Lakeshore PAWS: The Happy Place for Pups

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: February 7, 2015

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Animal lovers, it’s tough going into shelters to adopt a pet. Seeing the animals look at you, hoping to come home with you, it tugs hard at your heart strings. I know that if I go in there I will want to take all of the animals with me. But not all shelters are that way. Lakeshore PAWS is a familiar name around Northwest Indiana, and they pride themselves on being a happy place for dogs to meet humans and find their forever homes.

The nonprofit organization was created by Jeanne Sommer, the broker/owner of CENTURY 21 Alliance Group in downtown Valparaiso. Lakeshore PAWS used to be run out of the same office that CENTURY 21 Alliance Group occupies, but it has since been moved to its own location over on Elm Street.

Sommer started Lakeshore PAWS for the reason that I mentioned above.

“I can’t go in those places. It’s so sad and I’d want to take them all home,” she said. “So I created Lakeshore PAWS.”

In 2011, Sommer began to see people losing their homes and animal shelters becoming crowded because owners couldn’t afford to keep them. She and friend Kim Langer put their heads together and the organization came to life. Sommer and Molly Judd, Lakeshore PAWS Treasurer and volunteer, who has been there since the beginning, have seen over 1,400 dogs go to the right home.

“I’m an animal lover. I met Jeanne when she was starting Lakeshore PAWS and I jumped in,” Judd said. “I could see her passion and I felt that I could make a difference with her.”

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Jeanne and her crew work with dogs of all kinds, sizes, and ages. They get proper vaccinations and training so they can be prepared for adoption, and volunteers walk and play with the dogs to get them socialized.

“As long as they are fine behaviorally and given the okay by a vet we will take them in,” Sommer said.

“I never imagined that we would be where we are now,” Sommer said. “I thought we’d have helped maybe hundreds but we’re already in the thousands.”

Sommer stated that if you plan to get a dog then adopting is the way to go. It’s much less expensive and many of the dogs in shelters have all of their vaccinations, they are spayed or neutered, and they are house trained.

Lakeshore-Paws“Why come to Lakeshore PAWS? It’s a happy place,” Sommer said simply. “We make sure our animals get a lot of love here.”

Want to see what dogs are ready to come home with you? Click here! And come out on February 21 at 10am to Pet Supplies Plus in Portage for a pet adoption event! You can meet their dogs and the Lakeshore PAWS volunteers will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Also on February 21, the Campagna Academy in Schererville will be hosting an event at 9am. This event will feature rescues, vendors, a photographer, dog trainers and micro-chipping (for a nominal fee).

And Sunday February 8, Lakeshore PAWS will be hosting a wine and canvas fundraiser beginning at noon at the Positive Experience Training School (P.E.T.S.) in Valpo.

For more information on these events and Lakeshore PAWS itself, visit, find them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.