Best 10 Dog Rescues in Massachusetts

Choosing to open your home to a new animal is a great way to bring joy into the lives of your family. There are so many animals available for sale in pet stores, but there are even more in shelters who would love a second chance. Millions of pets are abandoned, abused, or left behind each year. Most of them end up in shelters or worse.

There is only so much space in city dog pounds that many animals will be euthanized before they get a chance to find a forever home. If you are considering adding a new pet to your family, consider adopting from a pet rescue or animal shelter instead.

Massachusetts ranks at the very bottom for dog ownership with about 50.4% of households owning a pet, according to a report from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

So if you're ready to a adopt a pet dog and save a life, we have put together a list of the best dog rescues in Massachusetts that you should consider when adopting your next furry friend. See also our guide to adopting a dog and relevant adoption fees involved. 

How much does it cost to adopt a dog in Massachusetts?

Malinois dog sitting on a bench outdoors in the autumn

Do I spy a soccer ball?

Only 11.27% of Massachusetts shelters are no-kill. However, "there is progress  towards the  goal  of ending the killing of dogs and cats in U.S. shelters by the year 2025" said Julie Castle, chief executive officer, Best Friends Animal Society.

Adopting a new furry friend to add to your family will save two lives.

Not only will you be giving a second chance to a dog in a shelter, but you will also be freeing up space for another animal in need. Of course, there are always expenses involved when it comes to acquiring a new pet.

Every dog shelter and dog rescue will have different prices for their animals, but you can expect to pay between $125 and $500 for the adoption. 

While this may seem high, the cost usually covers vaccinations, health checkups, micro-chipping, tests for parasites, collars, spay, or neutering, and also helps to offset the cost of care the animal incurred.

The majority of shelters and rescues will offer senior animals for very low cost while puppies will have the highest rate.

How do I adopt a dog in MA?

A coyote looking Siberian Husky on a tree lined road in the autumn covered in foliage.

Catch me if you can!

Now that you know how much you will need to invest upfront, you may be wondering how to go about actually adopting a dog.

To start, pick a shelter or several, and view their available selection of animals. You can look online, or you can go in person to an open adoption dog shelter.

Think about how much time you have to invest in training your new pet, socializing a rescue dog, how much space you have in your home, and what type of dog would fit in well with your family. The spring and summer are the best times to get a pet from the shelter because the number of pets abandoned tend to increase when the weather is warm.

Once you find a dog you like fill out an application and wait for a meet and greet to be scheduled.

Depending on the shelter, there may need to be an in-home visit, or in the case of foster pets, you may need to go to the dog.

After the shelter or foster parent approves that you and the pet would be a good fit, the adoption will be approved. You then pay the fee and go home with your new best friend.

Top 10 Dog Shelters & Rescues in Massachusetts

An adorable long-haired german shepherd outdoors

Why yes, I am the goodest boy. 

1. Mutt Rescue of Massachusetts in Chicopee, MA

Address: 102 Grove Street, Chicopee, MA 01020
Phone: 413-594-8144
Email: muttrescueofmassachusetts@gmail.com
Established:2016
Location Type: Shelter & Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: $550

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. You will also need to obtain a dog license, which is mandatory in MA. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers animals from high-kill rate shelters, homeless and abusive homes for adoption and serves states: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York.

Adoption Requirements: Find a pet you like online and submit an application. You can also visit an adoption event for a meet and greet. Adoptions are made the same day as the visit. The owner is a behavioral specialist so you'll get to discuss the right pet for you and vice-versa.

2. Paws New England in Haver Hill, MA

Address: 15 Whittier Place Haverhill, MA 01832
Email: info@pawsnewengland.com
Phone: 617-620-9144
Established: 2005
Location Type: Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: $250-$550

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. You will also need to obtain a dog license, which is mandatory in MA. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers shelter and rescue dogs for adoption.

Adoption Requirements: Choose a dog from the website and then submit an adoption application. An adoption coordinator will contact you to discuss the adoption process. You must include references and have a valid ID. You must give your work details and contact information as well as information on each person living in your home. Click here to view their adoptable dogs.

3. Baypath Humane Society of Hopkinton in Hopkinton, MA

Address: 500 Legacy Farms North, Hopkinton, MA 01748
Phone: 508-435-6938
Email: info@baypathhumane.org
Established:1977
Location Type: Shelter
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees:$300-$500

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, a Martingale collar, and implanted with a microchip. You will also need to obtain a dog license, which is mandatory in MA. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers medical care and shelter for abandoned animals. They accept owner surrenders and also offer adoptions. This rescue group serves Massachusetts and NE. 

Adoption Requirements: You must be 21 years old to adopt. Fill out an application and view the available animals. References are required. You can view the animals online, and a meet and greet are required prior to adoption. View their available dogs for adoption here.

4. Save a Dog in Sudbury, MA

Address: 604 Boston Post Road, Sudbury, MA 01776
Phone: 978-443-7282
Email: adoptions@saveadog.org
Established: 1999
Location Type: Foster based rescue & shelter
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees:$300- $550

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. You will also need to obtain a dog license, which is mandatory in MA. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers shelter and rescue dogs for adoption.

Adoption Requirements: Fill out an application online and set up a time to come in to meet the animals. Provide references and make sure all family members are present for the meet and greet. Place a deposit, and then wait for the approval and pick up the pet the next day. Click here to see a list of adoptable pet dogs.

5. Worcester Animal Rescue League

Address: 139 Holden St., Worcester, MA 01606
Phone: 508-853-0030
Email: info@worcesterarl.org
Established:1912
Location Type: Shelter
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: $50-$350 depending on the animal.

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. You will also need to obtain a dog license, which is mandatory in MA. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: Serving the Worcester area, this location offers shelter, homeless, abandoned, and rescue animals for adoption. They also offer owner surrenders and low-cost spay and neutering.

Adoption Requirements: Fill out the application on-site. All family members and pets must be present to meet the new pet. Proof of home ownership or landlord approval for pets is required. Once your application is approved, which is usually the same day, you can take your pet home. Click here to view dogs ready for adoption. 

Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.             ~ Karen Davison

6. Second Chance Animal Shelter Inc. in Brookfield, MA

Address: 111 Young Road P.O. Box 136 East Brookfield, MA 01515
Phone: (508) 867-5525
Email: info@secondchanceanimals.org
Established: 1999
Location Type: Shelter & Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: Varies depending on the animal.

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. You will also need to obtain a dog license, which is mandatory in MA. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers shelter and rescue dogs, cats, and rabbits for adoption and help 26,000 pets a year. They also offer spay and neuter services and a pet food pantry for low-income owners.

Adoption Requirements: Fill out an application online or in person. All family members must attend a meet and greet. Valid ID is mandatory. Once reviewed you can come in to adopt an animal. Meet their adoptable dogs on this page.

7. Northeast Animal Shelter Inc., in Salem, MA

Address: 347 Highland Avenue Salem, MA 01970
Phone: (978) 745-9888
Email:  
Established: 1976
Location Type: Shelter & Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: $100-$450

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. You will also need to obtain a dog license, which is mandatory in MA. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers shelter and rescue dogs and cats for adoption and serves all of New England and many other areas throughout the country.

Adoption Requirements: Make an appointment to view the available pets. Once your appointment slot is made an application form will be sent. Fill it out including references and living situation details ( e.g. a tax bill or mortgage statement as proof of home ownership OR a lease stating that you are allowed to have a pet). You must be 18 and be allowed to house a pet on your property. The entire family must be present for the adoption of an adult dog. An adoption counselor is designated to each adopter to assess the best match for both you and dog. Click here to meet their adoptable dogs.

8. Great Dog Rescue New England in Andover, MA

Address: 9 Barlet St. #316, Andover, MA 01810
Email: info@gdrne.com
Established: 2003
Location Type: Foster based Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees:$495 to $550

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered. You will also need to obtain a dog license, which is mandatory in MA. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers homeless and abandoned dogs for adoption serving the New England area.

Adoption Requirements: To adopt you must be 18 years or older and living in New England. Complete an application online and be available for a phone interview follows. Provide personal and vet references. For local adoptions a meet and greet will be arranged, for long-distance, a virtual meeting will be held. Once approved, you will have a home visit and then take the dog home with you after paying the adoption fee.

9. Small Paws Rescue

Email: adoptionspf@smallpawsrescue.org
Established:2001
Location Type: Shelter
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: $200-$250

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. You will also need to obtain a dog license, which is mandatory in MA. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers Bichon dogs for adoption. They also accept owner surrenders. They cater areas nationwide all over the United States. 

Adoption Requirements: Fill out an application online. You must be at least 18 to adopt and have approval for pets on the property. Once your application is vetted and approved, you will need to pick up the animal in person.

10. Forever Home Rescue in Medfield, MA

Address: 106 Adams St, Medfield, MA 02052.
Phone: 508-359-4465
Email: foreverhomerescue@gmail.com
Established: 2008
Location Type: Foster based Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees:$350 to $475

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered. You will also need to obtain a dog license, which is mandatory in MA. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers shelter, homeless, and owner-surrender, and rescue dogs for adoption.

Adoption Requirements: To adopt you must fill out an application online. Provide personal and vet references and be prepared for a home visit. Once approved, you will have a meet and greet and then take the dog home with you after paying the adoption fee. 

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