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Chicago Wolves' Dog Adoption Program A Hit With Fans

By Justin Breen | December 31, 2012 10:28am | Updated on December 31, 2012 2:18pm

ROSEMONT — Come to a hockey game, go home with a dog.

It's a phrase the Chicago Wolves have embraced for the last 12 years since starting an Adopt-A-Dog partnership with the City of Chicago's Animal Care and Control Department.

The program has helped 1,035 dogs find permanent homes, said Animal Care and Control's Jenny Jurcak. The Roscoe Village resident has been coming to Wolves games at Allstate Arena on Saturdays once a month during the season, transporting 13 to 28 dogs from the Lower West Side facility to suburban Rosemont.

Fans can adopt the dogs at the game for $65 and leave with them after a background check. The next opportunity to adopt is Saturday's tilt against Grand Rapids at 7 p.m.

"These are dogs we've fostered or taken off the streets, and we've gotten them forever homes," Jurcak said. "This is a phenomenal program."

Wolves owner Don Levin has adopted seven of the dogs in the last eight years. He said there should be several bichon frises and poodles — and a few puppies — at Saturday's game.

"We try to get as many dogs adopted as we can," said Levin, who grew up in Albany Park.

Levin said Wolves players, front-office employees and building workers have adopted the dogs.

Wolves TV production manager Sarah Draheim adopted Willy, a female terrier mix, two years ago after seeing her in the south lobby of the Allstate Arena, where the dogs are penned during games.

"I didn't have any plans of adopting a dog that day, but she just took my heart," said Draheim, a Gold Coast resident.

Courtney Mahoney, the Wolves senior vice president of operations, coordinates the program with Jurcak.

Mahoney features the pooches, which vary from purebreds to mutts, on the Wolves' website.

"It's one of the most unique things we do," said Mahoney, a Bucktown resident in her 17th year with the Wolves. "And it's not something that's going away."