Life happens, and for some dog owners, health, personal, and economic situations dictate that they can no longer care for their beloved pet. It is heart-wrenching but a fact of life.
When canine ownership becomes too much of a challenge, dog rescues can save the day and improve the lives of animals by placing the animal in question in a loving and caring home.
Here is a list of the best dog rescues in North Carolina. Each organization includes a rundown of what each facility offers and the requirements to adopt a dog.
6 Best Dog Rescues for Adoption in North Carolina
The following are highly rated dog rescue organizations in North Carolina. They are not listed in any particular order, and each is viewed as highly reputable and effective for placing dogs in wonderful homes.
1. Ruf Creek Ranch Animal Rescue and Adoption Center
Ruf Creek Ranch Animal Rescue and Adoption Center is a non-breed specific animal rescue organization. The facility is a significant animal resource center in the Smithfield area dedicated to animal rescue, and it has deep ties to the community.
The rescue facility sits on 9 acres of land, with approximately 7 acres dedicated to the rescue animals in the form of a converted farm. There are two large barns, several smaller outbuildings, and the rescue part of the property has a gated entrance. Each barn underwent remodeling to house rescue animals.
Ruff Creek only takes pets that are on euthanasia lists at local shelters. They do not take personally surrendered pets.
As an organization, Ruff Creek is a member of the Cesar Millan Foundation’s Shelter Stars program and is an Adopt-A-Pet-approved rescue. They are also a Humane Society of the US Emergency Placement partner, and they participate in the Pilots N Paws program.
The history of an animal at Ruf Creek is limited to whatever data the shelter has collected. Rescue center staff research a rescue animal’s history, but finding a comprehensive life history is complicated. Ruf Creek Ranch is a 501(c)(4) organization and operates on donations, including volunteer work and direct contributions of supplies.
Because Ruf Creek is a multi-animal rescue facility, it may not have an eligible dog for adoption. You need to check in with the staff periodically and work with them to adopt a dog when one arrives at the facility or becomes available.
The adoption agreement is standard with a questionnaire that helps them determine your eligibility as potential owners. An application fee covers initial veterinary expenses.
2. Cause N Dog Rescue
Cause-N-Dog Rescue started as an answer to a local need. Ten years later, what was initially a part-time endeavor turned full-time as the owners developed a full-time rescue, temporary foster home, and adoption facility.
Since creating their business, Cause-N-Dog has helped over 1,000 dogs get the care and love they need and be placed in loving and caring homes.
Cause-N-Dog is a legitimate dog rescue organization, so the animals that come through their door tend to be in dire need of care. Often, they are victims of abuse and neglect and have injuries, diseases, are pregnant and homeless. They will consider taking owner surrenders of dogs 20 pounds or less.
In terms of the history of their dogs, they are a rescue organization and get their dogs from shelters, which limits the amount of historical data that is available. Cause-N-Dog works with whoever brings the animals in to verify their history and health.
The adoption process is extensive and includes some requirements, such as:
- References for the adoptee
- A veterinarian should be set up for the animal, and an initial appointment scheduled
- Landlord information is required if the prospective owners rent
They mandate that all pets in the adopting home be spayed and neutered. The agreement has a return policy if the adoption fails. An application fee covers initial veterinary expenses.
Cause N Dog is a non-profit under the 501 (c)(4) designation. They accept cash, supplies, and volunteer donations. The organization takes all dogs and is not breed-specific. That means regular checking in to see if one has come in is necessary. The staff will work with a prospective owner to identify an eligible dog for adoption.
3. Catering to Cats & Dogs
Catering to Cats & Dogs (C2CND) started in 2008, rescuing only cats and not accepting dogs. Shortly after, it incorporated dog saving as part of its core mission. It is a 501 (c)(4) organization and can handle over 100 dogs and cats at a time.
The organization is entirely volunteer-run, and it takes animals from all over the Lake Norman area. Many of their animals are taken from Animal Control facilities and are on a list for euthanization.
All incoming animals receive extensive animal medical checkups upon arriving, including being spayed or neutered. The organization usually is filled with rescue animals, so personal surrender of animals is not an option. The organization will post the surrendered animal on Petfinder for up to 4 weeks.
C2CND places animals in foster and adoption homes. Its application is standard and requires a summary of your home, landlord approval of pets, and veterinary references. Home visits are also part of the application process. The adoption will not proceed without one, although they are very flexible. An application fee covers initial veterinary expenses.
Because of the nature of the rescue animals it takes, there is no guarantee C2CND will have any specific type of breed. Checking in regularly is recommended. It’s also a great idea to volunteer so you can get to know the rescue staff.
4. Second Chance Pet Adoptions
Second Chance Pet Adoptions is a non-profit animal rescue organization that has been active since 1987. It is the oldest no-kill rescue organization in Wake County, and it deals primarily with homeless cats and dogs that are healthy or treatable. Second Chance is a non-profit 501 (c)(4) organization and relies on a heavy volunteer presence to help run the center.
Second Chance does not accept owner-surrendered dogs unless the dog came from Second Chance. The home putting the animal up for adoption can foster the animal in question until someone else adopts it. All animals have received medical care, including spaying or neutering, parasite and disease treatment, microchips, and vaccinations.
The adoption and foster home process is standard. It requires:
- Landlord permission
- Veterinary contacts
- Family and pet information
The emphasis of the application is on family members and pet compatibility in addition to the standard requirements. An application fee covers initial veterinary expenses.
Second Chance does not cater to any dog breed, as with the other rescues. You need to check in with them and build a relationship if you are waiting for a dog to be placed at their facility.
5. Red Dog Farm Animal Rescue Network
Red Dog Farm has 21 acres for rehabilitating and rejuvenating animals of all sorts. However, most of their dogs live with foster families in Guildford, Forsyth, and Rockingham counties.
If you’re looking for a new furry friend, take a look at each adoptable animal to see if any seem to fit your family situation. Each dog’s profile should give you a good idea of what to expect from the dog based on information from the dog’s foster family.
If you find a dog you’d like to adopt, simply click on the “Apply for Adoption” link in the dog’s profile, enter your email address, and Red Dog Farm will contact you with information about meeting the dog through their foster family.
The adoption fee for Red Dog Farm dogs is $250, which covers heartworm testing, spaying or neutering, microchipping, and vaccinations.
6. Carolina Animal Rescue and Adoption (CARA)
CARA has been using education to help promote responsible pet ownership since 1983, when they began the rescue organization that would eventually become CARA. This non-profit organization provides shelter for homeless animals in Lee county until they can find a forever home.
CARA sometimes has Goldendoodles and other Golden mixes, so you’ll want to browse their available dogs to see if any catch your eye to become your new animal friend.
The organization will usually contact you within 48 hours of receiving your adoption application.
If you seem to be a good match for the dog, you will pay a $155 adoption fee. If you end up adopting a puppy under four months, the adoption fee is $115, plus a $100 deposit, which you can get back when you provide proof that you’ve spayed or neutered the puppy after it has reached the appropriate age.
The adoption fee covers the following for each dog:
- Being spayed or neutered
- Heartworm tests
- Deworming (if necessary)
- Monthly flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives
- One free month of pet insurance
Dog Adoption Advice
Owning an adoption animal always requires a special touch and caring. There are hurdles to overcome that do not exist in most non-rescue adoptions or dog purchases. Here is some general advice on how to get your dog rescue in North Carolina off on the best foot possible.
Why Adopt Rescues?
It is true it takes a special kind of person to adopt a rescue animal of any kind. The animal has experienced high levels of stress, abandonment, and in many cases, horrible abuse. So, why bother?
The best reason is that a rescue dog is no different from any other animal if you provide the proper care and love. It takes time, to be sure, but if the new owners are patient, the animal will eventually trust them and acclimate into their household. An offshoot of that reason is that these animals have special needs that you should address.
How to Prepare for an Adoption
You need to know many things before embarking on your adoption journey with your new pet. We’ve outlined a few below to help improve animal welfare.
Children and Dogs
Having a hands-on child can provoke a negative response in a rescue dog. If you do have both, you need to supervise any interactions. It would help if you also learned the signs of your animal becoming stressed so you can intervene.
Kids love dogs, and a rescue dog is no exception. However, the animal may have some hang-ups resulting from their experience before being adopted. Children climbing on them or roughhousing might prompt a negative response.
Mark areas the animal is not allowed in your home before the animal gets there. If possible, use an impenetrable barrier. Clear boundaries help condition your dog to respect its new home and any limitations.
Dog-Proof Your Home
Dog-proof the home before the animal gets there. Look for anything that can be chewed, played with, licked, eaten, or swallowed. Remove anything that might harm the animal.
Keep the Rescue on Speed Dial
Chat often with rescue personnel and build a relationship. They can help you help the animal to acclimate to their new home.
These vary from rescue center to rescue center but usually run in the several hundreds of dollars range. The costs cover care for the dog and help the rescue center help other innocent animals become happy and healthy animals.
How to Ace the Approval Process
The best way to do well in the approval process is to be completely honest. Reputable rescue organizations will check into every aspect of your application and conduct a home visit. You will probably get caught and disqualified if you lie about any information.
New Pet Owner Advice
Once you have your new pet, keep the following in mind.
Give Your Pet Space at First
Your new pet is learning about a new space. That means you need to be patient with them and be prepared for them to be with you most of the time.
Give Your Pet a Routine
Putting them on a schedule as soon as possible is a good idea. Rescue animals need structure and stability along with love and caring. A plan will also help the dog adapt to its new home and routine.
Did you enjoy our list of the best dog rescues in North Carolina? There are countless animals worldwide waiting to find their “furever home” and thousands of animals in NC alone. This list covers three highly regarded rescue shelters. If you use the tips in the advice section regarding dog rescue and adoption details in North Carolina, you improve your chances of success.
If you have any questions or comments about this list or rescuing unwanted animals, leave a comment or question below and be sure to share if you enjoyed the article.