Over the last couple of years, both KQED and the San Francisco Examiner have reported that there are less children (approximately 118,000 under 18) than there are dogs (120,000 to 150,000.) Therefore, the City is a sort of Mecca for dogs (and pets in general) and their caregivers, which in San Francisco are known as “pet guardians” since 2003. So, if you are new to the City or have been here for a while, chances are you might be thinking of becoming a “pet guardian” soon. My personal recommendation is that you seriously consider adopting. Even though I understand you might have your heart on a specific breed of dog or cat, and of a certain age, but take a moment to recognize the enormous benefits there are in adopting a pet.
In San Francisco, the common social policy is that animal rights are crucial to a progressive society. Therefore, in addition to the typical pet adoption centers, such as the pound or the local SPCA, there are other NGOs trying to help animals by finding them permanent homes, temporary emergency foster care, food for those whose guardians are in dire straits, and much more.
There are several pet adoption and care agencies in the City, plus many more around the Bay Area, but the ones we are mostly familiar with in San Francisco are:
- Family Dog Rescue (ilovefamilydog.org) is located at 2253 Shafter Avenue. They adopt dogs from California and across the border in Mexico. Their focus is on rescue; veterinary treatment, as needed; care and home placement for the dogs they serve. Their vision and mission of helping and rescuing dogs across borders is unique and much needed.
- Give me Shelter Cat Rescue (givemesheltersf.org) is located at 1591 Sloat Boulevard. They specialize in rescuing cats from abuse, neglect and abandonment. They rescue kittens and adult cats of all ages from within the City, the Bay Area and beyond.
- Muttville (muttville.org) is located at 255 Alabama Street. They specialize in rescuing and placing senior dogs, which are more difficult to place for obvious reasons. Yet, providing a home to an older dog is a generous and selfless act, which also provides a loving and caring home to a dog in the latter part of his/her life. Consider this option, especially if you do not want the often long-term commitment of caring for a dog from a puppy until the end of their lives.
- Rocket Dog Rescue (rocketdogrescue.org) rescues and provides foster care to dogs after they have been saved from various situations; treated, as needed; and assessed for placement. They depend heavily on temporary foster care prior to finding them permanent housing and loving families. Rocket Dog Rescue has a good reputation in the local community for the work they do, the care they provide, and are very organized.
- San Francisco Animal Care and Control (sfanimalcare.org) is located at 1200 15th Street. They adopt all kinds of animals, and then house them temporarily until they can find them permanent homes. Please note that, unfortunately, since they take all abandoned, lost, and/or unwanted pets, they have a “kill” policy after a certain period of time. In other words, if a pet is not recovered or adopted within a predetermined amount of time, they are euthanized. Therefore, I sincerely urge you to consider this as your first stop when adopting a pet.
- San Francisco SPCA (sfspca.org) is located near SF Animal Care and Control at 250 Florida Street. They do not have a “kill” policy, thankfully, which they achieve by taking pets that are considered relatively easy to place. In fact, they often collect dogs and cats from SF Animal Care and Control. The SFSPCA not only places the pets under their care, but they also have a large veterinary clinic, they offer obedience classes, and they do much more.
If you are not quite ready to adopt a pet, consider helping these and other NGOs with your time, energy, and/or donations. They do great work and have helped thousands and thousands of animals over many decades.