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 name it, we need it! 
Email us at 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 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 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!