When Lisa McCormick walked into an animal shelter about 17 years ago, she was glad she was able to adopt a couple of cats but she went home disheartened.
She saw a bunch of “beautiful” dogs and cats inside the Nashville, Ill., shelter and told the keeper that she guessed they would all be adopted soon. The look on his face told another story.
“He said most all of them will be put to sleep,” McCormick said. “I just couldn’t believe that.”
This eye-opening experience led McCormick and her daughter to start bringing home animals to adopt and eventually she founded Partners for Pets in 2002 at her home near Troy.
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Partners for Pets picks up animals at the Madison County Animal Care and Control at 8501 State Route 143 near Edwardsville and the St. Clair County Animal Services at 1250 S. 11th St. in Belleville. McCormick said her group often takes in pets that are ill or have been mistreated or injured. Volunteers then take the animals to local pet stores during weekly adoption days.
Now, the licensed, no-kill shelter is embarking on an expansion plan on about five acres at 9136 Lower Marine Road near Troy.
They take the dogs no one else wants.
Todd Alons, Partners for Pets volunteer
Partners for Pets recently bought the land, home and buildings for $200,000. The group is retrofitting the home as an office, meeting room and place for the cats, which have already moved in. They have a spacious play room in the former sunroom.
A large metal pole barn with heated floors is being converted to hold dogs. The plans include a room for puppies and their mothers, an isolation room, a grooming room and indoor and outdoor play areas.
McCormick said the new site will allow the nonprofit group to hold adoption days at the shelter because their current shelter isn’t big enough to accommodate visitors. She hopes the new shelter will be open this summer.
To help pay the project, Partners for Pets is seeking donations and has a fundraising goal of $300,000. The rescue group has been registered as a 501(c)(3) organization since 2003.
In January, Partners for Pets received what it called a “staggering” grant of $90,000 from Petco. Several local companies also have provided goods and services to help with the new Partners for Pets compound.
Along with donations, the group needs volunteers to help finish the renovations.
Todd Alons, a Troy carpenter, has been leading the volunteers working on the dog shelter of about 5,000 square feet.
Alons said the group performs an “incredible” feat by finding homes for more than 1,300 pets each year. In her first year, McCormick said she was able to adopt out about 100 dogs.
“They take the dogs no one else wants,” Alons said.
McCormick said Partners for Pets currently is caring for four dogs that have been hit by cars.
“We do take the sick and injured ones,” McCormick said. “We have really high vet bills so we can always use help with that.”
For some people, their animals are all they have, it’s really important to them.
Lisa McCormick, Partners for Pets founder
On a tour of the new shelter on Saturday, McCormick talked about some of the reasons that keep her motivated.
“I’ve had a couple of people say, ‘Why do you just help the animals, why don’t you help the people?’
“No, we are helping people,” she says to them. “For some people, their animals are all they have, it’s really important to them.”
McCormick, who is a retired nursing home inspector for the state of Illinois, said often the only time she would see some nursing home residents light up is when a young child visited the home or a dog or cat was allowed to visit.
“You don’t know how many people I’ve had tell me that, ‘My dog or my cat saved my life, I was so lonely my husband passed away, my wife passed away.’”
“It’s a lot more than just finding animals a home.”
How to help
If you want to donate or volunteer, here’s how you can reach Partners for Pets:
- Phone: 618-540-7387
- Web: http://www.partnersforpetsil.org/or on Facebook at Partners 4 Pets. (The group has a 4 in its Facebook name because another animal shelter had taken the name Partners for Pets on Facebook.)
- The next fundraiser will be a Pinterest and Texas Hold’em event at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at Morningstar Chiropractic at 3733 S. State Route 159 in Edwardsville.
- Partners for Pets adoptions are held at the O’Fallon PetSmart every Saturday and at the Glen Carbon PetSmart every Sunday and the first Saturday of the month. Adoptions also are at the Petco in Edwardsville Crossing on the second and fourth Sunday each month. Note: Cat adoptions are only at the PetSmart in Glen Carbon.