Recap of the Chicagoland Pet Expo – My Top 10 And Then Some!

I had a FABULOUS time at the Chicagoland Pet Expo on March 16th! There was so much to do that I had to enlist a few “friends” to help me. I made them myself. See if you can guess which ones are really me, and which ones are my stunt doubles.

My focus was to talk to the people there that are doing good work to help cats, dogs, and other animals via no-kill shelters. They often have higher percentages of special needs animals in their programs, and to me, that’s important. I discovered that there are a lot more all-volunteer run shelters out there than I’d previously realized. Some organizations rescue pets right off the street and some  are recusing them from shelters that are going to euthanize them. A few of them don’t have central locations, but are doing all their work through networks of foster families. Based on my hunting, here’s a short list of the highlights that I discovered. To be listed here in my top ten (with a Big Cats bonus at the end), the organization had to be no-kill and had to provide shelter to animals with special needs.

Me, mom FOD, and Ranier from Cat Guardians

Mom FOD, Rainier Park, and Me

First, I met with Cat Guardians, an all-volunteer shelter in Lombard, IL and the people there were so welcoming! I’ve talked to them before and it was great to meet them in person. I even got to meet Rainier, the current Bachelor of the Week. Cat Guardians are A++ in my book! They even gave me a t-shirt.  Check me out:

Me in my swanky new Cat Guardians T Shirt

Me in my swanky new Cat Guardians T Shirt

saveapet

Look at those photo bombers

I also met with Save A Pet, a no-kill shelter operating in Lake County that has been around for over 40 years! They take care of a lot of FIV kitties and cats with other special needs. Not only do they save animals, they help educate the community about treating animals ethically, and they never turn away any animal, no matter what type, health problem, or age. A great place!

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crepestreehouse

This sweatshirt was a little too big for me. Nuts.

Of course, I made a quick stop at Tree House Humane, the place that fostered me to my FODs and saved the life of my brother, sister, and me! Tree House has two locations, doesn’t euthanize animals, and does great work with the Trap Neuter Release programs in the Chicago area to help control the stray cat populations. They’re also very active in getting people to recognize that cats with FIV can still live happy lives in non-FIV cat households.

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Me, a volunteer, and a pair of pups looking for a home together. I don't know where that bright light came from. Ghosts, maybe?

A volunteer, a pair of pups looking for a home together and me. I’m a bit shiny. I forgot my powder.

Almost Home Foundation is also an all-volunteer based, not-for-profit that rescues strays, abandoned animals, and animals about to be euthanized at high-kill shelters. They work hard to find foster homes for pets until they can place them in permanent homes. It’s like a second chance!

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Me, mom FOD, and Sprout, a senior pup looking for love.

Me, mom FOD, and Sprout, a senior pup that lives at the YAH Sanctuary.

Young at Heart Pet Rescue brings a tear to my eye because they’re helping the grandmas and grandpas of the pet world. They specialize in rescuing only senior animals and placing them in forever homes to live out their lives happily. 100% of the animals they rescue are from municipal pounds with high-kill rates. If you’re looking for a senior friend to match your lifestyle, Young at Heart is your place.

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Doggie flower arrangements!

Doggie flower arrangements!

Open Doors Animal Rescue was started in 2009 and is primarily foster-based. They just opened a new Petco Adoption Center in West Dundee, IL. Maybe they’re keeping the love of your life until you finally get to meet?

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Me spinning the wheel to win a prize!

Me spinning the wheel to win a prize!

Strays Halfway House is also an all-volunteer organization that rescues animals from animal control facilities and shelters from the suburbs of Chicago. They are also foster-based and do not have a central shelter. If you want to be a foster, give them a call! Maybe you’ll fail, too, and end up with a blogging cat like my FODs did. “Team for life!!!”

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These kittens don't know a celebrity when they see one.

These kittens don’t know a celebrity when they see one.

Precious Pets Almost Home has been around since 2000 and is run completely by volunteers. They don’t have a shelter facility but have pets available at the PetsMart on Elston in Chicago and others available in foster care.

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Ok, this one doesn’t have cats, but Project Rescue Chicago is doing great things rescuing abandoned dogs, including those with special needs. My best friend is a dog, so I couldn’t leave them out.

This one, though, focuses on primarily cats and kittens. Second Chance Pet Adoption rescues kitties and places them in foster homes until they find their perma-palaces. They even cover all fostering costs while the kitty is in your home.

And this one has big cats. REALLY big cats. Valley of the Kings Sanctuary and Retreat is run by a couple who shares their Wisconsin farm with lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, bears, horses, cows, foxes, and other animals that needed rescuing. Some of them, like Charlie, a panther who had his teeth and claws removed to make him “safe” for humans, is living out his life there in their care. They deserve a big shout out!

Aside from meeting some great new people that save lots and lots of lives, I also had a little fun for myself.

crepesdeclaw

Cats enjoy getting manicures. Let’s not take that joy away from them, shall we?

I talked to P.A.D.S. and commiserated with them on why cats should NOT ever have their claws removed. EVER!

I tried on some bandanas from Joan’s Safety Bandanas. She doesn’t have a website, but you can reach her at bandanadogloverAThotmail.com for special orders.

Pirate bandana, to go with my peg leg.

Pirate bandana, to go with my peg leg.

I petted some mini animals at The Mini Zoo Crew. Check out their website! They support adoption and fostering.

Cozy.

Cozy.

Hello....

Hello….

I met with some birds at the Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club, who try to set healthy breeding standards for pet birds.

Bird. What more can I say?

Bird. What more can I say?

I met a snake at the exotic pet show!

Snake!

Snake!

And, I couldn’t go home without souvenirs for my best friend. She got a new bandana and an elk horn to chew on.

Doodle enjoying her elk horn and new, sparkly bandana. In the FODs' bed, of course.

Doodle enjoying her elk horn and new, sparkly bandana. In the FODs’ bed, of course.

There you have it! My first pet expo! It was great fun, and it was so wonderful to see all these amazing people that are out there working for the good of animals. Please take a moment to find out more about them at their websites and about how you can help support their missions. Remember, you don’t have to live near a shelter to utilize its website as a resource for knowledge, or to arrange a visit if you see an animal that steals your heart.

Chicagoland Pet Expo! March 15-17, 2013

That Guy With The Birds. And apparently a guitar.

That Guy With The Birds. And apparently a guitar.

Oh joy of joys, I’m going to the 21st Annual Chicagoland Pet Expo in my official capacity as a blogger!

This is a little more for my readers that are around the Chicago area, but I wanted to give you a quick preview of what to expect at this neat event! It’s going to happen March 15-17, 2013 in Arlington Heights, Il at the Arlington Race Track.

First of all, there will be lots of local shelters there, many of which specialize in special needs kitties. So, if you’re a local shelter and you’re reading this and you want to meet with me, let me know! I’ll make sure I stop by your booth.

Some other highlights to check out:

-On March 15th, there will be a St. Petrick’s Day costume contest! Pets must arrive by 5:30 pm. It’s open to any species (oh, how liberal!), with a few caveats, and the winner gets a little cash to spend at the Pet Expo vendor booths.

-The household companion cat contest! I didn’t enter because I wanted to give the other kitties a fighting chance.

– Extreme canines Stunt Dog Show! I know I’m a cat, but sometimes those mutts can be real hunks.

– That Guy with the Birds and his performing parrots. I’m not too lazy to do research, that’s really his name.

-Ultimate Exotic Animal show – Gosh, I wonder if there will be polecat dancers.

-Pet CPR and First Aid demonstration – Always important!

Flying Dog!

Dog Catches UFO Mid-Air!

There will also be shopping! You know you want to buy something for your pet. The address is 2200 W. Euclid Ave. in Arlington Heights, IL. For more info, tickets, and directions, visit their main website.