Best 10 Dog Rescues in Pennsylvania

There are close to 170 million domestic pets in the US, 44% of which are canines, and 35% of which are felines. The remaining percentage is made up of various other animals such as rabbits, chinchillas, turtles, snakes, and so on. It may surprise you to know that at least a quarter of these sweet animals will end up abandoned, surrendered, or abused. 

Rescues and shelters provide a refuge for many domesticated pets that need a forever home, however, space is limited. If you are considering adding a new pet to your family, consider adopting from a dog rescue. American Pet Products Association reports that 34% of dogs are purchased from breeders, while 23% of dogs are obtained from an animal shelter or humane society.

We have put together a list of the best dog rescue shelters in Pennsylvania that you should consider when adopting your next furry friend.

Top 10 Dog Rescue Shelters in Pennsylvania

Lakeland Terrier dog breed

Adopting me will be Terrier-iffc.

1. Street Tails Animal Rescue in Philadelphia, PA

Address: 1030 N 2nd Street, Suite 401, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Phone: 267-761-9434
Email: info@streettails.org
Established: 2001
Location Type: Shelter & Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: $350 -$500

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location accepts owner-surrenders. Rescued animals are available for adoption. Serves areas: Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Maryland.

Adoption Requirements: To adopt you must be at least 21 years of age and able to provide a valid ID. Own your home or have consent from your landlord. For homes with existing pets, vet references will need to be provided to confirm proper care. Existing pets must also be spayed/neutered. The application for adoption can be submitted online after you select an animal from the available pool. Applications are processed on a first come/best fit basis and generally take 1-2 business days for processing.

View dogs available for adoption here.

2. Animal Friends Inc in Pittsburgh, PA

Address: 562 Camp Horne Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Phone: 412-847-7000
Email: Speak@ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org
Established: 1943
Location Type: Shelter & Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: $50 - $200

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location accepts owner-surrenders, low-cost spay/neutering, and wellness care. Home-to-home adoptions and lost pet services. Rescued animals are available for adoption.

Adoption Requirements: To adopt you must be at least 21 years of age and able to provide a valid ID. Existing pets must also be spayed/neutered. The application for adoption can be submitted online after you select an animal from the available pool. After your application is submitted, you will be contacted by one of the Adoption Counselors (typically within 48 hours). All family members and pets must attend a meet and greet prior to approval. Home ownership or landlord approval are required.

See dogs ready for adoption here.

3. Happy Bark in Erie, PA

Address: PO Box 9062, Erie, PA 16505
Email: adopt@happybark.org
Established: 2019
Location Type: Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: $250 per dog.

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: Serving Northwestern Philadelphia this rescue group offers rescued animals for adoption from overcrowded shelters in other areas of the country.

Adoption Requirements: To adopt you must be at least 18 years of age. You can select an available animal from the site or submit a general application. A meet in greet with your family members and existing pet will be scheduled. An in-home visit will be required. 

Visit their homepage for available dogs for adoption.

4. Home At Last Dog Rescue in North Wales, PA

Address: P.O. Box 1341 North Wales, PA 19454
Email: info@homeatlastdogrescue.com
Established: 2009
Location Type: Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: $375

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This rescue is run by group of volunteers whose purpose is to save the lives of homeless dogs suffering in high-kill shelters, as well as owner-surrender dogs who need to be re-homed due to unfortunate circumstances.

Adoption Requirements: To adopt you must be at least 18 years of age. You can select an available animal from the site to add to your online adoption application. An in-home visit will be required. You will need to provide personal and veterinarian references.

View their adoptable dogs here.

5. Bridge to Home Animal Rescue in McMurray, PA

Address: P.O. Box 985, Mcmurray, PA 15317
Email: bridgetohome84@gmail.com
Established: 2018
Location Type: Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: $400+

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: Rescue dogs are housed with foster families and made available for adoption. The areas this rescue serves include: Washington, South Hills, Pittsburgh, Mcmurray, Eighty Four, Wexford
Pleasant Hills and Sewickley.

Adoption Requirements: To adopt you must be at least 18 years of age. You can select an available animal from the site to add to your application. The application will need to be sent via email to the foster family. All of your family members and existing pets will need to attend a meet and greet.

Click here to see available pet dogs for adoption. 

After we bring food home from the grocery store...Dogs must think we are the greatest hunters ever! ~ Ann Taylor.

6. South Hills Pet Rescue, Western PA

Address: 15 Old 88, South Park, PA 15129
Phone: 724-622-0434
Email: shpr88@yahoo.com
Established: 2013
Location Type: Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: Varies by dog age & breed.

All animals offered for adoption come vetted, microchipped, spayed/neutered and with some basic training. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers dogs for adoption.

Adoption Requirements: You will need to set an appointment to meet with available dogs and fill out an application in person If you have other pets, a meet and greet will also need to be arranged. You can also submit your application online if you are at least 18 years of age and have a valid ID. A home visit may be required.

7. Main Line Animal Rescue in Phoenixville, PA

Address: 1149 Pike Springs Road Phoenixville, PA 19460
Phone: (610) 933-0606
Email: adopt@MLAR.org
Established: 2000
Location Type: Shelter & Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: Varies.

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers dogs for adoption. They also offer vaccinations, flea treatments, de-worming, microchip implantation, and spay/neutering.

Adoption Requirements: To adopt you must be at least 21 years of age. You can select an available animal from the side and then submit an application and an adoption specialist will contact you. Families with existing pets need to provide vet references. Some dogs may come with a fencing requirement. There will also be an in-home visit prior to final approval.

Click here to see dogs ready for adoption. 

8. Paws 2 Freedom in Allentown, PA

Email: emailP2F@gmail.com
Established: 2016
Location Type: Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: Varies.

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location rescues dogs from kill shelters, humane societies, animal control and also accepts owner-surrenders. They offer adoption to forever homes as well. Some rescue animals are trained to provide solace to veterans.

Adoption Requirements: To adopt you must be at least 18 years of age and able to provide a valid ID. The application for adoption can be submitted online after you select an animal from the available pool.

Click here to view dogs ready for adoption. 

9. Wet Nose Rescue in Southhampton, PA

Address: 14425 Bustleton Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116
Phone: 267-684-6187
Email: info@wetnoserescue.org
Established: 2008
Location Type: Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: $150-$175

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers all-breed rescued dogs and puppies for adoption serving all of Pennsylvania including Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware Counties.

Adoption Requirements: To adopt you must be at least 18 years of age. You can select an available animal from the site, and then submit an application. If the application is approved, an adoption specialist will contact you to go over the details of your chosen pet.

Click here for dogs ready for adoption. 

10. Furry Feet Rescue in Walnutport, PA

Address: 771 S Cottonwood Rd, Walnutport, PA 18088
Phone: 610-767-7096
Email: furryfeetrescue@yahoo.com
Established: 2007
Location Type: Rescue
Designation: 501(c)(3) non-profit
Fees: $300 Adults, $350 Puppies, $75 Seniors.

All animals offered for adoption will be vaccinated, treated for parasites, spay/neutered, and implanted with a microchip. These services are included with the adoption fee.

Services Offered: This location offers stray and abandoned cats and dogs for adoption.

Adoption Requirements: To adopt you must be at least 18 years of age. You can select an available animal from the site to add to your application. Complete the application online and set up a meet and greet once you get approval.

How Long Does It Take a Rescue Dog To Adjust to a New Home?

A woman petting a German Shepherd dog at an animal rescue shelter.

Rescue dogs are very special animals that will form a lifelong bond with their new owners that is irreplaceable. Most rescue dogs have suffered physical or emotional abuse, or in some cases have health problems that led to their abandonment. Regardless of the reason, these special animals have a lot of love to offer when placed in the right home.

New pets take time to adjust to a new environment, this is true of rescue dogs, shelter dogs, and even dogs from the pet store. Knowing what to expect will allow you to adjust your lifestyle accordingly during the transition.

It can take a rescue dog anywhere from two weeks to two months to adjust to your home. It is common for the dog to consider themselves as a guest or an outside until they form a bond of trust with you and the rest of the people in your home.

In a shelter rescue dogs often do not have a structured environment, or rather, they are allowed to be free to encourage their rehabilitation. Moving from an environment with few rules into a family home, there will be adjustments to be made. This takes time and a generous helping of love and patience. 

When you bring a rescue dog home, they will have to confront a new set of people and sometimes even new animals. They will also need to learn to adapt to their new environment and owners. The sheer amount of new stimulation can be frightening and overwhelming until they learn to develop a new relationship in their new location.

The best way to help your rescue dog transition is by taking things one step at a time. When they come home try to limit the amount of stimulation they receive from family members and other pets.

Avoid using harsh tones and commands, instead, teach them the rules of the house with a gentle hand. Give them a space of their own which can be near you, or away from crowded areas depending on their temperament.

Slowly you will notice they start to learn the habits of your family and also will begin to create their own routine as they begin to adjust.

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