CHAMPAIGN — When Kim Dalluge recently retired from the University of Illinois, it wasn’t to sit still.
Her next career will be to find homes for unwanted disabled dogs and cats by matching them with children who might be able to bond with them better than anyone else, because they themselves have disabilities.
Dalluge of Champaign has formed a new nonprofit rescue called Moore’s Rescue Ranch, and she’s preparing it to open on longtime family farmland along North Market Street, just north of Market Place Mall. .
The land has been in his mother’s family for about 170 years, and Moore is his late mother’s maiden name, Dalluge said.
The mother of an adult son with Asperger’s Syndrome, Dalluge said she wants to put this land to good use by pairing disabled dogs and cats who would otherwise be euthanized with children who are also disabled, in the hope that the children and their families provide forever homes for animals, she said.
Dalluge, who retired after nearly 30 years as a medical insurance manager for UI student health insurance, also volunteers with Mobile Mutts Rescue, which transfers dogs from shelters to high mortality towards the safety of foster care rescues.
“It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” she said.
As a Mobile Mutts volunteer, she realized she wanted to do more, though.
Dalluge is remodeling a building that once housed his father’s heating and air conditioning business on the site of Moore’s Rescue Ranch to use for storage and events, and the dogs and cats available for adoption will be in separate areas of a new building.
Families interested in adopting the pets will be able to view them through glass doors and then can arrange a meet and greet with a dog or cat they’d like to interact with, she said.
Dalluge plans to start with about six dogs and six cats, which she said will have permanent homes at Moore’s Rescue Ranch if not adopted.
“Our hope is that a child will bond with one of the dogs and cats and want to adopt them,” she said.
Dalluge said the animals will start arriving next spring, to be initially raised by volunteers, and she hopes the new shelter building will be completed by the end of the summer.
During this time, his organization will organize fundraisers to help defray the costs. The first will be a tool sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on January 15 onsite at 3113 N. Market St., C.
A garage sale at the building being renovated is planned for the spring, she said.
Future plans include increasing the number of dogs and cats available for adoption to around 15, and possibly adding equine therapy down the road.
Dalluge also plans to make Moore’s rescue ranch on Market Street stand out with outdoor statues that will signal his mission.
Taylor Studios, based in Rantoul, is making the rescue statues of a 6ft German Shepherd and a 3ft Chihuahua (the breed of Dalluge’s two dogs) in a wheelchair, she said.