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Pet Mutual Aid

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Mutual aid is when people get together to meet each other’s basic needs. Pet mutual aid is when people help each other with pet-related challenges—

and in doing so, keep families together and pets out of animal shelters. 


The Human Animal Bond

The human-animal bond  transcends all, regardless of where someone lives, their race, or how much they have in their bank account - pet ownership is for everyone. It’s a concept that is gaining more and more acceptance across animal welfare, and it has brought new approaches to keep people and their pets together.


Historically, animal services have primarily focused on code enforcement, often leading to punishment-based consequences. We know that disproportionately affects people of color and lower-income pet owners.  This often leads to pets being impounded and taken from their families when there are often solutions available to keep those pets where they belong - at home.

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Pet mutual aid logo_edited.png
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Why Mutual Aid Now?

Most of the pets who enter shelters can be helped in their communities. There will always be urgency when animal shelters are stretched for space and other resources.

Mutual aid lets us harness the will of our communities to help, and the result is fewer pets entering shelters and more families staying together.  

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What is Pet Mutual Aid?

Mutual aid is when people get together to meet each other’s basic needs. Animal mutual aid is when people help each other with pet-related challenges—and in doing so, keep families together and pets out of animal shelters.

For example:

  • Lost pets can be returned home by their finders. 

  • People can re-home their own pets with a little support.

  • Pet owners can get help with medical bills and even rent deposits, in order to keep their pets.

  • Helping people with emergency fostering that are homeless, needing to seek treatment and people that are sick and/or in the hospital.

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Pet mutual aid logo_edited.png

Both Ends of the Leash

Strawberry Fields believes helping "both ends of the leash" is a necessity.  Often times when an animal is in need of help so is the pet owner. Helping animals is only half the battle.  We must also extend a hand to pet owners in need.

By providing valuable resources we can keep more pets in their homes thus preserving the human-animal bond.

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Resources for  Pets and Pet Owners

Our rescue is working hard to build our pet mutual aid programs. 

We will be adding more resources for pet owners and pets.

Please reach out if you need help.  Email us at

Supported Self-Rehoming

Deciding that your pet needs a new home is not an easy decision. Finding a home for your pet on your own and keeping them out of the shelter is beneficial to both your pet and others in need. This page is meant to be a resource to help you re-home your pet on your own or with help from a Strawberry Fields volunteer.  Strawberry Fields is here to support you and your pet with resources or with self re-homing.


Pet Friendly Housing

According to the American Pet Products Association 68% of households – that’s 1.8 million Chicagoans – own a pet. There is a crisis facing those who are not able to secure pet-friendly housing. As a result, thousands of Chicago residents are forced to give up their animal companions each year. Strawberry Fields wants to change that.

With pet ownership on the rise, and fewer buildings amenable to animals, we are launching a campaign to bridge the housing gap by providing resources for both tenants and landlords. Our goal is to open more doors to Chicago pets so less of them have to come through ours.

Affordable Medical Care

The number one barrier for pet owners trying to keep their animals is financial, with 80% unable to obtain preventive care due to financial constraints, 74% unable to obtain sick care, and 56% unable to obtain emergency care.

The most at risk for not receiving recommended care are cats and dogs living in lower-income households with younger pet owners.

The majority of veterinary professionals is aware of the problem. 95% of veterinarians surveyed either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “All pets deserve some level of veterinary care. 87% agreed that not being able to obtain needed veterinary care impacts the owner’s mental and emotional health. 

-Report by AAHA


Pet Behavior Support

We believe in a community-based approach to animal care where the behavioral well-being of companion animals is supported through all phases of their lives. A preventative, proactive focus allows animals to remain with their families whenever it’s possible and appropriate. 

This approach aims to support our communities, protect public safety, and keep animals in homes whenever possible. The approach aims to use shelter-based housing for only those animals who require - or are clearly benefiting from - treatment or temporary care. Behavior support with a community focus should prioritize families most in need, and help communities better understand that animal welfare organizations can serve as a beneficial, non-threatening and nonjudgemental resource. 

Crisis Support/Temporary Fostering

"We have found that humans experiencing homelessness or crisis, that own pets, are likely to refuse services that can be lifesaving due to concerns about losing their companion animal."

One of our goals is to be a rescue that strives to provide temporary foster homes for animals that have owners needing to seek medical treatment, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment or shelter. We respond by picking up & fostering their pet when we can or provide them the resources they need in order to avoid a companion animal being relinquished.  Our foster program’s work meets our mission of preserving the bond between human & pet, by providing safe placement for companion animals, while owners access what they need to get healthy and/or be safe.


Help With Pet Food & Supplies

Because of the Covid 19 virus the need for help with pet food and supplies is greater than ever.  Regardless of Covid 19, the need for this type of resource was and is vital to serve low-income families, the elderly, homeless, and other community members who have fallen on hard times.

Ban Breed Specific Legislation

Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is the blanket term for laws that either regulate or ban certain dog breeds in an effort to decrease dog attacks on humans and other animals. However, the problem of dangerous dogs will not be remedied by the “quick fix” of breed-specific laws—or, as they should truly be called, breed-discriminatory laws.

Regulated breeds typically comprise the “pit bull” class of dogs, including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and English Bull Terriers. In some areas, regulated breeds also include a variety of other dogs like American Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers or any mix of these breeds—and dogs who simply resemble these breeds.


Pets for Life: Helping Pets and People Without Judgement

Pets for Life, a program developed by the HSUS, is driven by social justice and guided by the philosophy that a deep connection with pets transcends socio-economic, racial and geographic boundaries, and no one should be denied the opportunity to experience the benefits, joy and comfort that come from the human-animal bond.

Systemic inequity and institutional barriers create immense challenges for millions of people every day in accessing pet resources and information. The extreme lack of access to pet resources is a national crisis. PFL is a thought leader in bringing attention to and advocating for people who are routinely overlooked or looked down upon and is an ally in fighting against economic and racial injustice.


Everything Bully Breeds!

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Pet Health and Safety: Important Tips and Resources to Protect Your Dogs and Cats

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