Liz Bagley Makes a Difference

By Jan Larsen | Email the author | November 24, 2010

Liz Bagley Makes a Difference

Making a Difference Rescue is imperative to this Channahon woman.

Sometimes, Liz Bagley is dog-tired – just bone-weary from her after-work activities.

Liz and her volunteers have found homes for more than 400 cats and dogs since she started Making a Difference pet rescue in Channahon in the spring of 2006.

But, every time she reaches the point of wanting to take off a little time, another pup presents its face. And she cannot resist.

“It’s another sad story,” said Liz, who is a sucker for sad stories and sad faces.

It’s those faces she cannot turn away from.

“I get 30 e-mails a day,” she said. “It haunts me; I know they’re gonna die if I don’t do something.”

Someone once asked her with all the problems in the world, all the unemployment and families hurting, why she devotes her time to rescuing animals.

“I took offense at that,” she said.

Oftentimes, she is helping families. She helps families who can’t keep their beloved pet any longer, and she helps new families find joy in a precious new arrival.

“The only thing that keeps me going, is that out of the blue I will get a picture of a dog I saved,” she said.

A lady dying of cancer was worried sick over her German shepherd, also dying of cancer. Liz somehow cobbled together $1,100 to pay vets bills that gave the dog many more good months of life — and gave the woman her loyal companion for those months.

Making a Difference has good volunteers, but bills like that one plunge the rescue into debt.

Most times, adoption fees don’t begin to cover expenses, and the only formal fund-raising the group has done is letters and e-mail/Web site appeals. The group always struggles with medical bills.

Liz herself had breast cancer in 2001 and made a vow that when God healed her, she would help the helpless. It was the rock-solid attention of her Min-Pin, Chrissie that helped her get through the gray days.

She started by calling people who were running free “Free to a Good Home” ads in a local daily newspaper to warn them that a price like that only cheapens lives. Most didn’t realize these dogs would go to laboratories or fighting rings as bait.

I first met Liz when I started The Ark, the pet page at my former life, The Herald News. Liz was a hard person to say no to. I thought about her a lot. I fostered two dogs for her rescue– then kept the third one, whose name is Frosty.

That’s how I re-met the incredible Bob Waters, a Santa Claus double I had written about several years earlier. He’s the cat man of the rescue.

Liz and her volunteers have always been rigorous about screening homes before pets are placed. All pets are spayed or neutered before being placed and almost always have their shots. Still, her adoption prices are usually lower than most.

At the time of this interview, Making a Difference had 14 dogs and seven cats to place.

Contact her at, text her at 815-258-5892 or see the Web site at The rescue is always in need of foster homes.

Jan Larsen coordinates volunteers at Joliet Job Corps. She has two Siamese cats, Freya and Friggia, and a Siberian husky, Frosty. She loves to write about and photograph animals more than anything in the world. Except maybe travel. You can reach her at