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9 Top Dog Rescue Organizations to Check Out Today

Written by: Matt Jackson

Last Updated on June 21, 2024 by Dogster Team

woman volunteer in animal shelter

9 Top Dog Rescue Organizations to Check Out Today

In addition to thousands of local animal shelters, the U.S. is home to large pet-focused networks and massive rescues. Whether you’re looking for the best charity to donate to or somewhere to volunteer your time, you’re seeking to rehome your pup, or you’re wanting to provide a relinquished dog with a loving forever home, these dog rescue organizations are among the best in the country.

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The 9 Top Dog Rescue Organizations

1. Northshore Animal League America

Northshore Animal League America logo

Northshore Animal League America is a no-kill shelter. In fact, it claims to be the largest of its kind in the world. This nonprofit organization partners with rescues across the U.S. and takes pets of different species, sizes, and types.

In addition to rescuing, nurturing, and adopting dogs, the Northshore Animal League America has an educational program that raises awareness of shelter animals.

2. Best Friends

Best Friends logo

Best Friends accepts and rehomes animals of all kinds, ranging from guinea pigs to horses. Its primary no-kill shelter is in Utah, but it has shelters across the country and partners with many smaller rescue groups.

If you’re looking to volunteer and reside near one of the group’s locations, there are excellent opportunities that you can benefit from. Since the group is a staunch advocate of no-kill shelters, it is a good choice for pet rehoming.

3. Maddie’s Fund

Maddie’s Fund logo

Maddie’s Fund provides funding for animal charities, rescues, and other animal welfare-based programs nationwide. It has awarded $300 million of grants so far and offers educational and fund-raising programs to help further.

Its website and resources also help ensure better welfare for dogs that find themselves in shelters. This group believes in the no-kill movement and lobbies for its implementation.

4. Grey Muzzle Organization

Grey Muzzle Organization

The Grey Muzzle Organization recognizes the difficulty that old dogs have finding new homes, and it aims to address this problem. It has a wide network of shelters and adoption centers.

The Grey Muzzle accepts donations and uses the funds to help pay for medical care for senior dogs and for various other causes that benefit them. It provides invaluable funding to rescues and ensures that older dogs have a chance of finding new, loving families.

5. The Senior Dogs Project

The Senior Dog Project

Unfortunately, since many potential owners are looking for puppies, senior dogs are most likely to end up in shelters. This can happen because the dogs get ill and their owners can no longer afford to keep them or because their owners have lost interest as the dogs have aged. It is much harder for senior dogs to find new families than for young puppies.

While The Senior Dogs Project doesn’t take in or rehome dogs directly, it has a large network of partnered adoption centers and shelters that specialize in senior dogs or have a good track record of helping them. The group, which was established in 1997, also encourages the adoption of older dogs.

6. Rural Dog Rescue

Rural Dog Rescue

Rural Dog Rescue, as the name suggests, concentrates its rescue efforts on dogs in rural settings and other underdogs. It define underdogs as dogs that have less chance of being rescued. These include senior dogs and sick or injured dogs.

Potential adopters are less likely to take these dogs because they worry about the financial costs associated with vet bills and because most people are looking for healthy dogs with long lives ahead of them. Black dogs are also less likely to be adopted than those of other colors, often despite being perfectly healthy and well-adjusted pups.

7. AKC Rescue Network

AKC Rescue Network logo

AKC Rescue Network is managed by the American Kennel Club and is a network of rescue groups of specific breeds. When some potential adopters are looking to take on a new dog, they will search by specific breed first, and adoption centers that deal with one or two breeds understand their unique requirements.

This makes them a good first port of call if you know the type of dog you are looking for. The AKC Rescue Network boasts nearly 500 breed-specific shelters.

8. Big Dog Ranch Rescue

Big Dog Ranch Rescue logo

Small dogs are more popular than big dogs because big dogs require more care and benefit from extra space. Most big pups also have shorter lifespans and are prone to problems like elbow and hip dysplasia, which can lead to them struggling to find new homes.

However, some owners prefer big breeds, and the Big Dog Ranch Rescue is a good option. It takes in giant breeds and has a network of potential adopters interested in these pups. The no-kill, cage-free rescue is located in Florida. It is worth noting that the Big Dog Ranch Rescue also accepts small dogs.

9. Big Dogs Huge Paws

Big Dogs Huge Paws logo

Big Dogs Huge Paws rescues, rehabilitates, and rehomes giant dogs. It has foster families that have received special training to deal with big dogs, and it works with potential adopters to ensure that they know how to deal with the unique needs of breeds like Great Pyrenees and Saint Bernards.

It also performs public outreach and fundraising and is looking for volunteers and donors.

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Will a Shelter Take My Dog?

While shelters will try their best to accept and rehabilitate any dog, space is a serious concern for many rescues. Therefore, most struggle to take in new dogs without prior warning. You can speak to local shelters and those listed here. Even if they can’t help, they might know of kennels, groups, or individuals who can take your dog instead.

Can I Rehome a Dog From Any Shelter?

Sometimes, shelters have requirements that adopters need to meet to be able to adopt. Some won’t adopt to owners in rented accommodations, for example, and others require breed experience for certain dogs. However, you can contact the rescue and ask about its terms. It may be willing to work with you, even if you don’t match the exact requirements.

lot of stray dogs in the shelter
Image Credit: Anton Gvozdikov, Shutterstock

How Can I Help These Shelters?

Shelters and rescue groups always need help, and this help can come in different forms. Volunteers run most rescues, and many are desperate for additional assistance. You can check with local shelters to see if they need somebody to walk dogs, clean up cages, or assist with fundraising efforts. Alternatively, if you are in a position to donate, choose a non-profit to give your money to.

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Animal charities like shelters and rescues take in dogs, rehabilitate them, and help find them new homes. The ones we discussed here are the top dog rescue organizations in the U.S., but there are thousands more nationwide. Check your local area to find those near you, especially if you are looking to volunteer.

Featured Image Credit: David Tadevosian, Shutterstock

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