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Giving Back to Your Community

Author: Alison Spanner | Date: January 13, 2014

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to spend more time giving back to your community? Ever considered the dog (or cat) community? I would bet you $5.00 there is a rescue or shelter within a ten minute drive from your home. But, you say to me, I can’t bring another animal home! I know – me either! Even though you can’t forever adopt, there are many, many ways to help the homeless dogs and cats in your community, such as dog walking, cleaning, event planning, fundraising, grant or article writing, fostering, or clerical duties. For some of these activities, you don’t even have to leave your couch or the warm dog lying in your lap.

Here are a few (and just a few) opportunities throughout Chicago.

ALIVE Rescue – a physical shelter located in Roscoe Village/Lakeview at 2227 W. Belmont. They need help with a variety of jobs, from dog walking and playing with cats to website management and grant writing. You can fill out a volunteer application here.

Be Fido’s Friend*- a foster-based dog rescue that is always looking for more fosters, because they can’t pull dogs from open access shelters unless they have an open home. But if you can’t foster, they also need help with transporting dogs to and from the vet, fundraising, and event planning. Check out some opportunities here.

Felines & Canines – a physical shelter located in Edgewater at 6379 N. Paulina. They are looking for animal lovers who can help clean and open the shelter. So if you have a couple of hours in the morning at least twice a month to help out, email

Tree House Humane Society – a cageless cat shelter with locations at 1212 W. Carmen in Uptown, and 1629 N. Ashland in Bucktown. They have a variety of volunteer opportunities, including socializing cats, cleaning, answering phones, welcoming visitors, and fundraising/development. To find out more, email

* I am on BFF’s board of directors, and I can say with confidence that we are very nice and welcoming and will accept any help you offer!


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