Here’s what you need to know if you’re searching for the best dog rescues in Western New York. There’s truly nothing more exciting than the first time you become a pet parent. Owning any pets (but especially dogs, in our humble opinion) is such a rewarding experience. Dogs and all pets can greatly enrich your life with love, companionship, and loyalty— and it feels pretty great to be able to do the same for them in return.
Whether you’ve been dreaming of the day you bring home your first dog for years or you’re a seasoned pet owner, the process of adopting a dog is something to look forward to. If you’re new to pet ownership, you may be surprised to learn that owning a dog is a lot more work than people expect.
One of the reasons there are so many dogs in the shelter system is because people adopt them, realize they can’t properly care for them, and then surrender them to the shelters. To avoid that fate— because let’s be honest, it’s awful for you and the dog— it’s best to be completely sure that you’re ready to handle the responsibility of dog ownership.
If you think you are ready, then it’s time to start the process of looking for the perfect animal rescue to adopt your new furry friend from. While we already know that dog ownership is hard, however, it can surprise a lot of people to discover that it takes to research and effort to find the right animal rescue to adopt from.
Before scrolling down this list of dog rescues in Western New York, check out these other recommendations from our team at We Love Doodles: Best Dog Rescues in Upstate New York and Best Golden Retriever Rescues in New Jersey.
Find a Dog Rescue Near Me in Western New York
Some rescues are very specific about the dogs they save, and therefore many cater to specific breeds, ages, or service-type dogs. Others aren’t as specific and you’ll be able to find a variety of dogs and other animals. To make the process as rewarding and efficient as possible, we suggest taking some time to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in your new dog.
Consider aspects of your lifestyle that might complement or complicate dog ownership. Do you have a lot of free time and live an active lifestyle? If so, you may want to consider an energetic breed or a puppy. If you’re looking for a chill companion to relax with after work, then look into an older dog that doesn’t need a ton of exercise stimulation.
If you live in Western New York and are interested in adopting a dog, then this is the article for you. We took the time to research all of the best animal rescues in the area so you don’t have to. If you like any of the ones on the list please visit their website to see the adoptable dogs and learn more.
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1. Heart of Niagara Animal Rescue
Heart of Niagara is an awesome rescue located in Lockport that is dedicated to saving the lives of unwanted, abandoned, homeless, or neglected dogs. Heart of Niagara is a certified non-profit and its mission is to take as many dogs out of high kill shelters as possible.
This rescue truly believes that all dogs deserve to live and find loving homes, and they, therefore, keep the dogs they save until they can get adopted, no matter how long that may take.
All adoptable dogs are medically examined and treated, vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and given a clean bill of health before being listed as adoptable. This rescue is also passionate about providing access to low-cost spay and neuter services as well as microchipping and they strive to provide this to the community whenever it is needed.
Heart of Niagara Animal Rescue Details
- Location: Lockport, NY
- Contact: (716) 345-7129
- Website: Heart of Niagara Animal Rescue
2. Awesome Paws Rescue
Awesome Paws is a great rescue in Western New York that believes in rescuing shelter dogs who are at risk of euthanasia at high-kill shelters. To accommodate as many dogs as possible, this rescue works with a network of volunteers to foster all adoptable dogs until they can find their perfect forever home.
This system is great because it helps them rescue many dogs at once and it also gives the dogs a chance to become used to living in a loving home life and start receiving the love and attention they deeply deserve. At Awesome Paws, they firmly believe in matching dogs with the perfect families, and their adoption process helps assess the compatibility between your potential new dog and yourself or your family.
Awesome Paws Rescue Details
- Location: Buffalo, NY
- Contact: (716) 248-8827
- Website: Awesome Paws Rescue
3. Queen City Pitties Animal Rescue
Last on the list of dog rescues in Western New York is “Queen City Pitties.” This great rescue is committed to saving the lives of Pitbulls and Pitbull mixes in the New York area. These breeds are some of the most misunderstood dogs out there, and as a result, are often the first to be euthanized at high kill shelters.
Even though these dogs are often used for dogfighting and guard duty they are some of the most loving and gentle dogs you can own. Thankfully, Queen City Pitties is committed to correcting this stereotype and keeping as many pitties out of the shelter system as possible.
This rescue is a certified non-profit and is a great choice if you’re interested in adopting a bully breed and giving them a second chance. If you’re able, we also encourage you to apply to be a foster parent to their adoptable dogs.
Queen City Pitties Animal Rescue Details
- Location: Tonawanda, NY
- Website: Queen City Pitties Animal Rescue
Make Sure You’re Ready For a Dog Rescue Shelter in Western New York
One of the worst things you can do is bring home a new dog that will grow to love and depend on you and then abandon it if you realize you can’t care for it properly. Dogs are emotional creatures and they form attachments to their caregivers. They also can’t understand why you suddenly disappeared from their lives, so even if the decision was difficult and made in their best interest, it will still hurt and confuse them.
Therefore, the best way to avoid this is to make sure that you’re ready to adopt a dog before you bring it home. With a new dog, you should be prepared to spend a lot of time playing, walking, and generally just spending time together. Depending on your dog’s specific needs you may have to budget more time for exercise than you expected. Dogs also need to eat a lot, especially if you adopt a bigger breed.
In addition to food, you should expect to spend money on toys, accessories, beds, vet visits, and routine medication like vaccines and heartworm prevention. Puppies also tend to be more work than adult dogs, and even though puppies are super cute they can end up being way more work than people expect. If you’re used to raising animals then you probably have a good idea of what to expect from the process, but if you’re a first-time pet owner it can be easy to be overly optimistic about the work involved.
To get a clear idea of what to expect, we suggest talking to a pet owner friend or relative who is currently living a similar life to yours. This means someone who works similar hours, has a similar social life and earns a similar amount of money. This way you can find out what their experience has been like.
Be sure to ask questions and advice about things like whether owning a pet costs more or less than they expected, what the most difficult aspects of pet ownership have been for them, and any other things they wish they had known before embarking on the journey. Dogs can live for over a decade, so it’s best to know what you’re getting into before you commit.
Getting Your Home Ready For Your New Dog in Western New York
Before bringing your new dog home you should make sure that your home is ready to accommodate them. Not only does this mean creating a cozy and isolated space for them to acclimate to the surroundings, but also making sure your home is safe and free of dangers. Dogs are a lot like babies in the sense that they explore the world with their noses and mouths, and this is especially true for puppies.
A dog can’t tell the difference between a toxic chemical and a delicious treat, and they may get curious and lick something that could make them very sick or even kill them. As their owner, it’s your job to keep all dangerous items (even toxic human foods like chocolate and avocado) out of reach of your new dog.
Conclusion For The “Best Dog Rescues in Western New York”
Adopting a dog is such a rewarding and exciting experience and we’re so happy for you. We hope you found this list of the best dog rescues in Western New York helpful, and we wish you all the best as you embark on this new pet owner journey.
For more guides similar to this list of dog rescues in Western New York, you can check out:
Before you adopt a dog from a rescue shelter in Western New York, you can learn more by watching “How to Prep For a Rescue Dog” down below:
Andy is a full-time animal rescuer and owner of a toy doodle. When he’s not saving dogs, Andy is one of our core writers and editors. He has been writing about dogs for over a decade. Andy joined our team because he believes that words are powerful tools that can change a dog’s life for the better.
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