Looking for a Pet? Start at One of These No-Kill Animal Shelters


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High-profile rescues such as the SPCA have been caring for and saving animals for decades. However, they aren’t the only such organization in our community. Other local no-kill shelters and rescues are making a difference in the lives of thousands of animals in the Cincinnati area.

Sweet Dream House Rescue

Thanks to Sweet Dream House Rescue, more than 5,000 cats and dogs have been saved in the last seven years. Focusing on saving overlooked animals from high-kill shelters, the rescue operates under the philosophy that all animals deserve a home where they are loved and taken care of.

“We try to take the dogs and cats that most rescues don’t want,” explains Sweet Dream House dog Adoption Counselor Bonnie Brown. “We take the dogs that tend to get overlooked, the older cats… Most people want cute little fluffy kittens, so we try to take older animals to help them.”

Without a physical shelter location, Sweet Dream House relies on foster parents and other shelters to help house the rescued animals. They also partner with Grant Career Center, where high school students in veterinary courses help socialize and take care of rescued animals.

You can find Sweet Dream House’s adoptable animals every Saturday at both the East Gate and Newport Petsmart stores. dreamhouserescue.org

Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP)

As the largest foster-based rescue in the area, SAAP was able find homes for more than 3,500 animals in the last year alone. For the last 20 years, SAAP has been matching pets with owners, as well as educating the public about the importance of spaying and neutering. SAAP focuses on finding the perfect pet-owner combination.

“We really work hard to make sure animals put in the homes are healthy and ready for their new families,” says Tara Willig, Vice President of SAAP’s board of directors. “We really have a good feel for the animals’ temperament and a good idea of where they would fit best.”

SAAP’s annual Twisted Whisker Gala will take place on October 20 this year, with proceeds going directly to the rescue. Attendees can eat, drink, dance, and play games all night, all while benefiting animals in need.

Every Saturday, SAAP has adoption events at Petco, Petsmart, and other area pet stores. A full calendar of adoption events can be found on their website. adoptastray.com

The Scratching Post

It’s so common to see stray cat out and about, that most people don’t think twice. However, that is not the mentality of the staff at The Scratching Post. As a cat-only rescue shelter, the organization is dedicated to finding homes for stray cats in our community. Each year since the shelter’s founding in 1990, around 175 cats are adopted out of The Scratching Post to their forever homes.

Can’t adopt a cat, but still want to help? “The Meow Mart,” a gift shop attached to the Silverton shelter, is stocked full of gifts for cats and cat-lovers alike, and the revenue goes directly back into The Scratching Post’s rescue efforts. Or, if volunteering is more up your alley, the shelter is always looking for animal-lovers to come help out.

“Our mission is to spay, neuter, and give medical treatment and overall care for the welfare of cats in the area,” says Donna Bihn, the president of the board of directors at The Scratching Post.

The shelter is open for potential adopters from Thursday to Sunday, but adoptable cats can also be viewed on their website. thescratchingpost.org

Animal Rescue Fund

Tucked away in Amelia, Ohio, a 17-acre plot of land dubbed “The Farm” is home to the Animal Rescue Fund, a rescue dedicated to saving and caring for animals of all types. Dogs and cats are provided care and shelter until they can find loving homes, but you can also find ducks, deer, horses, and goats in need who can live out the rest of their lives in a caring and safe environment.

Animal Shelter Fund participates in multiple community service programs, including community assistance for members of the public who need help affording care for their pets, a spay/neuter program, and a feral cat program, a catch-spay/neuter-release effort to help control the stray cat problem.

All pets available for adoption are listed online, and potential adopters are screened to ensure each animal is going to a good home. animalrescuefundamelia.com

Louie’s Legacy

Louie’s Legacy began when founder Emily Gear happened upon a basset hound puppy named—you guessed it—Louie. As the bond between the pair grew, Gear realized there was a big need in the community to rescue animals from kill shelters. Thus began Louie’s Legacy, a rescue that takes animals out of shelters and puts them into foster homes to heal and be cared for until they are adopted.

“When we pull animals out of the shelter, it creates more room in the shelter,” said Laine Discepoli, the head of marketing for Louie’s Legacy. “We not only save the dog we took, but created room for another dog in the shelter.”

Louie’s Legacy is based in Cincinnati, but also has a branch in New York. Their ultimate goal is to become one of the largest rescues in the nation.

Every weekend, you can find adoptable pets from Louie’s Legacy in pet stores across the Greater Cincinnati area. louieslegacy.org/wp/pets/ohio/

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