Zack Keithy, our author, has been a certified veterinarian technician for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers. Learn more about us here.
Are you looking for the best dog rescues in North Carolina? We’ve found them for you. There are so many wonderful dogs looking for love and it’s our job to make sure these dogs fi nd it! Whether you are looking to adopt, volunteer, or donate, you will find the best organizations that are worthy of your help.
Quick note here: The main difference between dog rescues and shelters is that rescues are typically privately run and funded through donations, while shelters are organized by local government.
Dog rescues are not listed in any particular order. Check out other excellent dog rescues in other states here.
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- 1. Carolina Animal Rescue & Adoption
- 2. Tiny Paws Small Dog Rescue NC
- 3. Saving Grace Animals for Adoption
- 4. Brother Wolf Animal Rescue
- 5. Red Dot Farm Animal Rescue Network
- 6. Paws for Life NC
- 7. Paws Place Dog Rescue
- 8. Humane Society of Eastern Carolina
- 9. Second Chance Pet Adoptions NC
- 10. Independent Animal Rescue
- 11. A Better Life Animal Rescue
- 12. Foothills Humane Society
- Other Dog Rescues in North Carolina Worth Mentioning
- Find Dog Rescues in Other States Here
Location: P.O. Box 2642, Sanford, NC 27331 (mailing only)
Dr. Ron Myres, DVM, founded Carolina Animal Rescue & Adoption (CARA) in 1977, shortly after opening his veterinary clinic in Sanford, NC.
Pat Sprouse, who became good friends with Ron and his wife Gail, was one of Dr. Myres’ first customers.
They gathered around a dinner table with Sissy and Poly Cohen and Diane and Rodney Harrill to form a group of loving people dedicated to finding a solution to Lee County’s expanding homeless animal population.
In the early 1980s, their combined efforts resulted in the founding of the San-Lee Humane Society, which later became Carolina Animal Rescue and Adoption (CARA) in 2003.
Tiny Paws Small Dog Rescue is a foster-based organization located in Wisconsin.
They don’t have a shelter or a physical site where you can see the dogs for adoption.
If you’re looking for a specific dog, go to the “Our Dogs” page and use their Petfinder website.
Each dog’s unique foster is given in the bio.
All visits and discussions should be coordinated with the foster who is caring for that specific dog.
Their goal is to assist pets who have been abandoned for any reason and every dog deserves the opportunity to thrive in a loving home.
Location: P.O. Box 1649, Wake Forest, NC 27588
Saving Grace travels to shelters all throughout North Carolina in search of eligible canines in need of a second chance.
They also take in a lot of dogs that are in desperate situations, such as puppies from puppy mills, dogs seized in cruelty cases, dogs abandoned in natural catastrophes, or dogs who are abandoned at a veterinary clinic after their owner passes away.
Because they are not a public facility, they are unable to take stray, abandoned, or surrendered pets.
Their mission is to medically and emotionally prepare rescued animals for adoption and a happy life.
Saving Grace was founded in 2004 on a private property and farm with the objective of assisting North Carolina’s most vulnerable animals.
The animals originate from locations with very limited resources and a high rate of euthanasia.
Find out more on their website!
Location: P.O. Box 8195, Asheville, NC 28814
Brother Wolf Animal Rescue was founded in 2007 to improve the lives of companion animals and the people who love them.
They collaborate across county borders in order to save as many lives as possible through strategic, creative, and meaningful programs.
Brother Wolf Animal Rescue saves the lives of thousands of animals in Western North Carolina each year through adoption and pet retention programs, a low-cost mobile spay and neuter clinic, lifesaving shelter transfer relationships, and large volunteer and foster networks.
In the heart of Asheville, they have an adoption center where you can meet your next best friend.
The site also houses a thrift store and a retail store, the earnings of which go toward funding their lifesaving activities.
Because they receive no government support, they are a community-based organization that relies on the generosity of donors to continue their important work for animals.
They believe that by working together, they can make the world a better place. Please join them!
Location: 8653 NC Highway 65, Stokesdale, NC 27357
Red Dog Farm Animal Rescue is a North Carolina leader in animal rescue.
Over 4,000 animals have found new homes as a result of their efforts.
The organization is supported by a huge network of compassionate individuals and families who give their hearts, homes, and farms to foster animals until they find a forever family.
The actual Red Dog Farm is a 21-acre sanctuary for rehabilitating and rejuvenating animals.
The vast majority of the animals, however, do not reside on the farm.
Individual foster homes are caring for animals in their care in Guilford, Forsyth, and Rockingham counties.
In their private homes (or barns), foster families care for everything from kittens to horses, and Red Dog Farm Animal Rescue Network pays all of the bills while they find them forever homes.
Location: PO BOX 338, YOUNGSVILLE, NC 27596 (mailing only)
Under the registered name of the Franklin County Humane Society, Paws for Life NC was founded in 2002.
To avoid confusion with the Franklin County Animal Shelter, they changed their name to the Franklin County Humane Society doing business as Paws for Life NC in 2016.
Paws for Life NC has become their primary operating name.
The group began as a grassroots effort to assist alleviate the problem of homeless dogs and cats in Franklin County, North Carolina.
Their service area has expanded to encompass areas of Southern Granville and Northern Wake Counties in North Carolina, as well as help for remote rural shelters in Rowan, Nash, Montgomery, and Rocky Mount.
Their foster-based adoption program is its mainstay.
To combat pet overpopulation, they added the Spay and Neuter in Franklin County (SNIF) program over time, and cat and dog transport to their life-saving framework in recent years.
They also launched the Homeless Pets Program with local schools to promote proper pet ownership, as they recognize education as a crucial agent of change.
Location: 242 George II Highway, Winnabow, NC 28479
Paws Place Dog Rescue isn’t simply another no-kill shelter.
No matter how long it takes, our objective is to find loving homes for every dog we rescue.
They are a no-kill, non-profit dog rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption organization and rely only on donations, volunteers, and an unwavering passion for animals to run their organization.
Each of the rescued canines is thoroughly inspected by a veterinarian upon arrival.
They are spayed or neutered, given all age-appropriate immunizations, started on heartworm prevention, flea and tick prevention, microchipped, and lavished with love and care before they are available for adoption.
Be sure to take a look at the adoptable dogs on their site.
Location: 3520 Tupper Drive, Greenville, NC 27834
The aim of the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina is to provide a safe refuge for homeless and neglected pets until they can find their permanent homes, as well as to act as a community resource.
They believe that by educating the public about animal concerns, they may help to eliminate over-breeding of dogs and cats and teach pet owners how to be good pet owners.
Simultaneously, they seek to make pet adoptions to good homes easier so that more unwanted animals can find a temporary home with them.
Location: 6003 Chapel Hill Road, Suite 133, Raleigh, NC 27607-5148
In 1987, three women, Cheri Sowter, Deborah Ruggero, and Judy Benrud, sat down and decided to aid homeless animals in the Triangle.
They started by “fostering” stray cats and dogs they came across.
As word spread, more people who came across stray animals brought them to Second Chance.
Things began to take on a life of their own and they created a “cat condo” in one of their backyards, while one of the other women set aside a section of her yard for the stray dogs.
Judy and Cheri have ties to North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and were able to secure volunteer time from certain veterinarians and vet students.
Things grew even more, and they decided to seek non-profit status in 1989, eventually becoming a legitimate rescue organization. They started looking for volunteers to help them care for the animals and screen applicants.
Other volunteers began fostering animals, raising finances, and finding permanent homes for rescued animals.
All of the animals in Second Chance’s program had been placed in foster homes at this time.
In February 2004, a cageless no-kill facility to shelter cats was opened as Second Chance continued to grow and create more initiatives.
Be sure to find out more on their site!
Location: P.O. Box 14232, Durham, NC 27709-4232
Independent Animal Rescue is a non-profit organization based in North Carolina’s Triangle region that strives to find homes for hundreds of abandoned cats and dogs every year.
IAR is mostly maintained by dedicated community members who donate their time to aid homeless animals and keep our support programs running.
You can check out their Volunteer page to learn more about how you can assist.
IAR began with one woman’s huge aspirations, a bigger heart, and a distinctive purple pickup truck that helped her save numerous abandoned, abused, and homeless Triangle dogs.
It was established in 1994 and received legal 501(c)(3) recognition in 1995.
IAR is currently administered by a Board of Directors, managed by elected officers, and aided by more than 300 unpaid volunteers.
IAR recognizes the given time and resources that support its goal and animal care and rehabilitation as a volunteer-driven organization.
There are many ways you can help. Check out their site now!
Location: P.O. Box 8311, Morganton, NC 28680
A Better Life Animal Rescue, Inc. is a Burke County, North Carolina-based no-kill foster home-based rescue organization.
They do not run a shelter for animals but instead rely on volunteer foster families to care for rescued dogs and cats until they are placed with loving, responsible, permanent adoptive families or until missing pets are reunited with their own loving families.
Their goal is to prevent pet overpopulation and preserve dogs and cats whose lives are in danger due to neglect, abuse, illness, accident, or ignorance.
You can help by becoming a volunteer or adopting a pet today!
Location: PO Box 985, Columbus, NC 28722
The Foothills Humane Society (FHS) is a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) no-kill animal welfare organization located on 11 acres in Polk County, North Carolina’s pastoral foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
They provide adoption guarantees throughout Polk County, North Carolina, including the incorporated towns of Columbus, Tryon, and Saluda.
They also serve Landrum, Campobello, and Gowensville in northern Greenville and Spartanburg counties, South Carolina, as capacity allows, with their different programs providing a total service area of about 25,000 people and 1,600 animals every year.
Donations, grants, a contract with Polk County Animal Control, shelter activities, and fundraisers all help Foothills.
Other Dog Rescues in North Carolina Worth Mentioning
There are several other dog rescues in North Carolina that are in need of your help, but unfortunately, we are unable to cover every single one of them.
Through online reviews and friends’ recommendations, here are 8 more you can visit and support:
- Mountain Pet Rescue (Candler)
- Pet Partners Rescue (Lenoir)
- Catering to Cats and Dogs (Charlotte)
- Rescue Ur Forever Friend (Durham)
- Cause for Paws (Raleigh)
- Hope Animal Rescue (throughout NC)
- Boston Terrier Rescue of North Carolina (Greensboro)