Ready to welcome a new member into your family? Adopting a pet saves two lives – your new pet, and the animal that will take its place in a rescue or shelter that may have limited resources.
You can also save money on vet bills when you choose to adopt. DC area rescues and shelters typically perform vet checks, spay and neuter, vaccinate, and microchip pets before they can be adopted. The adoption fee is often cheaper than all of those services combined.
Our local rescues and shelters are not just for dogs and cats. You can also find a new rabbit, guinea pig, rat, bird, ferret, or other exotic pet that needs a new home. You’ll find fully-trained adult pets looking for a place to retire, as well as playful youngsters to raise from just a few weeks old.
Each organization has its own application requirements. Some will require a home visit, while others only need a quick interview. Always be truthful on your applications. You may want to ask about a trial adoption or meet and greet with your existing pets to ensure you’ll find the right match before committing to adopt.
Here’s a list of your local animal rescues and adoption centers in DC, Maryland, and Virginia:
DC Area Pet Adoption Centers
Humane Rescue Alliance
The Humane Rescue Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates two adoption centers in Washington, DC and also has numerous animals available in their network of Foster Homes. You can search for adoptable dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, and more on their website. You can meet pets in-person at one of their adoption centers or local adoption events or conduct a virtual meet & greet with pets in foster homes. When visiting the adoption centers, bring a leash for your new dog or a carrier for your new cat or small animal. Most pets will be ready to go home with you right after you meet them!
Montgomery County Animal Services & Adoption Center
MCASAC has many wonderful dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, turtles and other animals waiting for new homes. MCASAC also has a Freelance Felines program that adopts cats who aren’t suitable as house pets (aka “barn cats”) to indoor/outdoor living settings, such as farms, warehouses, garden centers, and outbuildings, where they can “work” by deterring and controlling pests. Browse adoptable pets on their website or visit their adoption center in person in Derwood, MD. And you’ll be able to take your new pet home the same day you meet them!
Prince George’s County Animal Services Facility & Adoption Center
Located in Upper Marlboro, MD, the PG County Animal Services Facility has dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and more available for adoption. View adoptable pets on 24Petconnect.com (select “Filter”, enter zip code 20772, and under “specific shelters” select Prince George’s County Animal Services Division) or visit the shelter in-person. The adoption staff may perform a house check before approving your adoption to ensure that the pet being adopted will be in a safe and caring environment.
Animal Welfare League of Alexandria
The AWLA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that operates the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter in Alexandria, VA. They have all types of animals available for adoption, including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, and more. The AWLA prides itself on matchmaking, and spends time getting to know each potential adopter to help them find just the right pet for them. You can view their current adoptable pets on their website or in-person at their shelter. Virtual appointments are also available for anyone out of the region or who has difficulties coming to their facility.
Animal Welfare League of Arlington
The AWAL is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that operates the Arlington County Animal Shelter. They use a foster-focused sheltering model, with nearly 75% of their animals in foster homes rather than at the shelter. They have dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, lizards, and other small animals available for adoption. Search for adoptable pets on their website or visit their shelter in-person to meet them. To meet pets in foster care, the foster family will work with you to schedule a virtual or in-person meet & greet. The AWAL also offers sleepovers for eligible pets, where you can take a pet you are considering adopting home with you for a 3-day sleepover to get to know them.
Fairfax County Animal Shelter
Visit the Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Fairfax, VA to meet cats and kittens, dogs and puppies, and dozens of small animals available for adoption. You can also view all of their available pets online on 24Petconnect.com. Once you meet a shelter pet you’d like to adopt, complete an adoption questionnaire, and one of their Adoption Counselors will go over that pet’s medical and behavior history and information. They do same-day adoptions, which means your new pet will go home with you the same day!
DC Area Dog & Cat Rescues
City Dogs & City Kitties Rescue
City Dogs & City Kitties Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit network of volunteers who foster dogs and cats rescued from overcrowded and high-kill shelters and find them permanent and loving homes in the DC metropolitan area. CDCK strives to have a variety of cats and dogs to choose from in terms of age, size, breed and energy level to match your lifestyle. You can view available pets on the Adoptable Dogs and Adoptable Cats pages of their website. They also update their Facebook page daily with new cats and dogs and regularly hold adoption events.
Lucky Dog Animal Rescue
Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit network of foster homes in Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland. Most of their adoptable pets come from high-kill shelters in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico. They also help some international animals in need, including dogs rescued from the meat trades in Thailand and South Korea, dogs from the streets of Kosovo, and dogs displaced by natural disasters in the Caribbean. You can meet their adoptable dogs and cats at adoption events or view dozens of adoptable pet listings online.
Partnership for Animal Welfare
PAW is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of volunteers dedicated to the rescue and adoption of homeless domestic animals, mainly dogs and cats, and placing them in loving and stable homes. Their adoptable animals come from local shelters as well as high need rural locations. Browse the Available Dogs and Available Cats pages of their website to see their current adoptable pets. They also hold adoption shows in the suburban Maryland area every weekend where you can meet with their available pets in-person.
DC Area Small Animal Rescues
Small Angels Rescue
Small Angels Rescue is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, no‐kill, all‐volunteer organization dedicated to rescuing and rehoming small animals, such as guinea pigs, gerbils, mice, rats, and hamsters. Their adoptable animals come from animal shelters in the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area or from public surrenders. They have rescued over 6,000 small animals since 2003, and care for them in their extensive network of foster homes until they find their forever homes. You can browse their available pets on PetFinder or on Adopt a Pet and connect with one of their animal program coordinators to apply for adoption.
House Rabbit Society
The MD, DC, & NoVA chapter of the House Rabbit Society is the best place to find pet rabbits that are accustomed to living indoors with their foster families. The House Rabbit Society is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing abandoned rabbits from local animal shelters and finding them permanent homes. You can view all their currently available rabbits on PetFinder. Many adopters choose to adopt two rabbits to keep each other company.
Phoenix Landing is an all volunteer 501(c)(3) parrot welfare organization serving Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, North Carolina, and Northeast Florida. They rescue and facilitate adoptions for parrots, from parakeets to macaws, and provide education on bird care. You can view birds currently available for adoption on their website.
Professional Care for Your Newly Adopted Pet
When work or travel keep you away from your new pet, Ready Pet Go is here to help! We provide insured and bonded professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Washington, DC and Silver Spring and Takoma Park, Maryland.
We can’t wait to meet you and your new family member! Contact us today.