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You can help animal rescue organizations by giving your time or money or by adopting dogs that are harder to adopt, such as senior dogs or those with medical issues. ©skynesher/Getty Images

Top Animal Rescue Organizations

Here are six animal rescue nonprofits that find homes for dogs, including senior dogs, who are often more challenging to place.
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Animal rescue nonprofit organizations share the common goal of finding forever homes for every dog irrespective of age, breed or coat color. Whether you’re looking to adopt, foster or maybe you’re looking to make a financial donation without bringing a pet into your home, do your homework by visiting dog rescue websites as they have all the information you’ll need.

Both the nonprofit animal adoption and fostering processes rely on asking and answering lots of questions to ensure potential pet parents can not only offer a great home but have the time to nurture a new family member. The same applies to successfully fostering.

Here’s our list of the top six animal rescue organizations, including resources that focus on specific groups of dogs, such as senior dogs, who are generally the hardest to place in homes:

Animal rescue nonprofit organizations

Best Friends is the largest sanctuary of its kind in America, and home to about 1,600 dogs, cats, birds, bunnies, horses, pigs and other animals. Apart from being a leading light in the no-kill movement, it offers great volunteering opportunities and sleepovers with individual dogs. While the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, located in Kanab, Utah, is the epicenter of the nonprofit’s endeavors, it offers additional programs in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, Houston, Northwest Arkansas. Best Friends also works with rescue groups nationwide. It is a 501©3 nonprofit organization.

Northshore Animal League America is the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization with links to help you find the nearest partnering rescue organization no matter where you live in the country. Its website is a great resource on how to raise funds, find low-cost spay and neuter clinics, volunteer, foster and even how to become a social media partner. It is a 501©3 nonprofit organization.

Maddie’s Fund is a leading voice in the animal welfare world for bold ideas, providing learning resources, funding and opportunities to aid both rescue groups as well as individual adopters and foster carers. Maddie’s Fund has awarded nearly $300 million in grants to furthering shelter medicine education and establishing foster care as a standard nationwide.

There’s a wealth of knowledge to be gleaned from its blogs, podcasts and Zoom-based community conversations. It is a 501©3 nonprofit organization. You must be a 501©3 public charity, municipal government agency or university to apply for a grant through Maddie’s Fund.

Senior dog organizations

The Senior Dog Project is a one-stop, go-to website that helps to re-home senior dogs, which this rescue considers to be over the age of five. Other organizations consider dogs to be senior when they are 7 years old. The site, through its various categories, re-directs adopters to special organizations in every state that focus on senior dogs. The Senior Dog Project site also lists sanctuaries for senior dogs throughout the country, too. Further, there’s in-depth information on the special kind of care that older dogs may require to be active and healthy family members. Senior dogs make great companions and have a lot of love to give a family in their golden years. It is not a rescue, does not accept donations, advertising nor arrange or supervise the adoption of dogs.

Another senior dog rescue, the Grey Muzzle Organization, works with groups around the country improving the lives of at-risk senior dogs by providing funding and resources to animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries and other non-profit groups. Its website details the type of support it offers, such as paying for expensive surgeries for a senior dog. It is a 501©3 nonprofit organization.

Helping the underdogs

Rural Dog Rescue has a mission to rescue high-risk dogs in economically challenged, high-kill shelters in rural areas. These dogs, who the organization calls “underdogs,” are often overlooked for both adoption and rescue and include hounds, who are abandoned in the southern part of the country after the hunting season. Other dogs who typically have trouble getting adopted:

  • Senior dogs
  • Black dogs
  • Sick and injured dogs

It is a 501©3 nonprofit organization.

Visiting all of the above rescue animal organization sites, even if you aren’t adopting or, gives great insight into animal welfare and the future of a no-kill animal world in America.

2 thoughts on “Top Animal Rescue Organizations”

  1. Colleen Holsworth

    I love that you shared the big rescues, they're doing great work and inspire others to go to rescue. For instance, the National Mill Dog Rescue just hit rescue number 18,000 and primarily rescues dogs from breeding farms across the Midwest. These dogs are used for 2 to 6 years, kept in crowded cages and their pups sold to pet stores. The condition the dogs are in when they arrive at the shelter can be horrific. If they aren't rescued they're killed, pedigree dogs at the end of their usefulness. The network NMDR has set up with other shelters is awesome, for example, Huskies go to northern states where there's a higher demand for thick fur dogs. The best part, the shelter started in the founder's chicken coop because of one dog. I'm sure NMDR is not alone in saving mill dogs, but the smaller shelters make a huge difference in saving our furry companions at the rate of a couple a day, by the work of tireless volunteers and dedicated employees.

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