The Year in Review

from New Leash On Life Chicago!

As yet another year winds down, we at New Leash on Life Chicago would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the dogs we have rescued, the wonderful adopters we've met, and the community we've built along the way.  This has been a great year for us - we have rescued almost as many dogs as we did in 2009 and 2010 - combined.  Granted, those were tough years because of the economy, but we are thrilled to be on pace with 2008's numbers again. 

Beyond looking at the number of dogs saved, this is also a time for us to ensure that we're holding true to our mission: finding loving homes for dogs at risk of euthanasia at Chicago's Animal Care and Control ("ACC").   We only consider those dogs who have not been selected for the adoption floor (and thus aren't available to the public).  While we find all kinds of dogs on death row,  we try to save as many hard-to-adopt dogs as we can because the odds of them making it out of ACC alive are slim.  These include: adult and senior dogs, dogs with injuries or health conditions, those in need of grooming, big black dogs, lovable mutts, shy dogs, and of course the bully breeds. 

After reviewing the email below, we think you'll agree that we've successfully carried our our mission and have had a pretty amazing year!  We are excited for 2012 and hope to continue building on our momentum.  Until then, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!  

Adult and Senior Dogs 
There are few things more heartbreaking than seeing an adult or senior dog in a cage at ACC, knowing that they have been raised by a family that has abandoned them for one reason or another. We have a soft spot for the oldies, with their graying muzzles and easy-going personalities.  Some added benefits of adopting an older dog?  You already know their temperament and quirks, and they're (usually) housebroken! 
So let's toast to a few of this year's dogs who were over five years old: 
 Adults & Seniors 2011
*Bessie is still looking for a foster or forever home! 
The "Medical Dogs"
Vet bills take up a vast majority of our budget, and even the healthy-seeming dogs we rescue can have hidden and costly medical issues.  We've had a mix of both this year - dogs we knew were sick and hoped to help, and those we thought were healthy but needed extensive medical care: 
Medicals 2011These 6 pups are our "major" medical dogs of 2011.  Sadly, after lots of tests and treatments, our team of vets diagnosed the gentle giant Francesca with lymphoma and we had to let her go to be painless and in peace.  But the other dogs have been treated for their varying ailments - including heartworm (Greer and Audrey), a rare eye disorder requiring surgery (Levi), a fractured growth plate (Nick) and a sweet puggle covered in chemical burns (Pancake).   They are all healthy and loving life, thanks to our generous donors and incredible vets.  
**Both Nick and Pancake are still looking for their forever homes! 

Pit Bulls

Our love of bully breeds is unending. They are wonderful family dogs, loyal companions, and each has a truly unique personality.  It breaks our heart to see how many of the dogs at ACC are pit bulls and mixes whose odds of finding a rescue to save their lives are pretty slim - all because of their breed. We proudly rescued and found homes for many of these beautiful bullies, including: 

2011 Pitties * Ferris is still looking for a foster or forever home!!

Black Dogs 
It's been well documented that black dogs, especially large ones, are euthanized at alarmingly high rates in shelters.  Maybe they don't photograph as well as others or look intimidating to some.  But that doesn't scare us away!  Each of our 2011 black dogs is as lovable and beautiful as every other dog, and each has been adopted!  
Black Dogs 2011
Shy Dogs
The pound is a loud and scary place, so it's no wonder that so many dogs completely shut down from fear.  The problem is, if they don't make eye contact and make a connection with potential adopters, they are often labeled as unadoptable for being too skittish and shy.  We have seen some amazing transformations by simply taking these "shy" dogs outside, letting them romp around in the grass, and spending a little time with them.  
Shy dogs 2011
These are some of this year's "shy" dogs.  Needless to say, they aren't shy any more!  Noca is still looking for her forever home. 
Murphy and Parents

And who could forget Murphy, who was so skittish when we first rescued him that he backed out of his collar while on a walk, ran a few miles and then took a swim in the Chicago River?  In fairy tale ending you only see in Disney movies, the wonderful firefighter who rescued a terrified Murphy from the river soon welcomed him into his family!   Amazing! 
Diamonds in the Rough
We encounter a lot of dogs who need a little grooming, but Janice and Drake take the cake. Their legs were webbed together, we couldn't tell where their ears stopped and the mattes began, they had dreadlocks, and they smelled like a porta-potty.   But one thing was clear - in true canine form and despite the abuse they suffered - their resilient spirits were not broken!  With some intense grooming, they are just like new again and have both been adopted! 
Matted Dogs 2011 
Good Ol' Mutts 
When ACC makes the difficult decision of which dogs to put on the adoption floor (and which are available to the public), the mutts with indiscernible breed mixtures are often passed over even though they are just as cute, smart, and lovable as the purebreds.  If you have a hard time venturing to guess what breed a dog might be, then it's simple: it's a New Leash dog! We love mutts, and have rescued several this year: 
2011 mutts

Dogs & the New Leash on Life Family

New Leash is 100% committed to finding each NLOL dog a loving family of their very own, no matter how long it may take.  We know there is the perfect family for each of our dogs, so it's just a matter of time until they find each other.  Fortunately, most dogs find a home in a matter of days or weeks, although for some it can take a few months.  
Karl w/ remote control
And then there's Karl, who was rescued from ACC on Valentine's Day of 2009.  Karl was a former yard dog and was a bit rough around the edges, not used to living in a home or trusting people. Thanks to the hard work of Daniel McElroy, the rest of the Bark Avenue staff, and some dedicated NLOL volunteers, Karl slowly transformed from "Backyard Karl" into "Good Dog Karl." 
On June 11, 2011, over 2 years after becoming a NLOL dog, Karl was adopted!  He now lives a life of luxury with his new dad, who took a chance on a handsome red dog with a rough past and ended up with his perfect canine match.  As you can see, Karl has settled into domestic life quite well. 

Adopters & the New Leash on Life Family
 Return business is the best compliment a company (and rescue) can get, so we will take it as a good sign that we've had several "repeat shoppers" this year.  
 2011 new siblings
Kameko & JudeAnd let's not forget Kameko.  We rescued her in 2006 and she has spent the last few years enjoying life with a wonderful dad.  Sadly, he had to move overseas this year to take care of a sick relative, and was heartbroken that he couldn't take his beloved Kameko with him.  Once a New Leash dog, always a New Leash dog, and we promised him we'd find her a great new home.  And look who came along - NLOL alum Jude and his parents!  Kameko fit right in with the family, and her dad was so relieved and happy to hear the news!

While the rest of our repeat shopper stories are tinged with sadness because it means that a former NLOL alum has passed away, we find comfort knowing that they spent the best years of their lives with wonderful families.  So here's a little photo tribute to some of our alumni who have passed, the lucky dogs who have found their way into a wonderful new home, and the amazing families who have opened their homes to another NLOL dog.   

RIP dogs 2011

Much of this year's success is due to the new volunteers we've had join our ranks.  We've added 5 new adoption counselors, several new foster families, and countless more volunteers who help out at weekly adoption events.   While rescuing animals can be emotional and exhausting, it can also be extremely rewarding and uplifting.  So we'd like to thank all of our volunteers, new and old, for giving up their precious free time to help us on our mission.  
If you're interested in getting more involved in NLOL, we are ALWAYS looking for new foster families, fundraising help, dog handlers and transporters for Saturday adoption events, PR and marketing help, graphic designers...you name it, we need it! 
Email us at chicago@nlol.org or visit our website for more information!  

We can only continue doing this work with the generous financial support of our donors.  Because we don't have employees or a facility, 100% of the money we raise is spent caring for our dogs and keeping them safe, healthy, and happy as they wait for their forever home.  All donations are tax-deductible.

Donations can be made on our website or you can mail a check to us at 
4064 N. Lincoln Ave. #374, Chicago, IL 60618.
We are also running our NAME A DOG fundraiser through the end of the year!  For each donation over $200, you get to pick a name for one of our 2012 dogs.  This is a great gift for dog-lovers and friends who have everything!
 Just write your selected name in the "description" section of the donation form.*   
If you'd like to make a donation or enter the Name A Dog fundraiser on behalf of someone else, email amber@nlol.org after making the donation and we can send you a customized receipt or card.

We are also in need of prong and martingale collars, leashes, new and gently used dog beds, coats, harnesses, dog bowls, towels, blankets, and toys.  
You can always drop them off at our Saturday adoption events!
*If the name you've chosen already belongs to a past NLOL dog, we'll contact you for your second choice.  Email amber@nlol.org with any questions. 
Finally, let's not forget NLOL's dogs currently looking for foster and forever homes
 Please spread the word to family and friends - the sooner they're adopted or fostered, the sooner we can go rescue more dogs!
2011 adoptables
*Annie, Clark, Bessie, and Ferris need foster homes! 

On behalf of all the dogs saved and those still dreaming of rescue, HAPPY HOLIDAYS and THANK YOU for your support!  

Nick in BIG time of an Immediate Foster Home

Meet one of our newest NLOL addtions, Nick. Nick is a gentle giant of a puppy who is what we like to call a Chicago Brown Dog. This means he has any mix of different breeds in him but he is gorgeous to us all the same. 
We met Nick on a recent trip to Chicago's overcrowded Animal Care and Control. We passed by his cage twice before stopping to take a closer look. He sat still-watching us with huge brown eyes as we tried to decide who would be going home with us that day.
We couldn't pass by a third time and pulled him out for a trial. This big kid nailed it with his goofy face, oversized paws and huggable qualities. We pulled him into our family.
 Unexpectedly, Nick started limping right as we were going to test him with one of our partner daycare facilities. On further inspection, it was quickly determine that this limp had to be X-rayed. Nick had somehow fractured a growth plate in his knee and last week had pins put in to help correct it. He obviously could not now go to daycare-as it could cause further injury through playtimes. He just needs some time to recover (and the docs are anticipating FULL recovery!)

We NEED your help. Nick needs to go into a foster home as soon as possible. This kid was patiently waiting his turn to get out and be loved-and we are determined to help him get that. It has been recommended that he go into a foster home to recover, where he'll need to spend a month resting. He'll have a sling to help him up any stairs for the first two weeks, so that he doesn't put pressure on the joint. After the first two weeks, he can start to do some, but not all the time. He should be crated when he's not sitting with someone, and only go out for bathroom breaks, not walks. We prefer a no-dog home for this month recovery. 

Please help us help this puppy get over this small hump. NLOL provides all food, crate, materials, and will pay for dog walking services if needed by the foster home. Contact us at chicago@nlol.org OR amy@nlol.org if you or someone you know can help!

Newsflash: SuperLevi is Reunited with his SuperHero Family

 (Photo taken Levi's 1st night in his new home!)

For the longest time we couldn't figure out why it was taking so long for SuperLevi to be adopted. Besides being a fantastically easy city dog, hanging out at outdoor cafes and neighborhood festivals with ease, he is incredibly handsome, goofy, and comes with his own superhero roll.
But when we met his new family, we realized why it had taken so long: he needed to be reunited with a fellow superdog.

See, this is Greta. And she comes with her own superhero story. When Greta was rescued as a pup, she was severely malnourished with festering open wounds. But, this courageous pooch used her superdog powers to overcome it. Though at a mere 2 1/2 years old, it seems those evil villains had come back to rumble with Greta again, this time in the form of blood cancer. And in this tougher battle, Greta sacrificed a limb, but came out with her dignity and spirit. And while the oncologist estimated it was only a matter a months, Greta has used her superdog strength to go beyond this estimate, full of energy and sass and able to outrun all her 4-legged friends.

 As Greta's Mom says: When Greta, my 3 year old rescue pittie, was first diagnosed with blood cancer, it hit me like a ton of bricks. For the first couple weeks, I walked around in a daze and it constantly felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. Her oncologist told me it could be a matter of a few months, and this was something I just couldn’t wrap my head around. She has become such a huge and positive part of my life, and after having her for less than two years, I just wasn’t ready to let her go. After she had the amputation surgery to get rid of her tumor and she began to heal, it became apparent that she isn’t ready to go anywhere either. Her energy is still up, she is getting around great and she still has a lot of life left in her. She is one tough cookie, and I am continuously inspired by her resilience.
Before she was diagnosed, I started thinking about fostering a second dog. I have a very flexible work schedule and was finally feeling financially stable enough to help out another furry friend. This idea was put on the back burner while figuring things out with Greta, but soon after she healed from her surgery, I was more interested than ever in a second dog. But, given the circumstances, I decided to adopt instead of just foster. I felt like it would really help Greta enjoy her time left, give me some comfort for the future, and then there was the added bonus of providing another dog with a very loving home.

Now the big question: How do I find the right dog to bring into our family? I’ve been a fan of the blog Two Pitties in the City for a while now, and when I saw Levi, their fun-loving foster dog, I fell in love. Greta can be a little picky when it comes to her companions, but she has a big soft spot for male pit bulls with lots of energy. Plus, his alter-ego is Super Levi, so maybe he would be able to tap into his super healing powers to help Greta? It sounded like a match made in Heaven. 
When we first decided to bring Levi into the household, I remember saying to my boyfriend “I wonder if he will have as many strange quirks as Greta?” I should have known better after reading the Two Pitties blog…what a goofball! So far he has kept things so light and fun around the house, we’ve barely even thought of Greta’s cancer at all. Although it took her a couple days to warm up to his overzealous nature and inherent lack of boundaries (check out the pic below of him sitting on her), he has grown on her significantly. They are best buds now, and I have never seen her so happy and at ease. She grows to love him more and more each day, and it’s actually quite amazing to watch.

We couldn't be happier for Levi and his new family. And Levi has already been living it up with the new fam: going to outdoor cafes for brunch, city walks to the deli, joining up for a SociaBulls walk, and even making his way into bars as the perfect ambassadog:

The best part, we will still be able to see plenty of SuperLevi. Not only did we get the luck that from the entire Chicagoland area he lives mere blocks from us, but just like any great superhero, he has his own 'spinoff' blog. You can see his handsome face and read about his crazy adventures on Greta's blog here.

But wait...there's more!
We had so many people supporting us in finding Levi's (super) x-ray vision that we were all able to save SuperLevi's x-ray vision AND have enough money left over to rescue another dog in need of medical care. Please read this incredible thank you note from his rescue, New Leash on Life, because now "one sick pup in Chicago's pound who has been dreaming of rescue will have its wish granted-all because of you and Super Levi. So we'd like to say one last SUPERSIZE THANK-YOU FOR HELPING SUPER LEVI."

And for the Raffle Results:
We really wish we were like Oprah where we could give prizes to everyone, but since we're just us...our friends at New Leash drew the raffle results using a random number generator.

Ruffwear Overcoat: Kiira Ratia
Dog Sweater: Mary Agnew
Dog Sweater: Jessica Berson
Dog BackPack: Emily Hawkins
Go Pro Camera: Laurie Loweecey
Sirius Republic Collar: Natasha Ambuster
Silly Buddy Collar: Rachel Kirby
Doggie Biscuit Care Package: Cheryl Green
Doggie Biscuit Care Package: Kate Bedford
Winners: Watch for an email letting you know how you will receive your prizes.

We can't thank you all enough for helping SuperLevi save his x-ray vision. Check SuperLevi's blog for updates on his new life and upcoming surgery, and stay tuned to meet that special pooch who has been dreaming of rescue, and will now have his wish granted.

Thank You, Thank You, For Saving SuperLevi's Eyesight!

 New Leash on Life has always been amazed by the generosity of our supporters, but this time you
have really outdone yourselves.  When we first learned that Super Levi would need expensive eye
surgery, we started thinking of ways to raise enough money to cover at least part of the $2,700
cost. NLOL is committed to making sure our dogs are and remain healthy while they await their
forever home, so it was never an option not to protect Levi's eyesight.  At the same time, the
number of dogs we can rescue is directly tied to our bank account balance, and it's always sad
 to leave Chicago's pound with fewer dogs than we hoped to rescue just because we can't afford

Thanks to the amazing generosity of New Leash on Life's extended family, the hard work of our
dedicated volunteers, and the incredible support from Two Pitties in the City followers, we managed
to raise a total of $4,600 in a few short weeks!  Super Levi's vision is safe!

We were already planning to make a trip to Chicago's Animal Care and Control in early December
to rescue more dogs. With this extra $1,900 burning a hole in our pocket, we will honor 
those of you who donated to Levi by rescuing another dog in need of medical 
care!   Thanks to your support, we will not only be able to leave the pound with several healthy
new dogs, but also one (or maybe more!) who needs some help getting back on their feet.  We
will be in touch with our favorite staff members at the pound as our intake date draws near to see
what kinds of "medical cases" they have and which ones might be a good fit for the NLOL family.

It's been amazing to see people near and far rallying behind the silly, petite, adorable, and
truly blessed Levi. We are humbled and grateful for all of your support, and we know
Super Levi is as well.  We are also so excited that one sick pup in Chicago's pound who has
been dreaming of rescue will have its wish granted - all because of you and Super Levi.
So we'd like to say one last SUPERSIZE THANK-YOU FOR HELPING SUPER LEVI.  

We’d also like to recognize these folks for donating raffle items, graphic design skills, photography
talents, and their precious time and energy:

  • Sirius Republic Collars--http://www.siriusrepublic.com/
  • Silly Buddy Collars--http://www.etsy.com/shop/SillyBuddy
  • Waldo Bungie Blog Custom Knit Dog Sweaters--http://waldobungie.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/tiennot-knits-tuesdays-2/
  • Trissi's Homemade Dog Treat Care Packages--http://foodnetworkwannabe.blogspot.com/2011/11/house-guests-raffles-and-cookingoh-my.html
  • Our photographer Rasidel Slika (links to pictures coming soon)
  • Claudia Richman (NLOL adopter and all around great woman) for her help on the shirts and event planning -- http://afranklinaday.blogspot.com/
  • Frances Almeda for designing the shirts and bandanas: http://www.almedagrill.com/
  • Aleksandra from Love and a Leash blog for her ideas and support-- http://loveandaleash.com/
  • All the supportive members of SociaBulls dog walking group 
  • E&A, of Two Pitties in the City fame, for fostering Levi, noticing his eye problems, and dreaming up the entire fundraiser
  • Damen Avenue Screen Printing for their amazing service and help getting the shirts and bandannas printed
  • And last but not least, all the fantastic NLOL volunteers and supporters who got the word out, shared Levi’s story, and walked in his honor! 

Super Levi just can't contain his excitement! His vision is safe, he's made a million new friends, and he helped rescue another sick pup from Chicago's pound! He's a superhero, indeed!Levi is flying off to his next big adventure, with his vision safe from those evil villains! Stay tuned for more details!

SuperLevi's Super Supporters

We have been beyond astonished by the amount of support flooding in for our little SuperLevi, and seeing how far his story reached has been truly humbling. We have received support from 36 states, plus Canada!
While we know some people are even vacationing and will have photos coming soon, we were beyond overwhelmed to see so many proud pooches across the nation walking in honor of SuperLevi and wishing him well.
From former foster dog Pauley James and his boy, all the way in Kentucky sitting proudly.

Rachel, Joe, Luke (the black lab mix) and Amy (tiny foster fail pitbull!) out in Cream Ridge, New Jersey.

Adorable Nina from the Bay Area, California
Apollo, Laci and Lexi showing support on the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Turk and Rufus out in Kansas City.
Lark and Lola hiking out in California.
Another Levi in West Virginia sending support.
Pink Daisy and Roscoe in California
And even little Mouse who is so small his bandana is more like a cape. But he wore it with attitude.
Jazmin and Maggie with the wind blowing through their ears all the way in Minnesota.
Another Levi and brother Neptune from St. Louis
Who are proud dog siblings to newly born baby Elsa (who has her very own zoo!)
Kamanchi in Ohio who thinks wearing his SuperLevi bandana will give him the ability to move the hamburger into his mouth without his Mom even noticing:
Annika, Chlly, and Flaca proudly representing from northern California
Nabi and Willie taking time for a Superhero stroll while vacationing in Michigan
Beautiful Billy representing, but sad he couldn't come walk in person
Super Leland charging up his superpowers (his Dad designed the shirt and bandanas!)
Fellow New Leash on Life Alumni smiley Wanda
 Sassy Maize representing proudly:
Fellow New Leash on Life Alumni Kameko and Jude. Jude is even showing how excited he is to walk!
Well wishes all the way from New York City from Lucy and My Boy Bill
Kind words from New Leash on Life alumni Bean. Bean and Miss M were in the same 'pledge class' as they were pulled from ACC at the same time.
It has been so amazing to have all this support and see how everyone has really helped out so much. We are still excited to see photos from those walkers who had to be out of town for the weekend.
Here is a sneak peek of our local Chicago walk where 20+ dogs, dressed in Superhero gear, descended upon the Wrigleyville neighborhood. Some of the pooches even do superhero tricks!
We are still finalizing the raffle requests before we have the drawing, and summing up our totals. Stay tuned...

Details on SuperLevi's Superhero Walk (November 12)

We have been very excited about the response to SuperLevi's Superhero walk to save his (super)vision, and here are the long-awaited details about the walk occurring next weekend. We will be returning to one of Levi's favorite places and our walk will be beginning and ending at Chicago's iconic Wrigley Field.

In Chicago
When: Saturday, Nov 12
Place: Wrigley Field (starting and ending) We will have a fun 2 mile walk winding through the streets of Wrigleyville.
Time: "Registration" and T-shirt distribution begins at 9:30. The walk begins promptly at 10:00.
Events: Feel free to dress for our Superhero theme (Spoiler Alert: Miss M is coming as the 'Kissing Bandit'!). We will have photo opportunities with your pooches and photos with SuperLevi, Miss M, and Mr. B, and a couple other fun surprises.
Other: Because we are expecting a high volume of dogs in one place, no retractable leashes please.
RSVP: So we can get a sense of who is coming, please RSVP to Kelsey at kelseynlol@gmail.com

Virtual Walk
We were very excited to receive so many T-shirt and bandana orders from far away, and we would love to see your photos of you and your pooches walking in SuperLevi gear.
Just like on New Years Eve where there are constant reports coming in, please post your photos onto Facebook throughout the day so we can see who is walking and where you're from.
You can post photos:
-On Two Pitties in the City Facebook page here.
-And New Leash on Life Chicago Facebook page here.
-Please also email us your photos, using the envelope icon on the side of our blog, with the photos of your walk and heading 'SuperLevi Walk' so we can use them in an upcoming post.

 There is still time to order your flying SuperLevi T-shirt and dog bandana. T-shirts are $30 (+$3 shipping) and include a bandana. Extra bandanas are $15.Buying 2 shirts gives you 1 raffle ticket.
We are also having an AMAZING raffle where the odds of winning are really, really good. We are raffling off a Ruffwear Jacket, (2) Custom Knit Dog Sweaters, GoPro Camera, Ruffwear Backpack, Sirius Republic Collar, Silly Buddy Collar, and doggy care package. Read more about our raffle here.
Donations can be made securely at Levi's Rescue group, New Leash on Life, here. Note "For Levi" and indicate the size shirt or raffle prize you would like to win.
Thanks again to everyone for your support; the response has been so overwhelming!

PS. Photos taken by Emily of Our Waldo Bungie while she was visiting our SociaBulls walk. Aren't this photos so great?

Where do city dog go to relax? Check out NLOL alum Lola (formerly Miss Flo) as she vacations with her brother Franklin in dog-friendly Harbor County, Michigan.
We just returned from a week in Harbor Country, Michigan with our two dogs, Lola (big pitty girl) and Franklin (little shaggy guy). Lola and Franklin Chicago city dogs and don't often get to run in wide open spaces or go swimming, so we decided to find a not-to-far away retreat for our summer vacation this year and take them with us.

We found the perfect rental house on homeaway.com, called "It's A Dog's Life" boasting a large fenced in yard with doggy door and lots to do with the pups. Worried that it might not be as great in reality as it looked online, we loaded up the car, and drove the 80 miles to our temporary home.
As soon as we saw the "Have Fun Lola and Franklin" message on the chalkboard in the entryway, we knew it was going to be as good as we hoped. The back yard was beautiful, and the dogs loved being able to let themselves in and out of the house. They relaxed on the deck

and explored the yard
and chased rabbits.

Not only was the house dog-friendly, but the owner provided a list of places to go with your dog. We took them to Weko Beach where they cooled off in Lake Michigan and hung out on the beach.

We did the tourist thing in New Buffalo.
We tried going for a hike but the bugs were too bad to even stop to take a picture. There was even CDs of pet spa music to soothe the dogs in an unfamiliar environment when the humans went to the nearby brewpub.

And the dogs enjoyed napping on new beds and couches

(sorry mom! I don't always make the bed on vacation). We're planning a return visit with the pups in the fall, when we can get that hike in and see the fall color.