Adopt-A-Dog important to Don Levin, Chicago Wolves

Through Adopt-A-Dog events that started during the 2001-02 season, the Wolves have gotten 1,484 dogs adopted and are expected to reach the 1,500 mark by the end of the season.

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The dogs are mostly provided by Waggin’ Tails Animal Shelter in Cicero, and the next Adopt-A-Dog Night is Saturday when the Wolves host the Milwaukee Admirals.

Ross Dettman/Chicago Wolves

The Wolves are nearing another milestone.

Through Adopt-A-Dog events that started during the 2001-02 season, they have gotten 1,484 dogs adopted and are expected to reach the 1,500 mark by the end of the season. The dogs are mostly provided by Waggin’ Tails Animal Shelter in Cicero, and the next Adopt-A-Dog Night is Saturday, when the Wolves host the Milwaukee Admirals.

“We’ve had really good success,” Wolves owner Don Levin said. “And it makes us feel good. It’s a wonderful feeling.”

The cause of helping dogs is a personal one for Levin, who has adopted seven of his own. Levin, players, executives and other Wolves employees have adopted and fostered dogs, and Levin has been known to take pups into the team office and get them bowls of water. And when he worries that a dog might not make it through the night if it goes back to the shelter, Levin will take it in.

During warm-weather months (April-September), Levin and the Wolves work with police districts, aldermen, animal hospitals and other entities to set up free pet health fairs once a month. That includes vaccinations, chips, collars and dog tags.

“I’ve been involved with animal rescue for 40 years,” Levin said. “This is important to me.”

What is most important to Levin and the Wolves is that needy dogs find homes and are treated well. They recognize and appreciate the work of animal shelters such as Waggin’ Tails but know how stretched those facilities are.

Making a community impact with a program such as Adopt-A-Dog is something the Wolves also value.

“I feel like from our ownership, short of winning championships, giving back to the community is a priority for the organization,” Wolves senior vice president of operations Courtney Mahoney said.

“It’s always been something that Don Levin and Buddy [Meyers] have believed in. They really allow us a lot of freedom to do as much as we can and embrace all of that.”

During the monthly Adopt-A-Dog events at Wolves games, the pooches are in the South Lobby of Allstate Arena, where fans — many of them young — can connect with potential pets. To reach people who didn’t visit the South Lobby, some of the dogs are even walked onto the ice and shown on the arena’s main videoboard.

The reaction from fans is exactly as you’d expect.

“I’m not the only person who loves animals,” Levin said. “It’s fun. You go to these games, and people come by with their kids. They see a dog they think is cute, they bondand they go home with a dog. I’ve heard stories over the years of how happy they are. It means a lot. It changes their lives, and it changes the lives of the dogs, and both for the better.”

Mahoney said the total of adopted dogs almost brings a tear to her eyes.

“I’m so proud of our fans and the people that come out that embrace this program,” Mahoney said.

For more information on the program, visit https://www.chicagowolves.com/community/adopt-a-dog/

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