5 Best Dog Rescues in Illinois & Dogs Shelters (2023)

Dog adoption is a beautiful thing. There are millions of pets in shelters and rescues waiting for forever homes. Adopting a dog can help homeless animals and set an excellent example for others.

Dog adoption isn’t suitable for everyone, and it’s not something you should get into lightly. Getting a dog is an important decision that will affect your life for many years. If you’ve decided dog adoption is for you, this is excellent news!

Bringing an adopted dog into your home should be a rewarding experience for you and your family. Before looking for your future best friend, arm yourself with the knowledge to navigate the world of dog adoption and make the best possible decision.

We’ve compiled a list of the top Illinois state dog rescue & shelters with an adoption guide.

Top 5 Best Illinois Dog Rescue & Shelters

Adoption is an alternative that benefits everyone when it comes to acquiring a pet: the family, animal protection entities, and, of course, the dog itself

Shelters across the country house approximately eight million companion animals each year.  Yet, nearly 50% of them are euthanized due to the shelter’s lack of resources.

Dog Rescues & Shelters

1) W.I.L.D. Canine Rescue

WILD Canine Rescue (WILD) was founded in July 2016 by a group of friends who are committed and passionate women that are WILD about dogs! They are bonded over a WILD love of dogs and a desire to help shelter animals.
WILD Canine Rescue’s goal was to bridge the gap between local animal shelters in central Illinois, and foster-based rescues nationally to facilitate placement of local dogs in urgent situations (homeless, abandoned, neglected or abused).

WILD Canine Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization registered with Guidestar.org. they are licensed with the Illinois Department of Agriculture and have licensed, trained animal cruelty investigators on call for service.

WILD Canine Rescue is devoted to saving animals in need. They are dedicated to the proper care and welfare of animals who are homeless, abandoned, and abused WILD will rescue dogs when they have run out of time in shelters or are in need of medical treatment. WILD Canine Rescue dogs live in volunteer foster homes, learning the basics of living in a home and receiving any veterinary treatment they may require.

W.I.L.D. Canine Rescue Information and Details:

Dog Rescues & Shelters

2) TLC Animal Shelter

The Tender Loving Care Animal Shelter, more often referred to as T.L.C., has been in operation since April first, 1974. Although there were animal control programs set up by county and local government bodies, as a group of concerned animal lovers they felt that this was not enough.

Just getting stray animals off the streets and disposing of them was not the answer to the overwhelming animal problem that is out there. Concerned about the welfare of these animals, T.L.C. was formed.

T.L.C. has also been an important force in helping to get various humane legislation enacted. The shelter has provided educational programs on animal care and problems, for schools, scout groups, kennel clubs, etc.

So much of the animal problem stems from ignorance, a lack of awareness, or a lack of concern about the crisis animals face. They are trying to rectify this situation by making the public more aware of how severe the problems are, and what they can actively do to help change them.

TLC Animal Shelter Information and Details:

Dog Rescues & Shelters

3) Community Animal Rescue Effort – C.A.R.E.™

Since 1987, Community Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.™) has been promoting adoptions and care for dogs and cats. The volunteer-driven, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization serves all of the communities of Chicago’s North Shore, including Skokie, Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Glenview, Northfield, Northbrook, Niles, Morton Grove and the north side of the City of Chicago.

Community Animal Rescue new Adoption Center opened in the Summer of 2018 and is located at 4927 Main Street in Skokie. C.A.R.E. offers a combined adoption center and foster home model to better serve the needs of homeless animals as well as potential adopters and the community.

Today, C.A.R.E. has an expanded mission to serve all of the communities of Chicago’s North Shore, including Skokie, Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Glenview, Northfield, Northbrook, Niles, Morton Grove, and the Northern parts of the City of Chicago.

Community Animal Rescue Information and Details:


Dog Rescues & Shelters

4) Ruby’s Rescue And Retreat

Ruby’s Rescue and Retreat are both an Animal Shelter and a Boarding Facility.
Founded and Owned by Jean Ann Hert.

They take in dogs from high kill Shelters, make them healthy again, and then find them wonderful homes. They are located just south of Bloomington, and not far from Lincoln or Springfield.
All the Ruby’s Rescue dogs enjoy plenty of exercise, socialization, and love….whether boarding or while waiting for a new home.

Ruby’s Rescue LOVE Volunteers, however they are a small private facility, and we do request that you make an appointment prior to visiting.

Ruby’s Rescue And Retreat Information and Details:


Dog Rescues & Shelters

5) Anderson Humane

For more than 50 years, Anderson Humane has been the leading animal welfare organization in our community. They have been dedicated to creating positive connections between people and animals from day one because animals make us better!

Today, Anderson Humane place more than 4,000 pets into loving homes each year. Anderson Humane innovative programs make the healing presence of animals available to seniors, veterans, and those in crisis.

They help pet owners provide the best care possible to their dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, and other animals through free training and resources.

Every year, Anderson Humane cares for more than 3,000 injured and orphaned wild animals. Anderson Humane classes, nature walks, summer camps, and other programs help people appreciate and preserve these animals and their natural habitat.

Anderson Humane Rescue Information and Details:


dog rescue

Dog Rescue & Shelter Online

We hope that one of the shelters listed above can help you find your future dog, but if for some reason that doesn’t happen you can always opt for different alternatives.

For this reason, we’ve added these alternative platforms. These platforms will help you connect with people who have dogs for sale or adoption near you. It can be a great alternative in looking for your future pup within the comfort of your home.

AKC Market Place

Finding trustworthy dog breeders, groomers, and trainers can be challenging. AKC Marketplace is your trusted resource to help make a lifetime of responsible dog ownership safe, happy, and healthy.

AKC Marketplace® is the only website that exclusively lists puppies from AKC-Registered litters, so you can choose a breeder with confidence.


Adopt A Pet

If you want to give an abandoned puppy a second chance, a shelter is definitely the place to find a dog.

Adopt a pet is North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website. They help over 21,000 animal shelters, humane societies, SPCAs, pet rescue groups, and pet adoption agencies advertise their homeless pets to millions of adopters a month, for free.


Puppies for sale Today

Puppies Today has over a decade of experience, established in 2008. They pride themselves on connecting loving families with new furry friends and have happy customers all over the nation. They provide all of their customer’s puppy payment plans and health guarantees to ensure the best experience and peace of mind when adopting a puppy through their service.


Check Out Our Dog Breeders Page :


How much does it cost to adopt a dog?

Generally, it will cost around $50 to $150 for a dog – and because typically shelters and rescuers give pets medical treatment, you’ll save money on a medical examination; you’ll also likely save on spay or neuter surgery, which can cost around $50 to $300.

Aside from the puppy’s price, it would be best to consider the expenses that would come with it. For instance, you may want to get the essential things for your puppies like grooming tools, food, and shelter.

What kind of dog should you adopt?

If you have decided to adopt a dog, you may want a mixed breed dog. Or, you can have your heart set on a specific dog breed. It is possible to adopt purebred dogs from shelters and rescues if you plan ahead. However, if you’re not set on a particular breed, you should still have an idea of ​​the type of dog you want.

Consider age, size, care needs, health concerns, and activity level. Have your wishes in mind before you go looking. Better yet, create a list of dog characteristics that is divided into three areas:

  • What do you absolutely need in a dog: Do you have children, cats, or other dogs? The dog you adopt must be able to get along well with everyone in your home. Are you in an apartment or small house and need a small dog? Are you allergic to certain types of dogs and need a hypoallergenic breed? These are just some of the things to consider.
  • What you would like in a dog but can live without: Maybe you have a soft spot for a specific breed but will be happy with a mix of that breed. Maybe you want a dog with short hair, but don’t worry about a little extra grooming if you meet a big long-haired dog.
  • What is not acceptable to you: these are dealbreakers. What qualities would prevent you from even considering a certain dog? Dimension? Temperament? Maybe you have a fear or dislike for a certain dog breed. Perhaps you are renting out your home and have to meet specific rental requirements.

Write everything down and take the list with you. That way, when you go out and see all those cute faces, you will know where to start.

When not to adopt a dog

It is best to avoid adopting a dog in the following circumstances:

  • You are in the process of moving
  • You are remodeling or repairing your home
  • You are about to have a baby (it is usually best to have the baby and let life stabilize a bit before introducing a new dog)
  • It’s the holiday season ( dogs aren’t meant to be gifts and holidays are usually too hectic for a new dog)
  • You or someone in your family is going through other major life events (the new dog may be lost in the shuffle or be overwhelmed by chaos)

The Dog Adoption Process

Well done! You have found your new dog. Now is the time for formalities. Most organizations require an application before they can adopt. This is to prevent pets from falling into the wrong hands. While it may sound like an interrogation, these groups have policies in place for a reason. Fortunately, many people have no problem getting approval.

Some groups require a waiting period before bringing your new dog home, possibly due to a medical procedure that has been done. Some dogs may have a waiting list, so ask questions beforehand.

Find out what the adoption fee includes (vaccines, spay/neuter, etc.). Before signing the contract, learn what you expect from yourself and what the group will do to help you. If the dog is too young to be spayed or neutered, the contract will require it to do so in the future. Also, find out what happens if you can’t keep the dog.

Most organizations ask you to return the dog to them if you can no longer care for it (don’t give it away to someone else). Find out what is known about the dog’s history and what health problems, if any, were noted while the dog was in their care.

Final Thoughts

Remember, it can take a long time for a dog to adjust to a new home. You and your family will need time to adjust. You may notice that your new dog has behavioral problems, fears, phobias, or lacks training. If the adaptation period is long and complex, it’s a good idea to seek the assistance of a dog trainer or behaviorist.

You may need to consult more than one. Be patient and follow the advice of the experts. If you feel that you have genuinely exhausted your options, you may decide to give up on your new dog.

Remember to try to get your dog back to the place of adoption first. If this is not an option, you need to be responsible and find a good home for your dog. I hope you never have to be in this situation.


  • Jessica Vanclap

    Passionate about animals, but also about health, I did not hesitate for long in choosing my studies. Veterinary assistant by training, I worked in a veterinary clinic for several years. I then made the choice to share my knowledge and experiences by joining the training team of a school of Veterinary Assistant and Grooming.