Disaster Dogs of Illinois

"Lending paws in time of need, paws saving lives"

Care for Life Program

Disaster Dogs of Illinois (DDI) Care for Life Program

Disaster Dogs of Illinois is committed to the wellbeing of all dogs in our program. However, training dogs for disaster search work is not without risk. Some dogs that initially show great potential upon recruitment are not able to complete the training for various reasons. This can be due to the loss of drive once they become comfortable in their new surroundings or medical issue not detected at first evaluation. Sometimes dogs begin to display previously undetected aggression towards other dogs, uneasy footing on rubble or just refuse to continue to work. When this happens, these dogs are considered unsuitable as disaster search dogs.

DDI is committed to ensure these dogs are placed with loving and safe “Care for Life” families. These dogs are considered working dogs and the “Care for Life” families fully understand the caliber of dog they are receiving.

In some instances, efforts will be made to place these dogs with other agencies allowing the dogs that can continue working to do so; for example, in narcotics, explosive, customs and other service type jobs.

DDI is committed to the care of these special dogs throughout their entire life.  As their advocate, we will ensure that these wonderful and extraordinary animals receive the best possible care and love that they truly deserve.



DDI "Care for LIfe" family, Lynn and Don Weiss with K-9 Charlie.

Charlie was dropped from disaster search dog training due to an undetected pre-exiting injury.

He is a happy dog running in his new big backyard, swimming in the channel and taking rides in his very own boat.

His new family is so happy to have him. According to Don, "he has moved right in". 

DDI will follow Charlie for the rest of his life to make sure that he stays happy and healthy.

Thank you Lynn and Don for being a "Care for Life" Family!!!!







K-9 Tala is now retired from service. As the founding K-9, Tala will be memorialized in the DDI logo forever.

Tala has been placed in the "Care for Life" Program and DDI will follow her thru the rest of her life ensuring she has the comfort and safety of her "Care for Life" family.

Thank you Kathy Cosgrove, DDI "Care for Life" family and founding former DDI President.
Our "Care for Life" Manager

Andrea Otterson

Andrea currently works in medical writing for a large pharmaceutical company in Lake County, IL. Outside of work she supports several Pug rescues in the area. She also enjoys traveling, specifically to The Great Smokey Mountains. Andrea is a dog lover and a rabid Green Bay Packers fan. Pictured below with Andrea is her Boston Terrier “Lucy” from the 2011 Milwaukee Christmas Parade.



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