The relationship between man and dog is among the purest if not the purest connection on this planet. It is not for nothing that dogs are called man’s best friends – they truly are. Therefore, the recent surge in euthanization of dogs in some countries around the world – particularly the United States – is deeply unsettling and extremely saddening. In many ways, Animal Shelters are true heroes of the modern society.
In times where homeless pets have become rampant, it is these animal shelters that provide everything possible to ensure that the wellbeing of the pet in question is not put in jeopardy. They provide food, water, vet care and accommodation along with training. A massive shout out to all the wonderful animal shelters out there. As with so many great things, these pet shelters do not often get their due, so here is hoping that this list of the best dog shelters that you should not miss will get them some much needed due, recognition, acknowledgement and admiration.
Without further ado, let us get started:
1. Wayside Waifs, Kansas City, Missouri
Founded in 1944, this is one of the best no-kill animal shelters that you are likely to come across. One of its best aspects is its magnificent campus which enables it to be the largest pet adoption center in Kansas City. It puts close to 6000 animals in care of foster families every year.
2. Nevada Humane Society, Reno, Carson City, NV
Another great name in the pet shelter world is NHS. These guys are doing an extremely great job, first in serving their own local community, helping many pets find a peaceful and a heart warming place. Second, in branching out and scaling up to impact even greater lives in a bigger scope.
3. PAWS, Lynnwood, Washington
A non-profit organization that relies on generous donations such as most others on this list, PAWS has been doing a commendable job since 1967. It has united – hold your breath – 130,000 animals with families who care for them and taken care of an additional 115,000 orphaned/injured wide animals. Their ability to understand that animals enrich human lives and their commitment to be a voice of the voiceless is what makes PAWS one of the most well- known pet shelters in the world.
4. SPCA, Lakeland, Florida
Since 1979, SPCA Florida has been providing care and hope for more than 6000 animals year in and year out. The very existence of SPCA Florida revolves around eliminating animal suffering and propagating the noble cause of animal welfare, therefore their stupendous work in the field of pet adoption does not come as a surprise. Their state-of-the-art veterinary medical services for animals and model programs to promote the adoption of healthy animals have gone a long way in helping them with their noble goals.
5. Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation (LDCRF), Arlington County, Virginia
Founded in 2001, the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation has saved hundreds of abandoned pets from the dire threat of euthanasia. In fact, their fight against euthanasia (which is incidentally referred to by many who oppose euthanasia as “organized killing”) forms the crux of their mission. The LDCRF ensures that all the pets under their protection are spayed, neutered and vaccinated before commencing the hunt for noble and benevolent homes for these pets.
6. American Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (ASPCA), New York
Headquartered in New York, The ASPCA has a rich history that dates back to 1866. It was the first humane society that was established in all of North America and stands today as one of the best and biggest in the world at what it does. Their admirably succinct and noble mission to help animals at the receiving end of cruelty stands on the premise that animals are entitled to respect and love at the hands of human beings. They have continuously advocated for laws to protect animals. That this not-for-profit corporation has in excess of 2 million supporters across the length and breadth of America is a feather in its cap.
7. Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), Contra Costa Country, California
It is not often that a sporting match leads to the creation of a pet shelter, but that is exactly what happened in the case of the Animal Rescue Foundation. Tona La Russa happened to be the manager of the Oakland Athletics at that point in time and during a match between the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics, Tony bumped into a stray. His benevolence spurred him to take the stray with him after the game and search for shelter. But to his despair he found that there was not a single one in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay area. It was all for the best though, as this inspired Tony and his wife to create the ARF. Founded in 1991, the ARF is a place where every loving dog and cat finds a home and where every lonely person has a pet. The crux of ARF’s work involves controlling pet overpopulation through spraying and neutering programs.
8. Vet Ranch, Texas
Many dogs with treatable conditions are euthanized simply because of the owner’s reluctance (or inability as the case may be) to pay for the treatment. Matt, the founder of Vet Ranch, has been making youtube videos for years now and has millions of eyes following him on youtube. In a nutshell, Vet Ranch is a project that is funded by the donations of the viewers. There is this touching story about a home dog pregnant with 12 puppies facing euthanasia before Vet Ranch worked its magic and miraculously rescued her and all of her puppies. Who says real life does not have happy endings?!
9. Susie’s Senior Dogs, New York
Susie’s Senior Dogs is a not-for-profit organization which is committed to the welfare of senior dogs. One of its primary missions is to bring to the forefront the plight of homeless senior dogs. It is a national organization with an ever growing following on social media. This noble organization uses donations to sponsor the requirements of senior dogs, ranging from health care to specialized training sessions.
10. Bald is Beautiful Dog Rescue, South Carolina
Located in South Carolina, Bald is Beautiful Dog Rescue was founded in 2010. It is an independent rescue organization which consists entirely of volunteers with a staggering 25 years of experience in the field. Compassion is the driving force behind BBDR, and to date, it has changed the lives of many deserving dogs.
11. Big Dog Ranch Rescue, Florida
Founded in 2006, Big Dog Ranch Rescue is one of the leaders in the national welfare movement. Its innovative rescue practices and educational programs have helped improve the lives of many a dog. It rightly believes that enriching the lives of dogs and those who adopt them will pave the way for a better tomorrow.
12. Canine Estates, Florida
Founded in 1992, Canine Estates is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to enriching the lives of abandoned, injured and abused dogs by taking them under its care. Its work constitutes vaccination, spaying and neutering. At Canine Estates, no dog will be euthanized for any reason and they can continue living there until compassionate owners willing to take them are found.
13. Citizens for Animal Protection, Houston, Texas
Founded in 1972, Citizens for Animal Protection strives to raise awareness about respect and compassion for animal life. Moreover, it seeks to shelter, rescue and place homeless animals in homes that care. It has an extensive animal care and community and has myriad programs to help it fulfill this mission.
14. Common Sense for Animals, New Jersey
Common Sense for Animals is a non-profit organization founded in 1990. It seeks to bring together people who share the same fundamental principles regarding animals. It is of the view that each animal is entitled to respect and dignity in the same way as humans are. Out of the many good tasks that it undertakes, perhaps the best is the work they do to improve human-animal relationships through education and community service.
15. D.E.L.T.A Rescue, California
Its mission to serve as the biggest life care sanctuary in the world coupled with its rich history dating back to 1979 makes D.E.L.T.A. Rescue one of the pre-eminent rescue shelters in all of USA. The cherry on top of the already magnificent cake is the 115-acre mountain top ranch which is a haven for abandoned animals.
16. Arizona Animal Welfare League, Phoenix, Arizona
First formed in 1971, the AAWL ranks among the country’s best and biggest no-kill shelters in the USA. Its behavior training is of the highest standard, as is the medical care that it provides to homeless animals. As of this point, AAWL rescues and re-homes in excess of 4000 cats and dogs that have been abandoned by their owners for whatever reason.
17. Richmond SPCA, Virginia
Richmond SPCA is a leader in the non-profit humane shelters in the U.S. It takes care of hundreds of animals every day and has saved thousands of lives every year. Richmond SPCA is an all-around excellent pet shelter that provides just about everything that could possibly be expected of a pet shelter: vet care, adoption, rehabilitation, sterilization, education and much more.
18. Multnomah County Animal Services, Portland, Oregon
No list of top dog shelters would be complete without a mention of MCAs, particularly if the main focus is on the United States. They have myriad programs for rescue, vet care and rehabilitation for dogs. Their outstanding save rate for dogs of 90 percent puts them in the uppermost echelon of dog shelters in the U.S.
19. Pet Haven of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Located in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, this animal welfare organization does more than live up to its name. It is among the oldest pet shelters in the U.S, having been founded in 1952. Its behavioral care and medical treatment are two things that put it in the crème de la crème of dog shelters in the country.
20. Dumb Friends League (DDFL), Colorado
Do not let the name fool you, the DDFL is a magnificent pet shelter that was founded way back in 1910 to provide shelter and care for animals and – in its words – serve as advocates for those who cannot speak for themselves. In fact, the “dumb” in the name refers to the fact that animals cannot speak for themselves. DDFL’s advocacy and education programs have enhanced many-a-bond between animals and people.
21. Friends of Animals, Darien, Connecticut
Friends of Animals is one of the oldest pet shelters in the country dating back to 1957. The primary building blocks of the organization are respect and compassion for animals. It seeks to eradicate cruelty from the lives of animals and advocates for animal rights issues across the length and breadth of the country. They encourage several spaying and neutering programs for pets and work in tandem with environmental activists to defend the rights of the defenseless.
22. BARC Shelter, Brooklyn, New York
If you wanted a prototype of the ideal pet welfare center, then the BARC shelter in New York is surely worth a consideration. It provides shelter for abandoned and sick pets, and finds new homes for them with compassionate owners.
23. Greyhound Pets of America (GPA), Longwood, Florida
Greyhound Pets of America is located in Greater Orlando. It is one of the smallest animal shelters you will see on this list and its focus is primarily on greyhounds. It is a staple of the National Greyhound Pets of America Organization. GPA is entirely made up of volunteers and offers the best imaginable care for its pets.
24. Leave No Paws Behind, California
Founded in 2011, Leave No Paws behind is a rescue shelter for all kinds of dog breeds with a special focus on seniors and pets with special needs. It is a place where compassion, kindness, care, comfort and love form a lovely mix to give hope when all hope ostensibly dwindles.
25. New York Bully Crew, New York
Located in Long Island, the New York Bully Crew was founded in December 2010. It deals with Pitbull rescue primarily, but is open to providing aid for all other animals that need it. NYBC’s work in the rehabilitation of pitbulls and finding them compassionate owners is second to none.
26. Animal Humane Society, Minnesota
The Animal Humane Society helps close to 25,000 animals in need each year, aside from thousands of others through their educational programs for pet owners. It offers every possible form of care to homeless, abandoned or sick animals.
27. Dane County Humane Society, Madison, Wisconsin
DCHS welcomes all animals with open arms, regardless of their history or condition. They offer incredible care which prioritizes the health and behavior of the animals in their care. In addition, they also offer up new homes for all dogs and cats.
28. McKamey Animal Center, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Their mission statement tells you all you need to know about them in a nutshell: saving animals and helping people. Their comprehensive programs and education to support people and animals have yielded great results. To eliminate animal overpopulation and cruelty along with creating a culture of compassionate care for animals is their long term vision, and it suffices to say they are on the right track thus far.
29. Faithful Friends Animal Society, Wilmington, Delaware
Since its inception in 2000 as Citizens for the Protection and Care of Animals, Faithful Friends Animal Society has come a long way. Its firm stand against euthanasia to merely make space for others has been the building block of its success. Programs and services constitute rescue and adoption, pet clinics, spaying, neutering, free food for pets, pet therapy and more!
30. Safe Humane Chicago
As the name insinuates, Safe Humane Chicago is based on the fundamental principle that a humane community is safer, and that a humane community is inseparable from animal welfare. They also propagate an interesting theory that violence towards animals goes hand-in-hand with violence towards people; and intuitively that does make sense. Safe Humane Chicago now has 4 core programs: Lifetime Bonds, Youth Leaders, Collaborative Justice and Community Outreach.
31. Humane Society of Manatee County, Florida
With the view that treatment of animal is a mirror image of the community and a goal to end killing of homeless pets, Humane Society of Manatee certainly has its proverbial heart in the right place. It is committed to fostering care, compassion and respect for animals through education. The 4 core programs it offers are spay/neuter, Trap Neuter Return (TNR), Adoption and Owner Support.
There you have it my friends. That’s my list of the top 31 amazing dog shelters that really deserves a head up.
Now, I need your help here.
Share this list with your friends and let’s all team up to be a firm hand in helping these beautiful creatures.