Holiday concerts help Riverwoods orphan pets get adopted
John (left) and Tracy McCafferty (center) of Northbrook look at a lab boxer mix being held by shelter volunteer Donna Chilia of Buffalo Grove at the Orphans of the Storm animal shelter in Riverwoods during a "Holiday Music Series, Singing along with the d
Updated: December 13, 2012 12:16PM
RIVERWOOODS — With more than 650 dogs and cats up for adoption this holiday season, Orphans of the Storm pet shelter in Riverwoods is hosting a three-week-long holiday music series and extended adoption hours in hopes of finding homes for their pets.
Thursday, Dec. 6, was this year’s event kick-off.
Inside one of the dog rooms, housing pit bulls, Labradors and a German Shepard, Michael and Catherine Alonzi, of Lake Forest, said they’re well acquainted with the shelter these days.
“We’ve had six dogs from here; four of them at home right now,” Michael Alonzi said. “What keeps us coming back each year? That. Look at that face.”
Alonzi was pointing to the 7-year-old German Shepard, with her eyes looking up from her kennel, sadly, while still wagging her tail. “That is the dog that will just be your best friend forever.”
His wife, Catherine, said the animals from Orphans of the Storm are “the best animals.”
“A lot of times people just drive by (the shelter) and don’t think about all the good animals that are here,” Catherine Alonzi said.
Outside the shelter, under a festive four-seasons tent, complete with champagne, heaters and carolers, Jackie Borchew, director of development and community outreach for the shelter, said the first night’s turnout was “fantastic.”
“Like, 45 people showed up,” Borchew said, as the Top of the World Quartet serenaded the guests. “It’s the spirit of giving, and certainly the animals at Orphans of the Storm need it.”
Borchew said once they get people to the shelter “the animals do the rest of the magic.”
“The whole idea (of the music series) is to think out of the box and get people into the shelter,” Borchew said.
Linda Mader, of Libertyville, said she found out about the music series on Facebook.
“They do such a good job,” Mader said of the shelter volunteers. “I got to play in the kitty room; it’s always fun to come over here.”
Shelter volunteer Jamie Neimann, of Arlington Heights, said her husband wanted to stay in and watch Christmas movies for the night, but she had another suggestion:
“Let’s go see it live instead,” Neimann said. “Then we’ll go home. I think this is a great way to get adopters out here.”
Also known as “the cat lady,” volunteer Rosie Seloske said the event is a fun way to get people into the shelter.
“Anything that brings people in and makes them look at the animals is a good thing,” Seloske said.
After last year’s event, Sarajoy Pickholtz, of the Top of the World Quartet, said she ended up going home with a new kitten, and said she was happy to be performing at the shelter again.
“She’s just wonderful; I love her to death,” Pickholtz said of the kitten. “My other cat just came to life when I brought her home.”
Borchew said the holiday music series will be held every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. through Dec. 22, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sundays at the shelter, 2200 Riverwoods Road in Riverwoods. For more information, visit OrphansOfTheStorm.com.