In my neighborhood, I have a reputation for my deep love and passion for animals, and for being their voice. I try to keep it friendly so I can stay on good terms. It gives me the chance to educate when possible.  I print out flyers with pet care tips and low cost clinics along with the importance of health care, spay/neuter, and other information.  You don’t reach them all, in fact it seems very few, but now and then you do. It’s times like those, that encourage you to keep preaching (lol).  I especially like it when one of the young teens come with their pit bull, that only months ago was ready to breed, and they say “can I have that information on getting my pit fixed again?” Then they bring him/her to you later and show you the suture site with the biggest grin on their face.  That’s how I met Chico, Boysito and their family.  I would see the boys outside with the dogs, and would point out concerns and give tips now and then.  On Halloween, I put together candy bags with information on pet care along with the candy and hand them out to the trick or treaters.  I had extra special bags for my next door neighbors, Chico and Boysito’s kids.  That was in October of 2011. In March of 2012, my husband and I were leaving and I heard the lady next door talking to her son and he seemed upset. We came home later and the house was empty and the landlord was there. My first thought was for Boysito and Chico.  I heard them barking in the garage and found from the landlord that he had evicted the family.  My husband asked about the dogs for me, because the landlord didn’t speak English and he told my husband he didn’t know if the dogs had food or water or if the family was coming back. He wasn’t going in to find out because he was afraid and if the family didn’t come for them in a couple days, he was calling police or animal control.  He gave me permission to enter the garage to check on them. It looked like they were given food and water, but had already finished it in a few hours. I fed, watered, and cleaned up after them while I searched for a group to take them if the family didn’t come back for them. I kept running into one brick wall after another. There was an old queen size mattress leaning on the wall in the garage, so I knocked it over for the dogs to lay on.  Three days later, I came home from work to find the family there.  One of the kids was checking on the dogs.  They came to give more food and water.  I was going out to tell them they had run out of food and water on the first day and that I had been taking care of them.  That’s when I found out they were leaving them again. The Mom said she tried to find family to take her, the kids, and Chico and Boysito in, but nobody would allow the dogs. I informed her of short term fosters that will sometimes help.  She felt this was not an option and asked me to please help find homes for Chico and Boysito.  She said the landlord called and told them to get the dogs out.  I asked if she could get a few more days and I would call places outside Aurora.  Three more days I took care of them and kept trying to find a group to take them.  They were out of time when on 3/28 a rescue group came forward to help me with them.  I was soooo happy! I contacted their human Momma and she came and signed them over to me. I was so happy. The rescue asked me to transport the dogs to a clinic to be neutered, chipped, vaccinated and so on.  Later that night after my son and I dropped them off, the lady from the rescue called with the bad news that she couldn’t take Boysito after all.  She had no fosters or kennels to take him because he looks like he has pit in him.  She felt terrible and so did I.  I expressed my concerns about separating them, after all, they just lost their family, their home, and Boysito seemed very close to Chico. So much so, that he would cry loudly and become very upset when Chico was taken out of his sight. Although I knew the chances of them being adopted together were very slim, I couldn’t bear the thought of tearing them apart without at least trying.  I figured they could at least be slowly weaned apart vs. being suddenly ripped apart all at once. It was a loss for the small rescue group since they get their money back through the adoption fees, but she agreed it would be better for them to stay together even though she wanted to keep Chico and place him through the group. But that left me back at square one, with nobody left to call.  So I started calling the same ones over again, including Pet Project.  I stepped outside with my own dogs to take a break.  I cried, and prayed, and just said God, I let those poor dogs down!  They counted on me and I couldn’t help them. It dawned on me that family was put next to us for a reason, and I thought this was it.  The young boy, maybe early teens, had some personal issues.  Along with his personal issues, he also had lost his Grandma about a year ago, now his home and his dogs.  He felt he had nothing left and I believe that knowing somebody who loves animals so much was fighting for them, gave him some very small amount of comfort.  So it hit me that for that very reason, I knew Chico and Boysito would be ok.  At that same moment, Pet Project called me back!  Between the calls, and the e-mails, the wonderful angels of Pet Project came thru for those precious babies!!  I can never thank them enough! I could never do what they and other rescue groups do every day and night, 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.  Cases like this come my way maybe 4 times a year on average and the emotional roller coaster it takes me on is just more heartache than I can stand. So I stand and applaud you angels of Pet Project and all those other rescue groups out there!  I don’t know where Boysito and Chico would be if you didn’t come to their rescue at the last moment. Chico is home with his forever family and I can’t wait for an update on him.  :0)  Boysito is still waiting for his forever family to come take him home, but the pictures Pet Project shares of him being loved on and played with, does my heart so much good. I will never forget what you guys did.

–Ruby Ochoa












“I adopted my dog Sesame from PPI in 2007 when she was just 16 months old. Sesame came from Streator and her prior owners did not have her spayed. When she became pregnant at 8 months, the owners decided to use her for target practice and try to kill her. Luckily a local police agency was able to intervene and Sesame had her puppies (which were adopted out) and she ended up at PPI. When I went to PPI in October of 2007 we had just lost the family dog that we’d had for 10 years to cancer and I was just going “to look.” When I arrived with my mom Mary Driscoll had me look at a few of the dogs in their play area. She encouraged me to play with them and she listened to my mom talk about how sad our family was at the loss of our other dog. We were there for 2 hours and we ended up meeting a special little girl name Sesame. She kept coming up to the kennel door and trying to get my attention, she was so funny to watch. She was a wonderful dog to get in a time of sadness because she was able to make all of us smile. She also did so well in my apartment with me working full time–Mary knows the dogs and knows what they act like.

Today Sesame is 5 1/2 and a healthy, happy dog in the Peoria area. She is a wonderful girl that loves tennis balls, “walk-rides,” the dog park, and ice cream. Sesame is so smart–she has a lot of words and she will cock her head in recognition to her words. She has her Canine Good Citizen and is a certified therapy dog in Peoria, Illinois. I still donate to Pet Project on a fairly regular basis because they are a wonderful organization that serves our community. Sesame is also the proud sister of Blitz a 10 year old former foster dog that was recently adopted.”

– Alyssa Emanuelson

“On September 3, 2011 my husband and I adopted Rosie, a one year old female mix, from Pet Project Inc.  Earlier that morning, while on Facebook I came across a friend’s post about another dog needing to find a home. Somehow, this post lead me to Pet Project Inc’s website.   I saw a picture of Rosie and liked her instantly.  I’m not sure why, maybe it was her ears that were too big for her head, maybe it was the video I saw where she was giving everyone kisses, but whatever the reason, I liked her.  I read she had been at Pet Project for over a month, even though I believed she would have been adopted out by now, I emailed Pet Project inquiring about Rosie.

About two years ago, I lost my dog, Melee.  As Melee grew, her heart didn’t, and eventually it wasn’t large enough to sustain her adult size.  We replaced her soon, with a wonderful dog, Nika, but something was still missing for me.

I couldn’t wait for an email response from Pet Project Inc letting me know if Rosie was still available, I had to go see for myself.  My husband and I drove to Marseilles in hail and rain, just so I could see.  We met Mary and another friendly volunteer at Pet Project Inc.  Mary brought Rosie to us and she immediately greeted us with kisses.  I think this is the moment I no longer liked Rosie, but fell in love with her.  We adopted Rosie the same day and she came with us to her forever home.

A couple days later, it was my 12 year old daughter (Emily) turn to meet Rosie.  Of course, Rosie greeted Emily with a million kisses and Emily fell on the ground laughing with Rosie now on top of her.  My daughter’s eyes filled with tears as she read the dog tag that said in part “Owner:  Emily”.

We couldn’t ask for a better dog than Rosie.   In fact, teasingly my husband will say that I’ve made two great decisions in the 15 years we’ve been together, the first was marrying him and the second was adopting Rosie.

Mary couldn’t tell us much about Rosie’s past, because she had been a stray, turned over to Pet Project Inc by veterinarian Dr. Novak, a vet who has offices in both Streator and Ottawa.  It is obvious to us that the people at Pet Project not only provided the basic needs for Rosie i.e. food and water, but also the emotional ones that helped make Rosie a great dog.

It may sound silly, but the little thing that had once been missing has now been filled by Rosie.  Thanks Pet Project Inc!

Pet Project Inc is a much needed resource to the LaSalle community.  Not only do the provide care to the animals in their shelter until they are adopted out, they bring smiles to families that adopt.”

Sherry Meine

“Hi my name is Kelly and my family and I adopted SIDEWAYS (pup) from PPI and it has changed our lives! They post the best videos of the animals!!!! My family and I watched the videos before going there and saw “Buddy Love” (nickname I, his mommy gave him) and fell in love with him!!! PPI does a wonderful job in taking care of these animals until they find their new family. We are so very grateful for them and our lives would not be the same without them doing such a wonderful job because we would not have Sideways!!!!!  As soon as we walked in you could see the animals were very well taken care of and LOVED!!!! That I believe makes all the difference when an animal goes through such trauma as our Sideways did.



“As an animal lover, I have always supported no-kill shelters. Pet Project is one of my personal favorites. Non-profit organizations such as this are necessary for the survival of countless animals in the area, and without them, innocent lives would be lost. I have volunteered at Pet Project in the past. It was such a rewarding experience. To help so many animals in just a few hours of my time was heartwarming.  It was admittedly sad to see just how many precious animals are homeless and had been abused, abandoned, neglected, etc., but PPI gives them a chance at finding love and companionship in their fur-ever homes.

When I volunteered there, I got a chance to play with all of the dogs, one at a time, at the shelter in the play area.  It was so fun to socialize and bond with each one and learn their personalities. Without Pet Project, hundreds of helpless, lonely pets would be euthanized.  Perhaps the saddest part is that no matter what their story, these animals would never have been given a chance or a say-so.

To say that the people at PPI are loving, caring and dedicated is a major understatement.  They are very friendly and give their all to help each dog or cat find his or her family.  Their dedication makes a huge difference in the community and in the lives of the pets.  Not only do the pets find love and happiness, but so do their new families.  The animals have a place where they can feel safe and loved. The people at the shelter have each pet’s best  interest at heart, and do everything they can to nurse them back to health.

I remember one dog, Boo, who had been beaten and neglected.  She was extremely thin and fragile, with many injuries, wounds, etc. However, with the help of PPI, she was able to totally turn her life around, get adopted, and finally be loved and cared for by her new family.  There are countless success stories, and surely many more to come. As I mentioned before, Pet Project is a non-profit organization that is run by volunteers.  They take the responsibility of caring for the animals and the shelter, and ensuring the pets’ happiness and well-being.  They further carry out their responsibilities by taking the initiative to have every animal that comes into the shelter spayed or neutered to prevent future strays.  The adoption fees are strictly to cover those costs, and all monetary donations to the shelter are used to benefit the animals.

Because my family and I feel so strongly that PPI is an essential part of the community, we donate toys, collars, money, etc. to the organization at Christmas time.  We feel that because it is such a fantastic organization and can use all the help it can get, they definitely deserve as many donations as possible.  PPI making a difference in the lives of so many. Regardless of where Pet Project is, though, as long as it is still around, it will continue making a major positive impact in the lives of people and pets alike.”

Sam Simpson

 “I love Pet Project because they helped me pick out my first dog. I brought home Snert (now Jax) in 2010. He is awesome! We love him very much! PPI helped me decide which dog would suit my family of 3 kids under 3.  They were great!”

Jessica Vanduzen