Helping Paws Animal Shelter





JUNE 2013   

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    Every Animal Has Worth  
                               By Debbie Rose, volunteer 


Every dog and cat has worth and each one, regardless of whether they are old or young, perfect or flawed, want nothing more than to be loved. And isn't that all anyone wants?


Old Girl

At nearly 16 years old, Chocolate was relinquished because her elderly owner could no longer care for her. Because of her age, we worried that she might not find a home, but we didn't worry long. Within just a few weeks, Chocolate had found a new loving family.


old girl The family calls her O.G. (Old Girl) and told us she is doing great. Nearly deaf, O.G. can only hear very deep or loud sounds but a few claps of the hands get her attention. The first week they cleaned up a few messes, but tell us that she can now handle an eight hour stretch. "She can't help it, getting old can be the pits," said O.G.'s family with a laugh. "Just when you think you have it all down, you have to learn how to use the potty again!"


At night O.G. settles into her soft bed on a bench at the foot of their bed. "We are happy to have O.G. and think she's happy to have us," says her family. "When we put her into her little bed at night, we always worry that she may not wake us in the morning. But we have her now. Tomorrow is not a given, is it? At least she never had to pay taxes...and somehow we all get up again the next morning."


My Sweet Little Gus

Gus had already had several families before he finally found his true home. His first owner dropped him off because they had a new baby. The second one brought him back because they said he didn't like children. But like they say, the third time was a charm for the little guy who looks like a Star Wars Ewok.


gus Gus' new 'mom' knew that he didn't always take kindly to strangers right away. But with lots of love, patience and gentle training, he has turned that corner. "All he needed was a little work and he learned quickly how to be a good boy," she told us.  


He became fast friends with the other dog in the household and they play together, sleep together, and walk together. "I love watching them; it's a beautiful sight," she said.  


Clearly, this misunderstood pup has finally found his forever home. "My sweet little Gus, I love this little guy even though he can snore louder than any man," she said with a laugh.

Community Involvement - A Big Part of What We Do   
                            By Steve Arnold, volunteer  


Community outreach and visibility are vital to the success of any organization, and we are no exception. Helping Paws has a long history of partnering with many organizations over the years to familiarize people with the workings of a successful animal shelter and to promote responsible pet ownership. Promoting ourselves in the community serves to increase peoples' awareness of the shelter, in many cases leading directly to an increase in funding for our mission and also to more adoptions. These include visits to schools and Scout groups, hosting tours at the shelter, participating at adoption events at area pet and pet supply stores, attending arts and craft fairs and working with retail establishments that are willing to donate a portion of their sales. We also receive donations of supplies, toys and other useful items from individuals and from community groups such as schools. We put them all to good use and we appreciate all who help us in our work.

bbbs1 As an example of such a partnership, Helping Paws volunteers Ravelle Schwab and Sherry Gelasi and two energetic puppies spent a recent Saturday afternoon at Healthy Paws Animal Hospital in Lake in the Hills, hosting fourteen children and their adult mentors from Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Dr. Karen Burgess and her staff worked with Helping Paws staff and with BB/BS to create a menu of activities for the children and their adult mentors. These included presentations by Dr. Burgess and her staff involving demonstrations of some of the equipment at the hospital and discussions of careers in veterinary medicine as well as hands-on craft sessions to make dog toys and to create coasters using photographs of the childrens' pets. The children had the opportunity to operate the X-ray machine and view slides under a microscope, as well as seeing the operating room.

In addition to learning about the hospital, the Helping Paws bbbs2 volunteers and the clinic staff talked to each group about the shelter as they played with the puppies.  We stressed the importance of responsible pet ownership, including care and feeding, spaying and neutering, and microchipping to allow a lost pet to be reunited with its owner.  Children of this age group are very receptive to this information, making this an ideal opportunity.


Our thanks go to Dr. Burgess and the staff of Healthy Paws Animal Hospital for opening their clinic and hosting this event in partnership with Helping Paws.  Community outreach and ongoing participation in a wide variety of activities that include as much of the community as possible are vital to promoting our mission.  We very much appreciate all the individuals and  or ganizations who share our mission of caring and finding homes for homeless animals.

Congratulations, Thunder!
By Steve Arnold, volunteer   


No, they didn't march in caps and gowns to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance". No, there weren't any National Honor Society, National Merit Scholars or college scholarships to be recognized. But, for Thunder and seven classmates, graduation from puppy obedience class is just as big a deal.


Thunder, a 10-month old hound mix, has been at Helping Paws since February of this year. Due to his high energy level, the first family that adopted him could not keep him without fencing in their yard, something their finances would not allow. In order to teach him basic obedience and commands, we enrolled him in the first-level puppy class at Lucky-E Kennels in Ringwood. To reinforce the training at Lucky-E, his handler (and shelter dog walker), Mary Lee Rishel, spent time working with him at the shelter on almost a daily basis. Both she and the Lucky-E staff agreed that Thunder has made excellent progress.


Thunder is now available for adoption at the shelter. He is a friendly, energetic dog looking for an active family as an outlet for his energy. He has learned the basics and will require patience and reinforcement of his training so that he will continue to progress. He will be a great addition to the right family.


    Helping Paw's Dog Enrichment Program 
                               By Debbie Rose, volunteer  



All dogs need socialization, mental stimulation, physical exercise, and basic positive behavior training to stay healthy, happy, and balanced. In a home environment, it's easy to give your dog that kind of interaction. However in a shelter, where our busy staff and regular volunteers must focus first on basic needs like food, shelter, safety, cleanliness, medical care and daily walks, there isn't as much time as they would like to provide those extras.  


Announcing our new Dog Enrichment program - the DREAM TEAM (Dog Reward, clip2 Enrichment, and Motivation)! Fully dependent upon volunteers, this program is intended to provide the kinds of enrichment activities that will reduce the stress of shelter life for our dogs and keep them socialized, well behaved and adoptable.



There are a variety of activities interested volunteers can help with by taking the puppy/dog:


  • Outside to one of our fenced yards to play or teach basic commands
  • To one of our indoor rooms to play or have quiet cuddle time
  • For a walk outside on our grounds



To learn more about this exciting and fun new program, contact Mary Lee Rishel at 847-669-8796 or Or you can come to one of our two monthly volunteer orientations held at the shelter on the first Sunday of each month at 1:00 p.m., and the third Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. 


              Looking Beyond the Obvious  
                               By Debbie Rose, volunteer  


It's so easy to pass them by - the dog who cowers in the corner; the pup barking and jumping onto the door of his kennel; the old dog with
gray around her muzzle. But as we can all attest, first impressions
are hard, especially when you're in a strange place just trying to make the best of things. And perfection - well, that's in the eye of the beholder. We'd like you to meet four special dogs who have been at Helping Paws for far too long, overlooked for one reason or another. 

harley Harley came to Helping Paws in August 2012. Abandoned by her owner, she was found walking the streets, confused and on her own at the tender age of only eight months. Harley is a Catahoula Leopard dog. While Catahoulas can be challenging, most Catahoula-ites would tell you they would never own another breed. Given at least an hour of running or vigorous play every day, along with proper obedience training and lots of affection, and you have an intelligent, loyal, independent, protective and highly entertaining companion. Harley just received two weeks of intensive outside training and is doing much better.  She is looking for her forever home! 


precious Precious has been with us for a year. Now six years old, this sweet Rottweiler mix was adopted once but returned simply because she wasn't housetrained and the owner didn't want to bother training her. Precious walks beautifully on a leash and loves to flop onto her back for belly rubs. Precious' issue: some toy aggression which is very fixable; house-training. With time and patience, this sweet girl will learn and pay you back tenfold with love and companionship.



patti Patti was found as a stray in Chicago and has been with us since October, 2012. She's about a year and a half old, a beautiful and very smart girl who craves mental and physical activity. Patti's former owners never gave her proper training and she came to us headstrong, mouthy, and pulling on the leash. She has recently completed two weeks of intensive obedience training and we are looking for a home for her with a family who will continue to work with her, walk her, play with her, and love her. Patti's issue: still tends to pull on the leash; needs someone who will reinforce housebreaking.   



bounder We rescued Bounder from a kill shelter in Chicago in September 2012. A big, sweet, energetic goofball, Bounder is almost two years old and still has a lot of his puppy energy. We sent him out for obedience training when he first came to us because he jumped up on people, pulled on the leash, and needed to be house-broken. He picked it all up quickly as he is a very smart dog. Bounder is looking for an active family with older children who will give him the time and attention he needs. Bounder's issue: not good with kids under 12; earlier training needs to be reinforced.

FOSTER TO ADOPT: If you are interested in giving Bounder, Precious, Patti, or Harley a chance, consider our Foster to Adopt program. This allows you to take one of these special dogs home for up to 90 days before you decide whether you would like to adopt him or her. Contact Helping Paws for more information.
     Make a Difference - Be a Foster Family   
                              By Debbie Rose, volunteer  


"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress

can be judged by the way its animals are treated" - Gandhi


Every act of kindness, no matter how large or small, makes a lifetime of difference. Foster families help abandoned animals get through a difficult period in their lives and guide them from homeless and unwanted to adoptable and loved.


Fostering isn't always easy but it is always rewarding. Many times we need individuals to foster dogs who need help with basic obedience, house breaking, walking on a leash or mouthing/barking. We also sometimes have pregnant dogs or puppies who are still nursing and sometimes dogs that need quiet time to rehab after surgery or during heartworm treatment.  Some rescued animals both dogs and cats come to the shelter stressed and confused and are best cared for in a foster home.

We also need individuals who want to work with kittens and cats. We may need help bottle feeding kittens or socializing older kittens with adults and children.  We have numerous shy adult cats who would benefit from time in a home.  Fosters provide the shelter with critical information such as socialization and temperament evaluation; medical care (dispensing medication, taking the dog or cat to vet appointments); and of course plenty of playtime and snuggling.  The foster home is a temporary situation that helps an animal become highly adoptable. 


If you are willing and able to open your heart and your home to a dog or cat in need, please call Helping Paws and ask about our Foster Program.


    How You Can Help Us Help the Animals

The two things that allow all non-profit organizations to operate are donations and volunteers. We have many ways you can do either without taking up too much of your time or emptying your wallet. Here are just a few:


Volunteer Opportunities

  • Cleaning; laundry
  • Front-desk receptionist
  • Maintenance
  • Manage shelter website
  • Write newsletter articles
  • Manage or participate in fundraising events
  • Help with tag days and wish list days
  • Manage/coordinate our volunteers
  • Work with community groups and schools
  • Foster a dog or cat


Donation Opportunities

  • Donate proceeds from a garage sale, event, or activity
  • Donate items from our wish list
  • Bequests
  • Sponsorships
  • Attend our fundraisers

Call us at 815-338-4400 for more information. 


In This Issue
-Community Involvement
-Congratulations, Thunder!
-Dog Enrichment Program
-Looking Beyond the Obvious
-Be a Foster Family
-How You Can Help

Quick Links

Join Our Mailing List

Upcoming Events  


1st Wednesday of each Month   

Development Meeting 7p.m.                         Helping Paws Shelter 

Location may change, for current information, please call Sherry Gelasi at 847-658-6634


2nd Wednesday of each Month   

Board Meeting - 5:30 p.m. at Helping Paws Shelter


2nd Saturday of each Month 

 Adoption Event  

11 a.m.  - 2 p.m.

Crystal Lake Petco


Yappy Hour - Onion Pub & Brewery, Lake Barrington 
Tuesday, July 16th  

All Day - Lunch, Dinner

Dogs are allowed on outside Deck


Yappy Hour - Port Edward's Restaurant


 Tuesday, July 30th  
Sit and eat dockside with your canine companion from 5-9 p.m. 

 Home Sweet Home 


When you adopt a pet, you may not change the world but you have certainly changed that animal's world  If you would like to share a picture of your new family member with us, email a picture to

Formerly Cupid, Bo finds his sister's head a perfect place to nap.

Sweetie (right) never strays far from Sadie, her new bestie.

Bobber (formerly Beau) getting ready to go to his forever home with new best buddy, Bob.

Lois (aka Lizzy) proves that puppy energy + curiosity = extreme cuteness.

Albery and his stuffed moose go everywhere together.

Donner lets those expressive eyes and ears do the talking.

Future biker dude, Koby (aka Tyler).

Venus (formerly Lucky) and Kashmir find the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Jasper (top) and Gizmo snuggle together for an afternoon nap.

Ruby (formerly Alison) listens closely to a bedtime story.

Kirk loves to give kisses and play with his Beagle buddy, Merlin.

Best buddies Aaron and Joey (right) check out the backyard.

Snack time for (L to R) Angelica, Chance (aka Clifford) and Ginger. 

Oso finds his new accommodations quite satisfactory.

Peanut enjoys the view and lots of hugs from his new mom.

Little Sandy's (aka Chloe) new family love their little couch potato.

Milo (formerly Geller) and his very own boy hang out after school.

Kali (right) surveys her new kingdom with new brother, Jake.

The "Lollipop Guild", aka Sookie, Farley and Lola - all adopted from Helping Paws.

Riva (formerly Annette) takes a break from running laps around the pond.




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.