Unconditional love and a wagging tail, dogs are an important part of many lives, but it’s easy to take our canine friends for granted. Maybe that’s why today was designated National Dog Day, to honor dogs and remind us how much they enrich our lives. To celebrate National Dog Day, many animal shelters are offering discounted, or even free, adoptions. Here at Coffee by the Roast, we thought we’d celebrate by sharing our adoption story and, of course, some coffee to go with it.
Like many stories, this one starts with a problem. Five years ago, Paul and I were going through dog withdrawal. Our little Bichon/Shih Tzu mix had died in April 2014, and while he was more our son’s dog than ours, we missed him. My health was also a problem, with baffling symptoms that sent me to the Mayo Clinic that summer. It was a scary and unsettled time, which made me long for the simple and uncomplicated support of a dog. Unfortunately, our lives were too uncertain at that point to get one.
The weekend before I left for the Mayo Clinic, Paul learned that PAWS Chicago was holding an adoption event in our area. Petting and playing with some puppies sounded like a great way to cheer me up, so we went.
What is PAWS Chicago? PAWS Chicago is an organization started in 1997 by a mother and daughter who were appalled by the number of pets being euthanized in the local Humane Society shelters. PAWS stands for “Pets Are Worth Saving,” and the organization works to make Chicago a No-Kill city, where homeless pets receive love and care until they go to new permanent homes. They’ve made impressive progress. In 1997, 90% of pets in shelters were euthanized. By 2018, that number had dropped to less than 9%. PAWS shelters saved 98% of the pets that came to them last year. Wow!
One way PAWS finds homes for the animals is by holding adoption events around the Chicago area, like the one we went to the summer of 2014. The event was held in a local pet store, where several cats and dogs were available for people to meet, pet and hopefully, take home. Paul and I knew we couldn’t take a dog home that day, but felt it wouldn’t hurt to meet a few.
There were eight or nine dogs there when we arrived, but we only had eyes for two. Where most of the dogs were out on leashes, a pair of small dogs, about 10 lbs each, shared a movable enclosure near the back of the store. One dog was mostly white, the other was black and white. They seemed a little nervous until they saw us. Then, tails wagging, they jumped up against the enclosure as if to say, “Thank goodness you’re finally here!” Just like in a romance novel, it was love at first sight.
Paul and I asked to meet the dogs. We held and petted them and learned their story. A couple of months earlier, Chicago Animal Control had received a call about barking coming from an abandoned home. The officers entered the home and discovered two dogs. They were extremely hungry and dirty, sick with malnutrition and covered with matted, overgrown hair. Chicago Animal Control took the dogs to PAWS, and the folks there cleaned them up, cut their fur and cared for them until they were healthy enough to be adopted. Both dogs were good candidates for a new home. They were small, only about a year or two old and didn’t shed. The only problem was they refused to be separated. If one dog was taken from the enclosure, she would balk, pulling to go back while the other would throw herself against the sides trying to get out. If they were going to a new home, they clearly had to go together.
Paul and I couldn’t take one dog, much less two, so we had to leave without them. The look they gave us when we handed them back to the PAWS volunteers just about broke our hearts. Our only consolation was the certainty that the pair of dogs were so sweet and adorable they’d shortly find their forever home. It just wouldn’t be ours.
Maybe dogs are magic, because the visit to the Mayo Clinic went much better than expected. I came home with the doctor’s assurance that I could go ahead and get a dog, if I wanted one. Paul and I knew the two dogs we’d fallen in love with had gone to another home, but we called PAWS anyway, just in case.
They were still there! That weekend, we picked up our dogs and brought them home. We named the black and white one, “Peggy,” and the mostly white one, “Sue,” and they have been improving our lives ever since.
To celebrate, we’ve created a coffee blend in their honor, Doggone Good Coffee. It’s a smooth, balanced blend of Central American coffees with rich chocolate aromatics, lively citrus topnotes, butterscotch sweetness and a lingering cocoa finish. Bright enough to fuel the earliest morning walk and smooth enough to enjoy all day, it’s a coffee worthy of our canine friends.
Doggone Good Coffee will only be available through Labor Day weekend. The price is $19.97 per roast, in honor of the year PAWS Chicago* started, and Coffee by the Roast will donate $1 to PAWS Chicago for every roast of Doggone Good Coffee we sell. Keep an eye on this blog. I’ll let you know how much we send.
Do you have a dog story you’d like to share. If so, we'd love to hear from you. Tell us when you order, and we’ll throw in a free 1/2 roast of our Coffee of the Month. You can also share your thoughts on the Facebook thread or in a comment on this blog. Or, if you'd like to share your opinion with the wider world, leave us a coffee review on Google or on your favorite review site. Not only do we value your opinions, but reviews help more people find us. Help us connect coffee lovers to fresh, quality coffee!
~ Carrie, Paul and all of us at Coffee by the Roast
To hear the founders of PAWS Chicago tell their story, click here.
*Note: PAWS Chicago has no relationship with Coffee by the Roast, and they have nothing to do with our coffee. Doggone Good Coffee is just our way to spread the word about PAWS Chicago and generate a little support for the great work they do. If you’re interested in adopting a pet, or learning more about PAWS Chicago, click here.