CHICAGO — Cassidy had a collar, but not a home.
The 7-month-old puppy was found Friday in Lincoln Square, emaciated and skittish. Valerie Danner noticed the 37-pound mutt while out walking her own pet.
"I'm just a stray magnet," Danner said.
With the help of neighbors and friend Colleen Stein, the group was able to finally corral the terrified dog after following her for blocks.
"Her tail was way between her legs, and I could see her ribs," Danner said. "She was so scared [that] none of us could touch her. ... It was the quite the ordeal."
But with donated money, help and attention from neighbors and rescue advocates, Cassidy is on her way to recovery and adoption.
Rescue advocates Andrea Gieffre (l.), Valerie Danner (m.) and Colleen Stein (r.) sit have helped Cassidy by taking her in from the streets. [Jack and Ginger's Dog Day Care]
Danner said she and her friends put up lost dog fliers, spread the word on social media and neighborhood groups, and checked Cassidy for a microchip, but those efforts failed to find an owner.
"Nobody came forward. It's been clear that she hadn’t been vetted, and she was so underweight that she was probably not in the best situation anyway," Danner said.
The rescuers didn't want Cassidy going to a shelter that might stress her out more — or put her down — so they set out to find alternatives.
Andrea Gieffre, owner of Jack and Ginger's Dog Day Care, 5111 N. Lincoln Ave., took Cassidy in after she spent the weekend at a foster's house.
Cassidy's next stop will be Paws Chicago on Tuesday to be spayed, after which she'll become adoptable through the Lincoln Park-based, no-kill animal shelter.
Seven-month-old Cassidy was found on the streets of Lincoln Square. [Jack and Ginger's Dog Day Care]
Danner said the outpouring of support for the small stray has been "awesome."
"It was so nice to be in a community that cared so much," she said. "Everybody's like, 'How can I help? I'm going to buy some food, I have a collar I can donate.'"
A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $800 for the dog, which will go to vet bills, day care costs and Paws Chicago.
"The GoFundMe was the most surprising and humbling part," Giuffre said in an email. "It was amazing to see how the neighborhood was pulling for her and was willing to help out."
At her temporary daycare home, Cassidy has begun gaining weight, settling in and coming out of her shell.
The dog, which Donner believes to be either part labrador or part Rhodesian ridgeback, has been named with her neighborhood's community spirit in mind.
Bestowed by Giuffre, "Cassidy" is a tribute to the Grateful Dead song of the same name.
The band's Soldier Field shows "filled this city with so much positive energy and an overwhelming sense of community or 'oneness,'" Giuffre said. "I've been trying to find ways to hold onto that feeling every day since. Being able to help this sweet dog, and seeing the response from the neighborhood, is the closest I've gotten so far. I'm grateful to her for that!"
Seven-month-old Cassidy is recovering and gaining weight. [Jack and Ginger's Dog Day Care]
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