Success Stories

WARNING: Some of these stories contain graphic “before” images that some may find upsetting.


  • Sousa when she arrived at the shelter

Sousa was surrendered by a young woman who had received her as a gift. She quickly realized the tiny kitten’s needs exceeded her capacity for care. Sousa had been purchased at a barn in Wisconsin and was only three weeks old. Her eyes were so infected that she couldn’t open them, and she was so malnourished that you could feel every bone in her little body. She immediately began her recovery in a foster home. She needed some minor surgery to correct one final eye issue, but now she is healthy and enjoying life in her forever home.


  • Sugar when she came to the shelter

Sugar arrived at the shelter covered in open sores because of untreated mange. There was literally no place on her little body that you could touch without causing her pain. But immediate medical care and a few weeks in a loving foster home quickly healed both body and spirit, and this little nugget blossomed. She was adopted quickly and never looked back! Her resilience is a lesson for us all.


  • Rocket when he arrived at the shelter

Rocket came to us when a good Samaritan witnessed him being dumped on the side of the road. She scooped him up and brought him to the shelter. We were appalled by the condition of his infected ears – the result of a home crop job gone wrong. But that quickly became secondary when we discovered that he had parvo. He spent several days in a local hospital fighting for his life and as he recovered, one of his nurses fell in love with him. She decided to add him to her family, and now he is happy and healthy in his new home!


Bella was tied up outside of the shelter with her teeth ground down and hip problems that made it difficult for her to walk. Her calm temperament and loving nature quickly made her a volunteer favorite. However, being a big dog in a small shelter, she didn’t adjust well and became ill from stress. Her owner originally wanted a “young whippersnapper”, but after meeting Bella, he fell in love. Now, he says that adopting Bella was the best thing he’s ever done. She has adjusted to her new life perfectly and even has regained a spring in her step! As her owner says, “every dog deserves a good life and a second chance.” Just look at Bella’s smile!


Claude came to the shelter after being found abandoned in an apartment. He was skinny, dirty and had no training. After being bathed, fed and loved, Claude quickly became a volunteer favorite. However, the kennel stress was getting to him, and he was just waiting for his forever home. Claude met a family with two young boys, and it was love at first sight for all of them. Now Claude lives a relaxing life, snoozing on his couch and hanging out with his brothers.


Cooper came to the shelter with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a disease that weakens the cat’s immune system and can shorten their lifespan. Because of this, Cooper was overlooked by many adopters despite his charming personality. However, he was simply waiting for the perfect family and he certainly won the lottery! Cooper now lives with his parents and two (human) siblings who call him “Super Cooper” or simply “the bestest cat ever”. Despite his FIV status, Cooper is living a healthy, happy, adventurous life!


When Guinness was found wandering the streets of Evanston, he was skin and bones. He had no idea how to be a dog, and was terrified of the world around him. On walks, he’d try to pull back to the enclosed safety of the shelter. After being fed and cared for, his fun-loving personality began to peek through. But once he found his forever home, the “real” Guinness appeared. His family says he is a lovable goofball who is incredibly smart and even has a little mischievous side. What a transformation!


Sometimes we get a dog who’s passed over again and again because of his breed, the way he looks, or because he doesn’t show well at the shelter. Jorrell was one such dog. But after watching all his shelter friends get adopted, Jorrell finally found a family who took the extra time to get to know him. It didn’t take long for them to fall in love. “I can’t tell you how fantastic he’s been,” raves his new family. We think the pictures say it all. Congratulations to Jorrell and his family for a match that was worth waiting for!


Little Paco got a second chance at life after his owner sadly passed away. His new owners are absolutely smitten with the little guy. Not only that, but his dog brother Buster has never been happier! His owners say that Buster now has “a new spring in his step”. We’re so happy for Paco’s family and how he’s transformed their lives!


Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks?! Zahdie arrived at the shelter because her old owner couldn’t take care of her anymore, and we quickly found out she had many health problems. She was shy and reserved but had the most soulful eyes and gentle personality. After regaining her health, Zahdie was adopted by a loving family. Imagine our shock when we saw our shy, nervous girl paddleboarding with her family! Zahdie’s family is always taking her on new adventures and showing her the world. Zahdie walks with her family everyday to take the children to school and walks along the lakefront, taking a little swim when the weather is right. We couldn’t imagine a better home for this sweetheart!


At first, Russell’s new family thought they were just going to foster him to get him out of the stressful shelter environment. But it didn’t take long for that plan to change. After just a few days, Russell’s mom reported that “We are absolutely in love with him, he is already part of our family. There is no way we could let him go anywhere!” As you can see, Russell is now enjoying the good life, and being lavished with attention by the family’s two young children. A huge thank you to Castaway Pet Rescue for making this connection. We couldn’t have asked for a better family for a better dog!