Kuma was a "shelter dog."
Great Dane and German Shepard mix, most probably. Anywhere from 13 and 15 as far as we could guess, when he died. And an owner surrender, if memory serves. My mother and daughter being the ones who brought him back, making the trek to the Animal Welfare League in the City from Northwest Indiana. During his first few years with them, he was always nervous, often shaking, running upstairs at a glance or entreaty to "come here." Our thinking being it because he was most likely abused, verbally anyway, and left outside, bored, scared, chained up. He was skinny, malnourished. There was a beautiful soul of a woman at the shelter who "sold" them on Kuma (then Bosley). Going on what a great dog he was and how he would make a fine pet.
So to a loving home in NWI, Kuma came.
Then 13 or So Years Later...
I took Kuma in, for what we thought would be temporary, when my mother got sick. But then three months later she died. Then the day after Christmas last year, my beloved Bichon Frise Cody had to be put to sleep. And now this, almost two years after I took him in, Kuma had to be put to sleep. His health had been deteriorating for a while. During that time, I thought that I would not get another animal for a long bit. Most likely when I retired.
But you don't have companion animals for thirty years of your life and then instantly not have them. And be okay. At least I wasn't.
So within the month, I thought well, maybe.
In the end, with the help of family, I realized that my initial decision was the best one. I work full-time. My place is small. I'm often gone a lot (including business travel). Now was not the time to adopt (or otherwise get) an animal.
But I still desperately wanted, NO NEEDED to have a companion animal in my life. Then the "aha moment." Why not use my resources to make a difference in the lives of many animals instead of just one. And how about doing things that could help shelter and other homeless animals have the kind of "good life" that we created for Kuma and the companion animals who had enriched my life for nearly 30 years.
Time to think outside the crate...
For the fuller Founder's Story click here. Or learn more about our mission and our vision for accomplishments (below the pictures of Kuma and other pets which are the inspiration for starting Chicago South P.A.A.W.S.)
Of the almost 89.7 million dogs and 94.2 million cats that share our homes in the United States (APPA), 23 percent and 31 percent, respectively, came from an animal shelter (ASPCA, n.d.).
STANDING BY HOMELESS ANIMALS,
STANDING UP FOR ANIMAL COMPANIONSHIP
Unfortunately more than 6.5 million companion animals end up in U.S. shelters each year. As bad as that is--even worse--many of those animals don't find their forever homes easily, quickly or even make it out alive.
Southland Animal Friends Society is a small, but growing social enterprise dedicated to changing those numbers, with a focus on helping homeless animals and promoting animal companionship in the Chicago Southland.
To spread awareness of pet welfare projects and causes-- like Pets for Life--throughout the Chicago Southland. To build a network of animal lovers, advocates, and activists--especially those whom haven't been typically associated with the animal welfare community.
Adopt, foster, sponsor, volunteer, donate, or educate.