Get Involved

Rescue Chicago is all about connecting people who want to help with rescues that need it. Here are a few ways you can get involved and start making a difference.

Honey, a CACC Alum

Volunteer Match – Take our Survey and we can match you with rescues that need support.

Foster Match – Want to start fostering but not sure which organization would be the best fit? We can help you! Take this survey and we’ll find your perfect fostering match.

Chicago Dog Transporters – If you’d like to help transport dogs from our city shelters and you’re already a volunteer with a rescue, join our group!


How can you help save more lives at Chicago Animal Care & Control?

Volunteer. CACC is one of the lowest funded government-run shelters in the entire country. The closest comparable shelter in the US has a budget 50% greater than ours. Houston’s budget is 3x ours and Los Angeles’ is close to 5x ours. Because of this, much of the work falls on volunteers because the paid shelter staff are spread too thin. Without volunteers, the dogs do not even get out of their kennels each day.

As a CACC volunteer, here are some of the things you get to do:

  • Work with adopters
  • Walk dogs – play with them, work on training, snuggle them
  • Enrich and play with cats
  • Assist with dog play groups – help to socialize and learn how to match them with other dogs
  • Assist with low cost vaccine clinics
  • Take dogs to offsite adoption events

You can take a look at upcoming volunteer orientations here.

Adopt. You can join the 3,000+ other families that have saved an animal’s life last year by adopting a dog or cat directly from CACC! The shelter is located at 2741 S. Western Avenue and is open 365 days a year from 12-7pm. At any given time there are approximately 250 dogs and 150 cats you can meet, but a volunteer will help you select animals to meet that match your family, lifestyle, experience, living situation and other pets.

CACC also hosts monthly themed adoption events where all adoption fees are waived for animals over six months of age. The regular adoption fee is $65 and that includes spay/neuter, microchip, heartworm test, rabies vaccination and a city license.

Foster. If you aren’t ready to adopt but want to provide a dog or cat with a temporary loving home while it searches for its forever, fostering is a great option! To take in a foster, you partner with a local rescue organization and give the animal a safe place to land while it waits to be adopted. Medical expenses and supplies are covered by the rescue. If you need help with transportation, daycare/walks or anything else that would keep you from fostering an animal, local non-profit Rescue Chicago can offer additional support. Rescue Chicago will also match you to a rescue that will best suit your needs, wants and experience level if you fill out this foster match survey.

Doggie Day Out. In October, CACC launched its Doggie Day Out program where you can take a dog out on a field trip! Every day from 11-4pm (except on weekends when there are adoption events) you can take a dog out of the shelter and out on the town! Learning about the dog outside of the shelter has proven to be integral to matching it to adopters and some of the dogs have even been adopted by people they met while on their field trips!

Donate. Due to its limited budget, CACC is only able to provide the bare minimum to the animals – food, water & shelter. The rest comes from donors BUT because CACC is a city entity, it cannot fundraise. So last spring we started Rescue Chicago to fundraise for the shelter and provide supplies, medical sponsorships and other vital services to the animals. Many of the dogs also have sturdy Kuranda beds that were donated via a joint fundraiser between Real Dog Moms and Rescue in Style last year!

If you’d like to donate items: https://amzn.to/2MGAhvK
If you’d like to make a tax-deductible monetary donation: http://rescuechi.org/donate/
If you’d like to do your own shopping and deliver your donations to the shelter, here are some items that are always needed:

  • Blankets & towels (gently used but clean are ok)
  • Durable toys (Kongs, Jolly Balls, etc.)
  • Easy Cheese
  • Peanut butter
  • Hot dogs
  • Cheese sticks
  • Meaty treats with a lot of scent (Pupperoni, Canine Carry-Outs)…NOT biscuit type treats
  • Bully sticks
  • Greenies
  • Cat toys
  • Cat treats
  • Wine corks (these get attached to cat cages with pipe cleaners for them to play with!)

Social Media. If you can’t do any of the above, sharing animals on social media really does help! For example, on Saturday one of our board members posted about a dog named Erma who was the longest term dog at the shelter. The post was shared 124 times, and a young couple saw the post. Yesterday they got to the shelter as soon as it opened and, you guessed it, they adopted Erma! If you don’t already, you can follow this page, the dog Transfer Team page, and the cat transfer team page here and share their posts!
Pledging is another way you can help on social media.

Educate. Take every chance you get to inform people about CACC, its adoption program, fostering, and what THEY can do to help save the animals. Many people are unaware that CACC even exists, or think that supporting a “kill shelter” is a bad thing, or that rescue animals are somehow damaged goods. If you have a rescue pet of your own, let them help you spread the word too. The more people we can educate, the more lives we can save together!


Psst: Want to volunteer with Rescue Chicago? We’re always looking for help planning events and other daily items. Fill out our survey!