By Jen Fuhrman, GPG Blogger/Board Member

There are “street dogs” – and then there’s Kokomo. This is her story.

It had only been a few weeks since P.J. began feeding Kokomo on her regular route. And as Tim Buchek (Gateway Pet Guardians saint, rescuer, volunteer, do-er, etc.) described it – there was just something a bit different about Kokomo. Usually stray dogs tend to join-up in packs, but young Kokomo was an alone out on the streets of East St. Louis, and she wasn’t feral. In fact, she had a puppy-ish demeanor and when approached, she was friendly. That’s what made her that much more intriguing – a comfortable, approachable pup that was pack-less. So P.J. kept an eye on her.

After those first few weeks, it was decided that we’d try to trap Kokomo and bring her to the shelter. P.J. and Tim ventured out to pick her up. It only took about 15-20 minutes for Kokomo to enter the trap, and while that moment can be terrifying for some dogs – she remained calm.


At 7:30am they loaded her up into P.J.’s car, she sat up against the cage, so she could be closer to the humans that decided to give her a chance. She reacted to gentle pets from P.J. – and gazed at her rescuers, relieved.

During her transfer to Hillside, transportation provided by her new best friend Tim, she was now cage-less and curled up on his front seat, snuggled into his sweatshirt. She checked into at Hillside at 9:00am for a day of evaluation.

When Tim picked her up at 5:00pm (can you tell yet that they were best friends?), she went to the shelter for some rest and relaxation, and by that we mean sitting in Tim’s lap receiving affection. She was just fine with that.

Then at 5:45pm, Kokomo’s foster picked her up and took her on home.

So, aside from being a great story about one of our rescues, you may be asking yourself what is so important about this sotry. There are a few things:

We’re one dog closer to ending homelessness in pets in East St. Louis and surrounding areas.

kokomo rescue

Kokomo is the perfect example that stray dogs aren’t feral dogs. She is the ever- present reminder that dogs, when given a chance, crave and love companionship. And maybe more importantly, we were able to pull a dog from the streets and get them into a warm home in under TWELVE HOURS. It’s incredible!

Because of our fantastic volunteers who believe so strongly in our mission, from volunteers like Tim to those who foster, we had each component in place to make this rescue possible.

Tim said this rescue – one he can call his own – gives perspective on what we’re doing. “We’re saving dogs.”

Kokomo’s main man said it best, “Dogs are awesome. It’s incredible.”

If you’re interested in this rewarding effort, read more information about our Ride Along program and fill out a volunteer application.



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