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Vinyl Views is our weekly blog where we feature album recommendations from our store team (Shayne and Jaxon), and reveal picks from guest contributors.  This week we hear album recommendations from some very good boys & girls!  Some of which are looking for a “Forever Home.” Hang on to your heartstrings as we introduce “Pet Vinyl Views!” Is your lap cold? The Animal Care League OP can help! In the grand tradition of Val’s halla we still demand visitation rights for all your four-legged friends, the treats await!

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The Animal Care League is a limited admission shelter located in Oak Park. We help homeless cats, dogs and other small animals by providing them food, shelter, medical attention and love until we can find them a loving home. As a not-for-profit 501©3 organization, we depend on the generosity of our communities to help us meet our goals of finding new homes for as many animals as possible each year. If you are interested in helping, please visit our “Supporting The ACL” page.

If you are looking to add a new member to your family, you can view our animals that are up for adoption by clicking on the respective pictures. Please feel free to give us a call to make further inquiries about our animals at 708-848-8155.

We strive to keep our site up to date with new information and available animals. If you don’t find what you are looking for today, please visit our site again soon.

Cat: Snickers

Co-Author: Kathleen Kudia

Artist: Katy Perry
Album: Prism

“Be a Grrr-eat Mom: Snickers’ Secrets to Self-Care”

Hi Moms! I have some big news! I’m a new MOM-MIE to four adorable little ones! I’m just in awe of my babies!  I’m so excited to take on this new role. Being a new Mommie to four little kittens can take a-lot of work. The nursing and grooming schedule is suuuu-per demanding. So, my energy has to be up, Up, UP!  As you know the secret to raising beautiful and healthy kittens is self-care. I need to be 100% dedicated to the growth and well-being of my litter. I mean it’s entirely up to me to make sure that all four of my babies grow into healthy and strong adults who can groom on their own and use a litter box. That’s all on me. So, it’s really important that in between my nursing and grooming sessions with the little ones that I take care of myself too. So with a little help from Katy Perry, I’m going to share with you some of my secrets to being a Grrrr-eat Mom!

  • Know that Self-Care is Self-Love. – Just before I became a mom, I hit a rough patch. I was feeling confused, and I had no idea where my life was headed. Then the most wonderful sounds filled the air! My human explained to her friend that these sounds made up a song called “Love Me” from Katy Perry’s Album, Prism which was released in 2013. Many of the pop songs have catchy refrains that are fun to sing along at the top of your lungs. She explained that “Love Me” was a love song. She said this love song was different. Instead of the song being sung in praise of another person it was about self-love. She said for an album that’s mostly dance music this song was melodic, inspiring, and tranquil. Perry sings about not changing for others and deciding “who she is going to be.” My human said that this was important because in order to care for others you need to love yourself first. My human and this Katy Perry are smart women.
  • Speak Up for Yourself. – I usually get really hungry in the mornings and in the evenings especially after I feed my babies.  So, I learned something from Perry’s song Roar that I want to share with you. That when I’m really hungry “I’m louder than a lion and your gonna hear me roooaaaar!” If you want something you have got to speak up for yourself. After I roar my human gives me tender chicken in gravy……mmm….so good and it’s so healthy for you.
  • Take a little “Me-Time.” – My first priority is taking care of my babies because really “all we have is this moment and you can’t just push rewind.” Perry has some great advice for strong mommies. Once they are fed, cleaned, and secure in our nest. I go out to explore the world.  Just recently I visited this warm space with wood paneled floors, blankets that hang in place near windows, and an elevated shelf with two built in ladders. I don’t know if I ever blogged about this, but I am a fantastic climber and jumper! So, when I take time to myself I stretch out on the carpet, stare at the shelf, and calculate the angle and velocity of the jump needed to get to the top. (It’s important to work on personal goals!). 
  • Get Lots of Sleep. – Since my four sweet smelling babies are the focus of my world. This means that their nursing and grooming schedule occurs every 2 hours. So, I have to stay on top of my 24-hour sleep cycle. After feeding my babies, if I feel tired, I just fall asleep. This can be a challenge especially when my babies call for me…and they call for me a-lot! I recommend that after you feed or groom your babies to give them about a minute to fall asleep. (If they have full bellies then they will. Trust me!) Then all you need to do is close your eyes. Problems with Insomnia? The world can be a big scary place to raise your new kittens and sometimes it can be difficult to fall asleep. If you’re raising your babies inside a warm building, I recommend listening to the final four songs from Prism. The album may start with “dance music,” but things certainly become tranquil with “Love Me” (of course!), “This Moment” (obviously), “Double Rainbow” (so pretty), and “By the Grace of God” (sleepy time).  Since the fan isn’t going anywhere neither are you so this should put you right to sleep. Also, watching dust float in a beam of warm sunlight. The movement of the dust is so sloooww…(Yawn)…. okay I’m getting sleep just typing this. I think you get the point. 

Now you know all my secrets! So, go out there and be the best and most energetic mom that you can be!

Love you all, Snickers

Bio: Snickers came to Animal Care League as a local stray this March. With spring upon us, so is kitten season! We quickly realized Snickers was pregnant and got her into a foster home where she could safely have her little ones. For now, Snickers is a full-time mom while her babies get ready for adoption.

Interested in adopting Snickers or another ACL kitty? Learn more at!

Check out the track Roar.

Dog: Hudson

Co-Author: Keri Burchfield

Artist: David Bowie
Album: Diamond Dogs

I mean, it’s got “Dogs” in the title!  What more do you need?  

My name is Hudson, and I’ve been at Animal Care League for a while now.  But there’s still a lot that people don’t know about me – like that I’m a huge David Bowie fan.  So today I want to highlight my favorite Bowie album.  Days can be pretty long when you’re lying in your cage, so I like music that will keep me guessing.  Bowie has never been known to stick to one mood or one style.  And I appreciate that about him – this album is a little edgy and mysterious (like me), but also full of energy and hope (also like me).  You’ve got spoken-word, bluesy rock, an endearing ballad, and some soul.  It all adds up to a wild, expressive, sometimes bumpy, mostly fun ride. 

Check out:  Rebel Rebel – one of the greatest guitar riffs EVER.  Just try getting it out of your head – then come meet me.  I hope you find me unforgettable too.

Bio: Hudson was brought to Animal Care League as a local stray nearly two years ago. This big goofball is a staff and volunteer favorite and is as cuddly as he is energetic! Hudson loves to play and make friends with other dogs, so he would be thrilled to have a doggy sibling. No cats please!

Hudson’s adoption fee has been sponsored by a generous donor. Interested in adopting Hudson or another ACL pup? Learn more at!

Check out the track Rebel Rebel.

Cat: Charlie

Co-Author: Ann Dow

Artist: Joni Mitchell
Album: Court And Spark

Released in 1974, Joni Mitchell’s album, Court and Spark, was an album that spoke to me. I started life with no home and only the local racetrack for diversion.  Getting adopted and then being surrendered ten years later does a number on a big guy like me. Court and Spark with its energy and angst saw right into my soul. Court and Spark was seen as a pop album but anyone who listens to her heartfelt beats and rhythms knows there is a little bit of folk rock and hints of jazz in there as well. It was her sixth album and it reached Number 2 in the US and No 1 in Canada eventually receiving double platinum designation. The sheer number of well-known singer/songwriters that collaborated on this album makes it stand out on that fact alone but it’s the range of music that does me in. From the song that gives the record its name right down to the last track Twisted, the listener is subjected to the twists and turns of great melody, love, jealousy, humour and a little bit of anger. Questioning the universe and seeing where it goes feels ordained for me as I am back at ACL and looking for a new home. Which track to recommend when they are all solid gold is a tough one. I am torn between A Free Man in Paris to the perennial meow along Help Me. One of Joni’s biggest hits and once you listen to it you’ll know why exactly. Who doesn’t like a love ballad masked as a lament? Who hasn’t been down that road, asking for love and open to getting your heart trampled? Billboard described the lyrics as “needing help to feel good”. Well, that and a bit of catnip and Charlie’s your cat!

Bio: Charlie originally came to Animal Care League when he was found on a race track as a tiny kitten. He was adopted shortly afterward, but sadly ended up back in our care after ten years when his owner could no longer care for him. Charlie is staying positive and is ready to live out his golden years with a new forever family! He’s an affectionate old boy who wouldn’t mind having feline siblings in the home. Charlie’s adoption fee has been sponsored by a generous donor. Interested in adopting Charlie or another ACL kitty? Learn more at!

Check out the track Help Me.

Cat: Poofles

My eldest child and the original “Grabe.”  Poofles let me know who was boss right out the gate by pissing on my Red Bulls the night we met.  Everything is done on Poofles’ terms.  She’s both the sweetest and most bad-ass creature you’re likely to meet.  While most nights she’ll be spooned up under my chin watching TV with me, don’t let that pretty face fool you, she’s also drawn my blood through a Carhartt jacket (which is basically kevlar.) 

Check out the track Bitch.

Check out the track Fist City.


Cat: Dibs

When we decided Poofles needed a companion, my conditions were firm.  Older cat, not a kitten, ideally a neck-hugger.  I was convinced to just “take a look” in the kitten room.  There was only one little guy in there and when I picked him up he wrapped his arms around my neck and that was all she wrote!  Moments later someone else came in to see him and we ran up to the front desk and called “Dibs!” The only thing Dib requires more than cuddles is ever-earlier breakfast and he loves to slap me, scream in my face and poke me in the eye if he thinks I’ve slept long enough.

Check out the track I Love You Always Forever.

Check out the track Chop Suey!

Cat: Lulu

Knowing a sucker when she sees one, Lulu showed up outside our apartment in the middle of winter LOOKING JUST LIKE POOFLES!  The matriarch herself was substantially less impressed with the younger look-alike joining the family.  Lulu generally keeps to herself but she does love to join me in the kitchen for song & dance when I got a stew going.

Check out the track Straight Up.

Check out the track Two Of Hearts.


Dog: Lady

Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: Nashville Skyline

I’m picking this album for a single, very obvious song. Lay Lady Lay. This song works in that she basically just lays around all day, giving an extra layer more than just sharing a name. Now, the fact that she just lays around implies laziness, but that isn’t the case.  Lady is the queen of her dominion and she sits (or lays) on her throne, presiding over the Toppen family.  She even insisted on using this oil-painting portrait rather than an ordinary “picture”.

Other than just this song, the album is a classic. I also debated about talking about the Ministry version of the song, but it doesn’t fit the calm mood my dog usually has, so I decided against it.

Check out the track Lay Lady Lay.


Dog: Goulash

Artist: Lemon Demon
Album: Dinosaurchestra

So I am writing about the only other pet currently in my world, which is my grandma’s dog, Goulash. When brainstorming songs, I thought of what Goulash’s personality is. And when talking about it with my dad, one thing stuck. It had to be something hyperactive. So that’s what led me here. Neil Ciceriega, AKA Lemon Demon’s existence has always felt directly tied to the internet era. I picked this album because it’s goofy and very silly. But there is one song on this album called This Hyper World, which came to mind.  This is Goulash…

Check out the track This Hyper World.


Turtle: Swimmy (in memorium)

Artist: Jermaine Stewart
Album: Weekend at Bernie’s OST

OK, so this post is actually from Trevor (Jaxon’s father). This pick is inspired by our former pet, Swimmy, a red-eared slider that we adopted after an impassioned plea from Jaxon in the 3rd or 4th grade. I vacillate between this story being the moment I am most proud of as a parent to the one I am most embarrassed about. Anyway, here’s the story…

Let me start by saying that Jaxon loved Swimmy with all his heart. In the Spring and Summer months, Swimmy would split his time between swimming around his tank and basking under his sun lamp. Nice life, right? In the Winter months, Swimmy would slow his body down and basically just sit submerged in the water without really moving…at all…ever. This was the norm.

Fast forward to February of Jaxon’s 5th-grade year. He was fortunate enough to get a part in the Roosevelt Middle School musical, “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”. It was a small part – Rerun VanPelt, younger brother of Linus and Lucy, but it was a big moment for Jaxon, and therefore our family. There were shows on Saturday and Sunday afternoon and family was coming into town for the big moment. Such excitement!

And then it happened…on Friday night…I found Swimmy floating at the top of his tank. He had been an amazing pet for the last couple of years, but his time had come.

We knew Jaxon would be devastated, but he also had such a big moment this weekend. What to do? What came to mind, almost immediately, was the 1989 Andrew McCarthy movie “Weekend at Bernie’s”. You know, the one where a big weekend was planned and an untimely death threatened to spoil all of the fun!

Yup…I pulled a weekend at Bernie’s with my son’s precious pet and wedged Swimmy into the corner of his tank where he would often be seen “hibernating”. It looked convincing enough. Would it work?

I am proud (and ashamed) to say that we made it through two performances before having to deliver the news to Jaxon on Sunday night.

Check out the track Hot And Cold from Jermaine Stewart.

(and please don’t judge)

How Do I Order Music (Or Other Things)?

Val’s is now open again (safely)! Bring a face mask and we will sanitize your hands on the way in.  Social distancing, of course.  Val’s halla has worked hard over this quarantine period to launch its Online Store which has thousands of titles for you to choose from.  We will continue to add inventory everyday, but just let us know what you are looking for!  We are happy to look through our off-line inventory of over 50,000 titles to see what we have for you.  Also, we place orders with our distributor every Monday which means we see them in our store by Tuesday (most of the time).  We sell records (as well as turntables), CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, DVDs and more.  To get started, you can Click Here to access the Online Store, or fill out the form below to let us know what you are looking for.

What About Delivery?

Val’s is offering Curbside Pickup and No-Contact Delivery Service to customers who live within a 5-mile radius of the Oak Park Arts District. Orders can also be shipped to customers outside that radius for a flat fee of $5.  Order as much as you want – still $5 shipping! Stay safe and be well!

What Are You Looking For?