Helping Paws Animal Shelter




Panting for Paws a HUGE Success!


Our 9th Annual Panting for Paws 5K and 1 mile Fun Run was a HUGE Success! Over 400 people came out on November 1st and over $23,000 was raised to care for the animals! This includes the $2000 match from an "Angel Donor" for the additional donations raised.  This is phenomenal and we appreciate the immense generosity and outstanding support from everyone.


The top overall finisher of the 5K were Adam Tobler (31), Elgin with a time of 18:57.7 and Sarah Roberts (16), Lake in the hills, with a time of 22:14.3.  They received a top finisher medal, a $50 Running Depot gift certificate and a Helping Paws fleece jacket.  We also had over 40 people participate in the 1 Mile Fun Run.  Official race results are posted at or or  If you were not able to stay for your medal, please feel free to pick it up from Helping Paws.  Medals were given to the top three finishers in each age category.


Our top fundraisers were Gretchen Flynn, Maureen Sullivan, Scott Harmon and Debra Jenkins.  We also had 19 individual teams this year, including the top fundraising teams: Force U10 Premier White, Tutus for Tails, Tawner's Trekkers and Who rescued Who.  Loved the Tutus for Tails team and their coordinating tutu attire.  We even had a runner fly in from San Francisco just to run in our annual fundraising event - how is that for support!


We would like to thank our wonderful sponsors, again, who gave generously to help offset the costs of putting on this event: Piper Jaffray, American Community Bank, Premier Veterinary Group, Michelle Nowland - Young Living, Paws on Pingree and Home State Bank.  We'd also like to thank the Northwest Herald and The Woodstock Independent for running ads for Panting for Paws in their respective newspapers and to Panera Bread - Crystal Lake, Conscious Cup - Crystal Lake, Country Donuts, Woodman's - Carpentersville and Sam's Club - Crystal Lake for their donations of post-race snacks and beverages.  A special thanks to Jon at JC Tees and Toi at Noir 23 for printing the 5K and Fun Run shirts.





Before Diamond, Treasure, Spirit, Hope, Magic and their friend Prince were rescued; they were living in deplorable conditions.  They were all part of a hoarding situation where 54 Jack Russell and Beagle-mix dogs, all in serious need of medical attention/care, were seized from a home in Fleming, Ohio in far eastern, Ohio near the border of West Virginia.  None of these dogs were spayed or neutered, many were pregnant and/or nursing mothers or puppies packed in cages, others were running loose and all had a variety of infections, illnesses and were covered and living in feces. Thankfully, these animals were relocated to the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley, one of our rescue partners.  When the call came for help with this terrible situation, Helping Paws was ready!  Six of these neglected and ailing dogs were transferred to our shelter on August 4, where our veterinary staff evaluated each dog and provided them with direct medical attention.  Many of these dogs have skin infections, hair loss, are seriously underweight, but all are young and super sweet and can now start to heal both physically and emotionally.  It was a truly beautiful sight, to see each of these dogs take their first steps on grass. So please help Diamond, Treasure, Spirit, Hope, Magic and Prince as they begin their journey towards a loving adoptive home.   At Helping Paws, each and every animal that comes to us is a precious responsibility.  Help us to help them. 

PLEASE help us help these fur-babies that have had a rough start to their lives.  Any donation would be appreciated and will go to their medical care.


Please watch this heartwarming and beautiful video by professional photographer Linda Gordon and think about supporting Helping Paws this holiday season... We rely upon the support of our donors to keep our doors open and help the stray and abandoned animals that are entrusted in our care.  Happy Holidays.

Click HERE to view

  Running for a Cause

The 8th Annual Panting for Paws 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Run was a great success.  A total of 326 Runners registered for the 5K, which took place at 9 am on November 2 at Lippold Park on a sunny but chilly morning.  The event raised over $16,000 for Helping Paws and we can’t thank everyone enough for their support. 

Top Male Winner was Dan Palmer from Roscoe, IL and Top Female was Jennifer Wickersty from Crystal Lake.  I would like to give a special shout out to Tommy Nitz of Lake in the Hills, age 7, competing again adult runners and finishing 29th!  Way to go Tommy. 

We would also like to thank all of our sponsors and ask that you please frequent their businesses.  Our vendors:  Buddy’s Dog House, The Running Depot, Crystal Lake Family Wellness, Quiglees and Sweaters-n-Sweets.  Everyone who donated baskets and basket raffle items, collected additional donations (thank you Grace Baran, age 10, who ran a lemonade stand so she could donate $30 to the race) and all the volunteers from Helping Paws, who tirelessly set up, managed, showed some of our adoptable dogs and stayed to cleaned up after the event. 


Thank you everyone for making the 15th annual Paws in the Park one to put in the record books! Our cats and dogs are wagging their tails and so happy to receive such wonderful support from the community!

Well, everything has been tallied and we are happy to report that Paws in the Park Walk & Pet Fest had another successful year! Over $13,000 was raised and 103 individual registrations this year, making it the best attended event yet! About 20 of those registrations had multiple dogs and we had probably over 200 people in attendance at Emricson Park in Woodstock.

Part of the mission of the Paws in the Park event is to have participants reach out to others and ask for additional donations to help the shelter. We are proud to announce that the 'Top Dog’ for 2014 is Polaris Armbrecht with her guardian Kim, raising $263 to help the animals. Thank you Polaris and Kim!

We'd also like to thank all of our sponsors and vendors who came out for the day to share their knowledge and products/services with everyone. A special thanks to...Robin and Elizabeth Bengston from Robin’s Dog Stars and their dogs, Cedar and Slater for the wonderful dog tricks demonstration; Chaplain Randy Wakitsch who graciously did all the Pet Blessings, all who donated baskets, gift certificates and items to our raffle (our best one yet!) and all the volunteers, from Helping Paws and students from McHenry West HS Key Club, who tirelessly set up, managed and broke down the event.


We are so excited and want to give a big shout out to everyone who voted for us!

 We have been named "Best Animal Shelter/Rescue Group" for the 3rd year in a row in the best of the Fox Daily Reader's Poll. You also voted Panting for Paws our 5K run, "Favorite 5K." We feel truly honored.

Thank you for supporting us and our mission. Thank you to all our adopters, donors, sponsors and volunteers. We could not do it without you.




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A big 'paws up' to everybody who voted for Helping Paws.

We appreciate your support for us and the animals of McHenry County. 

Who's your dog's MAMA?

Well in few weeks, you could know! Buy one of our Mars mixed breed dog kits, use the simple cheek swab and you will find your dog's breed ancestry. Although it says Mixed Breed kit, It can also verify that your dog is a purebred.  These kits normally retail for $80 or more at Petco and Petsmart, we can offer them to you for $65 and there is no waiting on shipping. Come on in to the Shelter and pick one up today.

We Recommend - Hill's Pet Food Official Logo - Hill's Nutrition Official Badge

Helping Paws is funded solely through donations.  Please help us save the stray dogs and cats that come to us for help. A gift of any amount will help in the lives of these wonderful animals.

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Helping Paws Animal Shelter

Open Every Day 12 pm (noon) - 4 pm

Tuesdays & Thursdays open until 7 pm

2500 Harding Lane
Woodstock, IL 60098
Phone: (815)338-4400

Map to our shelter

Fox Valley Helping Paws Animal Welfare Association, a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization, was founded in 1971. Helping Paws is a no-kill animal shelter for stray and abandoned dogs and cats in McHenry County and surrounding areas. The animals are provided a sanctuary where they receive medical care, spaying or neutering, daily care and love, and the opportunity to be adopted by a responsible owner.