If you don't rescue, don't breed ... Until there are none, ADOPT ONE!

Successfully Adopting from A Rescue

Before you apply to adopt from us, please read about successfully adopting a rescue dog at this link: to be sure you are ready for your new pet.

Successful adoptions are critical to our goals. Rescue dogs are often excellent, but misunderstood dogs. By misunderstood we mean, most dogs are in the pound because they had owners who could not speak dog. Owners who didn't give the dog what it instinctually needed and in return they created a dog with issues.

The top two reasons a dog develops issues are lack of exercise and lack of leadership. Humans forget they are dealing with a canine animal and too many times do not give the canine what they need as that animal. When the dog does not act like that picture perfect image they had in their minds they assume they "didn't get a good one" and they "get rid" of the dog.  The good news is since dogs live from day to day, meaning they do not dwell in the past or the future; it is absolutely possible to take a full grown dog and start over as if it is the first day of the rest of their life. Do it right and you will see a totally different dog than the owners who dumped the dog at the pound saw.

Your New Dog & The Rule of Three

The Rule of Three

Why We Love Rescue Dogs!

I always tell my clients that “it’s amazing what a good home will do”.  Nowhere is this truer than with rescued dogs.  You will see the terrified animal in front of you transformed into a family member within the matter of weeks to months, as the pup realizes that this is THE forever home.  This is also the reason that I recommend giving it a week, or two, in order to see your new pet’s true colors.


Give your new dog time to adjust and you’ll reap the rewards.

After three days

You notice that your rescue is visibly calmer and adapting to the new surroundings. 

After three weeks

You have the beginnings of a routine and are seeing your new pet’s individuality. 

After three months

You and your dog are bonded and in tune with your personalities.

Case in point is my own rescue dog, Sparky Joseph (I am sure that he is tired of being made an example, but he doesn’t get any say in the matter).  When we first got him from the Rescue (after he was returned twice!!!), he refused to take treats and didn’t even know what toys were (he also had raging diarrhea and big green boogers all over my house, but that’s another story).  After three days, he convinced us that he should sleep in the bedroom with us at night.  After three weeks, he was sitting and laying down for treats and killing squeaky toys.  After three months, I am pretty sure that he has us trained to do his bidding.  After a rough start in life almost ending at the Cook County shelter, Sparky has landed on his feet, and seven years later, is still running our house!  Hopefully, you will enjoy the same love and success that I have with my rescue dog.

Megan Williams DVM

Hoffman Estates Animal Hospital

Barrington, IL


Some Things to Consider When Adopting

There are many things to consider when adopting a pet. Once you have carefully considered all aspects of raising a companion animal, such as cost - both in terms of time and money - and you are still sure that you want, and can provide for, a pet, then you are ready to consider specific qualities and characteristics of the animal. Some things to consider when adopting a dog or cat include: size, temperament, sex, age and coat.

Don't overlook older animals as they often make the best pets. As well, don't overlook animals who appear quiet, scared or excited. Many animals in shelters and pounds are frightened and a little overwhelmed and may exhibit some minor behavioral problems due to their stressed state. As Bob Christiansen points out in his book Choosing & Caring For A Shelter Dog, "The trick is to look not so much at what the dog is, but at what it will become under the guidance of a kind, knowledgeable owner."

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Your New Best Friend Awaits… at the local shelter

What Kind of Dog is Right for You?

Jacque Lynn Schultz, Director, ASPCA Special Projects

How To Select Your New Best Friend

Best friends are good listeners and always happy to see you. They are always there to lend a shoulder to cry on. Whether jogging partners or worthy sporting opponents, they spring to your defense whenever needed. Best friends are loyal, steadfast and true. And they always know how to make you laugh! While it may take years to find a new human best friend, your new canine best friend awaits you at the local shelter.

Here are some considerations when selecting your new best friend:

Match your personalities

  • If you're gregarious and like to talk to strangers, a unique-looking mixed breed or rare purebred will bring you lots of attention and questions.
  • If you are reserved and like to keep to yourself, an all-black or black and tan shepherd mix will help you blend in. Many of the guardian breeds such as Rottweilers and German Shepherds are most comfortable as "one-person" dogs.
  • If your home is filled with children, roommates, or visitors, consider selecting a dog that has never met a human he didn't like. Retrievers, setters, spaniels and their mixed brethren are generally very friendly and unflappable.

Match your energy levels

  • Are you athletic and love the outdoors in any season? You'd be a great match for an active dog with a medium thick coat like a retriever mix.
  • If winter sports are your forte and you love to go cross country skiing or hiking through the snow, a husky mix is ideal.
  • Are you a fair weather stroller? A retired racing greyhound is a marvelous walking companion.

And remember, beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but it takes work to look that good!

  • Are you drawn to curly or silky-locked breeds? Dogs with lots of coat will need lots of coat care. This could include daily brushing and trips to the groomer every 4-6 weeks.
  • Do the teddy bear looks of the double-coated northern breeds (Chows, Akitas, Elkhounds, sled dogs and their mixes) appeal to you? Just be prepared for extra grooming during shedding season, extra exercise on cool days and extra air conditioning during the dog days of summer.
  • If strength, playfulness, and a wash and wear coat appeal to you, how about a pit bull?

Regardless of which dog you choose, all great friendships blossom when proper care and consideration are taken. Your shelter is not only happy to assist you in match-making, they will provide you with the materials to make it work!

Thinking of Adopting?

Sara Kent, director of shelter outreach

Questions for All Adopters:

  • Do you have any other pets and how will they react to a new pet?

  • Is your current residence suited to the pet you're considering?

  • How will your social life or work obligations affect your ability to care for a pet?

  • Do you have a plan for your new pet during vacations and/or work travel?

  • How do the people you live with feel about having a pet in the house?

  • Are you (or your spouse, partner or roommate) intolerant of hair, dirt and other realities of sharing your home with a pet, such as allergies?

  • Do you or any of your household/family members have health issues that may be affected by a pet?

  • What breed, or species, of animal is the best fit with your current lifestyle?

  • Is there tension in the home? Pets quickly pick up on stress in the home, and it can exacerbate their health and behavior problems.

  • Is there an adult in the family who has agreed to be ultimately responsible for the pet's care?

Other Considerations:

  • What do you expect your pet to contribute to your life? For example, do you want a running and hiking buddy, or is your idea of exercise watching it on TV?

  • If you are thinking of adopting a young animal, do you have the time and patience to work with the pet through its adolescence, taking house-breaking, chewing and energy-level into account? 

  • Have you considered your lifestyle carefully and determined whether a younger or older animal would be a better match for you?

  • Can you train and handle a pet with behavior issues or are you looking for an easy-going friend?

  • Do you need a pet who will be reliable with children or one you can take with you when you travel?

  • Do you want a pet who follows you all around the house or would you prefer a less clingy, more independent character?

Size Considerations (for Dogs):

  • What size dog can your home accommodate?

  • Will you have enough room if your dog grows to be bigger than expected?

  • What size pet would suit the other people who live in or visit your home regularly?

  • Do you have another pet to consider when choosing the size of your next pet?

  • How big a pet can you travel comfortably with?

Pet Costs:

  • More likely than not, the adopting agency will charge a fee to help defray the cost of taking in unwanted or lost animals. The adoption fee you pay will be a tiny fraction of the money you will spend over the life of your pet.

  • You may need to pay for your adopted pet to be spayed or neutered before bringing him or her home.

  • Some expenses are mandatory for all pets, including:
    • Food
    • Routine veterinary care
    • Licensing according to local regulations
    • Collars, leashes and identification tags
    • Kitty litter and box
    • Basic grooming equipment and supplies.

  • Other expenditures may not be required but are highly recommended:
    • Permanent identification, such as a microchip or tattoo
    • Training classes
    • Additional grooming supplies or professional grooming (depending on your new pet's needs)
    • A spare collar or leash
    • A bed and toys
    • A crate or carrier

  • Unexpected costs: Accidents and illness can result in costly emergency veterinary care. Recovery tools for finding a missing pet can include posters and rewards.

  • A pet with special physical or behavioral challenges may require specialized professional support to overcome any obstacles these issues present.

Time Considerations:

  • Pets need to be fed two to three times a day, more often in the case of puppies, and need a constant supply of fresh water.

  • A responsible pet parent should spend at least one hour per day giving direct attention to his or her pet. This may include training, exercising, grooming, and playing or, with cats, may just be lap time on the couch. Dogs will need to be taken out to potty several times a day.

  • A pet with an abundance of energy needs more time to exercise and interactive toys to keep them entertained.

  • Pets with long coats need 20 minutes a day of grooming to prevent matting.

  • Pets with certain medical conditions may need additional attention, including specifically timed injections in the case of diabetic animals.

  • Remember that adopted pets may need additional bonding and reassurance time in the early weeks.

Six Common Misconceptions About Pet Adoption

Jane Harrell, associate producer

We put together a list of common adoption myths, in the hopes that you can gently point friends toward this post when they talk about why they've got their heart set on buying.

Myth #1: I don't know what I'm getting
There may in fact be more information available about an adoptable pet than one from a breeder or pet store.

Many of the pets posted on Petfinder are in foster care. Foster parents live with their charges 24-7 and can often tell you, in detail, about the pet's personality and habits. If the pet is at a shelter, the staff or volunteers may be able to tell you what he or she is like.

At the very least, you can ask the staff if the pet was an owner surrender (rather than a stray) and, if so, what the former owner said about him or her. Quite often pets are given up because the owner faced financial or housing issues (more on that later). You can also ask about the health and behavioral evaluations the pet has undergone since arriving at the shelter. In contrast, pet store owners rarely have an idea of what a pet will be like in a home.

Myth #2: I can't find what I want at a shelter
While it's true that adopting a purebred or a young puppy can require more patience than going to a pet store or breeder, it can also lead to a better match for you and your family, for the reasons described above.

If you can't find the pet you're looking for on Petfinder, don't give up. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 6-8 million cats and dogs enter shelters each year. Some shelters even maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don't be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder.

Myth #3: I can get a free pet, so why pay an adoption fee?
According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (via the ASPCA), approximately 65% of pet parents in the U.S. get their pets for free or at low cost, and most pets are obtained from acquaintances or family members. The NCPPSP also reports that pets acquired from friends make up more than 30% of pets surrendered to shelters.

While getting a "free" pet may seem like a bargain at first, you're then responsible for veterinary costs that shelters and rescue groups usually cover, including:

  • Spaying/neutering $150-300
  • Distemper vaccination $30-$60 x2
  • Rabies vaccination $35 (and up)
  • Heartworm test $15-35
  • Flea/tick treatment $50-200
  • Microchip $50

Myth #4: I'll be "rescuing" a sick puppy from a pet store
Pet stores play on our sympathies by keeping pets in small enclosures and in storefronts. But paying the pet store to let you "save" the puppy or kitten gives those stores exactly what they want -- income -- and perpetuates a cruel industry.

Myth #5: Pets are in shelters because they didn't make good pets
In fact, the main reasons pets are given up include:

  • Owners are moving to housing that don't allow pets (7% dogs, 8% cats)
  • Allergies (8% cats)
  • Owner having personal problems (4% dogs and cats)
  • Too many or no room for litter mates (7% dogs, 17% cats)
  • Owner can no longer afford the pet (5% dogs, 6% cats)
  • Owner no longer has time for the pet (4% dogs)
As you can see, many of the reasons have nothing to do with the pets themselves. Working with shelter staff and volunteers can be a great way to figure out the best match for you and your home.

Myth #6: Shelter pets have too much baggage
Rescued pets have full histories ... something that can actually be GREAT for adopters. Remember, all pets-- even eight-week old puppies and kittens -- have distinct personalities. Those personalities will either jive with your home and lifestyle or not.  Work with rescue group or shelter staff to find the right fit for you.

Pet Care Cost Estimates

Small Dog
Medium Dog
Large Dog

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Annual Total

Capital Costs

Litter box


Capital Total

Special Costs

Long Hair Groom

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Why You Shouldn't Buy Pets from Pet Stores

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Pet stores that sell dogs and cats regard them as inventory, often getting their "stock" from middlemen or brokers. Though the staff may assure you that the animals in their store were raised humanely, most have little knowledge of the conditions at the kennels where the pets were born.

You may reason that because of his age, the puppy or kitten you're considering buying may have not been at the breeding facility very long. You may think that by buying him, you will give him a good home, so where's the harm? The harm is in perpetuating the conditions under which the animal was bred.

That pup or kittens parents may still be living in tiny wire cages with no opportunity to exercise or socialize with other animals or humans. In raids on animal breeding operations, law enforcement and animal welfare agents often find row upon row of cages, sometimes hundreds of them, so small the animal barely has room to turn around. Feces often are piled high beneath the cages where it has fallen. The stench is unbearable. Animals in mills do not receive routine veterinary care and suffer from serious health issues. They have typical docile, fearful behavior patterns. Their coats are matted and often they suffer from skin conditions. They are often malnourished and dehydrated. Untreated eye infections sometimes blind them. When their health deteriorates sufficiently to interfere with their ability to produce another litter, they are disposed of, sometimes inhumanely. Animals have been found, barely alive, in trash bags behind such facilities.

By purchasing a pet, you put money in the hands of the animal miller, thus encouraging him or her to continue breeding animals.

If you are looking for a purebred companion animal, you'll find many by searching Many breed rescue groups post their adoptable pets on, and a surprising number of pets that end up in shelters are purebred.

There are reputable animal breeders. Generally, they do not sell to pet stores because they want to insure that the animals they raise go into good homes. They care about their animals and screen potential buyers. They track the pet as he goes to a home in order to monitor any potential health problems that may develop in the bloodline. If you do decide to pursue a reputable breeder, you can contact your local breed rescue club for information.

Shelter Dog Stereotypes

There are many myths associated with adopting pets from animal shelters including:

Shelter Animals Have Behavioral Problems
Many people believe that pets in shelters are there because they have behavioral problems. The sad truth is that most of these animals are where they are due to their previous guardians' ignorance and indifference. Often, people who have acquired pets from shelters and pounds are pleasantly surprised at the fine companions they have adopted. Animals with serious and obvious behavioral problems are not put up for adoption. Remember, many excellent animals waiting to be adopted will exhibit minor behavioral problems. Some are scared while others are excited. This should not be held against them as they are in a stressful environment.

Shelter Animals Are Older & Not Trainable
While most of the pets in shelters and pounds are mature animals, there are also puppies and kittens available for adoption. The saying "You cannot teach an old dog new tricks" is false. Shelter animals respond well to good, effective and humane training techniques. When training your pet it is important to be consistent, patient and understanding.

Shelter Animals Are Inferior To Purebred Pets
Some people mistakenly believe that purebred pets are superior to animals of mixed breeding. Purebred dogs and cats are not smarter, healthier or more even tempered than canines and felines of mixed breeding.

If you want a purebred pet you should visit your local animal shelter or pound. There was a time when purebred dogs were seldom found in these facilities. Unfortunately, due to mass breeding, purebred dogs are common and more are being surrendered to animal shelters and pounds.

If you desire a particular breed because you like the character that breed displays, why not visit your local animal shelter or pound and adopt a pet with the characteristics that you are looking for? Often a pet of mixed breeding has a disposition and character similar to the breeds who were responsible for his/her creation.

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Continued Training

Training is an important part of creating a bond with your dog. It establishes a connection between you and your pet and teaches your pet to listen to you - you are in charge. Training teaches dog owners how to properly handle their dog and manage it's behavior. Training also provides an outlet for information and ways of managing behavior issues that help make your dog a family member for life. In order to be a balanced, your pet will need a mix of exercise, discipline and affection.

Recommended Trainers:

Dirk and LuAnne Smith

Certified Dog Trainers

Write: Chicagoland Dog Rescue
P.O. Box 68808
Schaumburg, IL 60168

(847) 259-6458
because we are a all volunteers and this is a shelter-less rescue there is no one manning the phones, but we will call you back as soon as possible.


Will You Still Want Me?

Now that I'm home, bathed, settled and fed, all nicely tucked in my warm new bed....I'd like to open my baggage, lest I forget, there is so much to carry - so much to regret.

Hmmm...Yes, there it is, right on the top, let's unpack loneliness, heartache and loss. And there by my perch hides fear and shame. As I look on these things I tried so hard to leave - I still have to unpack my baggage called pain. I loved them, the others, the ones who left me, but I wasn't good enough - for they didn't want me.

Will you add to my baggage? Will you help me unpack? Or will you just look at my things - and take me right back. Do you have the time to help me unpack? To help put away my baggage, to never repack? I pray that you do - I'm so tired you see, but I do come with baggage ...

Will you still want me?