This story is written by PetSmart Charities’ roving reporter, Karen Lien Miller
It was easy to find the adoption area at the Petsmart in Wheaton, Ill., during National Adoption Weekend. I just looked for swarm of bright purple t-shirts—there were a lot of them. They were the army of volunteers from the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) of Illinois.
Their mission? Ensure the pets recently rescued from an alleged puppy mill auction in Missouri found good forever homes.
Nursed back to health, and puppy-ness
The ARF volunteers had fostered the dogs in their own homes—many for a long time. These puppy mill pets had to get used to being outside a cage and adjust to the feel of grass on their feet. Through this lengthy process, the volunteers formed a bond with their foster pups, and were so passionate about finding forever homes for them.
ARF places about 800 rescued dogs and cats in homes every year. “We work with a lot of special needs dogs and always rescue the moms, not just the puppies or kittens,” said Ann Persenaire, president of ARF.
All the foster families that work with ARF are licensed. They’re very serious about taking good care of the rescued pets, and finding them good homes.
Long journeys, happy endings
Foster parents Daniel Keck and Jennifer McDermott were excited to see their foster dog, aptly named Sweetie, go home with Victor Agapay and Rosalee Solomon.
Victor and Rosalee searched for more than a year to find the right dog to expand their family, which also includes a two-year-old cat named Gizmo. Daniel and Jennifer knew firsthand that Sweetie gets along great with their cats and were able to provide knowledge of Sweetie’s sweet disposition.
Sweetie was the first of many adoptions that day. “There’s always a lot more excitement in the store when ARF brings in dogs for adoption,” said Dan Kellner, manager of the PetSmart store in Wheaton, Ill. “ARF also runs the cat adoption program with a very devoted volunteer staff.”
Because they, like Jennifer, know that when one pet leaves, there’s always another homeless pet to take its place.