I have the calendar ready…Hello, 2011 – here I come!
Following the objectives of “365” projects, I’ve decided to set a goal this year to post each day about someone or something that represents an effort to better the welfare and the lives of animals. There are so many dedicated people, and wonderful organizations, that toil on behalf of our fellow creatures. And there are so many ways to get involved, to give something back; anyone and everyone can do something to make this world a better place.
I got the idea, quite frankly, from I Love Rescue Animals, where Ashley will be wearing a different shirt each day this year, promoting shelters, rescue groups, organizations and projects that work on behalf of animals. Check out their site! And if you are in a group, send in your shirt to them! Nikki and Ashley’s goal is to raise awareness of the many ways people can get involved, and to promote these advocacy channels. Kudos to I Love Rescue Animals, I wish them great success! I won’t be wearing any shirts (okay, maybe I said that wrong!), and I won’t be marking the day count. I’ve just made a resolution to find animal advocacy at its best throughout the year.
It’s a no-brainer, the first of my 365 posts would be about the rescue organization I’ve volunteered with since 2005, when it first began. A handful of dedicated animal-lovers became disillusioned with the organization they had been involved with, when the majority of board members voted to change their rescue policies. Unbelievably, they decided to concentrate on cats alone, which would not be a problem – except they planned to euthanize any remaining dogs they hadn’t found homes for.
Finding this beyond incomprehensible, this group formed their own organization, Almost Home Foundation, and began what would become an incredible journey. They took on the remaining dogs to save their lives, and took on the momentous task of putting together all the pieces that are necessary for a successful business. Within two months, they not only had been adopting out dogs, they began taking in cats and established themselves as both a dog and cat rescue group.
In the beginning, it was a quaint group of core people, working together to “cover the bases”. Amazingly, the numbers grew like weeds in both the amount of animals rescued, and the homes found for them. Not to mention, the number of volunteers who have joined to do what they can to help. It was a whirlwind of growth and expansion, and from its very modest beginnings in February of 2005, Almost Home Foundation has since grown into an impressive organization, one of the largest rescue groups for the northwest suburban area of Chicago.
Over the past few years, Almost Home has taken in stray pets from local municipalities, saved the lives of at-risk animals from high-kill shelters throughout our state and sometimes from further away, rescued dogs during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (a small group of dedicated volunteers actually went and helped out, then brought some back), and even found Forever Homes for some former puppy mill victims. All of this has been done without a shelter; the pets have stayed in foster homes, lovingly cared for, until their Forever Homes were found. The new goal for 2011? Almost Home’s resolution this year is to complete the dream of obtaining the donations and funding needed to build or buy a shelter. Even more cats and dogs could have a chance for adoption then! For example, dogs rescued from hoarders, like the ones Almost Home took in, here –
The five original founders, Chuck, Gloria, Terri, Lynda and Claire, along with Deanne and Paul who became official board members when they accepted the roles of coalescing and establishing the cats, have probably never had one night without dreams of pets in need. They live every waking minute in dedication and honor to all pets who are homeless, and work their magic to rescue and find homes for thousands of grateful dogs and cats. Supporting their efforts and vision are a multitude of volunteers who also place priorities on these pets on any given day in their personal lives. These people are heroes – everyday people like you and I, but on a mission to prevent needless euthanasias and provide forever homes for our fellow creatures.
If you live in the area, there are countless ways in which you can get involved and become part of this great group. Just think of your interests, or your talents and any special experience you may have – and volunteer. If you can spare some of your time, a bit of space in your home and a part your heart – foster. (See Pawprints On My Heart) The same holds true for any rescue and most shelters, you only need offer your time to them, it is always so very much welcomed and appreciated.