General Resources & Programs

Introduction

This section includes information on a wide variety of rescue topics and programs. If you’re looking for best practices, model programs, training opportunities, and background information on almost any rescue topic you will find it here.  Websites of the largest animal welfare organizations in the U.S. contain a wealth of information.

AKC Reunite

The American Kennel Club (AKC) Reunites initiative has a universal scanner donation program. Animal shelters, animal rescues, and other animal welfare organizations can apply online for a free scanner.

ASPCApro

Geared to animal welfare professionals, ASPCApro includes training, tools, tips, research and resources on shelter practices.  Free Shelter Medicine Consultations is just one example of the resources they provide.

Amazon Wish List

This is a gift registry on Amazon.com, where shelters and rescues can set up ‘wishlists’, and supporters can buy needed donations from the list. To set up a list, go to Amazon.com, and hover over Accounts and Lists on the top right-hand side of the page to get the menu. Click on lists and scroll down to ‘Create a list’. The list allows you to include how many of each item you need and its priority. Tips for success with Amazon wishlists:

  • Share your list widely – on Facebook, your website and in other communication with your supporters
  • Review your list regularly and keep it up to date.  Remove items you no longer need and update the number of each item you still need.  For example, if dog food is something you need all the time, make it a “high priority” and update the number needed on a regular basis.  Note:  If the item is purchased, it will be taken off the list.

Animal Grantmakers

Animal Grantmakers is a funder affinity group focused on animal protection that is comprised of a diverse group of foundations, public charities, corporate giving programs, and individuals working throughout the U.S. and globally.  The site includes an animal funding database and resources for grant-seekers.

Best Friends Animal Society

Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a national leader in the no-kill movement and all aspects of animal care and rescue. The Best Friends Network of public and private shelters, rescue groups, spay/neuter organizations, and other animal welfare groups in all 50 states is the foundation of Best Friend’s collaborative approach. By joining the network, organizations can benefit from professional resources and tools, a network of regional advisors, mentorships, access to support from the entire network through the Network Partner Facebook page, and fundraising events, such as the nationwide Strut Your Mutt, which raises millions of dollars for network partners. To become a partner, read the FAQs, learn about data reporting requirements and fill out an application on the Network partner site https://network.bestfriends.org

Here are some helpful resources created by Best Friends to assist partner organizations with community engagement and program planning:

  • Community Lifesaving Dashboard: a real-time, data-driven picture of lifesaving in the country’s animal shelters that informs and inspires community members to take local action for pets in need.  Each shelter can provide their animal data and a narrative about the shelter for their own dedicated page within the tool.
  • Gap Analysis Tool: When you input your shelter’s annual data, the tool will analyze it and pinpoint up to five programs that can help you save more lives. The recommendation report provides links to resources and opportunities to start new programs.
  • 2025 Action Team: Created for members of the general public who want to be a part of the solution.  Resources from the website can help you identify advocacy goals for your community (e.g., ending breed-specific legislation), form a team, and learn about strategies and act.  This program has a Facebook page and a Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit.

Funding opportunities for Best Friends Network Partners Best Friends administers The Rachael Ray Foundation’s “Save Them All” and “No-Kill Excellence” grants fund programs designed to reduce the number of cats and dogs killed in shelters.

Clear the Shelters

NBCUniversal Local’s Clear the Shelters campaign takes place throughout the month of August. According to the television company, the nationwide pet adoption and donation initiative has resulted in more than 1 million animal adoptions since it was first launched in 2015. Check the campaign website in June or July for the 2024 Clear the Shelters event and register your shelter via the online registration form.

Dogs Playing for Life (Animal Farm Foundation) 

The Animal Farm Foundation Dogs Playing for Life program offers fee-based training and technical assistance through “Shelter Enrichment Seminars” and “Mentorships” to shelter personnel and volunteers to advance skills in handling and training.  The website has a downloadable brochure about the program and a free 120-page training manual.

Empty the Shelters

Across the U.S. Hundreds of shelters and animal rescue groups participate in the BISSELL Pet Foundation Empty the Shelters initiative. Through this program adopters pay no more than $50 to adopt a pet. Shelters interested in participating in the initiative must join the foundation’s Partners for Pets program. Bissell Shelter Partners are also eligible to:

  • Apply for grants
  • Receive financial support when experiencing an emergency
  • Receive financial support through the foundation’s Grateful Pets award program


Heartworm Disease Educational Brochures for Shelters

The American Heartworm Society and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians produced a series of educational brochures on heartworm for distribution to people adopting shelter animals. The free brochures can be downloaded online and help pet owners to understand heartworm disease, how it’s transmitted, how it’s treated, and how to protect dogs and cats from contracting the disease.

Greater Good Charities

Good Flights, a program of Greater Good Charities, conducts life-saving airlifts and supports ground transport for at-risk and vulnerable pet populations with a special focus on asymptomatic heartworm-positive shelter dogs, disaster relief, homeless cats, and harder-to-place dogs. Good Flights is currently committed to the transport of heartworm-positive dogs from shelter partners in Louisiana, which has one of the highest heartworm infection rates in the country. The dogs are sent to receiving shelters where they are treated and placed into loving homes. Shelters can apply online for financial help and support from Greater Good Charities.

Greater Good Charities: Rescue Bank

The GOODS program of Greater Good Charities distributes food, essential supplies, clothing, housewares, toys, and more to pets and people nationwide. Recipients of this program include victims of domestic violence. Distribution of needed supplies is handled by partner ambassadors, which include animal welfare organizations and food banks. Anyone in need of help can search online for a local GOODS program ambassador.

How I Met My Dog

The How I Met My Dog website custom matches people with their canine soulmate and assists people with rehoming their dogs, working in partnership with dozens of shelters and rescue groups in 40 states. To become a shelter partner, click on Shelter/Rescue on the homepage.

Kuranda 

Shelters can set up a page with Kuranda which allows people to buy (donate) beds at a reduced cost which are then shipped directly to the shelter. The shelter can choose sizes, colors, etc. for both dogs and cats. It makes it easy for someone to help, whether they are local or in some other state.

Maddie’s Fund 

One of the largest animal welfare grant makers, Maddie’s Fund is a family foundation dedicated to building and sustaining a no-kill nation pet lifesaving, shelter management, leadership, shelter medicine education and foster care. Their Resource Section includes information on behavior, training and enrichment, fostering, humane law enforcement & laws, etc.)

Max & Neo 

Max & Neo distributes boxes three times a year to 501(c)(3) rescues and shelters. Boxes contain Max & Neo products (collars, leashes, supplements, etc.) and organizations can specify which type of items they need (i.e., martingale collars, large collars, short leashes). Simple online application.

Pedigree Foundation

In addition to its grants program, the Pedigree Foundation partners with innovative organizations doing groundbreaking work to increase dog adoptions to produce a series of free Best Practices webinars as a resource for shelters and rescues nationwide.

Pilots N Paws 

Pilots and Paws links volunteers engaged in rescuing, sheltering and adopting animals, and volunteer pilots and plane owners to arrange animal transportation, including rescue flights, overnight foster care or shelter, and all other related activities. For information and guidelines, go to their website and click on “How to Use PNP” at the top of the page. Note: There are many other national, regional or local volunteer pilot transport programs, both formal and informal.

Red Rover 

Red Rover helps animals rescued from disasters or neglect, domestic violence victims seeking safety with their pets, and animals with life-threatening illnesses. They provide financial assistance to low-income families, emergency sheltering in natural disasters, puppy mills and hoarding and education programs.

Rescue Rebuild 

Rescue Rebuild, a program of Greater Good, is a shelter renovation program that recruits volunteers to help shelters in need and provides the expertise and the leadership to help you renovate an existing space or expand the space you have to make it more usable with projects like outdoor play areas, adoption areas, or updating kennel spaces. For a list of projects, they can help with, click on “Apply for a Renovation” on their website. Note: they do not help with new buildings.

Safer at Home with Your Pet

The Animal Harbor Shelter in Tennessee offers an online Safer at Home with Your Pet Education Series. The series includes important information such as how to read your dog’s body language which helps volunteers strengthen their bond with shelter dogs and adopters help rescued dogs settle into their new homes.

Safe Havens for Pets of Domestic Violence Victims

The Animal Welfare Institute maintains a database of Safe Havens for Pets located throughout the country. Safe havens are sheltering services available in an area that help individuals experiencing domestic violence place their companion animals out of harm’s way so that they may seek safety for themselves as well as their animals. Safe havens operate differently from community to community. Some rely on networks of foster care homes. Others use the additional kennel space of a local humane society or veterinarian. In some cases, domestic violence shelters house victims and pets together, either in the same area or in a kennel located at the domestic violence shelter. Visit the WWLDO Grants page for more information on financial assistance for the pets of domestic violence victims.

Shelters United Offers Savings on Pet Supplies

Shelters United is a cooperative buying program that provides group discounts for its members. Any animal welfare organization can join and participation is free. According to the cooperative, there is no minimum purchase required and no requirement to purchase specific brands! Benefits of membership include:

  • Discounted product pricing
  • Access to pet manufacturer discounts and special offers
  • Alerts to savings opportunities

Shelters interested in joining can complete and submit an online application.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) 

The Humane Society of the United States runs programs and campaigns designed to ease the burden on local sheltering groups, including the Animal Care Expo, Animal Sheltering magazine, the Pets for Life project to keep pets with their families, the Shelter Pet Project to encourage people to adopt from shelters and rescues, and provides rescue groups with training and resources. Humane Pro is the The Humane Society of the United States’ resource website for shelters and community leaders.  It includes tools, resources, training opportunities, and events in the areas of: Laws and Public Policies, Resources by Species, Shelter Operations and Community Outreach.

The National Humane Education Society (NHES)

The National Humane Education Society offers free humane education programs for schools, churches, clubs, libraries and other venues serving children, provides educational materials and lesson plans.

Tractive Shelter Project

The Tractive company which designs GPS tracking collars for dogs, created the Tractive Shelter Project to provide animal welfare organizations with more opportunities to keep foster and rescue pets safe and secure in their new homes. Shelters can register online, and once approved can choose from several offerings including requesting trackers or subscriptions for giveaways, auctions, and other events, or for free tracker vouchers for adopting pet parents. The shelter may also apply for reduced subscription fees.

Low-cost Spay/Neuter and Veterinary Services

15/10 Foundation

The nonprofit 15/10 Foundation helps cover the medical expenses for dogs who are less likely to get adopted because the cost of their immediate medical and/or ongoing lifetime care is prohibitive for new potential owners. Often the only hope for these animals is a rescue or private party with the financial ability to sponsor the medical costs. Unfortunately, many rescues cannot take on the long-term financial burden these cases require. So, the 15/10 Foundation sponsors those dogs and fills that void. With their medical costs paid for, it becomes much easier for a rescue to say yes to pulling those dogs and helping them find their forever homes. Shelters and rescues interested in partnering with the 15/10 Foundation can complete an application online.

Abandoned Pet Project

The Abandoned Pet Project is dedicated to funding medical care for abandoned, abused, and homeless pets. The nonprofit supports a network of fosters, veterinarians, community outreach projects, and spay/neuter initiatives. Their veterinary partners span across Texas working in local communities to rehabilitate shelter animals while offering medical assistance through low-cost vaccination clinics, microchipping, and spay and neuter assistance. For more information, email info@abandonedpetproject.org.

Bissell Pet Foundation

The Bissell Pet Foundation (BPF) is a national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending pet homelessness. In addition to offering animal welfare grants, the nonprofit partners with shelters nationwide and helps to reduce the number of animals in shelters and rescues by supporting pet adoption programs and transports, and helping to fund low-cost spay and neuters, vaccinations, microchipping, and crisis and disaster response programs. To further its lifesaving impact, BPF directs spay and neuter initiatives where they are needed more. The foundation utilized a Mobile Animal Surgical Hospital in Helena-West Helena, AR. According to the organization this mobile clinic can be replicated in other locations in the future. For more information, call (616) 735-6666 or email info@bissellpetfoundation.org.

In 2021, BPF launched the Healing Heartworm program to save the lives of pets infected with heartworm and to help prevent more dogs from contracting the disease. The Healing Heartworm program is helping combat this disease by:

• Providing funding to treat heartworm-positive dogs to destination shelters taking in pets from BPF’s transport operations.

• Awarding Healing Heartworm grants to support shelters committed to transporting and treating heartworm-positive dogs from southern shelter partners in need.

• Distributing thousands of doses of heartworm preventative medicine to stop future heartworm from occurring.

The BPF currently partners with more than 6,000 animal welfare organizations in all 50 states. Shelters must first join the foundation’s Partners for Pets program before applying for grants or financial aid programs.

Chloe Animal Aid Organization

The Chloe Animal Aid Organization, Inc., was founded in August 2023 with a mission to assist families with the cost of pet ownership. The nonprofit is located in Nashville, GA and offers low-cost veterinary care, a community pet food bank, and low or no-cost microchipping. It also partners with local animal shelters and veterinary hospitals to run low-cost health clinics.

Emancipet

The mission of Emancipet is to make veterinary care affordable and accessible for everyone. The nonprofit manages an expanding national network of high-quality, low-cost clinics specializing in such services as spay and neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and microchipping. Emancipet also offers low-cost, comprehensive heartworm treatment for dogs at select locations. In addition, Emancipet offers customized training and consulting programs to animal welfare organizations nationwide and advocates for strategies and public policy that improve the lives of pets in underserved communities. For more information, call 866-441-9248 or email contact@emancipet.org.

Jason Debus Heigl Foundation

To address the pet overpopulation problem the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation launched the Namaste Spay & Neuter Initiative. Through this program, the foundation partners with qualifying 501(c)(3) groups to fully fund the cost of spay and neuter surgeries, including associated pain medication and any necessary vaccinations. On Namaste Days, pet owners bring their cats or dogs to pre-approved host clinics for free surgery. Shelters can apply online to organize a Namaste Spay and Neuter Clinic.

HOPE (Helping Over-Population End)

HOPE provides low-cost spay and neuter services for companion animals as well as feral cats in Kentucky. The goal of the organization is to reduce overpopulation and unnecessary euthanasia. Community education and involvement are essential components of HOPE’s efforts and are key to its success.

Hope Animal Sanctuary

Hope Animal Sanctuary serving rural Mississippi recently launched a Spay & Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP). The low-cost/no-cost spay and neuter program is available for low-income pet owners and/or for those on government assistance. These services will initially be offered in Montgomery and Carroll Counties, MS with plans to eventually extend the program into neighboring counties. Applications can be found online and need to be mailed to the animal sanctuary.

Onyx and Breezy Foundation

The Onyx and Breezy Foundation helps shelters and rescues across the nation by providing grants and helping to fund numerous initiatives including:

• Spay and neuter programs
• Rescue of animals from kill shelters
• Pet food, medicine, and supplies
• Equipment for medical facilities
• Shelters, rescues, foster groups and sanctuaries
• Pets of individuals where medical hardship is present (helping keep pets out of shelters)

For more information, email info@onyxandbreezy.org.

SNAP (Spay-Neuter Assistance Program)

The mission of SNAP is to prevent the suffering and death of companion animals and to enrich the human-animal bond by providing accessible and affordable veterinary services including spay and neuter surgeries. The organization operates in two major Texas metropolitan areas: Greater Houston and San Antonio, with its three Spay-Neuter and Animal Wellness Clinics located in Houston, Pasadena, and San Antonio. A majority of SNAP clients live at or below the poverty level and it serves a large segment of Hispanic communities in both Houston and San Antonio. For more information, call 713-862-3863.

Spay Neuter Network

The Spay Neuter Network (SNN) operates four spay and neuter clinics, a mobile spay-neuter program, and a transport program in and around the Dallas Fort Worth Metropolitan area and San Antonio, TX. The nonprofit partners with more than 16 counties and 36 cities to provide free and affordable spay and neuter and essential wellness services for financially challenged pet parents. The mission of the network is to provide free and affordable high-quality spay and neuter, wellness, and vaccination services for dogs and cats in neighborhoods with little or no access to basic veterinary care. For more information, you can send an online message or call 972-472-3500.

SpayUSA

North Shore Animal League America’s SpayUSA is a nationwide referral network for affordable spay and neuter services. The program’s goal is to make spay/neuter services affordable to those who might not otherwise have their pets fixed. SpayUSA provides referrals to over 1,900 low-cost sterilization programs and clinics nationwide as of 2019. To find a list of local clinics offering low-cost spay/neuter services, pet owners can enter a zip code on the SpayUSA website.

STAR Group

The nonprofit STAR Group operates a Mobile Clinic that performs low-cost spays, neuters, and wellness services in the Corpus Christi area, TX. During the week the mobile clinic is located at Peewee’s Pet Adoption World & Sanctuary, 1307 Saratoga Blvd., Corpus Christi. Appointments can be booked online or by calling 361-229-8202.

Assistance for Pet Owners Struggling to Afford Veterinary Bills

Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society provides an online database of national and state programs that offer financial assistance with veterinary bills and other financial aid for pets. The organization also offers assistance breakdowns based on such criteria as dog breeds, disease being treated, or help for assistance dogs.

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

The HSUS offers an online round-up of organizations and veterinary services that help pet owners struggling financially to care for their pets, along with tips and advice on steps that can be taken to help pay veterinary bills.

RedRover

The mission of RedRover is to help animals during crisis and strengthen the bond between people and animals through emergency sheltering, disaster-relief services, financial assistance, and education. The nonprofit offers an online database that breaks down by state organizations that assist with veterinary expenses. RedRover also offers a list of additional financial assistance resources as well as tools and tips pet owners can use when looking for help paying veterinary bills.

The Pet Fund

The Pet Fund is a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to owners of domestic animals in the U.S. who need veterinary care. An application for help can be submitted online but first pet owners must review and follow the Instructions on applying for assistance.

Things you Can Do Right Now to get Resources for your Shelter

  • Set up an Amazon Wishlist or update your current list.
  • Register your organization on Amazon Smile.
  • Join Best Friends Animal Society Network–start connecting on their Facebook page and reach out to your regional representative.
  • Join the Bissell Foundation Partners for Pets Program to be eligible for grants in six months.
  • Apply for a Maddie’s Fund Apprenticeship Program 
  • Apply for a Pedigree Foundation Grant
  • Identify two more funding sources from this list to pursue.
  • Get free educational materials on animal welfare for kids in your community from Red Rover Foundation or National Humane Education Society.
  • Bookmark or subscribe to WhoWillLetTheDogsOut.org to hear about new support opportunities as soon as we do and to read stories of other shelters/rescues.  You can also follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/WhoWillLetTheDogsOut) where we post inspiring graphics (which you should feel free to use for your own media), news of shelter/rescues we support, and great ideas/programs we learn of that can help save more animals.