Best 5 Dog Rescue in Santa Monica, CA & Shelters (2022)

Dog adoption is a beautiful thing. There are millions of pets in shelters and rescues waiting for forever homes. Adopting a dog can help homeless animals and set an excellent example for others.

Dog adoption isn’t suitable for everyone, and it’s not something you should get into lightly. Getting a dog is an important decision that will affect your life for many years. If you’ve decided dog adoption is for you, this is excellent news!

Bringing an adopted dog into your home should be a rewarding experience for you and your family. Before looking for your future best friend, arm yourself with the knowledge to navigate the world of dog adoption and make the best possible decision.

We’ve compiled a list of the top Santa Monica dog rescue & shelters with an adoption guide.

Top 5 Dog Rescues & Shelters in Santa Monica, CA

Adoption is an alternative that benefits everyone when it comes to acquiring a pet: the family, animal protection entities, and, of course, the dog itself

Shelters across the country house approximately eight million companion animals each year.  Yet, nearly 50% of them are euthanized due to the shelter’s lack of resources.

Dog Rescues & Shelters

1) Karma Rescue

Karma Established in 2003 is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Karma Rescue mission is to end economic euthanasia of pets and prevent shelter-overcrowding by providing life-saving aid to low income families and spay neuter services to under-served communities throughout Los Angeles.

Karma Rescue Information and Details:


  • Mailing Address: 1158 26th St Ste 155 Santa Monica, CA 90403, United States
  • Website:
  • Phone: (310) 512-7833
Dog Rescues & Shelters

2) Best Friends Pet Adoption – NKLA

Led by Best Friends Animal Society, the NKLA initiative is poised to serve as a model for how the entire nation can become no-kill, with no pet ever having to die in a shelter again simply because they do not have a home.

When Best Friends launched the No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) initiative in 2012, only 56% of the dogs and cats in the city’s shelters were making it out alive. But thanks to the hard work of so many, including the entire NKLA Coalition, Mayor Garcetti, Los Angeles Animal Services, Best Friends Animal Society fabulous local community and devoted volunteers, they are thrilled to announce a sustained save rate of 90.49% for 2020.

Best Friends Pet Adoption Information and Details:


  • Address: 1845 Pontius Ave Los Angeles, CA 90025, United States
  • Website:
  • Phone: (424) 208-8840
Dog Rescues & Shelters

3) The Philozoia

Through Philozoia progressive rescue, spay/neuter and educational programs, they provide a second chance for life, love and respect for the neediest animals.

The Philozoia Information and Details:


Dog Rescues & Shelters

4) The Forgotten Dog Foundation

The Forgotten Dog Foundation are a non-profit organization comprised largely of dedicated volunteers who do rescue simply for the love of animals, especially those who are forgotten. Combined, they have rescued well over four thousand dogs, and with your help, they can save thousands more.

Being in the trenches of animal rescue is gut wrenching, exhausting, heart breaking and draining, both financially and emotionally. But it is also exhilarating, extraordinary and rewarding beyond words. There is no greater joy for those of us in rescue than uniting a shelter, street, abused, or abandoned dog with a wonderful new forever owner.

The dogs that they save are big and small, purebreds and mutts. They are shelter dogs that are set to be euthanized, dogs left in foreclosures and strays running the streets.

They take in dogs that people can no longer keep because of the economy and abused dogs that are removed from their neglectful owners.

The Forgotten Dog Foundation rescued “forgotten dogs” are given immediate medical attention, if needed. They are spayed or neutered, if they are not already, and are given all shots necessary the keep them healthy. They microchip all The Forgotten Dog Foundation rescue dogs and insist that collars and identification tags are kept on them at all times.

Most of The Forgotten Dog Foundation rescue dogs go directly into a loving and safe foster home. The Forgotten Dog Foundation believe that caging dogs long-term does not help in their recovery although it is sometimes necessary short-term in an emergency if a foster isn’t available and a dog’s life is at stake.

The Forgotten Dog Foundation rescued dogs learn how to relax and play and nap on dog beds, (or couches and beds, if allowed) and chew on dog bones. They are fed nutritionally sound food to strengthen their usually depleted systems and they will learn to trust that not all human beings are cruel and unkind. They are socialized with other dogs.

The Forgotten Dog Foundation Information and Details:


Dog Rescues & Shelters

5) Paws For Life K9 Rescue

Paws For Life K9 Rescue pulls its dogs from city and county shelters. Often, they choose dogs in need of socialization and training which they place with Paws For Life K9 Rescue incarcerated trainers throughout California State Prisons.

Paws For Life K9 Rescue do this because Paws For Life K9 Rescue program is creating a wholesome training environment that dedicates significant time toward rehabilitation, ensuring the best possible outcomes. After several months of training, Paws For Life K9 Rescue dogs are ready for family life after completing their AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification. Some are trained to become service animals for military veterans with PTSD.

Paws For Life K9 Rescue Information and Details:


Dog Rescue & Shelter Online

We hope that one of the shelters listed above can help you find your future dog, but if for some reason that doesn’t happen you can always opt for different alternatives.

For this reason, we’ve added these alternative platforms. These platforms will help you connect with people who have dogs for sale or adoption near you. It can be a great alternative in looking for your future pup within the comfort of your home.

AKC Market Place

Finding trustworthy dog breeders, groomers, and trainers can be challenging. AKC Marketplace is your trusted resource to help make a lifetime of responsible dog ownership safe, happy, and healthy.

AKC Marketplace® is the only website that exclusively lists puppies from AKC-Registered litters, so you can choose a breeder with confidence.

Adopt A Pet

If you want to give an abandoned puppy a second chance, a shelter is definitely the place to find a dog.

Adopt a pet is North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website. They help over 21,000 animal shelters, humane societies, SPCAs, pet rescue groups, and pet adoption agencies advertise their homeless pets to millions of adopters a month, for free.

Puppies for sale Today

Puppies Today has over a decade of experience, established in 2008. They pride themselves on connecting loving families with new furry friends and have happy customers all over the nation. They provide all of their customer’s puppy payment plans and health guarantees to ensure the best experience and peace of mind when adopting a puppy through their service.

Dog Rescues & Shelters

Check Out Our Dog Breeders Page :


How much does it cost to adopt a dog?

Generally, it will cost around $50 to $150 for a dog – and because typically shelters and rescuers give pets medical treatment, you’ll save money on a medical examination; you’ll also likely save on spay or neuter surgery, which can cost around $50 to $300.

Aside from the puppy’s price, it would be best to consider the expenses that would come with it. For instance, you may want to get the essential things for your puppies like grooming tools, food, and shelter.

What kind of dog should you adopt?

If you have decided to adopt a dog, you may want a mixed breed dog. Or, you can have your heart set on a specific dog breed. It is possible to adopt purebred dogs from shelters and rescues if you plan ahead. However, if you’re not set on a particular breed, you should still have an idea of ​​the type of dog you want.

Consider age, size, care needs, health concerns, and activity level. Have your wishes in mind before you go looking. Better yet, create a list of dog characteristics that is divided into three areas:

  • What do you absolutely need in a dog: Do you have children, cats, or other dogs? The dog you adopt must be able to get along well with everyone in your home. Are you in an apartment or small house and need a small dog? Are you allergic to certain types of dogs and need a hypoallergenic breed? These are just some of the things to consider.
  • What you would like in a dog but can live without: Maybe you have a soft spot for a specific breed but will be happy with a mix of that breed. Maybe you want a dog with short hair, but don’t worry about a little extra grooming if you meet a big long-haired dog.
  • What is not acceptable to you: these are dealbreakers. What qualities would prevent you from even considering a certain dog? Dimension? Temperament? Maybe you have a fear or dislike for a certain dog breed. Perhaps you are renting out your home and have to meet specific rental requirements.

Write everything down and take the list with you. That way, when you go out and see all those cute faces, you will know where to start.

When not to adopt a dog

It is best to avoid adopting a dog in the following circumstances:

  • You are in the process of moving
  • You are remodeling or repairing your home
  • You are about to have a baby (it is usually best to have the baby and let life stabilize a bit before introducing a new dog)
  • It’s the holiday season ( dogs aren’t meant to be gifts and holidays are usually too hectic for a new dog)
  • You or someone in your family is going through other major life events (the new dog may be lost in the shuffle or be overwhelmed by chaos)

The Dog Adoption Process

Well done! You have found your new dog. Now is the time for formalities. Most organizations require an application before they can adopt. This is to prevent pets from falling into the wrong hands. While it may sound like an interrogation, these groups have policies in place for a reason. Fortunately, many people have no problem getting approval.

Some groups require a waiting period before bringing your new dog home, possibly due to a medical procedure that has been done. Some dogs may have a waiting list, so ask questions beforehand.

Find out what the adoption fee includes (vaccines, spay/neuter, etc.). Before signing the contract, learn what you expect from yourself and what the group will do to help you. If the dog is too young to be spayed or neutered, the contract will require it to do so in the future. Also, find out what happens if you can’t keep the dog.

Most organizations ask you to return the dog to them if you can no longer care for it (don’t give it away to someone else). Find out what is known about the dog’s history and what health problems, if any, were noted while the dog was in their care.

Final Thoughts

Remember, it can take a long time for a dog to adjust to a new home. You and your family will need time to adjust. You may notice that your new dog has behavioral problems, fears, phobias, or lacks training. If the adaptation period is long and complex, it’s a good idea to seek the assistance of a dog trainer or behaviorist.

You may need to consult more than one. Be patient and follow the advice of the experts. If you feel that you have genuinely exhausted your options, you may decide to give up on your new dog.

Remember to try to get your dog back to the place of adoption first. If this is not an option, you need to be responsible and find a good home for your dog. I hope you never have to be in this situation.


  • Jessica Vanclap

    Passionate about animals, but also about health, I did not hesitate for long in choosing my studies. Veterinary assistant by training, I worked in a veterinary clinic for several years. I then made the choice to share my knowledge and experiences by joining the training team of a school of Veterinary Assistant and Grooming.