Bailey and Stubbs owe their new friendship to Rover Rescue.
Both dogs are former strays that were found separately and placed in high-kill shelters in southern Indiana.
Thanks to Rover Rescue, an Aurora-based volunteer group that travels every other weekend to southern Indiana to retrieve homeless dogs, both pooches are members of loving homes with some furry friends as an added bonus.
Bailey, a 2-year-old beagle mix, was adopted last fall from Rover Rescue by Anita Novicki of Hinckley. After losing her 14-year-old dog last August, Novicki decided it was time to welcome a new pet into her family’s home.
“We wanted to have another rescue dog,” she said.
Initially, Novicki had considered another rescue after visiting one of Rover Rescue’s foster homes, but that dog wasn’t a good fit for her daughter’s Aussie dog, Riley.
“Dogs have personalities too,” she said, “Sometimes they don’t get along.”
On her second foster home visit, Novicki and Riley met Bailey. “It was like it was meant to be,” Novicki said.
“She is the best, little dog,” she said. “She came to us completely house-broken and crate-trained.”
She says foster families make the process easy.
“They really care about the dogs and help train them so they are more ready to go home,” Novicki said.
Stubbs was adopted later from Rover Rescue by Novicki’s parents. After adopting Bailey, Novicki began volunteering for Rover Rescue and spotted Stubbs. Immediately, she knew he would be a “perfect match” for her parents.
“Stubbs looks like a big, old black bear,” Novicki said. “He is so gentle.”
Now Bailey and Stubbs, along with Riley form a nice little canine playgroup.
Twice each month, between 20 to 50 dogs are brought back from shelters in Indiana by Rover Rescue volunteers.
“Over 90 percent of the dogs come from high-kill shelters,” said Teri Grandt, Rover Rescue’s foster home coordinator.
In southern Indiana, spaying and neutering dogs is not common. Also strays are much more prevalent.
As a result, litters of puppies are often dropped off at a shelter only to have another litter from the same mother dropped off months later, she said.
“It is a horrible, vicious circle,” Grandt added.
Started in 2003 with 11 volunteers and six foster homes, Rover Rescue has grown to over 50 foster homes.
“We adopt about 750 dogs each year,” she said.
Rather than a shelter environment where dogs are placed in cages, Rover Rescue uses a network of foster homes for its homeless dogs.
Also instead of written forms, Rover Rescue volunteers chat over the telephone with potential owners. If there is a possible match, phone calls with individual foster homes are followed by an in-home visit.
If the dog and owner are a good fit, the new owner may adopt the dog “right then and there,” Grandt said. “We work very quickly.”
This system has worked well for Rover Rescue, she said, noting that their return rate is very low — less than 3 percent.
To raise funds to benefit their homeless dogs, Rover Rescue is having its 11th annual Pet Dog Show on May 17.
About 75 to 100 dogs typically register to compete in about 23 categories.
“We have a lot of fun, different categories like fastest eater, most catches and most kisses,” she said. “While it is a dog show competition, the major emphasis is on fun.”
All of Rover Rescue’s dogs also will be on hand and available for adoption.
“We typically have 60-plus dogs available for adoption at any one time,” Grandt said.