It’s National Puppy Day: Your guide to dog adoption in the Charlotte area


Charlotte’s trails, parks, and dog-friendly breweries make it the ideal city to raise a pup. If you can picture yourself jogging along the Rail Trail with four paws beside you, it may be time to consider giving a foster or shelter dog a home.

According to CMPD Animal Care and Control, over 1,600 dogs were euthanized last year. Join the #AdoptDontShop movement and show why some of the city’s most popular pups are rescues!

In honor of National Puppy Day, we’re rounding up spots to adopt a furry friend in the Charlotte area.

Visit in Person

Humane Society of Charlotte
2700 Toomey Ave

via Humane Society of Charlotte’s Instagram

The Humane Society of Charlotte seeks to improve the lives of animals through education, adoption and medical treatments. Its no-kill philosophy results in a live release rate of 99.9% of the animals that come into the facilities. Over 1,500 dogs were placed into loving homes in 2017. Your home may just be the perfect fit for one of their pups this year!

Not ready to adopt? Donate time as a volunteer to assist with administrative tasks, animal interaction, and training.

Who’s here? All ages, sizes and breeds of dogs

Adoption Fee: Based on the age of the dog going home: $150 for dogs five months and older, $300 for dogs under five months (includes spay/neuter surgeries, medical exam(s), up-to-date vaccinations, heartworm testing, and heartworm prevention, and a microchip with registration of the microchip for life of the pet). The organization also sends home a trial size bag of food.

Owner Requirements: The organization offers same-day adoptions in its shelter and the HSC Petco Adoption Center. Prospective pup-parents will work with one of the adoption counselors on site, who will assist in making the right match for the animals. As long as the animal is fixed, they’re sent home with owners the same day. There are no applications, background checks or home visits.

Instagram: @humanecharlotte

CMPD Animal Care and Control
8315 Byrum Dr

via CMPD Animal Control & Care’s Instagram

The Charlotte Animal Care and Control department is responsible for keeping the city and its furry friends safe, as well as finding homes for animals that come into its care. Over 1,300 dogs were adopted from the facilities in 2017! Find your new companion or groom and socialize the city’s pups as a volunteer.

Who’s here? Pups of all sizes, ages, breeds. Many are pit bulls and pit bull mixes

Adoption Fee: $10-$113 (depends on whether dog is heartworm positive, VIP, Foster to Adopt, reduced adoption fees and what services the organization provided). $10 pet license for Char-Meck adopters are required for every adoptable animal

Owner Requirements: None. You can interact with and take home the dog the same day, as long as it has been spayed/neutered prior to adoption. (Note: the organization does make sure they don’t have adopters who are problems in the community, including hoarding, cruelty, citations, etc.)

Instagram: @animalscmpd

Start searching online

Greater Charlotte SPCA

via Greater Charlotte SPCA’s Instagram

The Greater Charlotte SPCA seeks to improve the lives of homeless animals through adoptions, foster care, education and spay/neuter programs. Although they don’t operate a shelter facility, you can attend their events to see available adoptable animals, or lend a hand as a volunteer (includes administrative support, grant writing, adoption events, and fostering).

Who’s here? A variety of pups – all ages, sizes, and breeds. The organization recommends viewing its available adoptees to find a loving friend

Adoption Fee: $300 for puppies (6 months or younger); $175 adults (6 months or older)

Owner Requirements: Application, landlord check (if you’re renting to ensure breed is allowed at residence), vet check (applicable if you currently own other pets to ensure they are up to date on all shots), personal reference check, home visit

Instagram: @charlottespca

Halfway There Rescue

via Halfway There Rescue’s Instagram

Halfway There Rescue saves dogs from overcrowded shelters and relocates them to temporary foster homes or rescues in other states. If you’re considering acting as a foster or permanent home, view its available dogs or read the Happy Tails success stories!

Who’s here? Dogs (and cats) of all ages and breeds. They do local adoptions, but many of its animals are transported north to our northern rescue partners, where they are adopted.

Adoption Fee: $200, which includes spay/neuter, microchip, all age-appropriate vaccinations, fecal testing and deworming, heartworm testing (dogs over 6 months of age), heartworm prevention and flea/tick prevention

Owner Requirements: You must be 18 years old or older and allowed to have pets where you live. To be considered, you must complete an adoption application. All adoptive homes must be stable, compassionate and capable of meeting the veterinary needs of the pet (a home visit may be conducted prior to adoption).

Instagram: @halfway_there_rescue

Catering to Cats & Dogs

via Catering to Cats & Dogs’ Instagram

Dedicated to “introducing best friends every day,” Catering to Cats & Dogs nurtures dogs to ensure wellbeing and placement into forever homes. Find your new friend at one of their events or search available pups on their website.

Who’s here? The organization is an all-breed rescue, so they have anything from chihuahuas to Great Danes and everything in between!

Adoption Fee: $250 for most dog and $350 for giant breeds and specialty breeds. This includes spay/neuter, age appropriate shots, dewormer, microchip, heartworm test (if old enough at time of adoption – and if they were heartworm positive, the organization would treat them prior to being adopted).

Owner Requirements: Adoption application, home visit to ensure a safe environment, a rent check (if the prospective owner rents, the organization verifies the pet policy with the landlord) and a personal reference if the prospective owner has not had pet for the past 10 years.


Carolina Great Pyrenees Rescue

via Carolina Pyr Rescue’s Facebook

The Carolina Great Pyrenees Rescue rescues and rehomes abandoned Great Pyrenees dogs and engages in education for proper care of these “gentle giants.” A representative from the organization mentioned Pyrs make for wonderful family members and outstanding therapy dogs. In addition, they even rehome a small number of working Pyrs, or livestock guardian dogs, to farms throughout the Carolinas each year. View the fluffy adoptees here!

Who’s here? Great Pyrenees and, occasionally, Great Pyr mixes and related Pyrs like Akbash dogs and Anatolians

Adoption Fee: $300 for adults; $350 for puppies. This includes full vaccinations, spays/neuters, professional grooming, heartworm testing (and, if necessary, treatment), and temperament assessment.

Owner Requirements: Secure, solid fencing; must live in home (not a condo or apartment); must live within a 10-hour drive of Charlotte

Facebook: @carolinapyrerescue

Harvey’s Heroes Dog Rescue

via Harvey’s Heroes Dog Rescue’s Instagram

Based out of Gastonia, NC, Harvey’s Heroes Dog Rescue is an all-breed foster and adoption program geared toward placing abandoned pups into their forever homes. Read their success stories from adoptive puppy parents or visit their Facebook page to see available pups.

Who’s here? Pups of all ages, breeds, sizes, and personalities

Adoption Fee: $200, which includes spay/neuter, microchip, all vaccinations

Owner Requirements: Requirements vary for each dog. By fostering pups, Harvey’s Heroes volunteers are able to begin basic training and curate an accurate description of each canine’s personality to set them up with the perfect forever home.

Instagram: @harveysheroesdogrescue

Lucky Labs Rescue

via Lucky Lab Rescue’s Facebook

Labrador Retrievers (and lab mixes) rescued from high-kill shelters find themselves at the Lucky Labs Rescue, which rescues from all of North Carolina as well as parts of South Carolina and Tennessee. As a former lab owner, I can vouch for the friendliness and unconditional love associated with the breed. Get inspired by their Happy Tails testimonials, and then select a pup of your own from their available labs.

Who’s here? Labs and lab mixes

Adoption Fee: $300, which includes spay/neuter, heartworm testing, and vaccines

Owner Requirements: Application, vet reference, home visit, requires every dog be kept inside every night (no exceptions – they are to be treated as a member of the family)

Facebook: @LuckyLabsRescue

Carolina P.A.W.S.

via Carolina PAWS’ Instagram

Carolina P.A.W.S. (Pet Adoption & Welfare Society) provides abandoned and abused dogs with a second chance through a group of volunteers committed to finding forever homes. Read their Happy Tails stories or search their available pets to select a canine companion!

Who’s here? All breeds of dogs rescued from high-kill area shelters

Adoption Fee: $150-$300 (depends on vetting and medical needs of the animals in the rescue and what’s needed for the animal being adopted)

Owner Requirements: Application, initial phone screening, home visit

Instagram: @carolinapawsnc

Furever Angels Animal Rescue of Charlotte

via Forever Angels’ Facebook

The Furever Angels Animal Rescue of Charlotte advocates for the protection and rehabilitation of mistreated animals, and works toward a mission to make each rescue a family companion. See whether you’re the perfect fur-ever home for one of the organization’s rescue dogs or volunteer time assisting with events and promotions.

Who’s here? Assortment of purebreds and mixed breeds in small, medium and large sizes from puppies to seniors

Adoption Fee: $100 – $300 depending on age and breed; standard adoption fee for most dogs is $250 (all dogs are fully vetted, spayed/neutered, and microchipped)

Owner Requirements: All potential adopters must fill out an application. If it appears to be a good match, a meet and greet and a home visit will be set up with the dog and family. Requirements for potential owners vary by needs of the dog, as each pup is set up with families who will best suit his/her needs.

Facebook: @fureverangelsanimalrescue

Bullies 2 the Rescue

via Bullies 2 the Rescue’s Instagram

Bullies to the Rescue caters to English/French rescue pups in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Virginia. The core of their mission is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of sick, abused, neglected or injured bulldogs admitted into their foster program. If you can see yourself waking up to a bulldog every morning, complete an adoption application and visit the monthly meet-and-greet event at the Adoption Center and Bulldog Store (for approved homes).

Who’s here? English and French bulldogs

Adoption Fee: $100 to $1,500, depending upon the age/health of the dog

Owner Requirements: Must not have children 10 years or younger, must be available for an at-home meet and greet to ensure home and other pets are a good fit for the rescue bullie

Instagram: @bullies2therescue

South Charlotte Dog Rescue

via South Charlotte Dog Rescue’s Instagram

Almost 600 homeless, mistreated and neglected dogs have found forever homes through the South Charlotte Dog Rescue, a no-kill organization dedicated to saving Charlotte’s canines. Check out available pups, and learn about their No Pup Left Behind program.

Who’s here? Pups of all ages, sizes, breeds

Adoption Fee: $295 for puppies; adult adoption fees vary based on age, health and medical requirements

Owner Requirements: Adoption application, vet reference and two personal references

Instagram: @southcharlottedogrescue

North Meck Animal Rescue

via North Meck Animal Rescue’s Instagram

North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue is a private, no-kill shelter that aims to end overpopulation, abandonment and neglect. In the past 10 years, the organization rescued over 4,000 dogs, and continues to find homes for Charlotte’s pups today. Take a look at their adoptable dogs to find your furry companion, then fill out an application to be considered for a meet-and-greet!

Who’s here? A variety of mixed breeds of all ages

Adoption Fee: Variable, depending on the age, size, breed and temperament

Owner Requirements: Adoptive puppy parents must be at least 24 years of age, have a government-issued photo ID, submit proof of residency and be willing to accept the responsibilities (time, financial, and otherwise) associated with pet ownership

Instagram: @northmeckanimalrescue

Pups are available at Family Addition Dog Rescue and Dog Days of Charlotte as well! Check out their websites for the most up-to-date available dogs and adoption applications.

Additional nationwide adoption options can be found online:

Petfinder: Petfinder is an online database dedicated to increasing public awareness of adoptable pets, increase the effectiveness of adoption programs and make current shelter pets future family members. In their words, the site is “where pets find their people.” Sponsored by Purina and Petco, features adoptable animals from over 17,000 animal shelters and rescues.

AllPaws: Powered by PetSmart, AllPaws features a dating-style interface to help you find your perfect match.

The Shelter Pet Project: This project is the result of a collaborative effort between the Humane Society of the United States and The Ad Council (the leading producer of PSA campaigns). They aim to spread the word that amazing adoption stories start in shelters, and their site features an online tool to search nearby adoptable pets.

Rescue Me: Rescue Me is an animal rescue network dedicated to finding a loving home for all pets, anywhere in the world. The founder, Jeff Gold, is the proud owner of 18 rescue animals, and is president of the World Environmental Organization.

ASPCA: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hosts an online tool to search dogs in local Charlotte shelters. The tool allows potential pet owners to search based on qualities, sizes, ages, etc.

Even if you’re not quite ready to become a paw-rent, consider fostering or volunteering time at one of the local shelters. Almost all of these organizations are 100% volunteer-based and run on donations from loving contributors.

via Katie Toussaint’s Instagram

As C5’s Katie Toussaint wrote, “there may never be a ‘right’ time for a life change,” but that doesn’t mean you should take the chance. She is now the loving owner of her very own adopted ball of fluff, Maisie.

Featured photo: Charlotte SPCA


  1. Join South Charlotte Dog Rescue for the Pups n Pints event this Sunday March 25th from 1 – 5pm at our favorite new pub Mary O’Neill’s in downtown Waxhaw. Play with our Pups while sipping some pints!

  2. Thank you for highlighting area rescues! Saving a life is the best way to go, and I am 100% certain the dog knows you saved its life. All our dogs are rescues and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  3. I love that people do rescue work, but it is so frustrating to adopt from the rescues. I am looking for a small, older dog, and have literally filled out 20+ long applications asking for references, vet phone numbers, history etc. etc. and have yet to hear back from even ONE about the dogs I’ve inquired about. Granted, I’m sure dogs come and go quickly, but in some instances I have seen the dogs advertised for weeks after I’ve applied. I even called one and she blew me off. I’ve adopted in the past from Animal Control, and it’s super simple, but it seems like they are limited on the types of dogs they have. I’d love to hear from rescues about what they are looking for in potential adopters and how to “rise to the top” of applications.

    • MC, so sorry you’ve had that experience. I volunteer with one of the rescues featured in this story. I encourage you to reach out again to us and state exactly what you have here. As all volunteer organizations were working without offices, employees, and often a hodgepodge of communication systems in place all while juggling families and full time jobs. It’s not an excuse for not receiving feedback it’d just shared to hopefully give some insight as to what’s going on the other end.

      Most of us are looking for someone who is sincerely ready and willing to commit to a pet for their lifetime and that will consider this pet a member of the family. What can seem like red tape is all done to ensure we’re sending a pet to a family/individual who is both ready for one now as well as the right pet for their unique lifestyle.

      Please reach out to us at Greater Charlotte SPCA, or any of the other wonderful rescues mentioned here. We sincerely want to help you find the right pet if you’re ready to love one for the rest of their life.


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