Family pets offer joy, companionship, stress relief and countless hours of amusement, so it makes perfect sense that there’s been a huge surge in dog adoptions and pet adoptions during the last six months of quarantine. Since we’re all clocking more hours at home, we have the opportunity to not only nurture existing relationships with our pets but to also foster new ones. We’ve rounded up 8 local rescue organizations that will get you one step closer to adopting your very own furry (or feathered!) friend. Read on to find your new best pal.

Helen Woodward Animal Center

Rebecca F. via Yelp

One of the most well known non-profit organizations in San Diego County, The Helen Woodward Animal Center established in 1972 has been committed to the philosophy of people helping animals and animals helping people for over 45 years. Located on 12 acres in Rancho Santa Fe, the center offers a variety of services to the community from birthday celebrations and animal camps for kids to a fully functioning equine hospital. Currently the center is open by “appointment only” to view and adopt canines and felines. Adoptions hours are Mon.-Sun. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. The Animal Center is currently offering a discount on their adoption rates for kittens, because sometimes two is better than one. Check out their available kittens here. 


Labradors and Friends Dog Rescue Group

Tamara M. via Yelp

Labradors are the most popular breed in both the United States and the United Kingdom for good reason. Their eagerness to please, gentle temperament and intelligence make them truly a family-friendly breed. If you're interested in adding a lab or lab-mix to your family check out Labradors and Friends Dog Rescue Group. Take a moment to fill out an adoption application so the organization can learn more about you and your family and keep checking back to see what labs are currently awaiting a new home. 


San Diego Humane Society

Shea L. via Yelp

With campuses in Escondido, Oceanside and San Diego, The San Diego Humane Society provides animal services for 12 cities within San Diego County. The large-scale size of the organization allows them to not only care for 50,000 animals in our communities, but also share the expertise they've gained with shelters nationwide so they can achieve their mission: to create a more humane world by inspiring compassion, providing hope and advancing the welfare of animals and people. Due to COVID-19 they are not accommodating in-person meet-and-greets at this time, but have created a tutorial for more detailed information about the adoption process.

Pro tip: be sure to ask about their "Hidden Gems," pets available for adoption but not in public view. Doggie high-five to that! 


Wee Companions Small Animal Adoption

Twiglet J. via Yelp

Maybe you're ready to dip a toe into pet owning but concerned about the time investment of adopting a dog or even a cat. Wee Companions Small Animal Adoption is the place for you. They specialize in small furry exotics including, guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits. Located in San Diego, this small animal adoption agency has plenty of resources and information on their website to help you make a decision on how you can find the right pet that's best for you and your family. Get off the hamster wheel and get ready to cuddle up to a new furry companion. 


Cat & Craft Cafe

Cat and Craft Cafe via Yelp

It's a lounge, it's a coffee shop, it's the coolest space we've seen to meet, bond with, and adopt feline friends. The concept of  “Cat Cafe” can be traced back to Taiwan and Taipei in the late 90’s, and soon after expanded to Japan. Operating as restaurants and sit-down cafes, guests enjoy bonding with cats as they enjoy their meals. The husband and wife team behind Cat & Craft Cafe located in Vista fell in love with the idea of combining their skill sets (business and marketing) with their true passion (animal rescue) and creating this environment. The duo believes, "The creation of an engaging Cat and Craft coffee experience enriches interactions between humans and cats in a relaxing, no commitment environment. And when companion soul-mates meet, the cat finds a forever home and the human finds a forever friend!" Purr about this one to all your friends, it's a must-visit spot whether you and your family are looking to adopt or just need a snuggle. Click here to view modified hours and current operations due to Covid-19.


The Animal Pad

Stephanie N. via Yelp

Mexican Street Dogs are commonly known as village dogs or callejeros ("street dogs") in Mexico. In 2010, Stephanie Nisan felt a dire need for action to help these homeless dogs beyond the border and founded Animal Pad. The organization's current focus is rescuing dogs from high kill shelters in Southern California and Mexico. They get them the vet care they need, find foster homes, rehabilitate them and facilitate adoptions into loving homes. If you're looking to rescue a puppy rather than an adult dog, Animal Pad often has young dogs available to foster or adopt. All pups have been vaccinated, health checked and are only put up for adoption when healthy. Sounds like a win-win to us. Check out their adoption page to get one step closer to fulfilling your family's puppy dreams. 


Rancho Coastal Humane Society

Lisa W. via Yelp

Back in 1960, animal lover Maria K. Lloyd purchased property off a small dirt road in Encinitas. At the time she offered a home to dogs, cats, birds, goats and even sheep that needed shelter. While that dirt road looks a lot different now (yup, it's the I-5!) the shelter still operates out of the same little yellow house. More importantly, The Rancho Coastal Humane Society is still dedicated to its same personalized pet adoption process and humane education programs. RCHS is also recognized for services that strengthen the human-animal bond, including the Animal Safehouse Program, the Community Pet Food BankPet-Assisted Therapy and Pet Loss Support programs, and community outreach that provides a “helping paw” to people in crisis.


Free Flight Sanctuary

Judi O. via Yelp

Companions come in all shapes and sizes so why limit your search to four-legged animals? Free Flight Sanctuary in Del Mar offers both sponsorship and adoptions of their parrots. Parrots have a long life; some living anywhere from 30 - 80 years so inevitably a point comes where a parrot may need a new home. Free Flight is diligent about placing their exotic birds with loving homes and their success is directly related to their philosophy of requiring multiple visits to the sanctuary for bonding, re-socialization by daily interaction with staff and visitors, as well as careful evaluation and screening of the prospective adopters by each member of their trained staff. It's important to understand in advance that the average adoption can take up to three months. But, adopting one of these beautiful species could be worth the wait. And maybe you can even stop repeating yourself around the house and have a beautiful cockatoo do it for you. 


––Aimee Della Bitta


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