We Love Shelters & Rescues

When you’re ready to add a four-legged friend to your pack, we want you to choose love by adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue! By steering clear of pet stores and online puppy sellers, you’ll help end the cruel breeding industry and give a home to a great dog or puppy who really needs it.

We All Deserve a Second Chance

Some people hold the unfortunate opinion that there’s something wrong with the dogs who wind up in shelters, but that’s simply not true. The only difference between a pet and a temporarily homeless dog is that one was luckier. Have you ever noticed how everybody thinks their dog is the best dog in the world, no matter the pup’s breed or appearance?  In most cases, if you spend a solid day or two with a compatible dog, you will fall in love.

When you adopt, you’re directly supporting lifesaving work. A shelter or rescue’s adoption fee goes right back to funding its efforts to save, treat and rehome animals. Adoption provides a second chance for your new pet and opens up a space for the next pup who arrives needing help—your act of kindness has a ripple effect that can impact many lives.

Find adoptable dogs

“But I’m Certain I Want a Malti-Peeka-Doodle-Dor”

If you’re partial to Pugs, loco for Labradoodles or wild about Westies, we get it! A lot of people have a strong personal preference when it comes to dog breeds, whether it’s based purely on looks, a breed’s reputation or nostalgia for a favorite childhood pet. While it’s possible to find an adoptable purebred or “designer breed” at an animal shelter, it’s important to remember that even within a specific breed, dogs are individuals with their own personalities and dispositions. 

Consider that maybe what you’re really looking for isn’t a certain breed, but what that breed represents—a buddy for your kids, a super-smart activity partner or a snuggly couch potato. Open your mind and your heart by giving the adoption counselors at your local shelter a chance to use their knowledge about their resident animals to set you up with a great match.

The Right Dog Is Waiting!

There are animal shelters, rescues, fostering networks and adoption groups in every corner of the country. Find the next love of your life by searching the ASPCA’s Adoptable Dogs database, or look for animal welfare groups in your area here. Unlike pet store puppies, dogs obtained from reputable rescues will have received proper veterinary care, including vaccinations and usually spay/neuter surgery, saving you time, money and worry.

If you’ve got your heart set on a particular breed of dog and haven’t been able to find one for adoption at a local animal shelter or rescue group, contact a breed-specific rescue. These volunteer-run networks are easy to find online and often have regional chapters.

Finally, if you do end up contacting a breeder, please do your research to make sure you are not supporting cruelty.

Our nation’s animal shelters are the backbone of the animal welfare movement. Their work is difficult, ceaseless and often thankless. Please support your local shelter by visiting, volunteering, donating, and most importantly, adopting.