Dogs, Humans Unite to Promote Health Research Initiative During Chicago Parade

More than a dozen dogs climbed on a special parade float Oct. 9 as part of their award-winning Save Da Hoomans® campaign, using their puppy eyes and kisses to lobby ABC7Chicago reporters and about 10,000 spectators along Chicago’s State Street to improve human health.

The dog-led Save Da Hoomans® and human-led The New Normal® campaigns are part of an initiative led by Chicago’s top academic medical centers to speed the search for medical breakthroughs and make health research opportunities easily accessible to the public through a matchmaking site. Thousands of humans have already signed up to connect with researchers studying the health topics and conditions they care about the most. Health research can help find answers to everything from how to improve mental health, reduce violence, diagnose or prevent disease, or disover new treatments.

The parade kicked off Illinois’s first state-designated Italian Heritage Month and brought together people of all backgrounds to celebrate human connection and cultural bonds. Entertainers, marching bands, and cheering crowds echoed across downtown Chicago. The dogs were able to mobilize on a special float thanks to a donation from parade chairman Sergio Serritella.

“No clue how they got my number, but the dogs made it clear that they want to help humans be healthy both out of love and because the dogs lack the thumbs necessary to open peanut butter jars,” said Serritella, founder of the investigations firm Vantius. “This is the first time adoptable dogs have been an official part of this parade, and I’m thrilled to support a great cause from innovative universities that benefits both humans and their four-legged friends experiencing homelessness.”

About a dozen adoptable dogs from local animal rescues Wright-Way Rescue and It’s A Pittie Rescue were ambassadors for the Save da Hoomans pack. Each adoptable dog had a reason for saving their (temporary) hooman handler – Dash wanted to save humans from prostate cancer, and Darcy wanted to save humans from breast cancer.

“This is a brilliant campaign, and we’re so excited to team up to help dogs find great homes and help people find new ways to improve their health and that of their family and friends,” said Christy Anderson, executive director and founder of Wright-Way Rescue. “The dogs are very motivated for humans to be in great physical and mental health so they can live their best lives together as best friends!”

The Save Da Hoomans® Campaign is spearheaded by dogs mobilizing to save people from diseases and help find ways for their owners to live healthier, longer lives by sharing what they love and need the most from humans. The dogs of ABC7Chicago’s Cheryl Scott, Samantha Chatman, and Roz Varon have all joined the pack – and you and your dog can, too, at Not into doggolingo? You can also learn more at, the human-led side of the campaign.

Check out highlights from the parade in this Instagram reel, including the pups stealing the heart of ABC7Chicago meteorologist Greg Dutra.

About The New Normal® and Save Da Hoomans® Movement

The New Normal® and Save Da Hoomans® Campaigns are championed by the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM), a partnership between the University of Chicago and Rush in collaboration with Advocate Health Care, the Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech), Loyola University Chicago, and NorthShore University HealthSystem, as well as the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute and the University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS). The ITM, NUCATS, and CCTS are fueled by nearly $80 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program. The Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research shared its technology to help connect the public with research opportunities for this initiative. This initiative is also supported by the Chicago Department of Public Health and other regional and national partners who believe in empowering everyone to get involved in making discoveries to improve human health. Learn more and join at or

This project is supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through Grant Number UL1TR002389 that supports the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM); Grant Number UL1TR001422 that supports NUCATS; Grant Number UL1TR002003 that supports the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS); and Grant Number UL1TR002240 that supports the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

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