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Green Pup Shelter provides foster, permanent homes for unwanted dogs

Misty Lindstrand pets her foster dog, Maggie, while daughter, Eliana, 5, watches. (Sheryl DeVore/Tribune)

Misty Lindstrand pets her foster dog, Maggie, while daughter, Eliana, 5, watches. (Sheryl DeVore/Tribune)

The first three years of her life, Maggie lived in a wire cage no larger than her tiny body. She had little human contact, and her teeth were decaying.

Today, the dog lives with the Lindstrands of Lake Villa, romping outside on the grass and snuggling up to Misty Lindstrand, who pets her gently.

Lindstrand, one of the founders of Green Pup Shelter, rescued Maggie from a puppy mill. Lindstrand is serving as a foster parent to Maggie, until the dog can be placed in a permanent home.

Photos: At home with the Lindstrands and their rescued dogs

Lindstrand works with several other volunteers to rescue  puppies, young dogs, and senior dogs from unwanted homes or inhumane situations. They place the dogs in foster homes, make sure they are neutered and fitted with microchips, and take them to a veterinarian to check their health. They also train them and prepare them for their new homes.

Green Pup Shelter is the winner of TribLocal’s People’s Choice Charity Contest, and will receive a $1,000 check, which will be used to pay for boarding, food , shots, and veterinarian bills.

Two years ago, a group of six women, including Lindstrand and Mary  Frazen, who met while volunteering at pet shelters, decided the best thing for unwanted dogs was to provide them a foster care home immediately, and then look for a permanent home.

“We treat these dogs like they’re our own personal pets,” said  Frazen, who owns a German Shepherd.

“We’re honest, too,” she said.  If a dog is still having a problem with a condition, they let the potential owner know. They also check on the dogs in their new homes, to make sure all is well.

Green Pup Shelter learns about dogs that need a home through phone calls and emails.

Sometimes an owner must give up a pet because of financial problems.

“They lost their job, their homes, because of the economy. They call us crying having to relinquish their dog. It’s the worst,” said Lindstrand.

The group also rescues dogs from pounds before they are put to sleep, and dogs in inhumane situations — like Maggie, who sat in a cage when no one purchased her.

The foster parents help acclimate some of the dogs who have been rescued from bad situations to a better, more social life.

“We tell the foster parents and the adoptive parents to  be patient working with the issues. A lot of these dogs come with baggage,” Lindstrand said.

One of three dogs she rescued, Lily, was so  afraid of people that she urinated if they petted her.

“She was just terrified,” Lindstrand said. ” You have to just learn to work with them and be patient.”

Lindstrand said Maggie was the product of a puppy mill, and “never knew physical love and touch. She didn’t know what grass was.”

Now Maggie begs to b e petted by Lindstrand and her 5-year-old daughter, Eliana. If all goes well, Maggie will have a new owner next week, Lindstrand said. Lindstrand has three other dogs she rescued that are part of the family, Noelle, a chocolate Lab, Savannah, a black Lab, and Lily, a border Collie mix.

Green Pup Shelter get enough calls to take in 10 dogs a day, but they don’t have enough foster parents or money to place them.

It could get discouraging, but Lindstrand said she deals with that issue by focusing on one dog at a time.

Green Pup Shelter has five dogs in foster care right now, and six more boarded at Happy Tails Ranch in Island Lake.

“Happy Tails gives us a substantial discount,” Frazen said.

Todd Bieri, owner of Happy Tails Ranch, said  he applauds Green Pup Shelter.

“There are not enough  people to take care of dogs that need and deserve good homes,” he said. “We support Green Pup. I wish there were more people in the world who had hearts as caring as theirs.”

Green Pup Shelter is accepting donations and looking for more foster homes.  To make ends meet, they also charge adoptive parents a fee to pay for spaying, neutring, shots, microchips, food, and training.

For more information, go to greenpupshelter.org.

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