Let’s face it—these days we need our furry friends more than ever. So if you and your family are looking to bring a little more love into your hearts, now is a great time to adopt a family dog. Actual shelter facilities may be closed to the public at present, but many are still putting safe and socially distant measures into place that make it possible (and fairly simple) to rescue a pup. We’ve compiled a list of animal shelters and local rescue organizations currently allowing adoptions that’s sure to have everyone’s tails wagging!

Wallis Annenberg PetSpace

While this Playa Vista based interactive animal adoption & education center is currently closed to the public, they are now offering virtual adoptions by appointment only on a first-come, first-served basis. Head to their website and check out the adoptable animals available (and boy are there some cuties!) and then schedule a phone consultation with one of their adoption specialists. During this 20 minute call, you can ask about your favorite canine candidates and share what you are looking for in a pet so they can help you find the right fit for your family. After the consult, the adoption specialist will schedule either an in-person or virtual meet-and-greet via video chat. If by this point, you have all fallen in love with the perfect pooch for you, the last steps are adoption paperwork, an in-person meeting (if needed), and a limited contact pick-up for your new arrival! 

Online: annenbergpetspace.org 

SoCal Animal Rescue Squad

If you're looking to adopt a dog quickly, this place may not be the best fit as SoCal Animal Rescue Squad takes animal placement very seriously (which we love!). The people at SCARS call their adoptive pets "heroes" and know each one personally. This means they also know where every four-legged friend will best thrive and will only contact applicants that closely match the dog's prerequisite needs. If this sounds like just your speed, they advise first checking out either adoptapet.com or petfinder.com to narrow down the search as they have great filters and can help zero in on pups that are good family fits. Or you can check out their website and/or social media pages to see some listed there as well. Either way, they accept all submissions online but only contact those applications that meet the criteria established as must-haves for the dog in question. Be prepared to wait for a while, however, as they currently have a high volume of adoption requests and are quite careful with where their heroes land!

Online: jointhescars.org


This organization dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals is still taking in lots of pups in need and thus has plenty of shelter dogs that would love to shelter in place with your family! This is more of a blind adoption process, however, with strict Covid 19 mandates in place and the only in-person contact with the dog you choose will be when you pick it up to go home. Check out the available animals up for adoption on their website and, if any of the furry friends strike your fancy, fill out an adoption questionnaire linked to each dog on their information page. After the folks at spcaLA receive your form through the website, a team member will review it and be in touch by phone or email to continue/complete the adoption process. Note - there will not be any virtual meet-and-greets with your preferred pooch but if you need additional information as to it's personality, they will be happy to provide as much background as possible to make sure it's a match made in heaven! 

Online: spcala.com

Wags & Walks Adoption Center

This West LA located rescue center saves family friendly dogs from high-kill shelters and places them in loving homes. Their adoption center may be temporarily closed but they still have a great variety of canine companions up for adoption (and currently placed in foster homes waiting for their forever family)! Take a peek at the available dogs on their website and click on the "apply to adopt" tab when you've found the one you love. Complete an online application and a Wags & Walks team member will reach out to you within 24 hours to discuss the next steps.

Online: wagsandwalks.org  

photo: Ivy A. via Yelp

NKLA Pet Adoption Center

Like most of the places mentioned here, No Kill Los Angeles's adoption center is closed indefinitely. Unlike many of the others on this list, however, the first step in adopting a pup online does not start with looking at their available options and instead first begins with completing their "matchmaking" survey. Here you will provide NKLA with information on your lifestyle and what you and your family are looking for in a dog. From there, a member of the staff will be in touch with you via phone or email to go over the next steps. 


LA Animal Services

One of the few places where you can see a pooch in person (by appointment only), LA Animal Services has a slightly different adoption paw-cess in place. First, you should visit their website and research all of the available pets listed. When you see one you'd love to adopt, call them at 1-888-452-7381 with the Animal ID number (always begins with an 'A') and they will share all of the pertinent info on that pup. If you still want to move forward with adoption, the team member will get all of the necessary paperwork info over the phone and schedule a meet/pick-up appointment at one of their six LA Animal Services Centers during specific daytime hours. During this appointment, staff will be able to show you your chosen fuzzy friend (with no more than 10 people assembled at a time including staff). You are under no obligation to take the dog home (but chances are it will be love at first sight). 

photo: istock

Online Adoption Lists

For a detailed list of adoptable animals in Los Angeles, visit either of the following websites where you can tailor your pooch preferences right down to fur color. With a variety of filter options to use in your search, you can be sure that you'll be getting more than a ruff idea of dogs out there waiting for you to find them!

  1. www.adoptapet.com
  2. www.petfinder.com
  3. www.aspca.org 
  4. www.dogsblog.com

–Jenifer Scott

featured photo: Pexels


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