5 Best Animal Rescue Sites To Find Your Next Pet

Joel Lee 06-01-2012

animal rescue siteIf you’re thinking of adding a new pet to your household, you may want to look into adopting or rescuing one from a shelter instead of buying one from the nearest pet store. Local animal shelters and rescue groups temporarily house homeless dogs, cats, and other animals that are in need of owners.


Why rescue from a shelter instead of buying from a pet store? For one, there’s the problem of pet over-population. In addition, pet store animals – in particular, dogs – often come from animal mills where they are raised under poor and unhealthy conditions.

If you don’t have any animal shelters nearby, or if you can’t find the pet that you want, you can broaden your search by using online animal rescue sites dedicated to helping you find an adoption-ready animal. Here are some of the better ones out there.


animal rescue site

Petfinder is one of the best resources for finding pets that are in need of homes. The website operates on a database that contains over 13,000 different animal shelters and pet adoption organizations all throughout North America – yes, that means Petfinder doesn’t only search the United States, but also Canada and Mexico.

The search database isn’t limited to dogs and cats, but also horses, birds, reptiles, small furries, and even barnyard animals. Their listings are updated on a daily basis, so you’ll never run into an outdated post.


Adopt A Pet

animal rescues

Adopt a Pet is an American non-profit organization run by a small group of people who simply love pets. Starting from humble beginnings in 2004, they’ve grown in size and popularity over the past seven years, earning sponsorships from big name brands like Purina and Bayer. They’ve even earned endorsements from celebrities like Drew Barrymore and Kelsey Grammer.

This animal rescue site has thousands of homeless pets in their databases, all looking for a new owner and a new home. Though most of their listings are dogs and cats, they do list other less popular animals like rabbits, birds, and horses.

Animal Adoption Center

animal rescues


If you live in or near the state of Wyoming, the online adoption search hosted by the Animal Adoption Center might be the thing for you.

The Animal Adoption Center’s mission is to find safe, permanent homes for their homeless animals. Because of this, their adoption procedure is more than a simple on-the-spot transaction. They require you to pass an application process and not everyone qualifies.

However, this website will only be useful if you’re looking for a dog or a cat as they do not host adoption services for other animal types. Furthermore, you will need to pay an adoption fee for their animals.

Best Friends Animal Society

animal rescues


Even though the Best Friends Animal Society operates out of Utah, their services are available to anyone living in the United States or Canada. However, if you are unable to pick up the animal at one of their locations, you will need to pay a fee so they can fly it out to you.

The Best Friends Animal Society website holds hundreds of animals waiting to be adopted, from dogs to cats to horses to parrots – even pigs! You will be required to walk through an application process, and each animal type has its own unique application. Fortunately, the website guides you through the process.

Also, you will need to pay an adoption fee that scales depending on the type of animal.

Rescue Dogs Europe

animal rescue site


For all of you European readers who are looking to adopt a pet in need of rescue, you can check out Rescue Dogs Europe. Unfortunately, when compared to the American sites and organizations, Rescue Dogs Europe does not have near as much popularity or widespread usage.

The website can be viewed in English, German, and Spanish. Many of the listed dogs are from Spain, though a growing number of them are from Holland and Belgium.

In order to adopt a dog here, you will need to agree to the site’s adoption agreement and go through an application process. There is an adoption fee, and once that fee is paid, the dog will be flown out – you will need to pick up the dog yourself.


Right now, the online animal rescue and adoption phenomenon is mostly an American thing. There are thousands of pets ready to be adopted all throughout North America, and these websites make it easy for you no matter where you live. Europe is slowly catching up, as well.

If you can’t find a local animal shelter or if none of the local animals fit your criteria, we encourage you to use these animal rescue sites and rescue a pet that you will love and adore. You will find a pet, the pet will find a home, and everyone involved will be happier for it.

If you end up adopting a dog, you’ll need these free online dog training courses The 5 Best Free Online Dog Training Courses to Teach Your Pup New Tricks You don't need to turn to a professional to train your dog. Teach your dog new tricks with these free online training courses. Read More  to teach your new furry friend some new tricks.

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  1. Marie Delvau
    November 3, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    In your description of Rescue Dogs Europe, it says: "The website can be viewed in English, German, and Spanish. Many of the listed dogs are from Spain, though a growing number of them are from Holland and Belgium." This is not correct. The dogs listed as coming from Holland and Belgium, do actually come from Spain, Portugal (and sometimes Greece or Romania). They are either here in a foster family already, or waiting to be directly adopted from their country of origin. Holland actually has one of the lowest numbers of dog abandonment in the world, (you'll find mainly Staffordshire bull terrier type dogs in shelters), and a growing number of people are conscious enough not to want to buy from a puppy mill. Even many Dutch shelters now fill up some of the empty spaces with dogs from abroad, so they can offer a choice to people wanting to adopt instead of shop.

  2. Anonymous
    September 1, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    There is an international site that you can use to adopt pets that are sourced in India (because like their human population, India is loaded with street and abandoned dogs)...the sites are and will be able to source your pet from here!

  3. Alicia
    March 15, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    So there isn't many for Canada then I guess?

  4. Anonymous
    January 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Petfinder is a great website if you are in search of a new pet. they have a large number of pets available at suitable rates.

  5. nataliekean09
    January 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    animal rescue sites are of great use for the homeless pets . this concept has to be adopted by other nations as well.

    • Joel Lee
      January 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      I agree. There are so many homeless animals out there. It almost seems irresponsible to choose a puppy mill dog when there are pets waiting to be adopted--but ultimately it's up to the customers.

      I really do hope that animal adoption becomes big in other countries too!

  6. James Bruce
    January 7, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Battersea is the biggest in the UK:

    RSPCA, though they never have antyhing in my area.  has a good number, but it aggregates from other sources so not sure if dogs have been rehomed yet. 

    • Joel Lee
      January 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      Awesome additions. Had some trouble finding ones outside of the US, so thanks!