6 Animal Rescue Organizations That Make a Real Difference

These six nonprofit organizations support the ethical treatment of animals both large and small, wild or domesticated.


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A well-known quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi says that, "the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."  Across the world, people who take this to heart, have made it their lives work to protect, to care for and to rescue animals.

Many organizations are dedicated to rescuing one or more categories of animals; domesticated pets, farm animals, or wildlife. Other organizations look to protect animals from suffering in industries like racing, bull fighting, or experimenting on animals in labs. What they have in common, is the dedication to end pain and suffering and to ensure that the rescued animals are rehabilitated and rehomed.

Today, in many countries, there is a movement to adopt rescued animals instead of supporting the over breeding and mistreatment of dogs and cats by “puppy mill” breeders.  Adopting a pet that has been abandoned or surrendered by owners who do not want them or cannot care for them anymore is growing in popularity. If your home is full, but your heart is open, you can sponsor a rescued wild animal or an abused farm animal.

One of the best ways to find rescued pets to adopt is to search the databases of adoptable pets. Petfinder is a directory of 11,000 animal shelters or adoption organizations in North America. The list includes dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and horses. In the US and Canada, Adopt a Pet has listings from over 17,000 animal shelters and rescue organizations for dogs, cats, and other furry pets.

These six nonprofit organizations support the ethical treatment of animals both large and small, wild or domesticated.

1. Animal Aid Unlimited

This Indian NGO runs a hospital and sanctuary for injured or ill street animals and rescues thousands a year. AAU runs an emergency rescue service for dogs, cows, donkeys, birds and cats and brings them to their hospital for medical treatment and they provide sanctuary for the disabled animals who need long time care or permanent homes. AAU was founded in 2002.

2. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

This charity that operates in the UK promotes the kind treatment of animals – wildlife, farm animals and pets who need to be rehomed – and runs a TV series, The Dog Rescuers that allows viewers to watch the rescue and rehoming of dogs across Great Britain. RSPCA also has TV campaigns against animal cruelty and works in Europe, Africa and Asia. Over 129,602 animals were rescued in 2018.

3. Sochi Dogs

Founded in 2014 during the Winter Olympic Games, Sochi Dogs works to rescue stray and abandoned dogs through an adoption program, spay/neuter initiative and education campaigns. The treatment of the stray dogs in Sochi is particularly cruel which makes the rescue work vitally important. The nonprofit runs a shelter with room for 60 dogs and a foster program in New Jersey. The dogs are placed in homes worldwide.

4. Humane Society International

Around the world, HSI is a world leader in working to ensure a better future for animals. The organization is working to save more than 100 million animals from suffering in labs worldwide and to end animal sports like bull fighting and racing and fights for the better treatment of farm animals, as well as supporting laws for the protection of comfort animals (pets). HSI supports programs in many countries and has offices on every continent.

5. Best Friends Save Them All

A leader in the no-kill movement, Best Friends works in five US regions is committed to helping homeless pets.  Best Friends focuses on saving lives through pet adoption, spay/neuter program, and other community support programs. The nonprofit offers long term sanctuary care for animals that cannot be rehomed.

6. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International

The SPCA International distributes veterinary supplies to animal welfare groups worldwide. This has enabled organizations in developing countries to treat and care for injured animals. SPCA International partners with rescue groups, shelters and governments to rescue, treat, rehabilitate, feed and spay or neuter more animals now than ever before.