When the idea or concept of adopting a pet comes to mind, most people immediately associate the act with going to their local shelter or here in Omaha, the Nebraska Humane Society. And while the NHS does some really great work, it is important to recognize other organizations that are truly making a tremendous impact. Volunteer-led, grassroots rescue groups work diligently to increase awareness and education surrounding puppy mills and unethical breeding practices while working to reduce the number of dogs that are euthanized through foster and adoption.
A common question or concern people have regarding adopting a rescue dog is whether or not the dog will be “damaged”–will the dog be too far gone, too aggressive, or too unhealthy to make a good pet? Puppy and adolescent dogs make up a large majority of dogs that are often rescued and in need of adoption. And the average age for a female to be discarded after her breeding duties is around four years old.
Another point of contention often expressed is the concern they won’t be able to find the breed of their liking. And because unethical breeding doesn’t discriminate, there are dogs of every color, shape, size, and breed available for adoption.
Below are five fantastic local rescue organizations to consider when looking to adopt your next four-legged friend!
Little White Dog Rescue
Little White Dog Rescue (LWDR) is a nonprofit dog rescue organization that consists entirely of foster homes rather than a shelter. Founded in 2007, LWDR originally began as a West Highland Terrier rescue group. Over the course of their tenor, they transitioned to rescuing small dogs of any breed. Like all rescue groups, their goal is to find loving, forever homes for small dogs who have been displaced through no fault of their own. LWDR receive dogs from city shelters, mass breeding facilities, and owners who can no longer care for them.
They are an all-volunteer group deeply committed to offering a chance at a good life to the dogs in their care. They provide a loving foster home, medical care, and quality food to each of their little dogs and begin training them to become beloved house pets. As a final gift to each of their dogs, LWDR works diligently to make the best match for them with a new family.
Little White Dog Rescue relies solely on donations to fund its mission to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home small dogs.
Muddy Paws Second Chance Rescue
Muddy Paws Second Chance Rescue is an all-breed rescue, and they believe every pet deserves to be happy and loved. Their goal is to give a SECOND CHANCE to any pet who needs it. They provide foster homes when a pet needs a safe and loving place to stay until they find their forever home and focus on helping owners keep their own dogs by offering education and training to resolve behavioral issues. They offer assistance to owners who post their pet(s) on social media sites in need of help and they supplement qualified owners with veterinary expenses when needed to save the pet’s life or restore its quality of life. They also operate a pet food pantry for those owners that need help feeding their animals.
Hands, Hearts, and Paws
Hands, Hearts & Paws (HHP) is a foster home-based dog rescue that takes in dogs of all breeds. HHP is fully run by a dedicated group of dog-loving volunteers who have opened up their hearts and homes to save as many dogs as humanly possible. HHP works diligently to combat puppy mills, backyard breeders, and irresponsible owners while raising awareness about pet ownership and the dark side of dog breeding. Their “why” is to not only save dogs and rehome them but to truly find the right homes. With donations and monetary support from individuals and the community, HHP covers every expense for their dogs until they are adopted.
Heartland German Shepard Rescue
Founded in 2005, Heartland German Shepard Rescue (HUGS) is a local rescue group operating in Omaha and Lincoln and covering surrounding areas focused on German Shepard advocacy.
While German Shepards are the heart and soul of their mission and why HUGS was formed, they also try to help Australian Cattle Dogs and other herding breeds and mixes in need. HUGS also helps other injured dogs, puppies, and/or moms with their litters who are out of time at overcrowded shelters or small rural shelters with a high euthanasia rate. Many of the dogs they rescue are sick or injured, which greatly decreases their time and chance of getting adopted. Many of the dogs are Shepherd mixes or other herding breeds including Australian Shepherds (Aussies) and Australian Cattle Dogs (Heelers).
HUGS does not have a shelter facility. The dogs they rescue stay with volunteer foster families until the time of their adoption. They provide necessary veterinary care, appropriate nutrition, love, training, and socialization to prepare their dogs for their forever home. Alike other groups, their greatest need is for foster families. A rescue group’s ability to save a dog’s life is most often determined by whether they have an open foster home for that dog to be placed in.
Golden Retriever Rescue in Nebraska
Golden Retriever Rescue in Nebraska (GRRIN) was founded in 1991 and is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. Their all-volunteer program provides a network to shelter, rehabilitate, and rehome Golden Retrievers who are displaced due to family circumstances or other needs. GRRIN volunteers provide foster care for Goldens until they can be matched to prospective owners who are carefully screened to provide permanent homes.
GRRIN also provides public education about responsible dog ownership and, in particular, about the Golden Retriever breed via our newsletter and official website.
Another wonderful resource for locating pets that are available for adoption in your area is Petfinder.com.