The Kind Life is a community around Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet where friends, doctors, experts in green living, and members share vegan tips.

Animal Love

A Ruff Road Home Now On Shelves!

It brings me great joy to help spread the word on this book! Thank you Safe Humane for initiating this program and sharing these incredible stories. I look forward to reading it!

A Ruff Road Home: The Court Case Dogs of Chicago recounts the stories of roughly 20 dogs (and one cat) once caught in Chicago’s court system and their journey from the city shelter into loving and supportive homes. It also tells the stories of the heroes, rescue organizations, and volunteers that helped the dogs get a second change at a great life, thanks to the first-in-the-nation Court Case Dog program. It wasn’t long ago that animals seized from neglectful or criminally charged owners were viewed solely as evidence. They were rescued, but then languished in a cage until their owners’ court cases concluded. Unlike their owners, these dogs did the time, but not the crime. After they satisfied their evidentiary role, typically they were euthanized.

ruff road home

The Court Case Dog Program was a first step toward justice for these animals. Since this was initiated, Safe Humane has taken hundreds of dogs into its program. After the dogs have been either voluntarily relinquished by their owners or transferred by court order to the City of Chicago, our team of dedicated volunteers and dog training and behavior professionals focus on helping the dogs reach their full potential. Through our partnerships with rescue organizations, these Court Case Dogs then find loving homes.

a ruff road home

For instance, Ducky was among six dogs seized from a veritable house of horrors where he was going to be sold for dog fighting. He was rescued during a police bust, and made it to the City shelter, and into Safe Humane’s first-in-the-nation Court Case Dog program. He was subsequently transferred into a rescue organization and was adopted by a wonderful family, where he studied hard and successfully achieved therapy dog certification. Scout was beaten mercilessly by his owner and was rescued when an occupant of the home alerted the police to the abusive situation. While with Safe Humane, Scout visited the Illinois Youth Center as a volunteer ambassador dog, and earned his Canine Good Citizen certification with the young man at the center.  Scout also loves going BMX biking with his adoring owner, Chris.

a ruff road home

A Ruff Road Home has been a three-year labor of love with the goal of creating safer, more humane communities not only in Chicago, but nationwide, by inspiring more positive relationships between people and animals. This is Safe Humane Chicago’s mission. Author Susan Russell is a Safe Humane volunteer, and has walked a number of dogs in the Court Case Dog Program. She was inspired by the stories of these courageous animals that had “done the time, but not the crime,” and Safe Humane’s intrepid, tenacious leader, Cynthia Bathurst. Safe Humane and Ms. Bathurst epitomize the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

A Ruff Road Home may be ordered for a donation of $40 per copy to Safe Humane Chicago by visiting Shipping costs are extra.



  • Susan Russell

    Ms. Silverstone, we cannot thank you enough for sharing the stories of these amazing dogs and people on your blog. Thank you, thank you and thank you! You are truly a gem to promote compassion and a wonderful example of the greater good. Very best, Susan Russell

  • Christa Velbel

    What a wonderful post about an org with which I’m proud to volunteer. The book is so beautiful, and the story it tells is even lovelier. Thank you for your kindness!