clear the shelters

‘Part of our family': NBC 5 anchor Patrick Fazio's family adopts dog during Clear The Shelters

My children found many dogs at the shelter they wanted to bring home. We ended up adopting Buddy.

NBC Universal, Inc.

When you meet them face-to-face, it can be tough to say no. Then you end up adding a loved one to your family. That’s what happened to me when I visited Wright Way Rescue in Morton Grove over the weekend. I went there to feature some of the pets up for adoption on social media for NBC’s Clear The Shelters campaign.

I brought my wife and children with me to visit the shelter and soon got the hard sell to adopt a number of dogs and even cats. We already have a dog, guinea pig and fish at home (and recently lost our 19-year-old cat). So I wasn’t sure how the other animals would respond, especially our dog, a Havanese named Cooper.

My children found many dogs at the shelter they wanted to bring home.

There’s Harper who lost her front left leg to a gunshot wound. Harper is a very sweet dog but apparently doesn’t do well around other dogs (her puppy got adopted last month, so that’s understandable). Hopefully Harper finds a great family looking for just one dog.

Then there was a chocolate lab named Molly who gave me lots of kisses and snuggles, but she was adopted before we ended up making a decision. So we’re happy she found her forever home.

There are dozens of other dogs at the shelter, many rescued from rural Illinois and other states where some of those shelters run out of space and end up euthanizing dogs.

I suggested we bring our dog to the shelter to see how he interacted with potential adoptees. Cooper met a puppy named Harold and an older Maltese mix named Buddy. Our 7-year-old Cooper put up with Harold’s puppy energy as he tried to play bite and wrestle him. But Cooper seemed more comfortable around Buddy who’s closer to his age at almost 5 years old. Buddy also spent time snuggling in each of our laps, so that made our decision easy.

We ended up adopting Buddy.

He came home nervous but excited to explore his new house with Cooper as his guide going from room to room. Fortunately, Cooper has been very understanding with sharing his toys, treats and bones with Buddy. They’ve been hanging around the house together and trotting around our backyard enjoying the nice weather. Buddy hasn’t eaten much so far, but the shelter volunteers said it might take a few days for him to feel comfortable enough to eat again (and they suggested wet food – specifically filet mignon flavor! We brought that home for him, but he only nibbled on it so far).

We’re happy to have Buddy and he already feels like part of our family. We’re grateful we adopted him.

He’s one of 44 adult dogs and 353 total animals adopted at Wright Way Rescue during our Clear The Shelters campaign this month. Since 2015,  NBC’s Clear The Shelters campaign each August has helped more than 860,000 pets nationwide find their forever homes.

If you’re not able to adopt, shelter volunteers say you can still help free up space in shelters and rescues by donating or temporarily fostering an animal at home.

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