IL English Bulldog Rescue

Happy Tails and Happy Homes
by Rebecca Richardson

This month we are going to feature a breed specific rescue working throughout IL and surrounding states. Illinois English Bulldog Rescue (IEBR) was founded in 2009 to rescue pure bred English Bulldogs from shelters, puppy mills, and owner surrender. Their mission is to find great people for wonderful dogs. For the past 5 years they have made this dream a reality and placed hundreds of English bulldogs in their forever homes. 

IEBR does not have a single, central location. Bulldogs are placed in private foster homes where they remain until a match is made for them. Run completely by volunteers, IEBR utilizes their donations to provide preventative medical care, surgeries and medications that many of these dogs need. 

As of this issue, there are currently 42 English Bulldogs in foster care waiting for placement in private homes located throughout IL, KY, WI, KS, IA and MO. The first step in the process is the online application. Interested parties can visit www.ILEnglishBulldogRescue.org. Next, after careful review, the applicant will receive an e-mail that informs them of the next steps or explains why they have been denied. 

The remainder of the adoption process is as follows: 1) Application 2) Vet Check / Reference Check / Landlord Check (if renting only) 3) Phone Interview 4) Home Visit 5) Matching process. Each process is handled by a different volunteer to assure fairness to the applicant. 

As a rescue, IEBR operates differently than a typical shelter. Applicants are matched with a prospective bulldog based on a stringent set of criteria. Things such as number of other pets, activity level of the home, if there are children present; are all considered in order to ensure a great match. Many of the bulldogs that IEBR takes in come from neglectful or abusive situations. Uprooting them over and over can only add to their confusion. Once an applicant has been approved and has had a bulldog selected, it is up to the applicant to make arrangements to meet their match and see if there is a fit. 

An adoption fee is required for any bulldog that is available through IEBR. Each bulldog who comes into foster care is given a thorough examination by a veterinarian skilled in bulldog specific issues. These fees help to cover a host of costs including but not limited too: Spaying / Neutering; microchipping, placing bulldog on healthy diet, providing any surgeries necessary to fix immediate health needs and more. 

3 Wonderful examples of how donations, adoption fees, fundraisers have helped:

IEBR Alum Frank-the-Tank came in with bad hips and a torn ACL that had gone untreated. He also came in 10 pds overweight. Through donations and fundraisers, the money was raised to fix not one but both ACL's. The other one ruptured during his time in foster care after years of over compensating. This surgery was costly but it was the only chance he had to have a quality of life. Today Frank runs like a rabbit in his back yard. Hops up and down for treats and plays like a bulldog half his age. All of this is possible because of the treatment he first received as a foster through IEBR.

IEBR alum Molly was left in the streets to die with no use of her back legs. She was sent to a shelter where she would have been euthanized except they called IEBR to come get her. Immediate arrangements where made to get her to a vet. Molly had suffered a stroke. Through hard work, and water therapy, Molly not only learned to walk again, you can often see her running as she greets her mom. Discarded like trash, she has gone on to thrive and be a much loved family pet.

Atticus came to us a short time ago with one of the worst tail infections ever seen. He skin was literally rotting off around it. After weeks of daily medicated baths and heavy antibiotics, he was finally able to have the much needed surgery to amputate his tail. He too has thrived and flourished and is a completely different bulldog from the defeated and scared one that came into our care. 

Adoption fees range as follows:

Adoption fee for dogs under age One: $700 - $950

Adoption fee for dogs One year to Five years: $500 - $700

Adoption fee for dogs Five years to Eight years: $300 - $500

Adoption fee for senior dogs ages Nine and over : $300 or lower 

An applicant is provided with as much history as is available on their prospective match along with the adoption fee upfront in order to make an informed decision. 


Although the name says IL in the title, IEBR has seen an enormous growth in the past five years. The current adoption radius covers all of IL plus WI (within 1 hour surrounding Milwaukee), MO, Northern KY, and IA.

Unfortunately when it comes to bulldogs, the calls don't stop, the e-mails don't stop rolling in. So many people purchase or adopt this breed not understanding what they have gotten in too. Even worse are the cases that come from the puppy mills and hoarders. Neglected, scared, completely uncertain of humans; many bulldogs who come into IEBR have never seen or experienced love. 

IEBR is determined to help as many bulldogs as they can. Bulldog ownership is not for everyone. The breed is high maintenance and they are an expense. For those who are willing to take it on, you will not find a funnier, more loyal, more silly breed than a bulldog. They are loving and goofy and true people oriented dogs. 

If you've ever considered owning a bulldog check out IEBR online today at www.ILEnglishBulldogRescue.org or on FB at ILEnglishBulldogRescue. Their FB page is updated daily with adoptable dog features, informational articles and Happy Tail updates. As with any breed, do your research before you make a decision. Remember, to the world you may be a person, to a dog you may be the world. Till next month my friends.