Pet society

Save-A-Pet celebrates 50 years of helping animals in need


Save-A-Pet, one of Lake County’s largest no-kill animal rescues, is proud to announce that it is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Save-A-Pet was officially founded on August 28, 1972 by Gertrude Maxwell and Hannah Goldman when they presented a no-kill shelter proposal at a Highland Park Council meeting.

From humble beginnings in a small kennel in Deerfield, to their first shelter in Palatine in 1976, to their current 10-acre property in Grayslake purchased in 1991, Save-A-Pet has placed over 65,000 dogs and cats in their eternity. houses.

The Save-A-Pet Adoption Center has seen many upgrades over the past few years to advance its operations and benefit the lives of its canine and feline residents. In 2016, Save-A-Pet remodeled their main cat room to include updated housing for their free-roaming cats and those adjusting to their new surroundings.

The shovel used when Save-A-Pet was groundbreaking in 1995 at their current location. Founded in 1972, Save-A-Pet began in a small kennel in Deerfield and purchased the land for its current location in Grayslake in 1991.
– Courtesy of Save-A-Pet

In 2017, the kennel redesign project was completed, which fully enclosed the outdoor runs of the dog kennels that had previously only been protected by chain-link fencing and seasonal tarps.


Save-A-Pet’s most recent capital project, Project Clear Paths, which was completed in 2020, improved the exterior portions of its property by creating more distinctive and sustainable paths for dogs and volunteers can enjoy their daily adventures outdoors.

The staff

In addition to physical changes over the past 50 years, Save-A-Pet has held fast to its true no-kill mission and improved its programming to meet the needs of its animal residents, adoptive and foster families and the community.

Save-A-Pet’s Animal Welfare and Operations Manager, Sally Hubbard, is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (one of only six people in Illinois with this certification) and ensures that Save-A-Pet remains committed to high standards and ethical practices in animal care.

Save-A-Pet staff also keep abreast of the latest animal welfare research in shelters and now house their Feline Immunodeficiency Virus positive felines in their main room with other cats. adults; a grouping that was previously considered incompatible by the animal welfare industry.

Dog care staff also regularly supervise dog playgroups, allowing dogs at the adoption center to socialize not only with humans, but also with each other in a safe environment.

The programs

Save-A-Pet’s temporary and permanent foster program has grown over the years, caring for more dogs and cats than ever before. The program has expanded to meet the needs for large inputs from hoarding situations, to receive inputs from open-access shelters, to provide in-home care for terminally ill animals and, more recently, to temporarily house its animals throughout throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Save-A-Pet's new cat room, with state-of-the-art cat condos.

Save-A-Pet’s new cat room, with state-of-the-art cat condos.
– Courtesy of Save-A-Pet

This is in addition to the regular short-term foster program that meets needs such as temporary foster homes for puppies, kittens and animals recovering from medical procedures.

One of Save-A-Pet’s most notable programs is its Humane Investigation Team, whose volunteer members are all licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. This team responds to calls from the community regarding animal welfare concerns, investigates each unique situation, educates the local community and families, and rescues animals in desperate need.

Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
– Courtesy of Save-A-Pet

Save-A-Pet has also recently developed a “Trap-Neuter-Return” program to provide basic neutering, neutering and medical services to feral cats at a reasonable cost to members of the community who are committed to taking care of them.

The stories

Save-A-Pet’s 50 years are full of memorable and remarkable stories.

“Although some of our animals have backgrounds that will truly break your heart, we will never give up on giving them the life and love they truly deserve,” Hubbard said.

Rambo, right, with Toots, participating in dog playgroups at Save-A-Pet.  Rescued as a seriously ill puppy, Rambo is now a happy member of a family.

Rambo, right, with Toots, participating in dog playgroups at Save-A-Pet. Rescued as a seriously ill puppy, Rambo is now a happy member of a family.
– Courtesy of Save-A-Pet

A fine example of his life-changing work is Rambo, a German Shepherd who was rescued through human investigation while still a puppy. It was soon discovered that Rambo was seriously ill with the potentially deadly canine parvovirus and needed medical attention immediately.

After fighting for his life, Rambo was then rehabilitated in a foster home and quickly adopted by a loving family. He now visits the adoption center to act as a role model and help socialize the dogs into dog playgroups.

Avocado, a current adoptable Save-A-Pet resident, is thrilled to celebrate the 50th anniversary of animal rescue.

Avocado, a current adoptable Save-A-Pet resident, is thrilled to celebrate the 50th anniversary of animal rescue.
– Courtesy of Save-A-Pet

Another example of Save-A-Pet’s commitment to its mission is Avocado, a current feline resident. Avocado came to Save-A-Pet through an open-access shelter and was found to have several medical issues that required attention.

He has since been treated for stomatitis, a painful condition that often requires the extraction of most or all of a cat’s teeth for relief. He was also found to be pre-diabetic and is currently on a special diet.

“Save-A-Pet is always fully committed to each of the animals in our care. Whatever their physical, medical or behavioral needs, we remain true to our lifelong commitment to them and are very grateful to our donors. who make this possible,” said Executive Director Pat Kennedy-Pfeifer.

No matter how long Avocado needs to find his future family, he’ll be safe and cared for at Save-A-Pet.

The charity

Save-A-Pet is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that receives no government funding and can only provide nurturing care for its animals through the generosity of donors, grants and bequests. It has been rated as a four-star charity by Charity Navigator for seven consecutive years due to its fiscal responsibility and transparency.

Save-A-Pet prides itself on rescuing pets of various breeds, needs, ages and conditions, from healthy kittens and puppies to senior pets and those with advanced medical needs.

Its true kill-free mission relies on the dedicated staff members of its animal health, canine care, and feline care departments, as well as volunteers to help socialize animals, provide transportation to veterinary appointments, support fundraising initiatives, etc.

Its adoption staff work tirelessly to match adoptable and foster animals with loving families and educate the community about animal care. Save-A-Pet’s community partnerships include collaborations with local animal control and transportation groups to facilitate the rescue and fostering of new residents.

Save-A-Pet also works closely with local veterinary offices, in addition to two veterinarians who travel on-site to provide life-saving animal care. Of course, all of this is only possible thanks to the generosity of his supporters.

Save-A-Pet has several plans to celebrate this momentous birthday throughout the year. A 50th anniversary concert is scheduled for May, the annual Furry Friends celebration run will take place on June 25, a Beatles Tribute concert is scheduled for August, the seventh annual Real Estate to the Rescue Golf Outing will take place in September and the Fall Fun Walk is scheduled for October.

Also as part of the 50th anniversary celebration, Save-A-Pet hopes to raise an additional $50,000 this year for the purchase of a new, fully equipped pet transport van.

Information about these events and initiatives, as well as information about Save-A-Pet’s adoptable cats and dogs, can be found at For those who want to follow closer, Save-A-Pet also regularly features its adoptable animals and shares their stories on social media via its pages on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

Donations make Save-A-Pet’s no-kill mission a reality and can be made on its website, by phone, via PayPal, or by mail to PO Box 266, Grayslake, IL 60030.

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