Frequently Asked Questions about our rescue. If you don’t find the answer here or on our website, we welcome your emails and phone calls!

Where is Young at Heart located? Young At Heart has been a foster-based organization since 2005, and opened Chicagoland's first adoption center and sanctuary specifically for senior dogs and cats on 8 acres in unincorporated Woodstock, IL in September 2019.  Adoptions and tours are by appointment only

Are you “no-kill”? Yes. The pets in our programs stay with us until they find a forever home. However, should a pet become terminally ill, dangerously aggressive towards people, or it has a poor quality of life, we do have the right to humanely euthanize so that none of the pets in our care become a danger to society or suffer needlessly. We give our seniors every chance we can provide, whether it be through veterinary care, veterinary specialists, trainers and behaviorists, or alternative therapies- if there is something that may help one of our homeless animals, we go for it!

What kind of animals does Young at Heart have for adoption? Young At Heart works hard to place mature and senior dogs and cats into loving homes. The majority of our dogs and cats are between the ages of 7 years old and 12 years old, though we are happy to see an increase in the average age of our pets being adopted out each and every year for 5 years in a row. In 2016, the average age of our adopted pets was 10.8 years old.

Why do you have so few pets for adoption? We are a very small organization, and strive to provide each pet in our care with a homelike stay while they wait for their forever home. Staying small allows us to provide excellent personalized care to each animal, and so that each animal that comes into our care does not know it’s in a “rescue”. Our motto is Quality over Quantity so that we may provide every senior pet in our care the same high quality care we would provide our own personal companion animals. 

We stay small enough so that each dog or cat in our care gets ample one-on-one time, playtime, lap time, and the basic human contact that many animals just cannot receive in larger organizations. It is very important to us that the dogs and cats in our care feel loved, are happy, and are well-adjusted when they go to their forever homes. If you are interested in helping us save more lives by fostering, please take a look at our fostering information and application.

I saw a pet I’d like to meet. Now what? The first step to meeting a senior dog or cat for adoption is to fill out the adoption application. Once submitted, we will go over your application, call your vet and personal references, and then will contact you via email to let you know if your application is approved. We've put a lot of time, funding, and effort into each dog or cat in our care to get them ready for adoption, and we want to ensure that each pet's new family is prepared for the care and the possible expense of adopting an older pet. We may need to have a conversation or two to clarify your application or to explain why we require certain veterinary care. While the majority of applicants who have carefully considered adding a senior pet to their family are approved, not all are. We do require that pets in your care have seen the vet on a regular basis for preventative care (not just going to the vet when they're sick), and that dogs are tested annually for Heartworm Disease and kept on Heartworm Preventative. We treat a lot of older dogs for Heartworm Disease, and it's completely preventable, so we want to ensure our senior dog's new family will continue to provide that same preventative care. Adoptions are by appointment, so we're all on the same page before you make the drive out to see us to ensure you have the best meeting possible. If you're not computer savvy, call or email us, and we’ll be happy to help you with your application!

What is the adoption fee?

  • Cats: $100.00
  • Dogs: $200.00

Senior Citizens aged 65 or older receive 50% off adoption fees

The adoption fee is just a fraction of the cost we spend preparing each senior dog or cat for his or her new home. All of our pets are spay/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, dewormed, tested for Heartworm or Feline Leukemia, and has had geriatric bloodwork done. Often times, they have also had a dental cleaning with extractions, x-rays, ultrasound, biopsies, mass removals, or whatever else is needed to make them as healthy as possible prior to adoption. We spend an average of $1000 readying each senior pet for adoption! With your adoption, you receive a copy of any and all veterinary records we have on our adoptable pets, including bloodwork results. All of our pets also come with a 14-day adoption trial period and a “Home for Life” policy which means that you will never have to worry about what happens to your senior pet should you not be able to care for him/her any longer- we take them back into our program with open arms, no matter the reason. Our seniors have a home for life with Young at Heart.

Do you allow out-of-state adoptions?
Young at Heart allows adoptions within 150 mile radius of Woodstock, IL. This includes out-of-state adoptions that are included in the 150 mile radius.

I need to give up my pet. Will you take it? Most likely, the answer will be that we are unable to assist you in taking the pet or pets you or a family member or neighbor can no longer care for. That is because we are a "limited intake" facility, and do not euthanize the pets currently in our care to make room for yours. Instead, we work closely with shelters throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana to rescue seniors that WILL be euthanized for space and provide them with a safe haven here. We can help you find a family for the pet you need to rehome by courtesy listing them on our website, however you are ultimately responsible for placing them with a new family.

We do provide free courtesy listing services for 60 days on our Courtesy List page for pets belonging to private parties, and other shelters or rescues. To courtesy list a pet, please email with subject line “COURTESY LISTING”, and include the pet’s jpeg photo, bio, and contact information. Young at Heart is not responsible for any pet listed on the courtesy list page.

I would like to foster a Young at Heart Pet. What do I need to do? Please go to our foster page and fill out our foster application to get started! We’re happy to answer any and all questions. We love our foster homes, and would love to have even more! We know fostering for the first time can be a scary experience to jump into, and we make sure that we are available to you for questions, concerns, and problems that may occur. You are also welcome to speak to any of our current or past foster homes to get their take on fostering for Young at Heart, right from the source. Please note we do not have a “foster-to-adopt” program. We suggest that you live within a 50 mile radius of Woodstock, IL or live a distance from Woodstock IL that you are comfortable driving to on a regular basis, as most events, veterinary care, supply pick ups, etc are all done at or near the adoption center.

What if I adopt a pet, and it doesn’t work out? All of our pets are accepted back into the rescue unconditionally, and your adoption contract requires that you bring your pet back to the rescue should you no longer be able to care for it. When you first adopt a pet, you have a 14-day money-back return period. All of our pets have a home for life with Young at Heart, so you never have to worry about what will happen to your senior pet should something happen to you or should you no longer be able to care for him/her.

I would like to make a donation. What does the rescue need most? A current wish list is kept here, and updated as our needs change. Monetary donations are always needed as those funds allow us to provide the animals with whatever they need. Veterinary bills and medications are our highest cost. Any donation is greatly appreciated by the rescue and our animals, and because we are a 501c3 not for profit organization, your donation is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

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