About Helping Paws Animal Shelter

Helping Paws Animal Shelter’s mission is to provide shelter, food, medical care, and comfort to abandoned, neglected, and abused animals until they are placed into loving, responsible homes.

Our Story

Helping Paws Animal Shelter (HP), legally known as the Fox Valley Helping Paws Animal Welfare Association, Inc., was established in 1969 with a foster program which rehomed orphaned animals into permanent, loving homes. In 1971, Helping Paws incorporated as the first no-kill, animal welfare association in McHenry County. Our first storefront location was on Route 14, across from Andy’s Restaurant at 465 Virginia Street.

In 1995, we rented a facility in Ridgefield, IL, which was only able to house cats and then three years later purchased and remodeled the old Culligan Building at 257 King Street in Crystal Lake. The building was approximately 3,000 square feet and allowed us to house up to 60 cats and seven dogs.

Then in 2006, Helping Paws moved into our current 10,000 square foot facility at 2500 Harding Lane, Woodstock, IL. This facility allows us to care for approximately 125 kittens/cats and to accommodate 45 puppies/dogs.

Helping Paws is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Our small, committed staff of 11 employees and over 300 dedicated volunteers handle and care for more than 800 animals annually and serve more than 300,000 residents in McHenry County and surrounding communities. Each animal that comes into our shelter is treated with respect, kindness and compassion. We believe that for each of our animals…”Second Chances Start Here.”

Board of Directors

Donna Matejka
President
donna@helpingpaws.net

Sherry Gelasi
Vice President
sherry@helpingpaws.net

Ravelle Scherer-Schwab
Treasurer
ravelle@helpingpaws.net

Marlene Mugavero
Secretary
marlene@helpingpaws.net

Sharon Bono-Fabian
Director
sharon@helpingpaws.net

Arlene Upatnieks
Director
arlene@helpingpaws.net

Ginny Covalt
Director

Advisory Board

Dr. J. Chemelewski, DVM
Kirk Halma, CPT
Cheryle Homuth, CPDT-KA, KPA, CTP

A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not. ― Ernest Hemingway
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