Dog Rescue and Care

Once PAWS rescues a dog, we commit to providing all the care they need, for as long as it takes to find them a loving forever home.

We save stray and surrendered dogs from Philadelphia’s animal control shelter, and also take them in directly from owners who can no longer care for them.

We view all dogs as individuals, and choose which dogs to rescue based on whether we can meet their particular medical and behavioral needs. We do not discriminate based on age, breed, or physical appearance, and we take in as many dogs as we have space and resources for at any given time. We visit the city shelter almost daily to evaluate and rescue dogs, with a focus on saving those who probably would not survive otherwise: especially seniors, those with medical needs, and those who would benefit from training and socialization to make a smooth transition into a new home.

To date, PAWS has saved nearly 5,000 dogs. Our dog rescue program has been successful thanks to our commitment to careful evaluation, behavior enrichment plans tailored to each dog’s needs, and excellent matchmaking. Dogs in our shelters and adoption centers get daily care from staff and volunteers including walks, play, and training time to help them remain happy and healthy during their stay with us.

PAWS foster parents have always played a critical role in saving dogs’ lives by providing a caring and consistent home environment where they can thrive. Fosters enable dogs to heal more quickly from injuries and illnesses, help them adjust to a daily schedule, and teach them to become wonderful family members. Then, having gotten to know them so well, they become important advocates and guides in the search for a perfect forever home. When the time comes, they help their foster dog settle in with their new family, and often return to PAWS to bring yet another foster dog home to begin the process again. Thanks to these everyday lifesavers, dogs spend less time in our shelters and get a chance to really shine, and we are able to rescue more who are waiting.

PAWS dogs find loving homes through our adoption centers, special adoption events, media exposure, and by showcasing them to our large online community. We work to make lifelong adoptive matches based on personality, energy level, and lifestyle, and we offer resources and ongoing support to help ensure the adoption is a success. In the event an adopter can’t keep their PAWS dog – for any reason, at any time – our doors are always open. We will take the dog in again and tend to their needs as part of our lifetime commitment to animals we rescue.


4-6 year old Coco was picked up by animal protection officers and brought to the city shelter after being found roaming the streets. PAWS took her in the very next day, provided needed medical attention, and found a loving foster home for her to get settled. After recovering from her time on the streets, she found a forever family in South Philly!

Macey Grey

Macey Grey’s owner surrendered her to PAWS because they could not care for her. This six-year-old sweetie found new love in a flash: first with a foster parent and then an adopter – all in only four days!


Shelby was found by a police officer and brought to the city’s animal control shelter. PAWS rescued her, and she is now in a foster home where she is learning to be a wonderful companion.

Help Us Save More Dogs In Need

Your support will enable us to be there for the many at-risk dogs who will need us in the months to come, especially those who are sick or injured, or whose owners must give them up. PAWS provides them with safe shelter, medical care, socialization, and the loving homes they deserve.

Rosie’s Fund for Dogs is named in loving memory of a very special girl who has helped inspire PAWS’ work from the very beginning. Adopted in 2005 from the city’s animal control shelter, Rosie passed away in March 2020 at almost 15 years of age. In her lifetime, Philadelphia became a better place for pets and the people who love them. Rosie’s legacy is in the work we do each day, aiming to give all pets the chance to be loved as much as she was.

Donate to Rosie's Fund for Dogs

Get Involved

Adopt a Dog

Welcome a rescued dog into your family! Learn about our easy adoption process and find out how you can meet available dogs. By adopting, you will truly save a life.

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Become a Foster Parent

Open your home temporarily to nurse an ailing dog back to health, help a young dog de-stress and learn manners, or give a senior a place to enjoy their golden years.

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Dental Care

Healthy mouth, healthy life! Dental care is one of the most urgently needed services for Philadelphia’s homeless pets. Many animals rescued by PAWS have painful dental disease and require surgery before they can be adopted.

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Medical Care

More and more, the shelter animals most in need of rescue have illnesses or injuries requiring specialized veterinary care. They find it at PAWS: we help them heal so they can go on to enjoy the carefree lives they deserve.

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Hospice Care

When a pet we have rescued becomes incurably ill, our veterinarians, lifesaving staff, and the foster parent form a team to provide compassionate comfort care for as long as the animal is able to enjoy their time.

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