Dog café brings homeless dogs, potential families together

Dog café brings homeless dogs, potential families together
Front: Lindsay Powell, Susan Towler, Melissa Miller with Miracle, Nicole Tilden (standing) with Leo Bear; back: Kelly Smith, Carolyn Snowden, Pam Marston with Sally, Debi Blizzard with Precious, Ashley Holochwost, Kim Stordahl

Five homeless dogs may have found their forever homes, thanks to the two-day Jax Dog Café event, held July 23-24 at Jeannette Brunick’s Grooming Salon on St. Johns Avenue.

Organized by Carolyn Snowden, of Ortega Forest, the intimate adoption event allowed prospective pet owners the opportunity to interact one-on-one in a quiet, stress-free environment with nine homeless dogs from four rescue organizations.

“Hosting the event proved to me that you can take a dog that would normally not be as desirable and adoptable, put them in a calm, fun and intimate setting and people’s perceptions of the dogs totally change,” said Snowden, who has a pet sitting and dog walking business. “Suddenly the dog that suffered a gunshot wound is now laying in your lap in the café as you sip iced tea, and then totally melts your heart.”

Kamp Kritter, Old Dog House, F.U.R. (Florida Urgent Rescue) and DARE (Dachshund Adoption, Rescue and Education) brought eight dogs to the event, and Animal Care and Protective Services sent one through its foster family.

Hank, who nearly died from two gunshot wounds, found his forever home that weekend. Four others have been applied for and sleepovers have been arranged prior to finalizing adoptions.

One of the three pit bull mixes, Leo Bear, was not so lucky, but the plucky survivor is in a foster home with Jamie and Nicole Tilden of Ortega until he can be adopted.

Leo Bear was apparently dumped in Stockton Park about nine months ago at the (estimated) tender age of nine months. He survived multiple crossings of busy Roosevelt Boulevard as he was spotted wandering between Ortega and Ortega Forest, said Nicole Tilden. “He’s smart, a real survivor,” she said. “People in the neighborhood have spied him waiting patiently at the railroad tracks before attempting to cross the road.”

The intrepid pooch was also spotted in Avondale and Lakeshore during his months-long journey to find a good home. “He would wander into yards to play with people’s pets,” said Tilden, who rescued him Memorial Day with the help of Linda Hunter of Ortega. Many residents have helped with food and donations. Tilden said the 18-month-old dog is very friendly and good with children.

Paris, a female pit bull mix, has had a temporary home for the past six years at Kamp Kritter, a local no-kill dog sanctuary. When Paris was about a year old, she was found by the FBI at a crime scene, locked in a room with no food or water. “She looked like a walking skeleton and had to be carried out on a stretcher,” said Susan Towler, Head Kritter and owner of the rescue foundation. Towler brought Paris and Miracle to Jax Dog Café, hoping to find the perfect match.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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