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

Clear the Shelters

Woman playing with her dog at home.

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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Clear The Shelters

Shelters near you


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Thousands of pets are looking for their forever homes and News Channel 8 is On Your Side helping to make that happen in the Tampa Bay area.

We are teaming up with hundreds of shelters across the country to host Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive on Saturday, August 17, 2019, to help find loving homes for animals in need.

More than 150,000 pets found their forever homes since 2015.

Now is the time for shelters to register by completing the online application located here. Organizations interested in participating in Clear the Shelters must complete the Commitment Registration form to ensure proper verification of all interested participants.

When registering, please make sure you select the TAMPA-ST.PETERSBURG-SARASOTA, FL region. This will put your shelter on our CLEAR THE SHELTERS online map, driving families to your shelter. 

Here are the local shelters that are offering no-cost or reduced-fee adoptions for this event:

  1. Citrus County Animal Services - 4030 S. Airport Rd, Inverness
  2. Humane Society of Polk County - 3195 Dundee Road Winter, Haven
  3. Barking Out Loud Rescue, Inc - 300 N Lake Drive, Lorida
  4. Paw Warriors, Inc. - 355 Spring Time Street, Spring Hill
  5. SPCA Florida - 5850 Brannen Rd S, Lakeland
  6. Friends of Strays Animal Shelter - 2911 47th Avenue North, St. Petersburg
  7. Pinellas County Animal Services - 12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo
  8. SPCA of Hernando County - 9075 Grant St, Brooksville
  9. Humane Society of Tampa Bay - 3607 N Armenia Avenue, Tampa
  10. SPCA Tampa Bay - 9099 130th Ave North, Largo
  11. Highlands County Sheriffs Animal Services - 7300 Haywood Taylor Blvd, Sebring
  12. St. Francis Animal Rescue - 1925 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice
  13. FLUFF Animal Rescue - 11220 Park Blvd N, Seminole
  14. Manatee County Animal Services: Palmetto Shelter - 305 25th St W, Palmetto
  15. Manatee County Cat Town - 216 6th Ave E, Bradenton
  16. Pasco County Animal Services - 19640 Dogpatch Lane, Land O'Lakes
  17. St. Francis Society, Inc. - Pet Smart - 12835 Citrus Plaza Dr, Tampa
  18. The Humane Society of the Nature Coast - 7200 Mobley Road, Brooksville
  19. Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center - 440 N. Falkenburg Road, Tampa
  20. Humane Society of Manatee County - 2515 14th Street W, Bradenton
  21. Save Our Strays Inc. Safety Harbor, FL - 3223 San Jose Street, Clearwater
  22. Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control Section - 7115 De Castro Rd, Winter Haven
  23. Hernando County Animal Services - 19450 Oliver St., Brooksville
  24. Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA of Manatee County, FL - 5718 21st Ave W, Bradenton
  25. Humane Society of Pinellas, 3040 State Road 590, Clearwater
  26. Rescue Cats of Florida, 211 West Alexander Street, Plant City
  27. Precious Paws Rescue, 5164 S. Florida Avenue (Route 41), Inverness
  28. Hands Helping Paws Rescue, 53 West Bay Boulevard South, Lake Wales
  29. Cat Kids Rescue, 10500 Ulmerton Road, Suite 308, Largo
  30. Suncoast Animal League, 1030 Pennsylvania Ave., Palm Harbor
  31. Cat Haven Rescue of Tampa-Pasco County, 1231 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Wesley Chapel
  32. Cat Haven Rescue of Pasco County, 8529 Little Road, New Port Richey
  33. Suncoast Humane Society, 6781 San Casa Drive, Englewood
  34. Rebels Rescue, 11665 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa
  35. Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch, 26920 Gopher Hill Road, Myakka city
  36. Cat Crusaders, Inc, 6248 Commerce Palms Drive, Tampa
  37. SPCA Suncoast, 7734 Congress Street, New Port Richey
  38. Rescue Cats of Florida, 3313 Lithia Pinecrest Road, Valrico
  39. Countless Cats Rescue Inc., 3139 Duane Avenue, Oldsmar
  40. Cat Call Inc, Pet Smart 1051 W Brandon Blvd, Brandon
  41. Cat Call Inc, 11331 Causeway Blvd, Brandon

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