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Realtors Do Their Part to House Homeless Animals

by Chicago Agent

Thanks to the hard work of more than 100 volunteers from Realtors to the Rescue and other organizations, Petsmart Charities and Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) hosted another successful pet adoption event at the Logan Square Petsmart Saturday. During the 12-hour Mega Adoption Event, 39 homeless dogs and cats found new “forever homes.”

Catherine Aragon Munden and founding RTTR member Gordon Munden of Coldwell Banker pose with Georgie, who was later adopted.

The program began at 8 a.m. in the 2665 N. Elston Ave. Petsmart parking lot, and the first adoption occurred just fifteen minutes later. Though the adoption process varies between organizations, most groups conduct a screening interview to ensure the pet has found a lifetime match.

“We want to make sure they understand what is expected,” said CACC executive director, Cherie Travis. “It’s a big commitment to take on an animal.”

Last year, approximately 20,000 animals came in to CACC, and 6,100 were transferred to adoptive homes. The group’s goal is to reduce the number of animals coming in—through spaying and neutering, for instance—and increase the number going out. Many organizations advertise the motto, “Don’t shop… adopt!”

The event was the second CACC adoption drive aided by volunteers from Realtors to the Rescue (RTTR), a not-for-profit organization that provides resources to pet rescue groups. RTTR rounded up 56 volunteers for the big day.

“Nobody delivers bodies better than they do,” said Travis.

Founded six years ago by real estate agent Suzy Thomas, RTTR, a program of the Chicago Association of Realtors, finds homes for homeless animals by promoting events, finding volunteers, and generating and donating revenue to pet rescue organizations. It’s a calling for which Realtors are especially qualified, as they are in the business of finding homes for families—most of which include pets. In fact, 60 percent of American households have at least one pet.

“[Realtors] are very plugged in to the community,” Travis said. “Very sales-oriented, very high energy, so it’s very fun to work with them.”

But Realtors aren’t the only ones who can get involved with RTTR. The nonprofit is preparing to launch a major membership drive next year, with a goal of reaching 1,000 members by the end of 2012. Realtors and non-Realtors alike can contribute to the cause by joining online, volunteering, promoting events, and above all, offering their time and talents.

“Most shelters and organizations are vying for each other’s funds,” said Gordon Munden, a founding member of RTTR. “We’re supplying them with funds.”

The organization is also working to make it easier for pet owners to find pet-friendly rentals, a designation that is more negotiable than people might think.

“We’re pretty successful at getting rentals through with pets,” said Michael Bauknecht, RTTR board member. “It’s amazing how many people say… ‘Will they take a dog?’”

Bauknecht commented that potential tenants who email the landlord with a picture and brief description of their pets have a decent chance of overriding “no pets allowed” policies, though it is easier for dogs to get accepted than it is for cats. The RTTR website features a helpful list of pet-friendly buildings in Chicago.

To stay informed about upcoming RTTR events, or to view more photos from the Nov. 5 Mega Adoption Event, check out the Realtors to the Rescue Facebook page.

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