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'Real Dog Moms of Chicago' Plan Calendar Featuring Their Beloved Pups

By Alisa Hauser | August 11, 2017 6:19am
 Scenes from Dog Moms of Chicago, which has some dad members.
Scenes from Dog Moms of Chicago, which has some dad members.
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CHICAGO — Woof all about it: The Real Dog Moms of Chicago are on the hunt for more doting dog owners to join them in fun adventures and raise money for pet-related nonprofit groups.

On Saturday, photographer Laura Dajoraite will snap portraits of local dogs who were selected to star on the cover of a forthcoming 2018 Chicago dog calendar. Sales from the $20 calendar will go to the Trio Foundation, a nonprofit that helps to pay homeless animals' medical bills.

The four "cover" dog models and the dogs for each month of the year were chosen from an Instagram contest that wrapped up last week and drew more than 315 entries using the hashtag #rdmoccalendar,  Real Dog Moms of Chicago co-founder Jessica Hiltner said.

Hiltner said Saturday's 1½-hour photo shoot is open to spectators who want to come by and mingle with other dog owners, but emphasized that the models have already been selected for Saturday's event. The photo shoot starts at 8:30 a.m. in Skinner Park, 1331 W Adams St. in the West Loop. Dajoraite is donating her time and skills to the project and it's free for dogs to model.

A launch party to celebrate the publication of the calendar will be at 11 a.m. Sept. 17 at Doggy Paddle Chicago, a canine aquatic center at 1430 W. Willow St.

Hiltner and Real Dog Moms of Chicago co-founder Lindy Sidelsky are both married West Loop residents who met each other through their dogs at the Skinner Park dog park.

They launched the Real Dog Moms of Chicago (which they refer to as RDMoC) Instagram page on April 2.

"We opened the account after too much porch punch at a dog mom event where we were making blankets for dog shelters. We joked about how we had issues because we only did things outside work hours where we could bring our dogs. We knew we weren't alone," Hiltner said.

Sidelsky, owner of a rescue mutt named Jake, came up with the name for the group and now, four months later, the page has almost 1,000 followers.

In June, the dog moms organized a group of 20 to raise $2,888 for the PAWS Chicago 5K walk, under the team name Chicago Dogs No Ketchup.

The Instagram account is run by Hiltner, but Sidelsky helps to feed Hiltner images and Blaire Shrader, a fellow Skinner Park dog mom, came up with the calendar idea and has been helping with the project. 

"We are slowly growing and taking on collaborators," Hiltner said, adding that anyone who wants to help out can send her an email.

Hiltner and her husband, who have no children, adopted their shaggy dog Ragnar on June 12, 2016.

"I do believe more and more are turning to the furry side. [Real Dog Moms of Chicago] seems to keep growing daily," Hiltner said.


Mom & me enjoying some outdoor music 🎶 #summertimechi

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