Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Oct 17, 2017 (Tuesday)
Facebook - Meet the Animals
Oct 19, 2017 (Thursday)
Libertyville Farmer's Market Meet and Greet
Oct 21, 2017 (Saturday)
Santi's Gardens Fundraiser
Oct 22, 2017 (Sunday)
Guided Meditation with Dogs
Oct 22, 2017 (Sunday)
"Weekly Inspirational Message" Live On Facebook
View All Events »


Pixie Needs a Home

  Beautiful, playful kitten.  Pixie and her sister Delilah were discovered under a porch by a little girl whose family was allergic to cats and therefore unable to keep them.  They have... [more] View All Adoptable Animals

Adoption Reunion and Fundraiser

ADOPTION REUNION REMINDER: Please note that our adoption reunion scheduled for this Sunday May 6 will be at Central Bark 256 Commerce Drive in Grayslake from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00... [more] View All Journal Entries


Please Help Cayden


The world of rescuing animals is riddled with difficult and sometimes heartbreaking situations.  When I first started this business I did not foresee the dilemmas I would sometimes face.  Had I known I might not have started Animal Education and Rescue.  Nothing stresses me out more, and I mean nothing, than an animal that, no matter what we do, his life sits in quick sand and as much as we reach out a hand sometimes he is near impossible to get out of it.  The big picture of the “no kill” world is for another story I am working on.  This story is dedicated to Cayden.




Enter yet another wrecked dog who’s life is now in the balance.  Cayden came into AEAR’s care when a resident of Libertyville called us saying that a “stray black lab mix was roaming their block for a week and wouldn’t get near anyone.”  They were very worried for the dog’s safety.  The police were not helpful and they called us reaching out for help.  Within 48 hours, after an exciting game of catch-me-if-you-can, we trapped the black lab mix, with the striking, orange-gold colored eyes, in a humane trap.


His owner had him just one night before Cayden while on a walk slipped out his collar and took off.  Ironically Cayden (then named Henderson) hadn’t gone far…two blocks to be exact.  The woman offered Cayden’s back-story.

Her daughter, we’ll call her Sally, volunteered at a shelter near her college and had come across Cayden in one of the many cages lined up with dogs.  Something about him touched her heart so she asked about his story.  She learned that Cayden was born at the shelter and had been adopted out a few times as a puppy but returned because they said he “wasn’t active enough.”  Once he was full grown no one showed interest in him, likely because he was black, which more often is the kiss of death for a dog or cat, and he was withdrawn, not approaching people when they walked by his cage, looking down as they passed, quiet as a mouse, so he didn’t “show well.”  So there he sat in a cage for three, very long years. 

The naturally shy dog was made more so due to lack of socialization and the stressful situation he was living in.  Seeing the dog’s plight Sally was on a mission to find Cayden a home.  She finally succeeded when she found a home for Cayden in her hometown of Libertyville. So Cayden, terrified and carsick, traveled the three-hour drive to Libertyville.  But little did he know that the drive would only lead him to more upheaval. 

The first night Cayden was at his new home he was pretty terrified so he found solace in his crate.  His new owner’s eight-year-old daughter decided she wanted Cayden to come out of the crate so she reached in to get him and he growled at her.  Well that was enough for that family and they called Sally and told her to come pick up the dog.  Since Sally couldn’t keep him she solicited her mother, still living in Libertyville, to take Cayden. 24 hours later Cayden slipped out of his collar and ran. 

When we caught Cayden we brought him to the animal hospital where to our delight and relief he had a microchip.  Through a round about way we were able to track Cayden to the daughter, who was back at school, and then to the mother.  After contacting the mother and speaking to her at length she said she was unable to help Cayden with his issues and asked if we would take him.

We agreed to take Cayden and the following day Cayden went to a foster home.  Cayden’s new foster mom, Paula, an experienced dog owner and dog groomer was shocked by how withdrawn he was.  It took Cayden weeks of slowly getting to know Paula and her husband Glenn before he trusted them.  Each small step was a milestone we all celebrated.  Like the first time he came up to Paula for petting.  The first time he went outside without having to be coaxed.  The first time he picked up a toy.  When he initiated play with one of the other dogs.  But with a dog that has a past that lacked socialization, combined with his overall personality that is shy, there are some things that we learn as we go and some things are a mystery. 

Last week, nearly three months after Paula took Cayden, Paula and her husband Glenn were sitting in the living room when they heard their little dog Libby cry out in the bedroom next door.  Paula ran to see what was going on and she saw Cayden biting Libby.  She yelled at him and he immediately stopped.  But Libby was hurt badly and had to go to the doctor.  It was pretty bad what happened and poor Libby is still healing.

While Cayden has not shown any aggression with people at all and up until that time Cayden was perfectly fine with her dogs, even playing with her best friend, lab mix, Tommy, with what happened to Libby Cayden cannot stay at his foster home any longer.

We don’t want to give up on Cayden.  His foster mom is devastated that this happened and more so that she can’t see Cayden through his healing and him finding his forever home but she can’t risk Cayden with Libby again.  She said he is “so sweet and so gentle.  He has come so far.”  She has to keep Cayden separated from everyone and is concerned that, “he will regress,” if kept isolated.  She said she spends time with him but it’s not the same as being part of the household.  He has never ever showed any aggression to people at all, ever, just fear.

What happened to cause Cayden to do that is unknown.  Unfortunately no one was there to see what happened.  It is possible he was protecting the bedroom.  It is possible he was out of sorts because his foster brother Tommy had gotten adopted the day before thus causing a chain reaction to the change in the household.  But without a clear understanding of why it happened Cayden has to leave where he is.

Without a shelter (and even if we had one, would it be the best for him anyway?) our only options are to find a foster home that is experienced with dogs, has no other dogs currently and no small children (mostly because he will need lots of attention and a quiet place to stay).  If we can’t find someone to take him and we can’t get another rescue or shelter to take him (they have their own problems and likely wouldn’t want ours) what other options do we have?  This is a time we all dread and one we pray for a miracle. 

Please someone step up and help this poor dog.  Please pass this along.  We believe there is still hope for Cayden.

Date: June 10, 2012
Posted By: Sandy Kamen Wisniewski

View All Blog Entries

View All Adoptable Pets »

"We Need Homes!"

SophieHamster 5Hamster 3BinkyTazHaffeRandyBootsMousePaisleyTrixieGigiMonaDoveReislingThelma