Published Feb. 19, 2015
Families share their stories of adoption
By Ken Knutson
The Hinsdale Humane Society has a rich tradition of expanding families in the community, welcoming to its shelter a steady stream of those eager to add a rescued pet to their household.
For the latest installment of The Hinsdalean’s Making a Difference series in partnership with the Hinsdale Humane Society, two Hinsdale families shared their experiences of pet adoption.
Lily and The Jenns
Rhonda Jenn noticed her two growing sons were increasingly busy with their own activities, leaving a void that her parenting tasks used to fill.
“(My sons) were getting older, and I just felt like I was ready for something more,” she said. “I just thought it was a good time to have a new addition to the family.”
The family had a dog, but what about a cat?
Rhonda said she and her younger son Ben discussed the idea for nearly a year, going back and forth before deciding to conduct “intensive research” on cat adoption in November.
“We’d go through pictures from animal shelters. We went to the bookstore, we got ‘Kittens for Dummies’,” she said. “We were just looking for a cat that we felt would be a good fit for our family.”
In December they found kitten Lily (then named Anastasia) at the Hinsdale Humane Society.
Rhonda raised concerns about integration challenges with their dog after a rabbit they had brought home triggered marking behavior. Shelter staff told them that Lily was a compatible breed but also that she was borderline feral.
“We felt it wasn’t just about integrating her, but it was also about taming her, socializing her,” she said.
Once all her family members gave their approval, Lily officially became a Jenn on Dec. 20.
After refusing to move from under a dining table chair for the first week, she now roams freely — although she still keeps a comfortable distance from her canine housemate.
“I think getting a shelter cat was a good idea because you get joy out of the fact that you’ve helped an animal,” Ben said.
Rhonda she has already developed a deep affection for Lily, so much so that the bond has generated some envy.
“Now my husband’s joking that’s he’s going to get a second cat that will be his cat,” she quipped.
Sophia and The Chengs
Like the Jenns, Roxanne and Thomas Cheng also had a dog before adopting their feline, Sophia.
Sophia, a 7-year-old Himalayan, was adopted in October after the Chengs’ teenage daughter Caroline fell in love with her on a visit to the Hinsdale Humane Society.
“We were not planning to adopt,” Roxanne said. “She bonded with Sophia.”
The adoption took place a few days later once the family was certain that Sophia would not pose an allergy threat to Thomas and their older daughter, Courtney.
“As long as the allergy does not affect them, then it’s OK,” she said. “So far, so good.”
Roxanne also feared a sour relationship with their dog, Maggie, and she sought counsel from her animal-loving sister on how to help them co-exist.
“She said, ‘They just have to get used to each other.’ She gave me some tips,’ ” she related.
Roxanne said Himalayans are listed among the friendliest cat breeds and enjoy being held more than other varieties.
And as an adult cat, she had no qualms about making herself at home.
“She drinks from Maggie’s water bowl, and she sleeps in Maggie’s bed,” Roxanne said. “She just wants to show her dominance in a passive-aggressive way. Now, she runs the household.”
That means no room for another, right?
“You can never say, ‘No,’ but we have no plan (to adopt more),” she said.