‘Why I Rescue’: Chicago Residents Share Their Pet Adoption Stories

Clear the Shelters

Woman playing with her dog at home.

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In honor of “Clear the Shelters” coming up on Aug. 17, we asked our NBC Chicago Facebook audience, “Why did you decide to adopt your pet?” Their responses were filled with stories of love, companionship and lifelong friendship. Read them below.

For more information on Chicago-area shelters participating in NBC and Telemundo owned stations’ Clear The Shelters pet adoption campaign, click here!

Amelia Taylor I love their company…our cat benefits us just as much, if not more, than we benefit her. I chose a rescue cat because there are so many in ned of forever homes. I’ve had my kitty for over 17 years…these now a bit grouchy and demanding, but she gets a lot of love from everyone in our home.

Cindy Thomas Pershey I adopted one of my cats because that’s the way to do this. The other one came from a family member.

Diane Scarborough I have adopted two senior cats from Anti-Cruelty – seniors are just the best ❤️ #AdoptSeniors #AdoptDontShop

Linda Lewandowski Honestly, I wanted a grown dog so I knew how big it would be (no surprises). We adopted an adorable 13 pound mutt who has been a joy to spoil since.

Loretta Torres We are firm believers in adoption. We got our 3rd cat in 2015 after our precious little princess had to be put down. We adopted our 1st dog in 2017. We did not want a kitten or puppy. We wanted adult animals that might be harder to place. Our intentions are always to give someone a good, loving home. In the end though, they are the ones who give us one. Love our babies!

Carol Whittinghill My daughter and granddaughter have always had rescue pets. Especially a cat with special needs and an older dog with cancer.

Vanessa Luis He was my dog that I had to take care of at vet tech school and I fell in love

Nancy Lahare My dogs chose me. I went in and was supposed to adopt a dog that was not there (in route with the foster family). So in the meantime i saw my Teddy and that was it. I never even saw the other dog. At the time my other dog was 14 and adopting Teddy ended up being good for her. Helped her live another 2 years. I believe that. And having Teddy helped me to get thru her loss.

Susannah Yong I was “looking” after my dog passed. I went to a couple of shelters several times. My home felt empty after having a cat and a dog several years My heart is full with Mr Monticello.

Julie Caldwell Downie We believe in rescuing and have rescued 3 of our 4 dogs. As they say, adopt, don’t shop. Our rescues have been the best dogs ever!

Erin Wolhers My neighbor found my dog on the street and took him to different shelters. The shelters asked him to keep the dog while they waited to see if anyone would come forward to claim him. We waited and no one did so we adopted Brownie!

Jolanda Zaluski My pets, past and present, were/are my teachers, my angels. Such pure and beautiful souls. Their unconditional love and loyalty never ceases to amaze. Changed my life on so many different levels.

Jennifer Steves Because they all deserve a chance. We have 3 cats (had 4 but one just passed) and 3 dogs – all rescues. Mine will always be rescues. We wish we could save them all. There are far too many animals spending their lives in a kennel at a shelter and/or being euthanized. All they want to do is love us.

Denise LaBrose Simple. To start we wanted a dog. But there are far too many animals out there in need of homes, so we purposely adopted an adult dog since puppies are more popular. I’d also love to adopt a senior or special needs dog in the future! They need love too♡

Jan Ramming Dogs who have been abandoned and rescued just want to be loved. Most times they are not purebreds or show dogs, but they are sweet and loyal, and they deserve a good life. We have rescued 3 and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Erin Marie I have always had shelter pets. When we lost our last guy to cancer we decided to foster a while to let our hearts heal. The 4th foster we had was going to be our “last” and we would search for an adult dog to adopt.

But we ended up with this perfect little girl as our foster and I fell HARD in love with her. So we mad her a member of the family. I always feel like it was meant to be, our tiny (63lbs teeny) sweetness will need physical therapy the rest of her life and I am not sure anyone else would have been so willing to do that for her.

Pam Kaniuk I wanted to replace my first dog that died. Then it was a no brainner! All of my dogs from that point on were/are a rescue. Mutts are the best!

Liz Hayes My husband had a cat and we wanted him to have a companion. I went to the shelter and all the kittens were playing all over me-except one. The shelter volunteer told me to take some time and think it over. I took the weekend to decide and couldn’t get that one kitten out of my mind. I went back Monday morning and guess who was the only kitten in the observation window-the cat that wouldn’t play with me. I took it as a sign. So, I adopted a long-hair (which I said I wouldn’t do). Callie was with me for 18 years.

Jocelyn Bruns Adopted mine because my other dog had such horrible separation anxiety. She ended up being a perfect fit for our family. Adopt don’t shop!

Diane Napodano Jennings Our fur baby of 17 years passed. Waited thru the winter. There was such a void in our lives and heart so we adopted our Tilly. She was 1 when we got her! I told her it took her a while to find her forever home but I think she saved us

Cathy DelGiudice-Rivas I gave 3 dogs already they are my life. I read up on Lacey a 8yr old french bulldg/english bulldog from Alabama. She was abused and kept in a cage for 8 yrs for breeding causing her to end up with hip dysplasia and rolling patella. She cannot take stairs and has a hard time walking. I adopted her regardless from ALMOST HOME FOUNDATION IN SCHAUMBURG 2. Weeks ago knowing this will be a costly choice. I want what years this sweet girl has left to be happy.

Patricia Riffe It is the right thing to do – too many pets sit and wonder if anybody cares. Both we and our son adopted dogs who were so grateful and loving to us and created so much happiness for us. And we provided them with a happy home.

Sharon A Walker We’ve been rescuing cats & dogs for 40 years. All winners! We’ve had Labs & a Corgi. Siamese & then Ragdolls. My first Ragdoll is now 16 years old. I think he likes it here. We just adopted Ragdoll sisters thru SPCR. A great experience.

Jim Klipper Had not had a K-9 companion in three years but after my wife died, adopting one helped me get my life back in order.

Coreen Koski My daughter was begging for a pet. So we finally adopted a rescue cat…little did we know she’d be the best thing to ever happen to our family.

Deborah Kemp They make the best pets ever. I have three puppers and they are the best. Just happy to be in a loving home.

Lisa Wolniakowski Tramontana We had just bought our first home and installed a fence. Then, we lost my mother and my husband’s grandmothers. I was so despondent…we felt a “best bud” puppy would help and we were in a good position to adopt, as I was at home. We found our mini-Schnauzer who had been at the shelter for a long time for a pup and he just clung to me when I held him. He needed us as much as we needed him. Best decision ever. He’s going on 14 and is going strong. Our buddy!

Laura Smith My husband and I had just lost our beloved dog of 13 years and said that he would send us the right dog when the time was right. Imagine my surprise when, on a whim, I arrived at Anderson Animal Shelter with my friend, “just to look,” and on a complete coincidence found my husband already standing there in the lobby looking guilty! We knew our dog had to be there somewhere, and the one we got actually chose us. He came right over to me melted in my lap like butter and we just knew he was the one!!

Jessica Carr Doucette I adopted my current dog after my elderly mastiff passed. I have a soft spot for the ones who are unlikely to be adopted. Black, old, scarred, pit mixes, shutdown… we’ve adopted them all. I’m currently fostering a little pit mix who lived her whole life outside producing puppies and after the county did a wellbeing check on her, her owner beat her with a chain. She’s a love bug who is enjoying the couches and snuggling with blankets and laps.

Laura Barreto-Baran I’ve supported Save A Pet since moving to the area 20+ years ago. When it was time for a new cat to love, we chose to give a Senior a new lease on life. I saw Mr. Fred’s (now Freddie) picture on the website and could not wait to meet him. His story touched my heart and now he has his forever home.

JayNine Delgado I adopted my mixed Bully breed Zeus about a year and a half ago bc my I was ready for another dog after mine old dog passed away 2 years prior. So many great dogs at CACC it was hard to choose but he came from a home that had cats so I knew he would be good with mine. Come out Aug 17th to CACC 2741 S Western and Clear the Shelter!!!

Diane Schuett I so believe in rescuing. My baby boy was alone, abandoned and abused at only 4 months old. I lost my Charlie last October to cancer. As soon as I saw my Lucky we connected and it was love. He is now happy and living the life he should be living. I will always love my Charlie but it was as if he said to me “rescue Lucky he needs you”.

Vicki Strykowski I have always rescued and adopted . I’ve had 10 ex racing greyhounds. I have a senior GSD rescued on his last day at a California kill shelter. My cats are all former ferals . Buying is ridiculous when there are so many they are going to die if not adopted and they are fabulous.

Rudy H Garcia Actually I was just going to visit someone where she was helping for the day for adopting pets. Haven’t seen her since grade school. She tried to get me to adopt a dog, but couldn’t. So I told her just give me that black cat. 4 yrs later, glad I adopted her.

Martha Montooth Krausz Had to put my boy down and my heart was broken. 2 weeks later we saw my cutie just sitting and eyes begging to be loved. Didn’t want a puppy, and she was almost 2. Love her immensely.

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Valley Animal Center - Adopt a Cat

Valley Animal Center - Adopt a Dog

SPCA Adoption

Cat House on the Kings Adoption


Miss Winkles Adoption






85 Temperance Ave. Clovis, CA 93611


103 South Hughes Ave, Fresno, CA, 93706


3934 N Hayston Ave. Fresno, CA 93726


29016 Highway 99


7120 S Kings River Rd, Parlier, CA 93648


  • Towels and blankets - Shelters are often cold and animals like to have a blanket to curl up on. Towels are a big help to dry animals off after being bathed or if they come in wet. Towels can also be used to line the bottoms of cages. The towels or blankets don't have to be brand new or in perfect condition. The animals won't mind, as long as they're usable.
  • Canned and Dry Food for Cats and Dogs-Healthy - Healthy pet options for nourishment
  • Kitty litter and cat boxes - Cats go to the bathroom- a lot. Shelters are constantly using bag after bag of litter. Their supply runs out fast.
  • Puppy or kitten formula and nursing bottles - Sometimes there are situations where a young puppy or kitten who is not weaned gets separated from their mother. In these situations they need puppy or kitten formula to survive.
  • Old newspaper - When you're done with your newspapers you usually just throw them away or recycle them, right? You could help animals at no cost to you if you just save up your old newspapers. Newspapers are used in the bottoms of cages. They get soiled quickly, so they're in constant demand.
  • Collars, harnesses, and leashes - Dogs who are taken out on walks need a leash and collar or harness. The shelter loses some because adopted dogs often go home with their leash or harness.
  • Grooming supplies - Grooming supplies can include shampoo, brushes, combs, haircutting scissors, etc. Dogs and cats often come in dirty or end up getting dirty. Grooming supplies can keep them fresh, clean, and adoptable.
  • Toys - You would get bored if you had to lay in a crate alone all day, wouldn't you? Animals in shelters get bored, too. It keeps the animals from being so lonely and bored and allows them to get exercise. You could go out and buy new toys, or you could donate toys your pets or children may have not gotten much use out of. It's as simple as that.
  • Crates and carriers - Animals need to be transported somehow, and the cost of multiple crates and carriers can add up quickly. You can donate ones you stopped using that are still in good condition or you could go buy one for a decent price. This helps the shelter tremendously.
  • Paper towels and cleaning supplies - There are a lot of situations that get messy, so paper towels are a big help.
  • Hand wash and hand sanitizer - People who work at shelters need to keep their hands clean for their and the animals' health.
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, and bleach - Towels and blankets get soiled often so the washing machines are being used a lot
  • Dog and cat beds - this can offer the animals a soft place to lay instead of a kennel or cage floor.
  • Heating pads - Many animals come in cold or are young and need warmth. Heating pads can replace a mother's warmth.
  • Copy paper and pens, pencils, post-it notes and staples - You can't forget about all the paperwork that has to be done. Donating these items makes it so the shelter doesn't have to buy them on their own.
  • Garbage bags, mops, brooms, and sponges - The shelter uses these every day and clean up supplies can get expensive.
  • Food bowls - As new animals come in, the shelter needs new places to put food. Having an adequate supply could mean life or death for an animal in a shelter.
  • Rubber and latex gloves - A lot of messy stuff happens and gloves are necessary to lessen the spread of germs.
  • Plastic shopping bags - Plastic bags can be used to clean up dog mess and to store things in.

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