Chicagoland Animal Shelters for Families Looking to Adopt

Plus, find out how to volunteer to help the animals.

If you’re looking to add a furry friend to your family, Chicago is home to some of the best animal rescue shelters in the country. These shelters work tirelessly to find homes for all types of animals – from dogs and cats to rabbits and Guinea pigs. The organizations will work with you to find the best animal, breed and temperament for your family, with many even providing resources to keep your new pet healthy.

The Anti-Cruelty Society

As one of Chicago’s oldest animal welfare organizations founded in 1899, The Anti-Cruelty Society serves more than 40,000 pets each year through sheltering, spay/neuter services, training, behavior hotline, classes and programs. As an open-door shelter, they care for any animal for any reason. Kids looking to volunteer with the organization can do anything from making toys and reading to animals to walking dogs and providing basic pet care.

Meet the animals available for adoption

PAWS Chicago

PAWS Chicago’s mission is to build No Kill communities, starting with a No Kill Chicago – a city where pets are no longer destroyed just because they are homeless. Since its founding in 1997, the number of pets killed each year in Chicago has been reduced by 81 percent. In the shelter, the animals are able to live comfortably in rooms instead of cages. Through PAWS Chicago’s industry-leading shelter medicine program, each rescued pet receives full medical treatment, while a comprehensive animal behavior program provides social and behavioral enrichment. PAWS offers many family volunteer opportunities in its various locations throughout the city.

Meet the animals available for adoption

Tree House Humane Society

Tree House’s vision is to see every cat thrive. Potential adopters can meet Tree House’s cats in its Cat Cafe or in one of its many cat colonies. In addition to adoption services, Tree House empowers communities of caregivers through its Community Cats and Cats at Work programs. In 2021, Tree House opened its Veterinary Wellness Center to provide affordable and accessible spay/neuter and wellness services to the Chicago community. Each year, Tree House provides life-saving services to thousands of cats throughout Chicago. Young cat lovers can get involved in volunteer opportunities that include playing with cats and making toys for them.

Meet the cats available for adoption

Wright-Way Rescue

Since its founding in 2003, Wright-Way Rescue has placed more than 60,000 homeless dogs and cats in loving homes. Wright-Way focuses a significant portion of its efforts on saving pets throughout rural America. Often the shelter is their only chance of being accepted into an adoption program and receiving the care they need. Thanks to an innovative No Mom Left Behind program, Wright-Way never leaves a momma dog behind while rescuing her pups.

Meet the animals available for adoption

One Tail at a Time 

One Tail at a Time rescues animals from overcrowded shelters, placing them in loving forever homes and providing support and resources to pet owners in need. The organization has a dedicated program to rescue sick or injured animals that need either to be isolated or to have specialized veterinary care to be rehabilitated and adoptable. While One Tail at a Time volunteers need to be 18, there are plenty of opportunities for kids and teens to spread the word about their mission.

Meet the animals available for adoption

Chicago Canine Rescue 

Traditionally, shelter dogs that are not perfect, are too old, too sick or who have special needs are automatically euthanized at area shelters. However, Chicago Canine Rescue Foundation exists to give many of these animals a second chance. CCRF has saved the lives of more than 6,000 dogs and helped find their forever home!

Meet the animals available for adoption

Red Door Animal Shelter

Red Door Animal Shelter is a non-profit, no-kill shelter committed to helping cats, rabbits and dogs. They provide a cageless environment for the animals, giving them the closest-to-a-home experience possible. Prior to adoption, all Red Door animals are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, de-wormed, vet-checked and microchipped.

Meet the animals available for adoption

South Suburban Humane Society

For more than 50 years, South Suburban Humane Society has been helping pets south of Chicago. It offers fostering opportunities. Its fun Dog’s Day Out allows people to check out a pet to hang out with it for a few hours or most of the day.

Meet the animals available for adoption

Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is an award-winning journalist and bestselling children's book author. She is the mom of three little ladies who keep her on her toes.


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