The scene was surprising: guests gathered under colorful tents while music played. Bright-shirted volunteers directed parking, served food, answered questions and kept smiling broadly. A minister offered a moving prayer. The guests of honor walked around with a spring in their step and were incredibly well behaved. They looked totally spiffed up and thoroughly enjoyed the non-stop parade of other guests of honor. Some were playful, some were shy and all were saved.
At the annual reunion of rescued pets at Save-A-Pet in Grayslake, the guests of honor comprised a wide variety of dogs—big, small, and even tiny. Most seemed to be of the “All American” breed, as is the case at most rescue centers. It was a crazy quilt of mixed breed dogs and their very happy humans.
Save-A-Pet started the tradition of an annual reunion years ago to thank the folks who had rescued pets while raising awareness for the service provided for the community. It’s one of the largest no-kill cat and dog rescues in Lake County with a full-time adoption center. The facility is a safe haven for animals that have been abused, neglected, injured, lost or have escaped euthanasia elsewhere. There’s never a limit on the amount of animals in their care. Instead, Save-A-Pet offers rescued dogs and cats the greatest opportunity for a second chance. With a large cadre of volunteers, the staff and board of directors take great pride in practicing a no-kill mission and in stewarding donors’ contributions, both of which have led to the successful adoption of more than 63,000 dogs and cats.
Save-A-Pet is a true no-kill rescue. There’s no temperament test for dogs and cats, nor is there discrimination against age, health or any breeds. Their mantra of “Help, Heal, Home” means Save-A-Pet always provides an animal with a second chance to find a home.
The adoption center provides high-quality care for rescued animals to help them heal physically and emotionally. Through a network of animal care providers, including veterinarians, orthopedic surgeons, veterinary specialists, animal massage therapists, behaviorists, and trainers, each cat or dog has the opportunity to heal based on their unique needs. In addition, the Save-A-Pet team works very hard to ensure that each adoption is a successful and long-term placement for the animals. Every successful adoption represents the execution of its mission to save the lives of cats and dogs that otherwise wouldn’t have had a chance.
All this good work doesn’t come cheap. With annual expenses of nearly $2 million (2017), Save-A-Pet depends on contributions from the community, donations, year-round fundraising, adoption fees and the kindly efforts of an army of pet loving volunteers.
The reality is the annual reunion is also a celebration for how a community can come together for a common cause.
Learn more at SaveAPetIL.org.