About A.R.F.-Animal Rescue Foundation

A.R.F. volunteering in DuPage County, IL

A.R.F.-Animal Rescue Foundation is a no-kill, all-volunteer, foster-based organization dedicated to rescuing and rehoming homeless dogs and cats into loving forever homes, including animals that other rescue groups often cannot accept due to advanced age or exceptional medical needs of the animals, and to enhancing the lives of animals by promoting affordable, responsible pet ownership and public awareness of animal welfare.

How We Make A Difference 

A.R.F. frequently takes in animals that other rescue groups will not, due to high medical or recuperation needs. Also, we rescue and adopt out healthy animals, which benefits them and helps us raise the funds needed to care for the rest. 

A.R.F. saves over 1,000 homeless cats and dogs every year from high-kill shelters throughout the Midwest. We transport the pets to a central location in Wheaton, IL, where we examine them and identify any medical needs. Then, our team administers the first round of treatment for parasites and vaccines, and one of our supporting veterinarians prepares a detailed care plan.

From there, these pets are placed in a foster home. Their foster families help them recuperate from their life on the street and give them the love they need to make a full recovery. The foster parents patiently work with their animals to socialize them and prepare them for life with their forever families. We are proud to accomplish all we do with our volunteers while remaining a primarily foster home based group. The foster home environment allows our animals to receive the care they deserve and the training they may need.  Learn more about how you can save pets by becoming a dog or cat foster.

Our Volunteers

A.R.F.-Animal Rescue Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the United States. We receive no government funding. Private donations, as well as adoption fees, keep us prepared to help animals in need. Because we are a strictly volunteer-based group, we are always seeking additional dedicated volunteers. Specifically, we need people who will open their homes to an abandoned puppy, dog, kitten, or cat and provide the TLC they need before they reach their forever home. You provide the love, and A.R.F. provides the rest!

If you are interested in joining our excellent team of volunteers, learn more or fill out our volunteer interest form. Once you meet our volunteers you will quickly realize that A.R.F. is more than just a group of volunteers; we are a family working toward the same goal of giving animals a second chance in life. Learn more about our all-volunteer board of directors. 

Our History

The A.R.F. animal rescue van (the ARFmobile)
The ARFmobile, which you will see parked outside cat and dog adoption events.

It all started with “two chicks and a van.” In 1985, a small group of dedicated volunteers started rescuing cats and dogs from shelters in downstate Illinois and bringing them up north to be adopted. From humble beginnings, the organization began to grow.

Over time, more and more volunteers joined, rescuing more and more animals. A.R.F. was granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status. In 2008 we started working with PetSmart to manage the Adoption Centers in Wheaton and Darien which house feline residents available for adoption. We then began to collaborate with Wheaton Animal Hospital to ensure all animals are healthy and spayed/neutered before being adopted, except where medically contraindicated. In 2019, Fox Valley Animal Welfare League joined us as a veterinary supporter as well.

In 2023, A.R.F. rescued over 1,200 dogs and cats through the work of more than 150 volunteers. We look forward to increasing these numbers every year, providing animals with their forever homes and people with their pet companions. 

Community Activities

A.R.F. is very proud to be an active part of our community. By maintaining memberships with both the Wheaton and Glen Ellyn Chambers of Commerce, we are working hard to bring awareness to the challenges that abandoned and unwanted animals face. We participate in the quarterly Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit Connection to learn from other community-minded organizations in our area.

We organize frequent dog and cat adoption events throughout the western suburbs of Chicago. Some of our cats reside at the PetSmart Adoption Centers in Wheaton, IL and Darien, IL. Alternatively, the foster and adoptive families can agree to hold the adoption at any time and in any location.

A.R.F. is an active member of several animal welfare networks, including the Best Friends Network and Shelter Animals Count. We believe that learning from like-minded organizations is the best way to improve our lifesaving process and contribute to others’.

Board of Directors

This dedicated group of volunteers is deeply involved in all aspects of the rescue, contributing their individual skills to specific roles while also maintaining careers, families, and other interests. The Board meets regularly to discuss A.R.F.’s processes and operations and then works with the rescue’s amazing network of fosters and other volunteers to implement best practices that help find loving forever homes for A.R.F. pets each year.

Ann Persenaire

L. Ann Persenaire

Director; President; Animal Health; Acquisitions, & Intake; Planning & Oversight


Sandra Pattison

Sandra Pattison

Director; Vice President; Volunteer Oversight;

Sandy has been volunteering with A.R.F since 2013. In her day job she is a global trade executive serving on the Chicago Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association Board. Her passions, beyond fundraising and saving animals is her family, sailing and gardening.

Ingrid Behling

Ingrid Behling

Director; Treasurer; Fundraising

An A.R.F volunteer since 2009, Ingrid has held/holds various jobs within A.R.F. from Communications Manager, Secretary, Application Checker and fundraising lead of A.R.F.’s annual bowling Extravaganza and Biannual garage sales. In her spare time, Ingrid enjoys traveling and drawing.

Kim Meyers

Kim Meyers

Director; Secretary

Kathy MacDiarmid

Kathy MacDiarmid

Director; Cat Foster Team; Cat Adoptions

Kathy is a retired school teacher, having taught second and third grade in the Chicago Public Schools for 41 years. She got her first cat when her son was eight years old, adopting a single small black cat, Satin. Then her other two sons needed kittens of their own, bringing the household total cats to three, and the rest is history! You can find Kathy at our weekly cat adoption events making sure her foster cats go to a good home.