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Local News

Fundraiser for Joliet Habitat ReStore has teams build houses for dogs

JOLIET – Andi Armitage stood in the hot September sun Saturday with co-workers Kimberly Steele and Adriana Prokuski and painted strips of wood bright green, yellow and purple. Armitage’s team had a mission to build a dog house – but she wanted something whimsical and colorful that would stand out.

So Armitage and the Joliet Police Department Records Department created a Dr. Seuss-inspired dog house, with offset doors and windows and a crooked chimney, all to support the Will County Habitat for Humanity ReStore fifth anniversary fundraiser Homes for Hounds.

“I love animals, and everyone in our office has a special place in their heart for animals, so we wanted to give back to this community with this event,” Armitage said.

The Records Department was one of 13 teams from area businesses, churches, schools, nonprofits, civic groups and police and fire departments that set up shop Saturday in the parking lot of the Habitat for Humanity store ReStore at 200 S. Larkin Ave. in Joliet to build a unique dog house to be auctioned off for charity.

ReStore manager Heidi Serena said she wanted to celebrate the anniversary with a unique fundraiser.

“I also wanted to raise awareness for ReStore,” Serena said. “We did dog houses because we couldn’t build a home, like we do with Habitat, in the parking lot. This was the right size of project.”

The three groups the fundraiser supported were K9’s for Veteran Warriors, PAWS of Tinley and Habitat for Humanity in order to support its mission of “a world where everyone deserves a decent place to live,” Serena said.

Each group was given the wood beforehand and allowed to cut and prime the wood, but had to construct the house on-site. Houses ranged from small – for those tiny furry friends – to deluxe – with patios, hardwood floors or stone fronts. Each included intricate details that made each home unique to its builder.

Shorewood HUGS built a basic box house with a pillow and dog bowls attached; but to represent its Chocolate Ball fundraiser in February that has a Paris theme, the team’s vice president, Jackie O’Hara, enlisted the help of her father, Dave Mihelich, to make the piece look like the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

“My dad took plastic corner trim and then hot-glued plastic lattice and built a wooden top to attach it all together. He and I were the construction team, and the rest of our group did the decorating,” O’Hara said.

The only indoor dog house was constructed by Team Make a Difference out of Morris. TMaD founder Audra Crowther said since that organization does home makeovers, it was natural to create a piece of furniture for inside the home.

The groups began at 8:30 a.m. and judging began at 1:30 p.m., with awards at 2 p.m. Three judges – Will County Executive Larry Walsh Sr., Joliet City Councilman Mike Turk and 20-plus year Habitat for Humanity supporter Joe Adler – walked around and ranked the homes for “judges choice” award. Each participant received a ballot as well, to vote for their top three dog houses for the “most creative” award.

“With the quality of these dog houses, some of them you wouldn’t mind being thrown in the dog house,” Walsh Sr. said.

“Most creative” award went to the Rotary Club of Joliet for its tiki hut theme and “judges choice” award went to Professional Salon Concept with its large house with adjoining porch.

The houses will be up for judging for additional awards and bid for the next two weeks at the ReStore store and on Joliet ReStore Facebook page.



Visit to cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award for the best dog house.


The organizations that created the doghouse building teams for the Homes for the Hounds five-year anniversary event were:

• Bethel of Chicago Heights

• Boy Scouts Troop 15

• First Community Bank of Channahon

• G&W Electric (two teams)

• Harrah’s Joliet

• Joliet Fire Department

• Joliet Police Department “Pup Squad”

• Joliet West High School

• Smith/Strong by Minooka Community High School

• Pink Heals Joliet Area Chapter

• Professional Salon Products

• Rotary Club of Joliet

• Shorewood HUGS

• Team Make a Difference

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