Jeremy McIntosh loves animals so much that he jumped at the chance to spend the night with the dogs at the Illinois Valley Animal Rescue shelter.
“It was so cold,” said McIntosh, who regularly volunteers at the La Salle shelter. “We could literally feel the breeze going through the building.”
Since the pipes froze at the Illinois Valley Animal Rescue shelter Jan. 6, the staff members have been extra vigilant to make sure the animal residents stay warm during this season’s brutal temperatures. For McIntosh, this meant staying overnight at the shelter that week to keep the dogs from getting too cold.
“The cats are fine,” IVAR president Sue Jacobsen said. “There’s no problem there because the furnace is working fine.”
In the dog room, however, the furnace in the front of the building isn’t adequately heating the entire area, McIntosh said.
“Unfortunately, we had to keep the dryer running because the back of the building was so cold,” McIntosh said. “But it turned into a positive thing, because it got out to a couple people, so by next week, we should have a second furnace in the building.”
McIntosh spent the night at the shelter again this past Monday.
“There was no sleeping,” he said, describing how he stayed up with coffee and did laundry. But the loss of sleep wasn’t because the dogs kept him up. “It was so peaceful, so quiet,” he said. “They’re so used to me — I’m there seven days a week.”
IVAR director Chris Ellberg called McIntosh “one of our key people,” and emphasized the dedication of all volunteers.
“What’s fortunate about IVAR is that we pull together in crisis,” Ellberg said. “We’ve got a good group of people.”
As for McIntosh, spending nights with the shelter dogs is something he has no reservations about doing.
“I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” McIntosh said. “We’ve got such a great, great group of dogs right now.”
Rachel Stella can be reached at (815) 220-6933 or firstname.lastname@example.org.