Adopt Don’t Shop — Where to Adopt Dogs Who Need a Home

Group of dogs needing adoption

The best place to adopt a dog is at your local city or county shelter or a nonprofit rescue group. Most government related shelters have information about their policies and adoption process, which are publically posted on city and county websites.

Shelters usually have a wide variety of dog breeds available including a large population of mixed breed and senior dogs. Sadly mutts and older dogs are often over looked by perspective owners and in dire need of a home. And, they can be the most loving and grateful dogs to own.

Nonprofit rescue dog groups care for older and mixed breed dogs as well, but some groups specialized in particular breeds who are most at risk due to puppy mills, dog racing, and owner misuse. See the links below for links to rescue groups who specialize in saving and rehoming these most vulnerable dog categories.

Rescue Groups and Shelters Step Forward

The simple truth is that dogs are too often treated as commodities for material gain and not regarded as living, breathing, and feeling beings. That is why so many dogs throughout the world are in need of a good home. Rescuing a dog is the first step. The next step is adoption. They will need a new “forever” home and family in which they can live out the rest of their lives in good health, safety, and peace.

Fortunately, hundreds of rescue groups and shelters have stepped forward to save the lives of thousands of dogs. Once rescued, dogs are rehabilitated, provided medical care, and nursed back to good health. After they have started to recover, they are ready to be adopted and integrated into a caring and loving home.

Adopt Rather Than Buy a Puppy

Where to adopt a dog is just as important as selecting a specific type of dog.

And, This is where you can help a dog in dire need. Instead of buying a puppy from a breeder, consider adopting a dog who has been rescued. There are many breeds of dogs available from reputable organizations, and you can most likely find the type of dog which will fit best with your lifestyle.

Many of these dogs have never been allowed to play or walk on the grass. Some have never heard kind words or felt an affectionate pat on the head. But when given the chance to be part of a family, rescued dogs can thrive and grow into happy, healthy, furry members of your family. Dogs who have been given a second chance in life often become some of the most loyal and grateful dogs you will ever experience.

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Embracing the Joy of Adopting Shelter Dogs

The Unconditional Love of Shelter Animals

When considering a new pet, don’t overlook the unconditional love that shelter dogs offer. Adopting from local animal shelters or rescue shelters provides these wonderful animals a last chance for a happy life. Shelter animals, including adult dogs and small animals, come from various backgrounds – some are stray dogs, others are surrendered by previous owners, and many have faced improper medical care. However, their capacity to offer love and companionship remains undiminished.

The Role of Responsible Breeders and the Fight Against Puppy Mills

While adoption is the best way for many, it’s important to acknowledge the role of responsible breeders in the welfare of animals. Good breeders, unlike puppy mills, ensure healthy dogs and proper veterinary care. By choosing to adopt or support good breeders, you contribute to fighting against animal exploitation and the grim reality of puppy mills and kitten mills. Remember, every decision you make impacts the welfare of dogs and other companion animals.

Understanding the Adoption Process

Adoption Fees and What They Cover

Adoption fees often cover necessary expenses such as low-cost spay or neuter services, basic veterinary care, and sometimes even emotional support for the new furry family member. These fees help nonprofit organizations in their mission and ensure the continued humane treatment of animals.

The Importance of Finding a Good Fit

Adopting a pet, especially a rescue pet, is about finding a good fit for your family. Consider the activity level, age, and temperament of the dog to ensure it matches your lifestyle. Rescue shelters and breed-specific rescue organizations can help potential owners find the perfect match, ensuring a harmonious integration of the new companion into their home.

Supporting Animal Welfare Beyond Adoption

Advocacy and Social Media

Utilize social media platforms to promote the welfare of homeless animals and to fight against practices like kill shelters. Sharing stories of successful adoptions or highlighting the plight of shelter pets can significantly impact the number of euthanized animals and support national campaigns for the humane treatment of animals.

Volunteering and Supporting Non-Profit Organizations

Consider volunteering at local animal shelters or supporting non-profit organizations dedicated to animal rescue. These groups often rely on the help of the community to provide care and foster homes for animals awaiting their new home.

A Call to Action: Join the Campaign for Animal Welfare

Be a Part of the Change

Adopting a dog is just the beginning. You can also be an advocate for the welfare of animals, joining campaigns and spreading awareness about the importance of humane society practices. Whether it’s a Los Angeles-based organization or a national campaign, your involvement can make a real difference in an animal’s life.

Celebrate Your New Four-Legged Friend

Finally, when you bring your new pet home, celebrate the journey! Share your story, perhaps as a campaign slogan or through social media, to encourage others to adopt. Remember, by choosing to adopt, you’ve not only given an animal a new life, you’ve also enriched your own with their unconditional love and companionship.

Where to Adopt

Nonprofit Rescue Groups

Below, you will find the most vulnerable categories of dogs, with links to information about them and reputable rescue groups. I have researched or become familiar with these groups and feel comfortable highlighting them. I will continue to update this list, but there are also many more reputable groups throughout the United States and the world where you can adopt a dog.

My links to organizations are just a sampling. There are many additional organizations that you may also want to work with. Make sure they are a reputable organization registered as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. You can check their status on which often includes 3 years of tax returns.

Just so you know, you should avoid private groups that are not nonprofit or government-related, especially those online, since they may be puppy mills in disguise. Also, buying a dog from a pet store probably saves that dog’s life. But just know that pet stores usually get their dogs from puppy mills. So, in the long run, don’t support retailers who sell dogs by buying their products.

Two very reputable online services include and AKC Rescue Network. They can help you find breed-specific dogs of various ages, including puppies and seniors.

City and County Shelters

I also urge you to check with your local shelter or Humane Society organization, as they may have the type of dog you are looking for. And, you may save a dog’s life. Some shelters have a “kill” policy after long stays or when their facility reaches capacity. You may also be surprised who you fall in love with or feel drawn toward the most when you visit a shelter. Be sure to see my post How to Adopt a Rescue or Shelter Dog: 12 Key Things to Know for more information.

Check Out These Categories of Dogs Who Really Need a Home

On the following pages, I have selected specific breeds or types of dogs that are very much in need of being rescued and adopted into good homes. Many other types of dogs also need help, but these are some of the ones that have pulled at my heartstrings. I will also provide some links to rescue groups and shelters that I have researched or become familiar with. Be sure to also visit my articles on Why to Adopt and How to Adopt a rescue dog.

Click an image below to find out more about some of the categories of dogs that need to be rescued and adopted:

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