20 Best Dog Rescues in Illinois

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Are you thinking about getting a pet, but not sure what type of pet you want? People who love dogs may want to consider adopting an abandoned dog from one of the best dog rescues in Illinois.

There are many dog rescues in Illinois, but only a few are truly qualified for this list. Here’s the scoop on the best dog rescues in Illinois.

Quick note here: The main difference between dog rescues and shelters is that rescues are typically privately run and funded through donations, while shelters are organized by local government.

Dog rescues are not listed in any particular order. Check out other excellent dog rescues in other states here.

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best dog rescues near illinois
Dear Dog Owner

1. Mama Zoey & Puppies Rescue

Location: Romeoville, IL 60446

Mama Zoey was discovered wandering in Will County, Illinois.

She was so far along in her pregnancy and desperately needed to be rescued, otherwise, she would have been put to sleep.

When Dan and Kendall learned that Mama Zoey needed to be rescued, they rushed to save her on June 27th.

Mama Zoey then went into labor on July 4th and began giving birth to the first of 11 healthy puppies!

This rescue is for individuals who care about and love Mama Zoey and want to see her develop as a terrific mother, watch her puppies develop, and celebrate the life of these 12 puppies.

They promise not to abandon any dogs and will do everything possible to place them in a foster program where they will find a forever home.

As a foster-based rescue, they can not exist without the support of donors, fosters, volunteers, and outstanding crew members such as yourself!

2. Wags 2 Wishes Animal Rescue

Location: 23907 W Industrial Drive N, Plainfield IL 60585

Wags 2 Wishes is a non-profit ALL BREED Animal Rescue that was founded in 2013.

Their objective is to facilitate a compassionate and secure transition into their rescue program for abused, sick, abandoned, and neglected animals facing euthanasia due to overcrowding or being too medically intensive for the existing facility/owner.

While illness and neglect cases are placed in foster homes, many of the animals they rescue can be placed in their Rescue Facility and find a loving permanent home in a short period of time.

At any given time, their volunteers number between 20 and 30 persons.

Everyone is committed to the safety and well-being of the animals they receive on a daily basis.

They do have a main team that runs the day-to-day operations, much like any other company, to ensure that the wheels turn smoothly.

You can check out their list of adoptable animals here.

3. Wright Way Rescue

Location: 5915 Lincoln Avenue, Morton Grove, IL 60053

One of the most significant changes in animal protection over the last decade has been the rise of the no-kill movement. It has meant the difference between life and death for millions of dogs and cats.

The mission of Wright-Way Rescue is a little different than others.

They devote a large percentage of their efforts to rescuing animals in rural America.

Help and hope for homeless pets are still at a minimal in these highly isolated regions.

Their shelter is frequently their only opportunity to be approved into an adoption program and receive the care they require.

Realizing that rescuing pets from rural places is difficult, they also know that cultivating compassionate communities in locations where resources are scarce is critical to transforming the United States into a society where no pet is killed just because it lacks a home.

You may help them out here.

4. One Tail At A Time

Location: 2144 N Wood, Chicago, IL, 60614

Heather Owen, President and Co-Founder of One Tail at a Time, first visited Chicago Animal Care and Control in 2007.

During that year, the city shelter euthanized over 13,000 animals within its gates.

The experience motivated her to get active in the animal rescue community and contribute to the solution.

One Tail at a Time was born the following year in an Albany Park condominium among five pals.

As of 2019, One Tail at a Time runs a thriving dog adoption program at the Adoption Center, an ISO program focused on Chicago’s dogs, a Kitten Team that cares for neonate kittens, vaccine clinics in low-income neighborhoods, and directs the Chicagoland Rescue Intervention & Support Program (“CRISP”), which keeps pets destined for the city shelter with their loving families.

To say they have done amazing work is an understatement!

5. Animal Rescue Foundation (A.R.F)

Location: P.O. Box 4423, Wheaton, Illinois 60189 (mailing only)

Animal Rescue Foundation is a no-kill, all-volunteer, foster-based organization dedicated to rescuing and rehoming homeless dogs and cats into loving forever homes.

These include animals that other rescue groups are unable to rehome due to advanced age or exceptional medical needs.

They are also dedicated to improving the lives of animals by promoting affordable, responsible pet ownership and public awareness of animal welfare.

The team holds dog and cat adoption events practically every week in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Some of their kitties can be found in the Wheaton and Darien PetSmart Adoption Centers for example.

Animals can be adopted at any time and in any location as long as the foster and adoptive families agree.

6. Illinois Valley Animal Rescue

Location: Industrial Dr, Lasalle, IL 61301

Through their care facility, foster homes, and veterinarian sources, Illinois Valley Animal Rescue’s aim is to rescue, care for, and comfort abused, neglected, and abandoned animals in the Illinois Valley Area.

Spay/neuter and animal behavior education are used to promote responsible pet ownership.

They are a non-profit organization founded in 1999 and have been matching the animals they care for with persons who are in need of the love and companionship that a suitable pet can provide since.

You can help them out here.

7. Hope Animal Rescues

Location: P.O. Box 397, Godfrey, IL 62035 (mailing only)

On November 15th, 2005, a group of pets arrived in Alton, Illinois; some were from Hurricane Katrina, while others came from nearby animal control facilities that used the gas chamber to euthanize to make way for the Hurricane Katrina dogs.

The founders of Hope Animal Rescues dealt with those animals and took their initial steps toward the work they perform today after seeing the hope in their eyes and the spirit in their spirits.

They are a real RESCUE organization, pulling animals from animal control facilities on their last day of life, and they collaborate with Animal Welfare Agencies at the city and state level to help the abused and neglected receive a true second chance through their adoption program.

Find out more here.

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8. Western Illinois Animal Rescue

Location: 300 W Harlem Ave Suite 5, Monmouth, IL, 61462

Western Illinois Animal Rescue, Inc. (WIAR) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization based in Western Illinois.

In the year 2000, they were created by a group of concerned residents from Warren County, Illinois, who wished to aid animals in need.

WIAR is a non-profit organization that does not kill. They do not euthanize any of the animals in their care unless it is the only option available to them medically.

This amazing outfit is entirely run by volunteers.

Beyond the rescue, they have a great relationship with the Warren County Animal Shelter, which is a kill facility, and have cats and kittens available for adoption at Monmouth Small Animal Hospital and Pet Supplies Plus in Galesburg, in addition to the animals they have on site.

To help animals in need, they collaborate closely with the community, city and county animal control, and Monmouth Small Animal Hospital.

Behind a strong community, their new facility opened in the fall of 2018.

9. Wish Bone Canine Rescue

Location: 2020 Bunn St., Bloomington, IL 61704

WBCR regularly accepts unusual cases, such as dogs with serious medical or behavioral challenges, and provides them with the medical attention, training, and rehabilitation they require.

This makes them really stand out.

Developing community relationships, such as with Illinois State University, to provide work-study internships to Pre-Veterinary, Biology, and Agriculture students is one way to complement the work they do.

Low-income residents benefit from community programs such as an annual pet immunization clinic.

They have also launched a pet food pantry, which provides food and supplies to people in need, allowing pets to stay in their homes instead of being rescued from shelters.

Check out their foster program here or learn more about the adoption process.

10. Grafelman Farms Rescue

This outfit is a small foster-based rescue based in Central Illinois that primarily serves the counties of Peoria, Tazewell, and McLean.

Their purpose is to find loving homes for animals in need of a permanent family, and to be able to provide personalized care to the animals they take in, avoiding the stress of being locked up in a cage at a shelter.

An animal’s personality can flourish in a home environment!

To assist their animals to enjoy healthy, happy lives, they rely on the kindness of strangers and the generosity of donors. They are a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.

A hundred percent of your tax-deductible donation will go to veterinarian and/or basic care for a foster animal. Veterinary care and sufficient nutrition are provided to all of their animals.

You can also sponsor an animal by giving a specific amount per month. This type of sustainable contribution prevents us from having to keep asking for donations.

11. Illinois Birddog Rescue

Location: P.O. Box 364, Wood Dale, IL 60191 (mailing only)

Illinois Birddog Rescue (IBR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and an Illinois Department of Agriculture-licensed shelter.

They are committed to rescuing, transporting, screening, nurturing, and adopting homeless American Field and English Setters.

Strays or owner surrenders were the majority of the dogs and puppies in their foster care program, which came from overcrowded shelters and humane societies around the country.

Many were gun-shy, either because they didn’t win enough Field Trials, or because they were too old to hunt or have litters of puppies, thus ending up being abandoned.

They know that many dogs and pups afflicted with Lyme disease and co illnesses can’t smell point because these diseases damage their innate hunting instincts, thanks to IBR’s tick-borne disease studies.

Every year, they bring in an average of 80 to 100 Pointers, Setters, and a few mutts, depending on money and foster care opportunities.

Apart from Canada, IBR has adopted dogs on both coasts and in other states in between.

After an adopter has been screened and accepted, the adoption can be completed.

12. K9s4U Dog Rescue

Location: PO BOX 758, McHenry, IL 60051 (mailing only)

K9s4U Dog Rescue is a non-profit dog rescue organization created by a group of friends who are dedicated to rescuing dogs from high-kill shelters and other dangerous situations and placing them in FUREVER homes.

They are a foster-based rescue that relies on donations and fosters to help them save as many pets as possible.

Since they started, they have saved the lives of over 5,400 dogs thanks to the fantastic fosters and the donations received.

Adoption events are regularly held throughout the city which you can find out here.

Other Dog Rescues in Illinois Worth Mentioning

There are several other dog rescues in Illinois that are in need of your help, but unfortunately, we are unable to cover every single one of them.

Through online reviews and friends’ recommendations, here are 8 more you can visit and support:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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