CHICAGO — A local animal shelter needs help to win a national contest that could net it $35,000.
Two Chicagoans who adopted dogs from One Tail at a Time, a nonprofit animal rescue, are finalists in the Petco Love Contest. The winners will get grants for the rescues that made their adoptions possible, if their “love story” — the story of how they adopted their pet — receives the most votes.
When the contest opened this fall, One Tail at a Time encouraged its adopters to submit stories. Petco Love, which organizes the campaign with BOBS from Skechers, picked two One Tail at a Time stories as finalists, putting it in the running for the $35,000 prize.
One story features Amanda and Billy Simmons and their dog, Charlotte. Charlotte helped Amanda Simmons when Billy Simmons had a seizure.
“She truly saved Billy’s life that night — she made sure I knew something was wrong and stuck beside us both until she knew he was safe,” Amanda Simmons wrote.
The other story is about Yvette Pina and her dog, Poochie. Pina, who has congenital heart disease, lost a previous pet to heart failure in 2018, she wrote.
While recovering from heart surgery in 2019, Pina began experiencing depression and longed for another dog. Since a puppy wasn’t an option for her condition, and she worried about dying and forcing an animal to be re-homed, she reached out to One Tail At a Time to discuss fostering.
She was matched with Poochie, a 9-year-old shih tzu and Maltese mix.
“I worked hard every day to cheer up my new foster dog,” Pina wrote. “We took long-in-duration, short-in-distance walks. She found every McDonald’s French fry container ever littered in my neighborhood. She scream-barked with such intensity and ferocity at squirrels. Soon she forgot about her previous life and started to enjoy her new life, and I learned to live in the moment and not worry so much about dying because everyone will die eventually.”
One Tail at a Time won Petco Love’s contest two years ago, and Executive Director Heather Owen is hoping for a repeat this year. Voting ends Wednesday night. You can vote for Charlotte and Poochie and read more stories online.
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