If your kid lets out a, “pleeeeease,” every time you pass by an adorable puppy on the way to the playground, and you think it’s time to add a furry member to the family. Start by perusing the pups (and cats) at one of the city’s shelters, rescue organizations. With so many sweet little animals in the city without a place to call home, you’ll feel awesome knowing that you’ve done your share in helping one. There are even some that have volunteer opportunities for your little animal lovers to help prepare them for such a great responsibility. We’ve listed our favorite organizations in the city for you to check out, but once you see these dogs and cats, be prepared — you probably won’t leave empty-handed!

AnsonMount - and volunteer - copyrightHilaryBenas photo: Hilary Benas

Help Save a Southern Furball

While the name may not sound kid-friendly, this is one awesome organization! Badass all began when the founder and president decided to foster a dog to save him from a kill shelter, only to find how much work it was to find a home for him, and how rewarding that work was. She realized that she had the power to save other sweet dogs on death row, and dozens of volunteers now spend countless hours working hard to do just that. This non-profit organization saves all breeds of adorable and loving dogs from high kill shelters in the South, and they have rescued and found homes for over 1,300 since 2011, many with families that have kids. Badass makes sure all of their rescues are properly cared for, spayed/neutered, given the correct medications, and are rested enough to make a stress-free trip to NYC before finding the perfect homes and loving families for them to live. They are very thorough when looking for the right match, so be prepared to provide three recommendations, a vet reference and a home visit.

Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue
Williambsurg, Brooklyn
Online: www.badassbk.com

animal haven

Photo: Kendra H. via Yelp

Where Kids Can Learn to Care for Animals Too

Since 1967, Animal Haven has been finding the perfect homes for dogs and cats throughout the Tri-State Area. With countless success stories to prove it, they have a reputation for placing these adorable animals with the right families. To help the chance of adoptions, this nonprofit also offers behavior intervention for the little ones who need a little more love before going to their new homes. If you want to make sure your own little pet owner is prepared for the responsibility, Animal Haven offers a program called Caring Kids: Animal Ambassadors for 5-8 year olds. This educational-based program meets for 3 sessions and includes plenty of hands-on projects to help these future pet lovers feel comfortable with their new furry friends. Make sure to register in advance as these amazing programs tend to fill up!

Animal Haven
251 Centre St.
Adoption Hours: Monday-Friday, 12 p.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. (make sure to arrive an hour before closing for adoption)
Online: www.animalhavenshelter.org

The City’s Cat Specialists

Kitty Kind, the organization that works with the Lower East Side’s purr-fect Meow Parlour, makes it their goal to reduce the number of kitties without a home to call their own in NYC. The non-profit organization takes in abused and discarded cats, along with ones who might be put on a kill-list at other shelters. Over 600 cats are rescued by KittyKind each year, and they work tirelessly to provide shelter, medical attention and love to each little kitty before finding the perfect homes and families for them. Most of the cats live with volunteers and rescuers to help get to know their personalities, which makes it easier to create the perfect match. Because they are a no-kill organization, they even make a life-time home for the cuddly creatures who don’t end up being adopted so they will always feel loved and secure.

Kitty Kind
860 Broadway
PETCO, Union Square
Adoption Hours: Mon.-Fri., 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Sat. & Sun., 1 p.m.-7 p.m.
Online: kittykind.org


Where They’ll Help Make Sure it’s a Perfect Match

Meaning “stay awhile” in Scottish, Bidawee prides themselves on their matchmaking skills, ensuring that you and your new furry friend will be happy together for a long time. This organization opened in 1903 and has been working for over 100 years cultivating relationships between pets and their new families, so you can rest assured that they have plenty of experience. The Matchmakers take the time to get to know the personalities of every new puppy and kitty who come to them, and will do the same for you and your little ones to make sure that you end up with the perfect fit. Along with pet adoption facilities, they also offer animal hospitals, pet therapy services, and pet memorial parks, really making it a perfect place to start and end your journey down the road with your new adorable family member.

410 E. 38th St.
Midtown East
Click here for hours
Online: www.bidawee.org


 photo: bidawee

Where to Find Dogs and Cats, or Something More Exotic

Thinking you’d rather adopt a fish, hamster or iguana? This is the place to go. Unlike many other adoption centers in NYC, Sean Casey Animal Rescue has many more options than just dogs and cats. Since 1998, this organization has rescued more than 8,000 various types of neglected, ill or otherwise unwanted animals they’ve even helped a pot-bellied pig and a donkey. This no-kill rescue organization not only focuses on rehabilitating and placing these animals in great homes, but also they provide education for pet owners and lovers on how to properly care for these animals and are always available to answer medical or training-related questions regarding your furry, feathered, or scaled friend. There are also volunteer opportunities for children to learn how to be awesome owners to a pet by feeding, grooming, and handling some of the ones in their shelter.

Sean Casey Animal Rescue
2 locations in Brooklyn open 7 days a week, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
153 E. 3rd St.
Windsor Terrace
551 39th St.
Sunset Park
Online: nyanimalrescue.org

Have you adopted a furry family member? Tell us where in the comments.

–Katie Johnson