70 Years of Saving Lives!

We’re turning 70 and we can’t wait to celebrate that achievement all year long with all of you!

After a challenging 2022 and an S.O.S. (Save Our Shelter) call for help, thanks to an amazing show of support, we are proud to share that we are on more solid footing and ready to celebrate our 70th anniversary, culminating in a gala on September 23, 2023 at the Community House in Hinsdale.

“While we are by no means out of the woods financially yet,” said Jacki Rossi, Executive Director, HHS, “thanks to the support of so many wonderful adopters, donors and businesses, we are in a position to start building a bridge to the future. Our goal is to be here for the next 70 years and beyond.”

The 70th anniversary coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Village of Hinsdale. A series of celebrations will be planned throughout the year. “There will be something for everyone,” said Kathy Hanley, Development Director, HHS. “We’re planning a donor gratitude event, a hybrid virtual/in-person February event, a Pet Parade event, golf outing and our big September gala. Plus, we’ll have special naming opportunities to commemorate our milestone and much more!”

A Timeline of Compassion

HHS began back in 1953, when six Hinsdale women funded the upgrade of the local dog pound and began answering calls from their home phones, all during a rabies outbreak. Their initial goals were to educate in proper pet training, apply humane treatment to stray pets and to provide a clean facility for their care.

In September 1959, a new shelter was built for $25K and became the first Humane Society in DuPage County. Morris the Cat, previously named Lucky, was adopted from that facility in 1968 and went on to national fame as the spokescat for 9Lives.

In 1982, we expanded to help people with a new program: Pet Therapy. The Therapaws Pet Therapy program continues today helping children with reading, students with anxiety, patients, healthcare providers and the elderly.

Expansions and remodels of that original facility took place throughout the 1970s and 1980s. A Memorial Garden was established in 2009. Humane Education, Training, Affordable Pet Medical Care and Community Resource programs were built to provide help for the 12 communities we serve.

The past decade saw a move to a new building in 2018, changes in leadership, a pandemic and an animal welfare crisis of epic proportions. 

The move to a larger facility allowed for the adoption of more than 1800 pets annually, which is double the number in the original, smaller shelter. Additionally, we support other rescue organizations throughout Chicagoland, as well as pet families in surrounding communities with programs, services and resources like medical care and pet food.

“With an exciting year of celebrations ahead to honor our 70 year milestone, we are thrilled to be able to reconnect in person with everyone who has helped us get here, as we usher in a new decade of hope, healing and love,” said Rossi. “But, we can’t do what we do without the financial support of our communities. We are an independent non-profit and rely on donations, so fundraising will be forefront in the year ahead as we shore up our foundation for the decades to come.”

To learn more about the shelter’s 70th Anniversary, click here. To learn about special recognition and contribution opportunities to commemorate the 70th, email k.hanley@hinsdalehumanesociety.org.

Comments (1)

Chris Brooks
Thu, Jan 5, 2023, 1:59 PM
I volunteered at HHS back when it was in the small building behind the hospital. Every Sunday morning I cleaned the floors, restrooms, windows and did dishes and laundry...and I LOVED every minute! I even adopted a senior cat that I was able to love and cherish...then with the move to the big building my duties were dishes and laundry...and since I had been doing that for awhile I was able to collect the dirty laundry/dishes and distribute the clean stuff! I even rented the facility for my daughter's wedding shower and it was a huge success! I cannot express in words how much I loved my volunteer work at HHS. You all hold a special place in my heart. xoxoxoxox

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