Where to Get a Dog

It is estimated that 1.2 million dogs* are euthanized each year in this country. Approximately 20 percent of the dogs in shelters are purebred. There are puppies, big dogs, small dogs, and dogs of all shapes, sizes, and colors in shelters and rescues. Please consider rescuing your next pet – you will never regret giving a dog a second chance at life. We recommend the following options for adding a dog to your family.

Local Shelters and Rescues

Murphy, a purebred Cairn Terrier, rescued from Chicago Animal Care and Control just hours before euthanasia. There are amazing dogs waiting in shelters in every part of the country.

  • Shelter dogs are not broken or flawed. Dogs end up in shelters and rescues for all sorts of reasons. Reasons that often have nothing to do with the dog. Owners relinquish their dogs because they are moving, having a new baby, or simply don’t want the responsibility or expense of a dog. Dogs often end up in shelters when their owners pass away, or when owners have a change in circumstances and can no longer afford a pet.
  • Don’t overlook city shelters. Approximately 20,000 dogs and cats come into Chicago Animal Care and Control each year. These animals desperately need homes. Chicago Animal Care and Control adopts directly to the public for $65, and all dogs and cats are spayed and neutered before their adoption. They are located at 2741 South Western Avenue. Click here for more information.
  • For a list of Chicago area rescue organizations, click here.

Located outside of Chicago? Petfinder.com is a national, searchable database where you can locate thousands of animals of all ages, sizes, and breeds in need of homes at shelters throughout the country. Love older dogs? We do, too. Make sure to check out Susie’s Senior Dogs, a community that brings awareness to overlooked, homeless senior dogs across the country.

Breed-Specific Rescues

  • Have your heart set on a particular breed of dog? No problem. Nearly every breed has a rescue organization associated with it. There are at least 150 breed-specific rescue groups servicing the greater Chicago area alone. Simply Google the name of the breed you wish to search for along with the word “rescue” and your location. Make sure to search for a breed-specific rescue on Facebook. Many of these organizations maintain active Facebook pages where they highlight the dogs currently available for adoption. Tails Pet Magazine provides a list of breed-specific rescue groups here.

Responsible Breeders

  • Responsible breeders breed their dogs in humane conditions. Their dogs are healthier and better socialized than dogs sold in pet stores or through breeders that sell online. Responsible breeders are also usually more affordable than pet stores. Breed clubs are often great resources for locating a responsible breeder. Google the breed club for the breed of your choice to locate a specific one. Please review our Responsible Breeder Checklist and visit www.pupquest.org and do your homework before deciding to go with a breeder.

* This statistic and others are available on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website, available here.