Want to Get Involved?

What to help homeless dogs but don't know how?

  • Start by learning where puppies come from:

  • Do not buy a dog from a store!

Better yet, boycott any pet store that sells puppies and kittens. There are plenty of responsible petstores out there that do not sell dogs and cats. (Petco is one of our favorite responsible pet supply stores.) Dogs from stores come from puppy mills- large commercial breeders. Mother dogs are kept in small cages often stacked several high. These dogs are kept permanently pregnant until they can no longer have puppies. Then they are dumped or outright killed. Puppy Mill dogs are overbred and often have physical or psychological damage that is difficult to spot until it is too late. Dogs from puppy mills between 8 and 18 months old are one of the leading sources of abandoned dogs at shelters.
  • If possible, don't even get a dog from a breeder.

Right now there are too many dogs available. 11 million are killed each year because there's no room in shelters. There are plenty of dogs to go around without breeders adding to the problem. There is a rescue group for just about any breed of dog- you'll be able to rescue a purebred without feeding the problem.
  • If you do get a dog from a breeder, check the references and ask around.

You want a reputable breeder that will let you visit both the mother and father dogs. You do not want to get a dog from some yahoo who breeds as a hobby in their backyard. These people will often put the "Puppies for Sale" signs on the side of the road. They litter the roads with their signs and they litter their dogs.
  • Adopt your next dog from a shelter or a rescue group.

The perfect dog for you is out there and waiting. Rescued dogs know how bad things can get and appreciate and love their rescuers that much more.
  • Volunteer

Many rescue groups need bodies- people to walk the dogs, feed, groom, clean cages, clean towels and blankets, fundraise. Anything that you can do, there is probably a need for it at a shelter or rescue group. Take pictures, make information handouts, work on the group's web site.

Many groups such as the Long Island Golden Retriever Rescue conduct home visits to screen potential adoptors and need people to do the screening.

  • Foster

Take in a homeless dog until a home is found. This can be a lengthy commitment but is worth it when you have harbored a homess dog until it finds its forever home.

If you can't do the long-term commitment of fostering, sign up as to watch a dog during a foster's vacation. When foster parents go away on vacation they need to make arrangements for their dogs. If the dog is boarded it can cost $35 per day for each dog. Dog sitting is like fostering but the length of commitment is much more confined.

  • Transport dogs

If you can't make a full commitment such as fostering then offer a little time every once in a while to drive a dog from point A to point B. Often foster parents need to get their dogs to the vet but have difficulty with scheduling.

Dogs also need to be rescued from one state and brought to another. Consider this for road trips. Down south there are hundreds of purebreds that are in demand up north but get killed in overcrowded shelters because there's no one to transport them. Truckers and pilots are especially useful.

  • Raise Money

More than people to help, rescue groups need money. To rescue one dog, it will usually cost at least $300 just for shots, neutering and a vet check- and that's if the dog is healthy! It is not uncommon for a rescued dog to cost 2, 3 or 4 thousand dollars to make it adoptable and the adoption fee is usually trivial by comparisson. Volunteers are needed to sell raffle tickets or t-shirts, or sit outside stores and collect money.
  • Write Letters

If you see an article in a newspaper concerning dogs- either good or bad- write an informative letter to the paper with information about rescuing shelter dogs.
  • Talk to People

In general, people are unaware about the perils of homeless dogs or of the impact of buying a dog from a store or breeder. Let them know that there are options that do not compound the problem. One of the biggest excuses of ignorance I hear is that "I rescued the puppy from the store." Puppies are treated well in the stores and get played with often. You need to see the big picture- SUPPLY AND DEMAND. For every puppy that is sold at a store or by a breeder, there are more that are bred and more parent dogs doomed to a life of pregnancy in a small cage. If puppies are not bought- or rescued- from stores then there would be no demand for more puppies. If you think it's cruel to the puppies to leave them in the pet store cages, try thinking about the puppies and parent dogs that you don't see somewhere else.