Chicago organization helps disabled dogs

March 15, 2009 7:25:15 AM PDT
Saving the lives of humankind's more vulnerable furry companion goes a long way.Seven years ago, a woman started a rescue organization that saves dogs with disabilities.

Lou is a one-year-old Australian Shepherd mix who is deaf and visually impaired. He has been adopted by Tiffany Wilson.

"We decided to start fostering him because we had a dog for 16 years, and he was deaf the last three years of his life. So, when he passed, we had big hole in our house," said Wilson. "We saw him [Lou[, and he was deaf, and we wanted to find a home for him."

Looking at two and one-half-year-old Hugo, you would never know what he has been through, says owner Anna Marshall.

"He'd been hit by a car or a truck and found by the side of the road with a broken leg and taken to animal control," Marshall said. "He had a very badly broken leg, and then he developed pneumonia."

"When we adopted him, he still had the steel plate in his leg, but they removed that this summer," said Marshall.

Thanks to the Chicago Canine Rescue, Lou's and Hugo's lives have been saved. Lisa Klotnia, the founder, finds disabled or hard-to-place dogs from different shelters.

"We would go pick those animals up, and it is very 'baptism by fire' because you're not sure what you're going to do, but you're going to figure it out," the founder said.

Whether it's medical care, rehabilitation, fostering or adoption, the organization works at finding the best solution for each dog.

"I think that Chicago Canine Rescue is probably the most open shelter to taking in animals with disabilities. I think, a lot of times, shelters end up with animals with disabilities, and maybe that's discovered afterwards," said Klotnia.

Several Chicago vets also help with the dogs.

"Animal Art?has been boarding animals for us," Klotnia said. "Rosco Village Animal Hospital has also taken on a major amount of animals that need to have hospitalization and intensive care."

In addition to medical support, each dog is evaluated and trained by board member and training expert Janice Triptow.

"I help Chicago Canine Rescue assess the dogs that are coming in. What would be or what are good placement limitations to place on them? And what are the best placements for particular dogs? So, I help them with those issues," Triptow said.

Hugo and Lou are two lucky dogs. There are many more who are in need of homes, says full-time volunteer Ken Whitener.

"We're working to [make] them medically adoptable, and we're working to find them homes," said Whitener.

"I adore this dog. I love him," Marshall said of her Hugo.

Thousands of dogs are in need of homes, including those with disabilities. Please consider giving a dog a home.

To learn more about Chicago canine rescue and the people involved in the organization, go to and