Kelly Moyer, Tails of Hope, Highland Park

When Kelly Moyer’s late father, Robert, was diagnosed with terminal leukemia, one of his biggest concerns was where his animals would end up.

Kelly, who grew up on a small farm in upstate New York with ducks, horses, dogs and cats, made sure to place her father’s pets in a loving home.

“It was so comforting to my father,” she says. “He loved his animals.”

The experience inspired Kelly to found Tails of Hope, a no-kill animal rescue and adoption nonprofit based in Highland Park. Since 2003, the organization has found loving homes for more than 2,000 animals that belonged to the elderly or terminally ill, or that would have been euthanized.

And Kelly has made great sacrifices on behalf of the animals. She left her corporate job to embark on this pet-saving journey. “I had tons of money, drove a BMW, lived in a high-rise in Chicago—but I felt something was missing,” she recalls. “Now I don’t have those things, but I feel like I’m doing what I was put on the earth to do.”

Tails of Hope is growing, thanks to Kelly and her 30 volunteers. All proceeds from the Tails of Hope Pet Boutique in Highland Park benefit the organization. And the group is fundraising to build an adoption and community center.

When she’s not showing potential owners photos of available dogs on her iPhone—which has a barking ringtone, of course—you’ll find her caring for her three dogs: a Great Dane, Sampson; a Chinese crested, Halo; and her Dachshund.

“They sense when you’re anxious, happy or sad,” she says. “I can’t imagine not having one—and now our families says they can’t imagine how they ever got along without one.”

To support the organization, visit the Tails of Hope Pet Boutique at 479 Central Ave., Highland Park, 847-557-9554, or

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