Resources for Pet Owners

Pet Food Recall Alerts

Keep up to date on the latest Pet Food Recalls to keep your four legged friends happy and healthy.

Pet Food Assistance Program

Any family in need of assistance is welcome to apply for our Pet Food Pantry; however, we are only able to provide food when we have donated food to give.  To apply for pet food assistance, you must meet our guidelines and complete the pet food assistance application.

Better at Home Program

At C.A.R.A. we know that there is no place like home and our Better at Home Program is an owner-surrender intervention program designed to help keep pets in their home and out of the shelter. Through this program we can assist people who need help with challenges such as veterinary care, short-term boarding and pet food assistance. Find out if you or someone you know is eligible by calling (217) 799-8858 or by emailing

Surrendering a Pet

Are you considering giving up your pet?  You are not alone, and almost half of the pets that come to CARA each year are given up by their owners.  The decision to give up your pet can be a difficult one, but CARA is here to help.

CARA may be able to offer you alternatives to giving up your pet.  If the reason you are thinking of surrendering your pet is behavioral, financial, or because you are moving, we may be able to help. 
If you get to the point where you believe rehoming your animal is the only option, we have resources that will offer alternatives to surrendering them to our shelter. We also welcome anyone to talk over their decision to surrender with our Surrender Counselor by calling (217) 655-4353 or by sending an email. Please carefully read through the surrender guide for additional resources and the shelter surrender guidelines. 

Pet Loss and Grief Support

C.A.R.E. Pet Loss Helpline – The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine offers confidential telephone support for people who are either grieving the loss of a companion animal or are anticipating a loss. The Helpline is staffed by veterinary students who understand the importance of the bond you share with your animal friend and the emotions involved when that bond is threatened or altered. The students have received training by professional grief counselors and undergo continued supervision by a licensed clinical social worker.
Telephone Number is 217-244-CARE (2273)

Military Deployment

Dogs on Deployment and Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet are non-profit organizations that provides financial assistance, networking for temporary boarding and other resources to military members. You can also volunteer to board military pets.
Operation Military Pets provides financial assistance to military members for pet relocation costs.
The American Humane Association and Pets for Patriots offer tips for deploying military members on preparing pets for extended absences and available resources.

Domestic Violence

If you or a loved one are escaping from a domestic violence situation and need temporary placement of your pet, the Humane Society of the United States lists verified shelters that accept animals: Safe Havens for Animals™ Programs in Illinois.
Safe Place for Pets is an online directory for community resources, on-site housing and off-site care options in your area for animals in domestic violence situations.
Emergency grants to cover temporary housing for your pet are available through Red Rover.
You can also contact your local domestic violence shelter, animal shelter, veterinarian, or boarding kennel to see if they have a Safe Haven for Animals Program or can provide temporary care for your pet.

Assistance with Veterinary Bills

At C.A.R.A., we know how the cost of veterinary bills can put on a strain on your finances especially if you are facing a medical emergency.  Unfortunately, we are not able to assist with the cost of your pet’s vet bills but we have compiled a list of organizations which may be able to give you a hand.


Brown Dog Foundation


Canine Cancer Awareness


Care Credit


Diabetic Cats in Need


Extend Credit


Fairy Dog Parents


Frankie’s Friends


PAWS 4 A Cure


Shakespeare Animal Fund


The Magic Bullet Fund


The Mosby Foundation


The Pet Fund


The Riedel & Cody Fund

You can also check with these national organizations for more information:

Alley Cat Allies


American Humane Association




Best Friends Animal Society


Humane Society of the United States


Petco Foundation


Red Rover

Tips for Renters

There are many pet-friendly rental options available online. You can search for pet-friendly housing on these search engines:




If you are potentially renting from a private owner, consider creating a pet resume that includes:


>  Letters of recommendation from your current landlord, vet, neighbors, and trainer to show how well liked your dog is and responsible you are.
>   Appealing photos of your dog and you with your dog.
>   Keep a video on your phone that shows your dog’s obedience skills.
>   A Canine Good Citizen certification can be very helpful, especially with larger dogs.
>   Your dog’s health status, i.e. spay/neutered, current on vaccines, your vet’s name.
>   Describe any arrangements you make for your dog while you’re at work (crate trained? doggy daycare?) or away on vacation.
If you have a large pit bull-type dog, print a copy of the brochure: Pitbulls: One of the Most Popular and Misunderstood Pets in America and consider getting a DNA test. Most dogs labeled as “pit bulls” are mixed breed dogs and a DNA test can yield some surprising results and change the perception of your dog.


If your prospective landlord is on the fence about your pet or pets, offer to create a pet addendum to your lease that you decide upon together.

Information provided by The Animal Foundation.