Is your dog ready for its close-up?
For the second year, the Forest Preserve District is seeking dog park patrons' pups to be featured in a 2021 calendar that will benefit the Will County Humane Society.
The 2020 debut calendar highlighted some of the most photogenic pups to patronize the dog parks, as well as dogs that have been helped by the humane society.
Sales of the 2020 dog park calendar netted almost $6,000 for the humane society, which is the oldest no-kill shelter in Will County.
The calendar is designed to highlight the District's six dog parks while also raising awareness — and funds — for an organization that does so much to help find new homes for hundreds of dogs each year. The deadline to apply to have your dog featured in the calendar is 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, August 19. (See below for application details.)
One of the most touching stories in the 2020 calendar was that of Woodie the Wonder Pup, who was rescued by the human society after his back paws were severed and he was abandoned in a forest preserve. Shelter workers found medical care and adoptive parents for Woodie, who was fitted with prosthetics, and he is now happily padding about his forever home.
Humane society shelter manager Malorie Ernst said the calendar collaboration is a great way for neighboring organizations to help each other.
"Both organizations have a genuine impact on our community and take pride in the work they do to better our community and the animals in it," she said.
The shelter runs solely on donations and does not receive funding from the government.
"This means every item and every dollar donated is imperative to our functionality," Ernst said. "Every act of kindness helps the homeless animals in our care!"
Proceeds from the 2020 calendar helped pay for general expenses, Ernst said, and they came at a really good time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ernst explained that the pandemic has affected the financial stability of the shelter’s donors because "many have likely experienced financial hardship of furlough or job loss."
The calendar effort helps the shelter financially, but also with getting the word out about the humane society’s work and needs, Ernst added.
“This particular fundraiser helps raise awareness for our facility and the hundreds of animals we are able to help annually,” she said. “The more we educate our community, the more aware they will be of the never-ending battle we, as so many other shelters, face on a daily basis. Not to mention the animals we help along the way.”
2021 dog park calendars will be sold at www.WillCountyDogs.org via preorders from Friday, August 14, until Friday, November 13. Orders will be shipped the week of November 30 to ensure they are received in time for the holidays. Calendars will cost $15 each, which includes shipping and taxes, and approximately $10 from each calendar sold will be donated to the humane society.
The 2020 calendar showcased a wide variety of dogs, and that is what the Forest Preserve is looking for again this year.
"Last year's dog park calendar was successful, not only because it raised thousands of dollars for the humane society, but also because it highlighted the kinds of dogs – from purebreds to mutts – that romp in Forest Preserve dog parks on a daily basis and the canines that wind up in shelters and need a helping hand," said Cindy Cain, the Forest Preserve's public information officer.
The calendar also featured fun facts that made each dog special, whether it was a cute habit or a harrowing back story.
"For instance, we learned about a husky that burps, a beagle that loves to watch TV, a doodle that survived a tornado and a Lab fighting Lyme disease," Cain added.
Creating the calendar is a win-win for the Forest Preserve and the Humane Society, said Ralph Schultz, the District's chief operating officer.
"We hope visitors to our dog parks will not only submit their dogs' photos for a chance to be included in this special initiative, but that they’ll also generously support the Humane Society by purchasing a calendar or two,” he said.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS PROJECT
Dogs being considered for inclusion in the calendar must meet several requirements:
- Dogs must have a current permit for the Forest Preserve District’s dog parks.
- All participating dogs must be socialized to both humans and other dogs.
- Dogs must be current on their rabies vaccinations, as required for a dog park permit.
- Dogs must be able to follow some basic commands for the purpose of participating in the photo shoot.
All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, August 19, to be eligible for calender consideration. Applicants will be notified by Friday, August 28, if their dog was selected for a photo shoot and inclusion in the calendar.
SEE THE COMPLETE RULES AND APPLY TO HAVE YOUR DOGS INCLUDED IN THE CALENDAR
While we at the Forest Preserve District think all dogs are adorable, the calendar only has so much room for photos of our furry friends. A panel of judges will select the dogs to be featured based on their photogenic nature and how well each entry fits the goal of highlighting a variety of breeds, ages and personalities.
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