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Adopted dogs are all smiles for photo op with Santa

Len Judi DegMundeleare with their dogs SimbTippi Rdley Our House Hope K-9 Rescue event Saturday Pets General Store/The Dog Lounge

Len and Judi Degand of Mundelein are with their dogs Simba, Tippi and Rdley at the Our House of Hope K-9 Rescue event on Saturday at the Pets General Store/The Dog Lounge in Libertyville. | PHOTO COURTESY OF SAM MILLER

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Updated: January 10, 2014 6:25AM

Many of the dogs that were getting their picture taken with Santa over the weekend at the Pets General Store-The Dog Lounge in Libertyville already had what they wanted for Christmas:

Someone to care for them.

This was the second of two dates in which Our House of Hope K-9 Rescue of Gurnee offered a chance for pet owners to get their picture taken with Santa for $15, which helps pay the medical expenses of rescued animals, said Lisa Krinninger of Libertyville, who runs the organization.

And it is something a little bit more.

“It’s also an opportunity to see our dogs come back. And foster parents usually work the event and they get to see the dogs they fostered and the people who adopted them into permanent homes,” she said.

“It’s great for everyone involved. All the money raised goes to our medical fund, that’s where the funds are needed. This isn’t our biggest fundraiser,” she said, adding that the weekend before, they had about 30 people show up for pictures.

The rescue organization takes in animals that would otherwise be euthanized for lack of space at the shelter. Our House of Hope takes care of any surgeries or other medical care (including being chipped) and then finds a foster home for the dogs. Once the dogs are ready for adoption, they try to find a match.

“It’s important people understand rescue dogs are just like other dogs. Most end up in rescue for human reasons,” she said, like people being upset with puppies who aren’t properly trained or they lost enthusiasm for the pet once it grew out of the puppy stage. Sometimes, it just happens that the owner died and no one in the family wanted to take the pet.

“I stay in contact with 98 percent of the adoptees,” said Krinninger.

Foster families are part of the adoption process for the dogs, who all start out living at Krinninger’s house and getting any needed medical attention they require. “If a dog tends to get up at 3 a.m., I can tell you that,” said Krinninger.

“Some are harder than others and some do touch my heart a little bit more than others: The shy ones, the needier ones. Some are going to need more attention,” she said. Some will need training so they stay longer in foster care.

“We don’t flip dogs,” she said, “I may have them several months before the public even knows I have them,” she said. Dogs are posted on their website for adoption.

“The difference is the gift of time and the individual needs of the dog,” she said. Adopted dogs going into homes with other pets are usually brought to meet for the first time in the back room of the Pets General Store-The Dog Lounge.

“It’s a good way to see how they get along. It’s neutral territory and it’s a good place to do it because of all the smells from the food and the other dogs that go there for training classes,” said Krinninger.

Mike Krinninger plays Santa and in the six years they have held the event, he has only been bitten by a dog once — last year, when he got bit on the lip. “That was a bloody mess, I had to save the beard,” he joked.

“I usually let them smell me,” he said, although that doesn’t stop some from having an accident on Santa’s boots.

Marilyn Diehl of Lindenhurst has two rescue dogs, Shetland Sheepdogs named Buddy and Ty. Ty came from Our House of Hope and was being fostered by Cathy Reilly, who works at GreenTree Animal Hospital, who brought the dog to work to help socialize him because, as Krinninger said, “he had a little edge to him. He was one that could have gone either way.”

That’s where Diehl saw him and fell in love. “It will be three years in January,” she said, explaining both dogs have multiple obedience certificates. “It has worked out well with both dogs. Some people are afraid of behavioral issues, but I’ve had no problems,” she said, adding that putting them in obedience classes right away helped her bond with the dogs because you spend a lot of time with them and they respond.

Reilly loves to see to Ty and the way the dog acted. The feeling was mutual. “That’s my boy,” she said as the dog jumped playfully at her.

“He loves her,” said Diehl, “He’s the only dog that likes to go to the vet because he knows he gets to see her.”

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