February 22, 2024

Pet Daily Nursing

Healthy Pet Lovers

Humane society matches volunteers with seniors who need help caring for pets

Humane society matches volunteers with seniors who need help caring for pets

Taking a dog for a walk is one of the best things about owning a pet. It’s good for both animals and humans.

But owners get older right along with their pets and face health obstacles. Having financial woes compounds the matter when caring for a pet becomes problematic.

There is little doubt that as we get older, the more we treasure having a pet as a companion. But instances come up in which an illness or surgery makes it hard for an older adult to take care of that pet — even if it is just for a few weeks or months. This has been especially true during the COVID pandemic, as pet owners could find themselves sidelined for long periods.

In those cases, a volunteer serving as a “constant companion” can help a senior citizen or elderly veteran by taking a dog for a walk, cleaning a cat litter box, or feeding the animals.

Anderson Humane in South Elgin offers the Constant Companions program when things become physically challenging for lower-income pet owners who receive federal or state aid and simply can’t afford to put a pet in a pet-care center or hire a dog walker.

“If we can get a volunteer to come in and help them do whatever needs to be done for an interim period, the pet owner then has somebody who can do that,” said Chris Beebe, senior director of community engagement at Anderson Humane.



Beebe added that the shelter also seeks donations of cat litter and pet food that can be provided to those who can’t afford those items because of unexpected health or financial issues.

“This is a stopgap for people who really don’t have the ability to care for the pet in any other way,” she noted.

Anderson personnel screens those seeking help by asking questions about funding sources and, if they need someone to come into the home, visiting that home and determining what is required. “We need to know if they need someone to come in once a week to sift the cat litter box or come in daily to walk the dog,” Beebe said.

Volunteers in the Constant Companions program tend to be of all ages, with the youngest being in their late 20s and early 30s. “We probably wouldn’t have a high school student do it (because of their busy schedules),” Beebe added.

Some volunteers have expressed a desire to help others as a way to heal themselves from the loss of spouses or experiencing other life challenges.

Volunteers who have to go into the home for tasks are screened before being accepted.



Because the need for a volunteer at a specific home could last a few weeks or even a few months, other possible tasks include:

• Providing a ride to the veterinarian or the groomer for the pet.

• Giving the pets any needed medication.

• Engaging with the homeowner to get a sense of any other potential needs.

Those in need of a volunteer companion or those wanting to volunteer can contact Beebe at (847) 697-2880, ext. 35.

“Sometimes the volunteers are people thinking about adopting a dog, but mostly they are interested in keeping a pet owner and their pet healthy and happy,” Beebe said.

Exchanging pizza sites

More pizza is on the way for Third Street in Geneva.

“Coming in spring 2023” signs for Ella’s Italian Pub are in the windows at 407 S. Third St., recently vacated by pizza restaurant Doughocracy.

Ella’s specializes in Roman-Sicilian style pizza, which tends to be a thicker crust pizza most often baked in a rectangular shape. Mostly, if you were to ask a pizza expert the difference between the various styles of pizza in Italy, the answer would likely have something to do with the different oil they use in creating the pizza.

We’ll find out as soon as Ella’s is ready to debut in Geneva.

Lester and Dellora Norris (back row, center) are all smiles for the opening night of their Arcada Theatre in downtown St. Charles in 1926, along with cast members (front row) of the "Our Gang" comedies. Columnist Dave Heun takes a stab at identifying the young actors who were at the Arcada that night for a premiere of their newest film.

Lester and Dellora Norris (back row, center) are all smiles for the opening night of their Arcada Theatre in downtown St. Charles in 1926, along with cast members (front row) of the “Our Gang” comedies. Columnist Dave Heun takes a stab at identifying the young actors who were at the Arcada that night for a premiere of their newest film.
– Courtesy of St. Charles History Museum

Some ‘Our Gang’ history

Anything to do with the great comedy acts of Hollywood’s silent era and then well into the 1950s always catches my attention.

There’s a reason I have tons of The Three Stooges memorabilia in my house and numerous DVDs featuring the Stooges, Buster Keaton, The Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy and the Our Gang/Little Rascals comedies. I love this stuff.

So, you can imagine how my eyes lit up when going through some records at the St. Charles History Museum while researching a St. Charles Country Club history book I am working on. An old photo showed St. Charles’ most important benefactors, Lester and Dellora Norris, and some young Hollywood stars. It was in a folder related to the Norris family’s tremendous impact on St. Charles.

It had nothing to do with what I was looking for in terms of Lester Norris’ efforts to build the country club, but it showed Lester and Dellora on July 8 of 1926 — the opening night for their new Arcada Theatre in downtown St. Charles.

The films that Thursday night were an “Our Gang” comedy called “False Alarm” and one titled “The Last Frontier” with William Boyd. Some vaudeville actors were on hand for this opening night, including some of the cast of “Our Gang.”

The stars in the photo were six young fellows from “Our Gang,” appearing at the Arcada as part of a red-carpet-type premiere of their new film.

When you glance at the photo included with today’s column, you will see a young Lester and Dellora Norris in the center of the back row, with the “Our Gang” cast in front.

An “Our Gang” historian would likely know for sure. Still, based on my process of comparing this photo to individual shots of these young stars online, I can say with a high percentage of probability that the kids are, from left, Jay R. Smith, Donald Haines, Dickie Moore (or maybe Sonny Bupp), Allen ‘Farina’ Hoskins, Joe Cobb and Jack Davis (or maybe Sherwood Bailey).

Whoever they are, what a great photo to have in the historical archives about the city of St. Charles and its benefactors.

A week of hope

A nonprofit created in memory of Kayla Brooke Lehmann in St. Charles is preparing for its major fundraising effort with Kayla’s Hope Week from April 5 through 15.

Kayla’s Hope Foundation seeks to help remove the stigma of mental health issues while assisting those who struggle and offering hope to those who need it most, Ruthie Lehmann, the co-founder of Kayla’s Hope Foundation, noted in an announcement about the Hope Week events.

The fundraising week has helped support staffing at Suicide Prevention Services and provide counseling to those who can’t afford it through Chapelstreet Church’s Shepherds Heart Ministry. In addition, the foundation offers scholarships to four graduating seniors at the two St. Charles high schools who intend to study music, literature or psychology.

The week starts with a Masters Golf raffle and an online silent auction. A rock painting event for families called Kayla’s Kindness Rock Garden Party is set for 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, at the Fox Mill Clubhouse in Campton Hills.

The week and the foundation auction are capped with an event from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 15, at the St. Charles Country Club.

Those interested can get more information from the foundation at kaylashope.org or (630) 549-0785.

To help ‘Mongo’

Arcada Theatre frontman Ron Onesti often talks about his fondness for the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears and its cast of characters. In that way, he joins the rest of us Bears fans who got to feel what it is like to reach the summit of the NFL.

Onesti is hosting a fundraiser on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12, at the Arcada, for one of that team’s heroes, Steve “Mongo” McMichael, to help raise money for the 24-hour nursing care McMichael needs because of his ALS affliction.

The “Mongo Bowl” event starts at 11 a.m. with food specials, raffles, various games, memorabilia auctions and other activities before a 1 p.m. showing of the Bears 1985 Super Bowl victory and then this year’s Super Bowl.

A similar event is being held at the Des Plaines Theater that Onesti manages. He will host along with McMichael’s wife, Misty.

Direct donations can also be made at oshows.com through Oshows Cares, a charity arm of Onesti Entertainment. Proceeds go directly to the McMichael family.

More information, including a donation link, can be found at oshows.com or by calling (630) 962-7000.