Get ready, North Shore. There’s a parade of cuteness headed your way.
Since 1997, Chicagoans have turned to PAWS Chicago for all of their pet adoption needs. Last year, the organization completed nearly 6,000 adoptions from its center in Lincoln Park, but it has outgrown its current location. To meet the growing need, PAWS will officially launch its new, state-of-the-art North Shore satellite shelter in Highland Park this fall.
“One of the challenges we were facing is that we (had a lot of) larger breed dogs,” says PAWS Director of Development Kaitlin Allen. “High-energy dogs that really would do best in a suburban environment, somewhere where they have a yard and can run and play and get rid of that energy.” PAWS sought out a facility in the suburbs to reach more communities and get the larger dogs out of the city and into more suitable circumstances.
PAWS Chicago partnered with the Petco Foundation to launch its new adoption center inside the Highland Park Petco, located at 1616 Deerfield Road. The Petco Foundation has worked with different pet adoption centers throughout the country, building new retail facilities with specific shelter space. The North Shore satellite adoption center is slated to accommodate an additional 1,000 adoptions a year once the shelter is running at full capacity.
“We’re really trying to showcase … how you can do this in any community anywhere,” Allen says. “You don’t have to build a separate building; you can bring this very humane, warm, welcoming way of sheltering animals to any community.
“One of the things that sets PAWS apart from other adoption centers is that we have a very unique cageless model. We believe that, in the traditional shelter, where animals are in cages and located close together, it’s a stressful environment. It’s not how we want our best friends, who are our animals, to be treated.”
The new center will feature habitats for dogs large and small to comfortably stretch their legs, as well as separate areas for sleeping. The new facility will also feature two large rooms in the front of Petco with ample access to sunlight, for cats and kittens to rest comfortably.
“It’s going to be an area where the animals are clean, healthy and socialized,” Allen says. “Every single dog gets multiple walks a day. The cats get volunteers to sit and play with them. Our volunteers really know who the animals are.”
PAWS North Shore continues the organization’s legacy of outreach into the city’s suburbs. For years, PAWS has done pop-up adoption events nearly every weekend in Glenview, Wilmette and more. With its newest installation, PAWS seeks to grow in the community, potentially offering partnerships with schools and additional outreach opportunities.
PAWS Chicago is always looking for help: adopt or foster a pet, volunteer or donate. The North Shore facility is actively recruiting volunteers and has begun hosting volunteer orientations to coincide with the launch later this year. PAWS regularly updates its database of available dogs and cats; consider adopting one of their healthy, fully vaccinated pets or open your home to foster. To make a donation to help PAWS with their rescue and recovery of the city’s lost pets, or to contribute to the construction of the new site, click here. You can also find a full list of pop-up adoption events here.
Already have a lovable rescue? Show him off this weekend at the Chicago Canine Rescue’s Mutt Strut, a one-and-a-half mile walk through Lakeview. Bring your favorite furry companion, and stay for the pet-centric block party, Saturday, Sept. 13, from noon to 3 p.m. Enjoy music, a doggy obstacle course, a canine cake eating contest, raffles and more. For more information or to register in advance, visit Chicago Canine Rescue’s website.
Photos courtesy of PAWS Chicago.