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Sycamore woman helps rescued huskies

Published: Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 10:48 p.m. CDT
(Danielle Guerra/dguerra@shawmedia.com)
Jameson, a 6-year-old white male husky, pokes his nose into the lens after a romp in a kiddie pool July 16 at Raven's Husky Haven and Rescue in Sycamore. Raven's houses 12 huskies at a time, their capacity, while they train and prepare the dogs to be adopted.

SYCAMORE – Lisa Monge considers Raven’s Husky Haven and Rescue a Match.com for huskies.

“There really is kind of a husky for everybody,” said Monge, manager of Raven’s.

Raven’s Husky Haven and Rescue, 27779 Five Points Road near Sycamore, has been working to find homes for rescued huskies for about 18 months, and Monge is looking forward to helping even more of the dogs in the future.

In the past 18 months, 66 huskies have found homes through the rescue. The rescue serves Illinois shelters and other rescues by bringing in Siberian huskies to rehabilitate and train them to get them into a good home. Many are strays or were surrendered by their owners.

Raven’s start in January 2013 was inspired by Raven, a Siberian husky rescued by founders Kelly Lambert and Jennifer Soule.

“Raven really embodies what we do here,” Monge said. “She was extremely unloved, and she needed a home desperately. Kelly and Jennifer adopted her and brought her back to good health and good spirit. And now she’s a therapy dog; she’s an agility dog. She definitely just shows what Siberians can do, and the great lives they can have after adoption. It’s something that here, we’re striving to do the same.”

Monge lives on the property of the husky haven, and up to 12 dogs can be housed in the renovated pole barn behind her home. Currently, the rescue is mostly funded by the owners, but Monge said there is always a need for donations, and the organization is seeking more fundraising opportunities. In fact, Monge said finding more fundraising is her biggest goal for the next year.

“Each time we adopt a husky, it’s like we’re saving two,” Monge said. “Because we get to adopt one out, and we also take in a new husky.”

Monge said volunteers, whether they can help once a week or once a month, are priceless when it comes to helping the rescue function.

Sisters Lauren and Lexie Leffelman of Kirkland volunteer to help with “luv time,” which involves cuddling and providing affection to dogs that may not be accustomed to it. Volunteers document how much affection time is spent with each husky to make sure they are receiving enough attention to make a healthy transformation.

“This is my happy place,” Lauren Leffelman said. “When I started college, I wanted to study nursing. Since I’ve been coming here, it’s taken a 180, and now I want to be in an animal field. This fall, I’ll be studying to be a veterinary assistant.”

Monge said the ties to Northern Illinois University’s Huskie mascot have proved helpful for the local rescue.

“It’s been really great to be here in DeKalb/Sycamore, because everybody obviously is attached to the huskies, thanks to NIU,” Monge said. “Being able to bring these dogs to different events and get that kind of love is very exciting for us. It’s one of the reasons why the founders built the rescue here, is to be close to that.”

Monge said although huskies can have high energy levels, they are goofy, loving animals.

“You have to have a sense of humor to have a husky,” she said. “They think they’re hilarious.”

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