Find the Perfect Family Pet at a Local DC Animal Shelter

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Finding the perfect pet is a lot like finding the perfect home; you fall in love instantly at first sight. There are many animal shelters and animal rescue centers in the district, but before you go, there are a few things to keep in mind. For instance, homeless cats and dogs can become stressed in animal shelters. The nonstop barking, meowing, and constant foot traffic can make it an intimidating and scary place. Many pets are also bewildered and don’t understand why they are in the shelter in the first place. Timid animals may appear shy and hide in their cages which can make it hard to truly grasp the full scope of their personality. That frightened pet at the shelter may actually be an outgoing, fun-loving, cuddle bug if given the chance to go to a loving home. For that reason, be sure to talk with the shelter staff and take the time to learn more about the animals.  In an effort to help you with your search in adopting a family pet, here is a list of animal shelters in the district where you might find your new best friend.


As a rescue organization, all dogs and cats live exclusively with foster families as they wait to be adopted. They are not in a shelter, so they are most likely well-trained, potty trained, and are already used to living with families. Since the rescue organization started 9 years ago, they have found homes for nearly 2,000 dogs. The process to adopt is extensive, but the volunteers want to make sure the family and pets are happy together. A forever home is, well, forever, so the decision needs to be a good one.


This District-owned shelter on New York Avenue, Northeast is about 25 minutes away from the community of Georgetown. About five years ago the Washington Animal Rescue League and the Washington Humane Society merged to form the shelter that it is today. What one lacked, the other provided, which is why the merge made sense. The shelter focuses on animal welfare and uses their resources to do animal behavior and assessment tests on the animals. They have a full staff of adoption counselors working to place the animals. When you walk into the shelter, let the staff know about your family life, age of children, and ability to be at home during the day, and they will work with you to find the best pet for your family.


This organization finds dogs with a high risk of being euthanized in shelters around the area. Hounds and black dogs are often ones that have a hard time attracting adopters. Injured dogs, older dogs, and the like are also grouped into animals that are least likely to be adopted. The organization will treat them if they are injured, provide the thorough medical attention they need, and then help them find a home. You can call the rescue for more information, Kim Hawkins. 410-310-4420, or visit Howl to the Chief (733 Eighth St, SE) in Capitol Hill every weekend to see adoptable pets.


Almost twenty years old, this organization was founded when a woman named Sue Bell visited a kill shelter in West Virginia and discovered that the euthanasia rate was near 98 percent. She started the organization to what it is now – a network of more than 200 adoption centers and foster homes. The rescue center is at 1116 Fairfax Station Rd., Fairfax Station; less than 45 minutes from the Spring Valley community.

Whether you are hoping to adopt a dog, cat, or both, there are plenty of deserving animals in location shelters just waiting to be loved by you and your family in your beautiful home. 


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