Happy Tuesday! This past weekend I had the best time volunteering with CRISP Chicago for their Parvo Prevention Project. From 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. we vaccinated and microchipped dogs in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood. I’ll be sharing all the details soon, but it was a huge success. When I volunteered with CRISP Chicago a few weeks ago, I worked alongside Johanna Bertini who introduced me to Bialy’s Wellness Foundation. It’s one of the most adorable and critical foundations I’ve worked with so let’s get started.
Erin Kowalski founded Bialy’s Wellness Foundation in 2014 in honor of a dog named Bialy. Little Bialy was found when she was two months old severely abused with a fracture to her T11 vertebrae. Her injuries left her hind legs in immobile and veterinarians told Erin they didn’t think Bialy would be able to walk again. After months of rehab, Bialy took her first few wobbly steps. She lived a happy year and a half before life became too much for her. Bialy became an angel in June of 2014 and shortly thereafter, Bialy’s Wellness Foundation was created.
The foundation helps families and rescues with the costs associated with care for special needs pets. Specifically, Baily’s helps with mobility issues related to paralysis, amputation, illness, and birth defects. They provide funds for physical therapy, equipment, vet visits, resources, and support. Bialy’s plays a crucial role in helping animals that would otherwise be euthanized in high kill-shelters.
Bialy’s also supports dogs with something called Geriatric Onset Laryngeal Paralysis Polyneuropathy, or GOLPP. Erin explained that GOLPP is when one of the dog’s longest nerves begins to deteriorate. The symptoms start with paralysis of the dog’s cartilage in the throat and progress to the back legs. While she was explaining this to me, I became emotional. This is exactly what happened to my dog Jackson. I was maybe 13 when Jackson passed away and I only vaguely understood why.
After hearing this, my eyes welled up and memories flooded my mind. I needed to take a minute as it was so unexpected to be emotional about a dog that passed away more than 17 years ago. It’s one of the reasons Erin impressed me so much. Erin is kind and upbeat and willing to explain things that are hard to hear. For someone who is working with animals that have faced some of the toughest situations, she’s managed to remain positive. Beyond that, she’s managed to save lives.
Bialy’s Wellness Foundation just celebrated their 77th pet in the program. An incredible feat for an organization barely four years old. What’s perhaps even more inspiring is that they approve and award grants to 75% of all their applicants. To date, Bialy’s has awarded almost $130,000 to animals with special needs. The work Bialy’s does in incredible and you can help support the work they do by donating here.
It was an absolute honor to meet and shoot with Bialy’s Wellness Foundation. I’m constantly in awe of the rescue community and the individuals behind it. I was so inspired by Bialy’s that I will be partnering for an upcoming event to help raise money to care for pets in need. Stay tuned, you know it will be a good time.
A big thank you to Erin who rounded up these three goofballs and met us on a hot day for what might be a favorite photoshoot.
Jack – Oh Jack. The first Pug to grace the pages of Rescue in Style and boy what a perfect dog for the task. Jack is an extremely goofy, outgoing, happy pup who gets along with pretty much everything and everyone he meets. He’s almost one year old and is getting the hang of his wheelchair. Oh, and if you live in an apartment with neighbors close by, don’t worry, his bark is little more than a whispered woof. Your neighbors will love him as much as you. Jack is currently being fostered by Erin and is available for adoption through Chicago Bully Breed Rescue. To apply to take this little nugget home, click here.
Josh – I know you love him, but you can’t have him. Josh is happily in his forever home with Erin but you can keep up with all of Josh’s adventures (and swoon over his cuteness) over on his Instagram. I promise you’ll get your daily dose of cuteness and find a few other familiar faces on his ‘gram.
Avocado – Don’t hate me but you can’t have her either. Avocado was born with Swimmers Syndrome, a condition which the puppy has a flattened chest and therefore moves its legs in a swimming motion. Someone tried to fix her condition by using a rubber band to keep her legs from splaying. She has permanent scars because of it but has since had proper therapy and is now able to walk normally. Avocado is a very good girl and a Bialy’s Wellness Foundation recipient and you can follow her here.
I found this skirt while shopping in Seattle. Surprisingly, there isn’t a ton of great shopping in Seattle so I stuck to the main stores. It runs a little large so I’d size down. I paired it with my wear-all tee and sandals. Shop the look below!
Photos: Margaret Rajic