Anderson Animal Shelter’s Pets-A-Palooza


Mackenzie Wallace

One of Anderson's adoptable dogs.

Mackenzie Wallace, Staff writer

Anderson Animal Shelter has been a part of the Fox Valley community since 1966 when it opened as the Humane Society of North Central Illinois. The current location, on Route 31 in South Elgin, is nearly 50 years old. It was renamed Anderson Animal Shelter in the 1980s, to honor donors Ivar and Ruth Anderson. 

There are locations currently in South Elgin, North Aurora and in the Petco in Bloomingdale. The number of animals cared for annually has increased from 818 in 2013 to over 5,000 in 2017, the most recent year for which numbers are available.

Anderson is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that relies on donations to serve the animals in the community. While they conduct some fundraising events, they also host other events that are intended to raise awareness and create exposure for the shelter within the community. 

Pets-a-Palooza is an annual event that was created five years ago.

“[The goal of Pets-a-Palooza] is to host a fun, family-friendly event, including our animals in the ‘family’ part of the entire event,” said Barrett Stillings, Chief Advancement.

The friendly event provides exposure and creates new relationships for the shelter, as well as enhances existing connections. Ideally, any revenue, including sponsorship’s, from the event will cover the costs of hosting it.

Pets-a-Palooza was initially held at Mooseheart, it moved to Kane County Cougars Stadium for the 2019 event and expect to return there for the 2020 September event.

Hundreds of staff and volunteer hours go into making Pets-a-Palooza a success. Volunteer coordinator, Sarah Brown wants her volunteers to have fun.

“[Her favorite part is] Volunteers talking to our guests and their furry friends.” Brown said.

Participation is a measure of success of Pets-a-Palooza, with thousands attending each year. This year’s event, held on Saturday, Sept. 21 was hampered by intermittent rain, but the weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of attendees. 

Feedback shows they had a good time playing various games, listening to live music and enjoyed interacting with others in the community, especially the animals. Free admission and food trucks were also appealing. There were about 25 adoptable canines at the event, with over ten being adopted there.

“Spending time with our community and experiencing the Human-Animal Bond first hand.” Stillings said.

Overall, this year’s Pets-A-Palooza was a success. For updated information on the 2020 event, please go to