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Luminere Spa saves endangered cats one Brazilian at a time

June 12, 2013|By JoVona Taylor | RedEye

Adopt a furry cat and lose a little fur of your own.

Luminere Spa in Lincoln Park is offering a free Brazilian wax, or facial, to anyone who adopts a cat from a selection of shelters or rescue organizations listed on the spa website. The promotion will go until Aug. 31.

Tracey Briggs, Luminere Spa owner, said the “What’s New Pussycat?” wax and “Furry Feline Facial” are small incentives to bring attention to a bigger issue that affects cats and other animals at the Chicago Animal Care & Control shelter every day.

“Due mostly to space constraints, there are so many kitties that will be euthanized if they do not make it to the adoption floor or to an adoption center,” said the 38-year-old Evanston resident.

Briggs, a longtime advocate of animal rescue groups, said she was shocked when she visited the shelter in search of a cat last summer and only 12 were being offered for adoption.

“After talking to one of my clients I found out that there was another room full of cats, some perfectly adoptable, that would be put down if a rescue group didn’t come for them by a certain date,” Briggs said. “I just thought it was really sad that these animals were there basically waiting for their death.”

Soon after learning of the many animals that never make it to the adoption process, Briggs discovered the Facebook page of the CACC Cat Transfer Team, a group of volunteers from CACC that helps network animals--mainly cats--that are not on the adoption floor so that more can have a chance of making it out of the shelter.

Although Briggs wanted to personally take part in rescuing some of the needy cats, CACC only allows rescues approved by the Homeward Bound Animal Placement Program.

“If a member of the general public sees a cat on our page that they are interested in fostering or adopting, they can always get in touch with a Homeward Bound rescue and work with them to rescue that cat,” said Allison Tarr, a CACC Cat Transfer Team Member and 31-year-old resident of Albany Park.

Briggs said the difficulties she encountered while trying to get involved through the cat transfer team were discouraging because although interested individuals can find a Homeward Bound- approved rescue center to help them adopt an at-risk cat, many of the rescues Briggs contacted were too full to sponsor a cat at her request.

After more than a week of searching for a way to get involved with efforts through the CACC Cat Transfer Team, Briggs got an opportunity to foster cats through Homes for Endangered & Lost Pets (HELP), an all-volunteer rescue organization based in St. Charles.

“Many of the animals not available for adoption at animal control need medical attention before they can be handed out to the public” said Sue Ryan, a volunteer for HELP and 50-year-old resident of Geneva.

“There is not much we can do about that part of it except get more animals [that can be adopted] out of there to make more room.”

Since there was no way to bypass CACC regulations for saving endangered animals, Briggs decided to offer free services at Luminere Spa to make a difference.

“I wanted to do what I could to help out,” Briggs said. “[The free spa services] are just a vehicle to get awareness out there.”

Members of the CACC Cat Transfer Team agree that Briggs’ generosity will help save the lives of more cats in desperate need and draw attention to the cause.

“There are hundreds of animals, both cats and dogs, that need rescue at any time at the city shelter,” Tarr said. “We hope this article brings awareness to what is happening right here in our town and encourages everyone to help in any way that they can, just like Tracey [Briggs] is with her generous offer!”

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