This Month, DCAS Celebrates Matters of the Heart

A message from our Veterinarian AdministratorHearts in the Right Place Banner with image of cat paws holding fabric heart

In honor of National Heart Healthy Month, I’d like to tell you about a special kitten born in our shelter with a severe defect involving her heart. Her name is Moira and we diagnosed her with a congenital pericardioperitoneal diaphragmatic hernia. On radiograph, Moira’s heart appeared enlarged. Instead, we discovered her liver and gallbladder herniated through her diaphragm and into her thorax, next to her heart. In other words, stuff in her belly was now in her chest. When we shaved her for surgery, we noticed her heartbeat in her abdomen which we captured on video.

Moira: a tabby cat holding a pink mouse toy

Unfortunately, most animals with such a severe developmental defect are euthanized because the surgery can cost over $5,000. However, we are continuously finding new ways to save animals, leading to an amazingly high save rate for a municipal shelter (89% in 2022). To continue this mission, we brought Moira to the Veterinary Specialty Center (VCS) in Bannockburn to see if a board-certified surgeon could correct her defect. The incredible Dr. Mitch Robbins not only agreed to reconstruct her thorax and repair her diaphragmatic hernia, but he also performed the CT and surgery at no cost to our shelter. Moira is doing great and was adopted by one of the VCS veterinary technicians. I know…can the story get any better?! 


The shelter continues to take in animals with challenging problems. With the help of community members, we can continue to find unique solutions to save the animals in our community. Click on Moira's picture to donate to DuPage Animal Friends and support more life saving efforts!

A heartfelt thank you goes out to Dr. Robbins and his team at VSC for using their amazing talents to help a homeless kitten, and for showing that they truly have hearts of gold! 

Dr. Hanek Signature

Dr. Barbara Hanek,

Veterinarian Administrator

2022 Year-End Summary

DCAS works hard to find positive solutions for homeless pets which can be difficult. As an open-admission shelter, we take in any animal that needs us, even if they have severe medical conditions or display aggressive behaviors.

We achieved an 89% Live Release Rate for 2022. Also called a Save Rate, this means 89% of the animals who came to the shelter found positive outcomes: adopted, transferred to a rescue partner, or reunited with their families. 

Our community makes this possible. Thank you for continuing to show your support through adopting, volunteering, donating, and educating your friends and family about the work we do. 

2022 Animal Intake and Save Rate Statistics

Hearts and Minds

Cindy, with two children and a rabbit in a classroom

At DCAS, we believe helping animals starts with helping people. One way to get animals into good homes is to make sure community members understand what animals need to be healthy and happy. Our education volunteers work with DuPage County residents of all ages teaching about what we do at DCAS and how to give our pets their best life.

Cindy K. started out as a rabbit care volunteer at the shelter in October 2021 and began helping with rabbit adoption events and other events in the community. Rabbits, just like cats and dogs, need a lot of love and work from their human family members. Cindy especially loves education events with our ambassador rabbits because she feels the needs of rabbits and how to properly care for them are often misunderstood. Outreach is a great way to give the community a positive experience with animals and advocate for what different pets need from their humans.

Cindy encourages any animal lovers who want to help out to reach out to DCAS. “Helping the shelter animals and staff has been a very rewarding experience. Yes, the reasons animals end up here may be sad or upsetting but it is a place of hope. I believe education is key to helping people properly care for and form deep relationships with their pets.”

If you’re interested in being part of our outreach team and changing hearts and minds in the community, email to learn more about being an Education and Events Volunteer!

Two Chi's are Better than One!

Fred (black chihuahua) and Wilma (white chihuahua with brown spots)

These lovebirds are hoping to open their hearts to a new family this February! Fred and Wilma are an iconic couple who refuse to part with each other's company. This bonded couple has been relying on each other through all the changes they have experienced with coming to the shelter, being adopted out, and then being returned to the shelter again. They just can't catch a break! These Chihuahuas keep a tight social circle but we'll show you how to win them over and you'll never have a cold lap again. Fred and Wilma are open to sharing their home with other like-minded small dogs.

Click on their picture to see just how cozy these two around each other, always snuggling! Are you ready to join the puppy pile? Fill out an application today!