Animal shelter, resort join forces during coronavirus crisis

In March, Paradise 4 Paws decided to close its Midway Airport location due to COVID-19.

Around the same time, ALIVE Rescue closed its adoption center to help slow the virus' spread, since it was difficult to social distance in the space.

The organizations had a previous business relationship, so when the opportunity presented itself, Operation RESCUE-19 seemed like the perfect solution.

Paradise 4 Paws provides the space, which allows for social distancing due to its size, while ALIVE Rescue pays their trained staff to care for its rescued animals.

"This space is around 20,000 square feet," ALIVE Rescue Founder, Kristen Gerali said. "At our old location, we couldn't even have cats. But here we're able to have up to 75 dogs, up to 12 cats and there are three indoor play spaces."

The animals ALIVE Rescue saves often come from high-kill shelters. Operation RESCUE-19 provides a space to get the animals out of the kill shelters more quickly.

"It's providing a space to evaluate their needs, give them medical equipment before putting them in a foster or adoptive home," said Jen Leemis, chief marketing officer of Paradise 4 Paws.

Over the past few months, more than 70 animals have been getting adopted virtually through zoom calls. And once owners start going back to work, Paradise 4 Paws can help get pets acclimated to being alone.

"We created Rescue Dog Welcome Week," Leemis said. "It's a week dedicated to acclimate dogs to new people, dogs and places."

Fifty percent of the proceeds from Rescue Dog Welcome Week will go back to the animal rescue or shelter people adopted their dogs from.

Click here to learn more about Paradise 4 Paws and ALIVE Rescue.