In memory of his loyal dog, a Chicago restaurant’s owner hosted a fundraiser in the Heart of Chicago neighborhood on Wednesday, Jan. 10, as per CBS Chicago. Leo Rios is the owner of Il Vicinato Ristorante, located at 2435 S. Western Ave. His dog, Luger, passed away in 2021 due to cancer.
Although Rios organized the event, several organizations collaborated for it. Specifically, PAWS Chicago, the Little Village Rotary Club, and Friends of Chicago Animal Care came together to make it a success.
Restaurant owner struggled with cancer too
Rios was diagnosed with cancer as well. Throughout his battle, Luger calmly stayed by his pet parent’s side.
In 2020, Rios finished his treatments and was declared cancer-free. However, shortly afterward, his furry friend was diagnosed with the disease. As a result, he believes his pet sacrificed himself by taking his cancer and trading his life for his owner’s. Hence, this restaurant event was more than a typical fundraiser and became a heartfelt homage to a beloved dog. The deep bond between Rios and Luger was reflected in the emotional overtones of the occasion.
Rios noted, “This event is really focusing on our community … we’re doing something that we’ve never seen before.” He continued, “I came up with this idea – and I wanted to bring my community, my regulars together to help the cause because there’s a lot of need with the shelters right now.”
Event aimed to raise funding for local animal shelters
The main goal of the fundraiser was to support local animal shelters through donations and encouraging adoption, as BNN Breaking reports.
PAWS Chicago, a key event partner, is a leading organization that strives to eradicate the killing of homeless pets.
The fundraiser in Rios’ restaurant mirrored a prior one held at Piece Brewery and Pizzeria. That event was also organized in partnership with PAWS Chicago. There, the pizzeria’s customers bought a designated pizza. For every sale of that pizza, $10 was provided to help with a dog’s adoption at the PAWS Pippen Fasseas Adoption Center.
Moreover, the earlier event highlighted how “community-focused initiatives” can have a tremendous impact. Consequently, it paved the way for Rios’ fundraiser, thereby contributing positively to the overall welfare of animals in Chicago.