Adopting a dog is so exciting. I mean, you’re basically adding a new member to your family! Once you decide to welcome a rescue dog into your home, what next? How do you get a dog in Ottawa? Where do you look for the perfect dog for you? There are a ton of amazing rescues in and around Ottawa, so here's the low-down on where to go and some of the best rescues around.
Adopting a rescue dog (whether a big dog, small dog, senior or puppy) not only makes your life better. It also helps save a life by providing a loving home, and it frees up space and resources in adoption shelters for another dog in need. You not only help the pup you’re adopting but others that come along after it! And that’s what makes it so meaningful.
So here are 13 of the best dog rescues in Ottawa and where you can find them, listed in alphabetical order. This is by no means a full comprehensive list, just some of my favourites, but if I’ve missed any that you know of and absolutely love please let me know in the comments! This way other readers can benefit from them too.
BARK Dog Rescue was founded in 2001 and is a registered charity and “no kill” rescue organization. They’re committed to providing a support system for families to keep their dogs, finding homes for unwanted dogs and educating children and adults on how to choose and care for their dogs.
They also have a Foster Parent System to care for dogs while they wait to be adopted. They aim to give every dog in their care a forever home!
Interested in adopting a pit bull? Bullies in Need is dedicated to helping pit bull types of dogs find loving homes. They aim to educate the public about the history and temperament of these types of breeds. If you’ve ever been interested in adopting a pitbull pup (they really are the sweetest and so often misunderstood), this dog rescue is the best place to start!
An all-breed, all-size dog rescue, Freedom Dog Rescue is dedicated to providing homes for homeless and abandoned dogs, dogs from shelters and dogs where their owners can no longer care for them.
Relying on volunteers and foster families, they also host events like their Just Fore Dogs Golf Tournament, Puppy Cuddles and Bottle Drive.
Ottawa Dog Rescue is an all-breed, foster-based rescue that is dedicated to helping abandoned, abused and surrendered dogs find their loving forever homes.
All of their dogs are given a temporary foster home while they help find the perfect home for them, supported by their volunteers and some amazing local veterinarians. They also prioritize educating and bringing public awareness to responsible pet ownership and the importance of spaying/neutering. Their aim is to be part of the solution to help make a difference, one dog at a time.
A foster-based rescue, Homes for Paws’ goal is to place dogs in loving homes until they are adopted by their forever family. They’ve saved 312 dogs (as of right now, and still counting!), sell apparel to raise funds and have some amazing videos giving you a bit of background about them and some of their pups.
They also have a palliative care program to help care for dogs that are deemed unadoptable due to medical issues or needing special care.
While Keshet Kennels is primarily a boarding & daycare location, they also offer adoption services for large-breed rescues. They pride themselves on their full-service facility as a convenience for owners and a resort for their dogs! Just 20 minutes outside of downtown Ottawa, they also offer training on their beautiful estate.
Marshall’s Pet Rescue’s goal is to help pup’s whose time is up in shelters, whether for population control or health issues. They’ve made it their mission to help give homeless pets a loving forever home and are dedicated to saving dogs from abandonment. Their motto? Treating each dog as an extension of their own family.
Founded by a hobby farmer in 2007, Navan Dog Rescue aims to create a healthy world where people live in harmony with their animals. If you’d like to rescue a dog from here, you need to apply and then they will contact you when there’s a dog available. They don’t post their dogs on their website due to their long waiting list and because they go so fast!
Though they don’t seem to have a website, New Beginnings Dog Rescue post frequently on their Facebook page with photos and videos to update you on the pets in their care. Their main focus is on rescuing dogs but also help find homes for cats and reptiles. Their main location is in Ottawa but they also have foster homes in the Shawinigan, Quebec area.
Rocky Road Dog Rescue pride themselves on training their dogs before they get put up for adoption. They know that a lot of pups have gone down a rocky road, so need a bit more care and attention before they find their forever home. With their team having extensive experience with troublesome dogs, they especially love larger dogs who are often more difficult to rehome.
This rescue focuses on rescuing “Potcake” dogs and finding them their forever homes to families in Eastern Ontario. Not sure what a Potcake pup is? Though technically not a breed, Potcake is the name of stray dogs in the Caribbean. Medium in size, they come in all shapes, colours and sizes and can be considered “mystery mutts”! You can learn more about them and Potcake dogs on the Eastern Ontario Potcake Rescue website.
Sit with Me focuses on at-risk dogs in their local area who need the most help. They don’t discriminate based on age, breed, medical history or behaviour as those animals are the ones that are losing their lives most frequently. Once placing dogs in their forever homes, they make sure that they will never be alone again and bring them back into their care if needed. Since their start in 2012, they’ve taken 1200 dogs into their care!
The mission of Sirius K9 Rescue is to save dogs in Animal Control facilities from euthanasia, after having saved a small black dog named Griffin, when there were less than 12 hours to save him from a “high-kill” shelter. Now committed to finding each dog that they bring into their care an ideal family home, they make sure each dog is spayed/neutered with all of their vaccinations and a microchip before they head to their forever home!
Petfinder is a great resource for finding available dogs in your area. You can either browse based on who is nearest to your location, or narrow down by Breed, Age, Size, Gender, and many other filters. They also have a fun interactive quiz to help match you to the perfect dog! Definitely look into it if you're just at the beginning of finding your perfect pup.
I hope this list helps give you a good place to start on your journey to finding a new member of your family! Really, all of these rescues are so amazing and care a huge amount about the dogs in their care (as well as the dogs not yet in their care), you really can’t go wrong with any of them.
The next step is choosing the right dog for you - which I've covered in this post, where I talk about 7 factors to consider when choosing a rescue dog.
If you’ve adopted YOUR pup from a rescue or shelter, let me know below! I’d love to hear their story, and if you've only just adopted, make sure to check out my blog post on welcoming a rescue dog into your home.
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