Rescue Information /
All-Breed Dog Rescues & Shelters

Shelter & Rescue Listings

Select from the menu to find Dog Shelters and Rescues in your Area:

NOTE: The shelters/rescue organizations listed in this section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website are NOT breed specific. If you are looking for a rescue or shelter for a specific breed, please CLICK HERE to access the breed listings and see that particular breed's information section.

What to Look for in a Rescue/Shelter

The majority of rescue organizations / shelters found in Canada are reputable and well run; however it is important to do some research to ensure that the organization you are considering is credible. The following is a listing of some of the things that a good organization does:

  • The responsible rescue places the welfare and happiness of the animal first.
  • As a first step in the adoption process, an application form should be completed. The rescue/shelter then performs careful screening of potential adopters and verifies references — the goal being to match up the right pet with the right home.
  • All pets should be spayed/neutered prior to being placed and, if for any reason (ie., too young or some medical reason) spaying/neutering is not done prior to placement, this is included as a requirement within the adoption contract.
  • All animals ready for adoption should have been examined by a veterinarian and be up to date on vaccines.
  • All animals ready for adoption should have been temperament tested.
  • The rescue/shelter should provide full disclosure about the dog, including any medical and/or behavioural problems.
  • Depending on the pet to be adopted, the rescue may require that adopters participate in training classes.
  • The rescue/shelter should offer ongoing support to adopters.
  • A written adoption contract should be provided and should include all requirements/expectations including a clause stating that the pet must be returned to the rescue if the adopter decides to relinquish the pet.
  • Rescue organizations should be able to provide references from shelters in their area and in general should be working with those shelters.
  • A reputable rescue operates as a not-for-profit entity and/or registered charity.

Nikki's Story

Before being rescued, Nikki spent most of the first year of her life living outside with very limited contact with people. Today she is a well adjusted, happy young dog. Nikki is proof that dogs with special needs can make wonderful family pets and deserve a chance just like any other. Sadly, these dogs can end up spending a very long time in shelters being overlooked because of their 'disabilities.'

Nikki's video can be seen here and you can read more about her at:

Oscar's Story

(Note: Oscar, shown in this video, is also seen in the top banner of this page.)

Articles of Interest:

  • How you Can Help with Pet Homelessness
    Added 15 Dec 2014
  • Social Media Boosts Dog Adoption Efforts By Elijah Merrill for The Dog Daily
    Added 29 January 2013
  • Help Shelter Dogs Even If You Can't Adopt from The Dog Daily
    Added 29 January 2013
  • Volunteers who Make a Difference for Dogs Added 29 January 2013
  • Adopting an Adult Dog Added 15 May 2013
  • Advantages of Adopting an Adult Dog by By Elizabeth Wasserman for The Dog Daily
    Added 29 January 2013
  • Senior Black Homeless Dogs in Crisis Added 15 May 2013
  • Benefits of Owning a Senior Pet — Older dogs can anticipate our needs, provide unconditional love, share their unique wisdom and provide unmatched loyalty and devotion. Added 15 May 2013
  • Foster a Dog Added 15 May 2013
  • Breed Rescue Groups: Saving Dogs in Need of Homes Added 31 July 2012
  • How Could You? — A poem written by Jim Willis.
    Warning: This poem is extremely sad and will surely bring tears to your eyes, but if you are considering adding a pet to your family, it will remind you how important a decision that is, that they deserve no less than a permanent and loving home, and that they do indeed become a member of the family.
  • Adopting from a Shelter or Rescue Organization There are thousands of dogs waiting to be adopted in animal shelters across the country. They come in all shapes and sizes, purebred and mixed-breed, young puppies and senior dogs, high-energy and laid back pooches. They all have one thing in common: they want and desperately need a second chance, a new and loving family to take them in and give them a place they can truly call "home". Read More...
  • Top 10 Reasons To Adopt A Rescue — by Mary and Doug Clark, Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc.
    Why on earth would anyone want to adopt a rescued dog? After all, aren't they like used cars? Who wants someone else's problems? If the dog is so wonderful, why would anyone give him away? If he was a stray, why didn't someone try to find him? I'd rather buy a puppy so I know what I'm getting, and besides they're so cute!" Read More...
  • Things YOU Can Do For Dog Rescue Would you like to help out? Dog Rescue Organizations are always in need of donations of time, money, and materials. Have a look at this listing to see if there's anything here that you would like to do.
  • Save a life during National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month There are over 10 million adoptable animals entering our nation's shelters each year just waiting for a family to call their own. According to the ASPCA approximately 5-9 million of these animals are euthanized in our shelters every year due to overcrowding. Help save a life this October during "National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month"!
  • What is a Puppy Mill? — According to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Ontario SPCA), the term "puppy mill" describes a breeding operation in which dogs are repeatedly bred for financial gain and are kept in substandard conditions. Puppy mill dogs are often confined to small cages for their entire lives and commonly suffer from various infections and parasites. A puppy mill cannot meet the needs of a dog and is a form of cruelty...Click Here to Read More — From No Puppy Mills Canada

    The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies defines a Puppy Mill as "a high-volume, sub-standard dog breeding operation, which sells purebred or mixed breed dogs, to unsuspecting buyers. Some of the characteristics common to puppy mills are:

    • Sub-standard health and/or environment issues;
    • Sub-standard animal care, treatment and/or socialization;
    • Sub standard breeding practices which lead to genetic defects or hereditary disorders;
    • Erroneous or falsified certificates of registration, pedigree, and/or genetic background.
    Note: These conditions may also exist in small volume or single-breed establishments."

Web Resources

  • No Puppy Mills Canada The goal of No Puppy Mills Canada is to inform the general public about Puppy Mills and what are generally termed as "Back Yard Breeders".
  • Prisoners of Greed — Puppymills Breed Misery — Hundreds of thousands of puppies are raised each year in commercial kennels. They are prisoners of greed. The only way to free them from their misery is to eliminate the demand for puppies by refusing to buy a puppy in a petstore and boycotting those stores that sell puppies.
  • Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) — The national voice of humane societies and SPCAs, bringing together those who work with, and care for animals to promote respect and humane treatment toward all animals.
  • Information for the Potential Puppy or Dog Owner — If you are considering bringing a puppy or dog into your home, please also see this growing section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website for important information before you make your decision.

Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT)
Veterinary Professionals Dedicated
to the Care of Animals Worldwide

The Canadian Animal Assistance Team is a group of Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians whose mission is to impact on the safety, health and population control of domestic animals worldwide.

CLICK HERE to learn more about CAAT.

Press releases, newsletters, and web content at a discount for shelters and animal rescues. Learn about the "Animal Writes Funding Project" here:

Smitty Movie

Adopt, Don't Shop!

SMITTY is a movie that spreads the message that lives of both humans and pets can be enriched with pet adoptions.

Please visit the SMITTY website at and register your pet organization for a chance to be featured in the movie. Then have all of your friends come to to vote for your organization. The organization with the most votes could win fabulous prizes!

Rescue / Shelter Books:


New Lives by Joanne Wannan

NEW LIVES: Stories of Rescued Dogs Helping, Healing and Giving Hope

A newly-released book written by Joanne Wannan, presents stories of hope and inspiration — where the "underdog" really does triumph in the end! The heroes in the book are an unlikely assortment of dogs who were rescued from shelters and the streets. They have gone on to love, serve and, in some cases, save the lives of the compassionate individuals who welcomed these abandoned canines into their hearts and lives.

The book tells of the amazing ways these rescued dogs are working as animal therapists or as service dogs, and how lives — both human and canine — are forever changed. One is Leo, a pit bull rescued from Michael Vick's dog fighting operation, who now visits patients in a chemotherapy ward, and acts as an ambassador for all dogs at a facility for juvenile delinquents.

The foreword is written by Dr. Marty Becker, resident veterinarian on Good Morning America, and co-author of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul. Cover endorsements are from the Humane Society, as well as the ASPCA. This book is a testament to the powerful bond between humans and dogs, and affirms the belief that it is never to late for miracles.

For more information, please visit:

Also available for purchase at and

Pieces of My Heart — Writings Inspired By Animals and Nature

by Jim Willis
Author of author of "How Could You?", "The Animals' Savior," "The Basset Chronicles" and other favorites.

"Pieces of My Heart is a soulful, heartfelt tribute to animals and a plea for compassion. As you immerse yourself in its truths you'll reach for the nearest animal to hug, you'll smile through tears, and you'll feel the urge to run barefoot in the grass."

"As a "voice for the voiceless," Jim Willis touches human hearts as deftly as he bonds with the animals he rescues. His writings have inspired animal lovers around the world in over a dozen languages. Now, with publication of his collected writings in the USA and the UK, the Author has made a generous arrangement with the publishers that can benefit the fundraising efforts of all animal rescue, conservation and environmental groups." For more information see

The book can be ordered online at: ;; and

Other Books: