Finding Your New Best Friend ~ Adopt a Dog in Massachusetts

black french bulldog puppy lays on a studio floor

So, you’re ready to bring a new family member into your home to hug, pet, squeeze, and name George! Okay maybe your new love might not be named George, but they sure will be your best buddy! Deciding to adopt a dog is an exciting time, but where do you even start? Where do you find a dog to adopt in Massachusetts?

Finding Your New Best Friend ~ Where to Adopt a Dog in Massachusetts

There are so many great places to check out for your perfect pup! Sometimes it can feel like you have been searching for the perfect dog to adopt in every shelter in the state you can find. Or maybe you just don’t know of any shelters or rescues in your area and are looking for a great place to start.  Here are some great places to begin your search.

grey french bulldog puppy sits with ears up in a studio adopt a dog Massachusetts

Ask Your Friends and Family!

If you’re a dog lover, you most likely have lots of other dog lovers in your life too! If your friends, family, or co-workers have been through the process to adopt a dog in Massachusetts, they are a great resource.  I remember when one of my friends adopted her dog she told me that she thought the rescue lied to her.

She reported to me that the rescue told her during the adoption event the dog loved car rides. He did great on the way home that day but has had a horrible time in the car since that day. She was thinking they may have given him something to keep calm at the event! Hearing stories like this will tell you which rescue you want to stay away from! Read through this blog to learn about what red flags to look out for when adopting a rescue dog.

Contrarily, I had the most amazing and open conversation with the rescue’s adoption screener. I trusted her completely when she said Koda was the perfect fit for my family. And boy was she right! We had such a great experience that when my friend asked on Facebook for recommendations, I gave her Angels Among Us Animal Rescue’s information. She reported to me that she felt like she could tell her life story to the rescue screener. After thoroughly discussing their home and lifestyle, the rescue helped her decide on a pup they thought would be a great fit for her and her family.

Brindle french bulldog puppy lays on a studio floor adopt a dog Massachusetts 

Petfinder for Massachusetts Dog Adoption

          Lots of dogs are in TN but travel up to MA when you are ready to adopt make sure to use the out-of-town pets option to see these babies.

          Search functions age, sex, breed, potty trained, good with dogs, kids, or cats.

          Learn more about Petfinder for MA Adopters HERE (BLOG )

petfinder massachusetts 2,900 $0.26 0.1

          Other sites like Adopt-a-Pet and Petango.

grey french bulldog puppy wearing a clown chef costume

Approved list of Shelters in Rescue in Massachusetts

Not just anyone can be a rescue or start a shelter. There is a process to becoming approved. Massachusetts has a list on the State website of those approved rescues and shelters where you can adopt a dog as a Massachusetts resident. While Petfinder is amazing, not every shelter or rescue uses it, and not every dog that comes up in your search will be available for adoption in Massachusetts. A lot of rescues either won’t or can’t adopt to Massachusetts. Many will only adopt within a certain area. And some only list them on their own website and social media. Check out this list of approved shelters and rescues to find adoptable dogs that are only listed on the rescue or shelter’s website and Facebook page.

Spotted French bulldog puppy sniffs a treat on a wooden stool

Tips for Dog Adoption in Massachusetts

Research breeds that will fit your lifestyle.  The American Kennel Club had a breed selector tool. You can input information about shedding, time together, energy levels, barking levels, etc. and it will give you the top five breeds that match your preferences. Use this information to search for dogs on Petfinder, at shelters, and through breed-specific rescues. It’s not 100% as nothing is. Another great way to research is to simply Google “best dog for ___”. Input your most important quality: a couch potato, kids, runners, etc. You’ll get many articles about various breeds that could be a great match for you.

Don’t rush it! The vast majority of shelters and rescues have the pet’s best interests in mind; however, some are known as flippers. They get dogs in and out as fast as possible. This can lead to matches that don’t work out.

Be honest! I can’t stress enough how important it is, to be honest. Honest about your lifestyle, your energy levels, your work schedule, the possible chaos in your home (if you have little wild children in the house causing untold destruction and unfathomable noise like me), your mental health concerns like depression that may affect your consistency in training and exercise, any health conditions or mobility concerns you have, and the personality and health of your current pets. And most importantly, be honest about whether you have had to rehome a pet before. Be fully and completely upfront about all the details f any surrender. A good rescue or shelter won’t disqualify you from this. It will only help them that much more in finding the right pet for you.

You won’t get your first pick and that’s okay. Be prepared to apply for multiple adoptable dogs. It took me three months to find my Goosey boy. Rescues won’t even discuss an animal with you unless you are a pre-approved adopter, except to tell you they are no longer available. I feel like I applied for a hundred dogs and all of them became unavailable by the time my application got processed. Not to worry! Once they approve your application, you will usually be on the pre-approved adopter list for three to six months with that rescue. And as mentioned earlier, a great rescue will discuss your needs with you and help match you with another pet they have, if they have one, they believe is a good match. But sometimes the rescue tells you the pup you’re looking at won’t be the right fit. They know more about the dog than they list on the sites. Don’t let it get you down. Your future fur baby is out there waiting for you!

Spotted French bulldog puppy sits in a carriage adopt a dog Massachusetts

Adopt a Dog in Massachusetts

Good luck in your search for a new family member! Be sure to reach out to me when you are ready to commemorate the occasion with a pet photo session.  


Learn more about adopting a dog in Massachusetts in these great articles:

What to Ask your shelter or rescue before adopting

Find the Dog of Your Dreams on Petfinder for Massachusetts Residents

3/3/3 Rule for Rescue Dogs


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