For homeless dogs in the Chicagoland area, the staff at Bishop Plumbing does more than just replace leaky pipes and unclog pesky sink drains — they save lives.
When the Des Plaines, Ill., business isn’t busy helping homeowners with their plumbing issues, they are operating an animal rescue organization called Plumbers for Puppies.
“Some of the dogs that come into the program have been abused, neglected and treated as thrown away garbage,” Bishop Plumbing Operations Manager Kristina Curran tells the Chicago Tribune. “It breaks my heart and Bob’s heart too that people can treat animals this way. But then we hear of stories of people who open their hearts and homes to these dogs and inspire all of us to continue our mission,” Curran adds, “like the family who recently adopted Daphney.”
Daphney, a Pit Bull–Boxer mix, was in dire straits when she first came to Bishop Plumbing. “Daphney came to Plumbers for Puppies with an infected eye, underweight, and malnutritioned,” Curran explains.
Only days from being put down at a high-kill shelter in downstate Illinois, Daphney was pulled by the hero plumbers and placed into foster care for rehabilitation.
“When she first arrived at Bishop Plumbing, she immediately hid under the table and remained timid for quite some time under her foster home care,” says Curran. But with some extra TLC and much-needed socialization, Daphney started to show signs of improvement. “Slowly but surely, Daphney came out from under her shell, yet remained fearful of most people and extremely cautious around other dogs.”
As Daphney continued to blossom under the care of her Plumbers for Puppies foster parent, a Chicago pastor looking for a new dog to adopt stumbled across her photo on the group’s website. When the pastor and his five daughters met Daphney, it was a match made in heaven.
“Striking gold, the pastor and his family fell in love with Daphney and vice versa,” Curran remembers. “To this day, Daphney remains one of our most successful animal rescue stories.”
Bishop Plumbing’s owner, Bob Melko, was inspired to start Plumbers for Puppies after getting a dog of his own as a Christmas gift from his staff — a lovable chocolate Labrador Retriever. Melko decided to give his new buddy a name fit for a plumber’s dog — Oakum, after a material plumbers use to seal cast iron pipe drains. Oakum joins two other Labs at the company headquarters, greeting customers and visiting with staff members, but he also serves another very important role — that of “pet ambassador” for Plumbers for Puppies.
Since its inception in 2011, the group has saved over 100 dogs and is looking forward to expanding their efforts this year. Bishop Plumbing hopes to soon purchase a facility nearby where they can house and care for their rescued dogs.
For more information about Plumbers for Puppies or their adoptable—and adorable—dogs, check out the organization’s Facebook page. If you would like to donate towards the group’s expansion, contact Kristina Curran by email at Kristina@bishopplumbing.com.
Sources: Chicago Tribune