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Wolves celebrate the dog days of summer

The Chicago Wolves are taking the “dog days of summer” literally.

With no hockey being played, a group of front office staffers took the opportunity to head to the southwest part of Chicago last week and spent the day at the David R. Lee Animal Care Center. The group – which included members across all different departments – spent time learning about the shelter’s operations before spending time with the adoptable dogs, taking them outside for exercise and playtime.

“Chicago Animal Care and Control has been a longtime partner of the Wolves and is an organization that is near and dear to our hearts,” said community relations coordinator Becky Jarosch, who organized the outing. Jarosch plans to bring another group from the front office later this summer for a similar opportunity.

“We like to volunteer a few times throughout the summer to not only give back to the community but also raise awareness about the available dogs and pet adoption,” she said. “Finding forever homes for these animals is a huge priority here so any way we can help out, we do.”

Wolves staff members have made a habit out of volunteering at the shelter for multiple summers. During the season, the team contributes to the cause via its popular Adopt-A-Dog program, Skates’ Sidekicks, which enters its 12th year in 2014-15 and has helped find homes for more than 1,100 dogs.

The organization’s attitude toward the cause is apparent throughout; owner Don Levin is and has been a staunch supporter of CACC, including a recent donation from his family’s foundation to help with a significant renovation. Levin’s support has helped turned the Adopt-A-Dog program into one of the team’s major community efforts each season.

“We are extremely grateful for the partnership between Chicago Animal Care and Control and the Chicago Wolves,” said Brad Powers, CACC’s assistant to the director. “During the season, animals from the shelter get to visit Wolves games and fans get a chance to connect with a possible new furry family member! We feel blessed to be part of the Chicago Wolves family and look forward to continuing our strong relationship that benefits so many great animals.”

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CACC takes in more than 20,000 animals per year, including strays, rescues, and abandoned cats and dogs. They are one of the few “open admission” facilities, never turning away animals and providing them with veterinarian care, food, water, and shelter. Additionally, they respond to approximately 60,000 requests for service each year.

Because of the high volume of animals, volunteers are necessary to provide top-level care. The team of volunteers, which includes some that have been working with CACC for multiple years, help out by walking dogs, socializing cats, cleaning animal housing, and marketing of adoptable animals, among other specialized tasks.

“Volunteers play a critical role at our shelter,” Powers said. “Our volunteers ensure the great animals at CACC get the care, attention, and love they deserve.”

With the help of a dedicated staff, donations, and volunteers, CACC has seen its animal placement rate almost double since 2009, growing from 35.46 percent to 67.34 percent in 2013. And the shelter hopes to see those numbers grow after undergoing a recently-announced $8.2 million renovation, about which Powers said they are “ecstatic.”

The updates will include building repairs such as a new roof, which may undergo services like roof repair, and HVAC system and improvements to the animals’ housing areas. Powers said that, in conjunction with the upgrades, CACC looks to continue making progress as one of the Midwest’s largest open-admission municipal shelters.

“CACC will continue to partner with great organizations like the Chicago Wolves to fulfill our mission of protecting public safety and ensuring the humane care of animals through sheltering, pet placement, education, and animal law enforcement,” Powers said.

For more information on the Chicago Wolves Adopt-A-Dog program, visit chicagowolves.com/community/adopt-a-dog. To learn more about CACC or get involved as a volunteer, visit adoptchicago.org.