Somehow it’s only Thursday, HOW?! I swear it was Thursday like, three days ago. But, today I get to meet with Susan Russell, the Director of Chicago Animal Care & Control. She’s basically the top dog here in the Chicago rescue world and I’m so anxious/nervous/might pass out/excited to speak with her shortly. But before that, something else that’s been on my bucket list: I visited One Tail at a Time. I was NOT disappointed.
In Chicago, we have a lot of rescues. Each is completely unique and doing (mostly) wonderful things for the animals of this city and the country (and the world). But you can’t talk about rescue efforts in Chicago without talking about One Tail at a Time (OTAT) because they are true innovators. Last year, they saved over 500 dogs, and this year they’re on track to save 600. Say what?! When you hear these numbers, you must think they have a large space to house all these dogs. Nope, it’s because of their devoted volunteers and fosters.
A couple of weeks ago, I got a message from a hairstylist named Natalie who told me she was a volunteer at OTAT. She was so kind and asked if I wanted to get my hair styled and then head over to their Adoption Center for some photos. This was basically like getting asked to sit at the cool kids’ table (which I’d never experienced before)… while also getting your hair done. You can imagine my response (something like EEEE YESSS!!) so we set a date. Meeting and speaking with Natalie, we hit it off like we were longtime friends. Between her passion for animals and her talent for hair, we were quick pals.
I think this is part of what makes OTAT so successful. They do an incredible job at making connections and friends. It’s easy to see why people who adopt a pet from them become lifelong supporters. They create a community and a family of individuals who are passionate about helping animals. Everyone I met at OTAT was friendly, outgoing, and ready to chat about any and all things rescue. Perhaps the coolest part was how involved everyone seemed to be.
In some organizations, there can be a lot of red tape. When Natalie first messaged me, I told her I was totally game if OTAT was, and it turns out, they’re game for a lot. Their Board and volunteers are constantly coming up with new and creative ways to raise money and support their rescue efforts. Natalie is in the midst of planning a “braid bar” fundraiser, OTAT’s Sit-in for Shelter Dogs is June 3, and of course, one cannot miss their Tiny Dog 500 (scheduled for August).
They’ve had unique ideas throughout the years, but nothing compares to Chicagoland Rescue Intervention & Support Program (CRISP), a truly ground-breaking initiative. CRISP is comprised of nine organizations that work together to keep pets in their home and out of Chicago Animal Care and Control. They divert animals away from the city shelter and directly into rescues around the area, it has saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.
Summarizing my thoughts on OTAT, their passion is infectious. You can’t help but feel inspired by the work they are doing and the constant reinvention of what rescue looks like. As a woman, I look up to their co-founder Heather who started it all with a desire to help animals. It’s grown because of the lives they touch and the lives they save, both two and four-legged.
Interested in getting involved with OTAT? Check out their volunteer opportunities here! If you love OTAT, share it in the comments below!
Heartbreaker #1 – Ladies (and gentlemen), meet Roger. This
dog pony is the most handsome boy with the cutest gallop. He prances all around like he owns the place, and that’s partially because he does. Cara, the Director of Development, calls Roger her boyfriend and it’s easy to see why. He’s a fluffy, handsome, goofy guy just trying to find his place in this world. If he used a pick-up line, it would most certainly be, “I want to be the only dog in your home, because I only have eyes for you.” Want to be Roger’s forever girl/guy? Check him out here.
Heartbreaker #2 – So you know that feeling when you’re pretty sure your husband will divorce you if you bring home another animal but like said animal is so cute and perfect you have to weigh your options? Yea, that happened. Cara (named after the human OTAT Cara) was everything you could want in a pup, and someone scooped her up already. Yay Cara!! If you’re looking for a similar pup, check out Arlo.
After Natalie made me look like a VS Angel (in my own mind) we headed to Free People. Well, lol because Natalie told me about this jumpsuit and that I needed to have it. So what’s a girl to do? It’s got pockets and I felt like a whimsical character out of Little Nemo. Shop the look below!
All photos: Margaret Rajic