By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on January 4, 2024.
Bear needs a new home. The five-year-old mellow black mixed breed has been in foster care since his owner died several months ago.
He’s one of many dogs Windy City Rescue has been working to find a furever home for since the organization was started in 2009.
Since being founded the Windy City Rescue has worked to help find a perfect match for dogs who have already had one home and need one that will last the rest of their lives.
Since September, it’s only been able to help small dogs because of limitations of the group’s foster homes.
Bear was in the spotlight Saturday during a meet-and-greet at the westside location of Pet Value.
Volunteers on hand for the opportunity for potential adopters said he’s house trained and in his foster home has the run of the house. During an interview with the rescue volunteers, Bear was content to stretch out on the floor and be petted.
He’s one of three dogs the rescue is seeking a home for right now. Another is Birdie, a female pug mix that is not quite a year old. She’s said to be good with other dogs and needs a home with an active family so she gets enough exercise.
Their third dog being fostered is Tully, a female who is described as shy and quiet who needs patient owners who understand she’ll take time to warm up to them, her new home which preferably won’t have children because sudden movements and unpredictability would be too much for her.
Windy City’s team has dedicated volunteers who work to ensure the right homes are found for the dogs.
Janet Milne, a Windy City volunteer and a former Herald photographer who worked at the newspaper until the mid-1980s, says it’s especially hard to find homes for larger dogs. And potential owners are often reluctant about taking home black dogs, says Milne whose family adopted their dog from Windy City Rescue.
Their dog, she said, was best friends with a dog named Lucy belonging to Teymur Gafarov, a native of Azerbaijan who dropped by Pet Value to see Bear and chat with the Milne and fellow volunteer Linda Smith.
Smith says larger dogs are perceived as more difficult to manage “which necessarily might not be true,” and travelling, says Milne, can also be problematic.
Gafarov knows from personal experience finding rental accommodations when a big dog is part of the household can be difficult.
“It’s nearly impossible to find a place” with most landlords only allowing dogs under 35 pounds, he said.
He was lucky because his first landlord was a friend and his second was known through a friend but now Gafarov, who has roommates, is looking for a place of his own and “it’s nearly impossible.”
A lot of times the organization doesn’t have a lot of history on the rescues because often they get dumped off.
But Bear, who had an owner, is well behaved, said Smith.
He doesn’t need to be kept in a kennel and can be left out all day with full run of the house.
Small dogs generate a lot of interest among adoptions, said Smith, recalling a meet-and-greet with several puppies.
“What’s scary though, is it’s at Christmas time,” she said noting that some people will change their minds with Milne adding that people will consider dogs to be gifts.
“It’s not the best time to adopt,” said Milne.
“You’ve got to be ready.”
A support system is needed, said Milne.
Windy City is volunteer driven and has a list of people are pre-qualified, said Gafarov but “they have their certain criteria. They want a smaller dog, for instance. Gafarov’s roommates found a dog at Nicholas Sheran park which apparently had been dumped off. He took it to one of the rescue staff and didn’t even have to put up a posting because she already had pre-qualified people and it was the perfect dog for them.
“He went directly to their home.”
People have to fill out an indepth application form online at windycitycaninerescue.com if they are interested.
A home check is also done to make sure a home is suitable.
Meet and greets are done with potential owners then a trial is done. When the Milne’s picked up their dog Chloe for a weekend after meeting her at an event similar to Saturday’s, they knew they had the right match.
“This rescue is amazing,” said Milne.
Windy Rescue does meet and greets on a monthly basis on the last Saturday of the month.
All adopted dogs are vaccinated, microchipped and spayed or neutered as part of the adoption fee.