enjoy a neighborhood stroll with Pierre the poodle or Piccadilly the Chihuahua by your side.