Pets are our best friends and -- for some of us -- our children. They bring joy and adventure to our lives, and if you’ve never felt the love of a pet, now is the time.

There are many places to adopt your first, second, or just next (even if it’s your fifth) pet in the Washington, D.C., area. Many of these organizations also hold adoption events and home visits, so there are several different options in your search. Here is a roundup of some of the best and most reliable places to adopt a pet in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area!

Humane Rescue Alliance

1201 New York Avenue NE, Washington, D.C., 20002 The Humane Rescue Alliance is one of the largest animal rescue and adoption organization in the DMV (DC/MD/VA). The organization houses dogs and cats, as well as a variety of other animals such as rabbits, hamsters, and even fish. Their mission focuses on matching each family with the right pet and personality for their lifestyle. You’ll even be able to spend some time with the animal before you make your decision. Adoption experts are present on-site to answer any of your questions regarding the specifics of a particular animal or how the adoption process works, as well as any other general inquiries you may have. It may also be wise to visit the adoption webpage to prepare yourself for what to expect. One of the cool things about the Humane Rescue Alliance’s website is that all the pets available are registered in an online database, so you can already have an idea of who you’re interested in before you walk through the door. If you just can’t adopt right now, but love animals and want to help out or spend time with them, there are opportunities to donate, volunteer, and foster. [caption id="attachment_9436" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]adopt Courtesy of humanerescuealliance.org[/caption]

Lucky Dog Rescue

5159 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22207 (inside the Garden City Shopping Center) Lucky Dog Rescue is located right outside of Washington, D.C., in the Virginia suburb of Arlington, but they don’t operate like your regular animal shelter. The organization ...
“is a volunteer-powered nonprofit dedicated to rescuing homeless, neglected, and abandoned animals from certain euthanasia and finding them loving forever homes. [They] educate the community and all pet parents on responsible pet parenting, including the importance of spay/neuter, obedience training, and good nutrition.”
One of the unique aspects of this rescue is that they believe in really getting to know the family before they adopt the pet and require a well-rounded vetting process. The first step is to fill out an adoption application. Then you will participate in a phone interview with one of Lucky Dog’s staff to assess the kind of lifestyle you live and what kind of pet you’re looking for. After that, someone from the organization will conduct a home visit to make sure that your space is adequate for a pet. Once you’re approved, you’ll have opportunities to attend adoption events and view the online registry of available pets, as well as connect with a matchmaker, who can assist in decisions. If you want to make sure that you and your pet fit seamlessly together, or have unusual requests/living conditions, Lucky Dog Rescue is the service for you. You can learn more about the adoption process here. To check out more information about the organization, as well as ways to get involved, head to their website. [caption id="attachment_9437" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]adopt Courtesy of luckydoganimalrescue.org[/caption]

City Dog Rescue and City Kitties

1221 Decatur Place NW #3, Washington, D.C., 20008 City Dog Rescue specializes in adopting dogs from high-kill or overcrowded shelters and finding them loving homes. This organization actually does not have a physical shelter and is entirely foster-based, meaning that volunteers help take care of the animals until they find a forever home. Their adoption process is very thorough to make sure that pets are matched with the right owners, requiring several application steps, multiple screenings, and a contract once you’re approved. City Dog Rescue also has a great website for more general information and ways to volunteer, donate, and foster. [caption id="attachment_9438" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]adopt Courtesy of huffingtonpost.com[/caption] Adoption is a beautiful and meaningful way to give an otherwise displaced and homeless animal a loving family. It’s always worth it, and the love they bring to you and your life will forever change who you are as a person. And once you pick up your new bestie, you’ll want to hang out with them all the time, right? Here are some of the best outdoor happy hours that allow dogs. To make sure they have enough exercise, check out these three off-leash dog parks in Washington, D.C. Have you adopted a pet at any of these shelters? What did you think of the experience? Are you thinking about adopting? Tell us in the comments below!

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