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posted: 12/2/2013 3:03 PM

Elgin animal lovers raise funds for Anderson shelter

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  • Anderson Animal Shelter volunteer Randy Sandman of Elgin and his wife, Jan, visit with Rocky, a dog available for adoption. Randy enjoys working with Rocky and calls him "the perfect gentleman." With the help of Jan, he was able to raise $550 for the South Elgin shelter.

       Anderson Animal Shelter volunteer Randy Sandman of Elgin and his wife, Jan, visit with Rocky, a dog available for adoption. Randy enjoys working with Rocky and calls him "the perfect gentleman." With the help of Jan, he was able to raise $550 for the South Elgin shelter.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Randy Sandman of Elgin and his wife, Jan, interact with River, a cat available for adoption from Anderson Animal Shelter. Randy has been a volunteer at the South Elgin shelter for about a year.

       Randy Sandman of Elgin and his wife, Jan, interact with River, a cat available for adoption from Anderson Animal Shelter. Randy has been a volunteer at the South Elgin shelter for about a year.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Anderson Animal Shelter volunteer Randy Sandman of Elgin cuddles with Rocky. "There's a lot of good dogs," Sandman said of the shelter residents. "They just want someone to be with them for awhile." Twice a week Sandman visits the shelter to walk and play with the dogs.

       Anderson Animal Shelter volunteer Randy Sandman of Elgin cuddles with Rocky. "There's a lot of good dogs," Sandman said of the shelter residents. "They just want someone to be with them for awhile." Twice a week Sandman visits the shelter to walk and play with the dogs.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 

Randy Sandman's eyes light up when he talks about Rocky, a small, fluffy white dog with a sweet disposition and an underbite. And then there's Susie, Sabrina, and Alfred and the list of lovable dogs goes on.

Twice a week, the Elgin resident walks dogs, and spends time with the dogs and cats up for adoption at Anderson Animal Shelter in South Elgin, where he's been a volunteer for almost a year.

"There's a lot of good dogs," Randy Sandman said. "They just want someone to be with them for awhile."

In early November, Sandman and his wife, Jan, attended the shelter's annual dinner and auction fundraising gala. Randy left that night feeling inspired to do more for the animals. Knowing his construction union, Laborers' Local 582 of Elgin, helps out organizations in the community, he asked for a donation for the shelter at a recent meeting. He was thrilled when the union presented him with a $250 check.

"And then I thought I'd like to try to maybe make some funds to match that," hs said. So he volunteered to work a Tag Day, which is a when a shelter representative stands outside a participating local business collecting donations and distributing information on how to get involved with the shelter.

Randy enlisted Jan to help him collect donations at the South Elgin Jewel on blustery weekend day. To get the attention of shoppers and convey their message, they brought along a large golden-colored stuffed dog standing a few feet tall. It worked like a charm.

"I thought it might be a couple weekends, but I could tell after 15 minutes that it was going real good We were able to match (the funds) that day," he said.

Within three hours, the Sandmans had raised about $300. Jan remembers how receptive the shoppers were, wanting to know more about the shelter and how they "dug into their purses and wallets and made great donations" to fill up the donation jar with $5, $10 and $20 bills as well as coins.

"The people were really awesome," Randy said. "It was great."

Several donors talked about their animals and shared stories of how they had adopted from Anderson Animal Shelter. As the donation drive time window drew to a close, the Sandmans hoped for just one more donation. But it was slow, so they started heading to their car. Then they heard a woman shouting, "Here! Here!" as she followed after them in the parking lot.

"So we did get that final one. It was amazing." said Randy.

With the holiday season approaching, Randy plans to keep on helping charities. After spending a day out in the cold gathering donations, he has a newfound appreciation for the Salvation Army bell ringers.

"I'll make sure I'll always give to them from now on for sure," he said. "Because once you do it for a little while, you appreciate it more."

Jan agreed and jokingly added, "Our bell was the dog."

For more information on volunteering or how to a donation to the Anderson Animal Shelter, go to www.andersonanimalshelter.com or call (847) 697-2880.

• Do you know of a person to be thankful for in the Fox Valley? Email sklovstad@dailyherald.com.

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