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Sanctuary Rescue was founded in 2010 with the mission of saving shelter dogs, one puppy at a time. Over the past decade, we have built a rescue community that we are immensely proud of and saved thousands of dogs' lives. Initially, our focus was on rescuing pregnant dogs from municipal animal shelters, but we have since expanded our expertise to include orphaned neonates, puppies born with a cleft lip, senior dogs, and healthy adult dogs. We are committed to providing high-quality care, saving sick, injured, and orphaned dogs, and helping our shelter partners alleviate overcrowding. Our fosters and volunteers are an amazing team of passionate and compassionate heroes who always try to have fun and laugh, surrounded by adorable puppies!


We are a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) based in Midlothian, Virginia. To learn more about our adoption process, volunteering opportunities, or to make a donation, please visit our website and explore the tabs above.


Every dog deserves their best life!

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Foster With Us

Foster with us!

By fostering with Sanctuary Rescue, you have the opportunity to help save puppies and dogs with all expenses paid! 

We always have a dire need for foster homes.  When you foster a rescue dog, you save two lives:  the life of your foster that is now able to leave the shelter and the life of the dog who will take its place.  There is no feeling quite like knowing that you directly saved a life (or two!).  We always have a need for puppy fosters.  In general, puppies are only in their foster home for approximately two to four weeks.  So, this is a fun easy way to get some great puppy snuggles and kisses while we pay all the expenses. Sanctuary Rescue feels that fostering is a team effort, so we are here to support you throughout your entire fostering journey. If puppies aren't your thing, there are plenty of adult dogs of all sizes and shapes that would love to have a safe, warm foster home.  If fostering a homeless dog is something you would love to do, please submit a foster application. 

What Our Fosters Say

“I love the community of Sanctuary Rescue's fosters! Whenever I have a question, there's someone there to answer it; whenever I have a vacation planned, there's someone to fill in fostering for me; whenever I'm excited that my foster dog found a forever home, there's someone there to celebrate with me!"
"Foster pups make great temporary house guests! It's a fun project the whole family can participate in and there aren't many things better than puppy snuggles. SR is the most supportive rescue I've ever fostered with!"
"The people at SR just felt like family the very first time I met them. The way they treat each other and the way they treat all the dogs in their care is second to none. I’m so proud to be a part of Sanctuary Rescue."
“I feel like Sanctuary Rescue really supports their fosters well with everything from supplies, veterinary appointments, and clear guidelines about how the process should work.”
"I always thought it would be too hard to give up my foster when they were adopted. A friend challenged me to look at it in a different way: "When a foster finds a forever home, a spot in MY home opens up to help save another shelter dog." It worked! I am usually sad to see them go, but that pales in comparison to the happiness that comes with knowing the dog gets a wonderful forever home!"

Volunteer with us!

As a grassroots, local non-profit, we always welcome help! Read below to learn more about the volunteer opportunities we offer, and click the link to express your interest! Thank you so much for helping us save dogs in need!

How can I help?

Adoption Events

Whenever we take adoptable dogs to adoption events, we can always use an extra set of hands (or five!).  Volunteering at adoption events is a great way to enjoy some fresh air, get some big sloppy kisses and help rescue dogs find their forever homes.  Adoption events are always on the weekend.

Transport Volunteers

We're always in need of volunteers to give puppies and dogs

rides from the shelter

to our foster homes, from foster homes to our adoption events, etc. 


Puppy Photographers

Do you have a special

talent in photography?

If so, we'd love to hear

about it - we are always in need of puppy photographers!

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Office Helper

We are always swimming in administrative tasks, so if

you're great behind a desk, we need you!  Come help us process applications, file contracts, organize vet records, make graphics for events, write thank you notes, and lots more.



We often encounter extreme medical cases among dogs, such as puppies with pneumonia, mama dogs that are heartworm positive, and injured dogs that require immediate surgery. These cases require more resources than what we collect in adoption fees, and we wouldn't be able to provide them with the care they need and deserve without the generosity of the community. No gift is too small, and we are not only dependent on them but also very grateful for their support


We gladly accept in-kind donations. However, considering the vulnerable nature of young, unvaccinated puppies with undeveloped immune systems, we kindly request that all donated beds, toys, leashes, and collars be new and come with tags or packaging. You can take a look at our wishlist to get an idea of the items we need the most. Any item purchased from our wishlist will be shipped directly to Sanctuary Rescue. Otherwise, you can drop off your donations at Pet Supplies Plus 


Items We Are Able to Accept:

✔️Unopened bags of dog, cat, kitten, and puppy food

✔️Unopened boxes/bags of cat litter

✔️Wire crates in good condition 

✔️New dog, cat, puppy, kitten toys

✔️New pet beds

✔️New leashes and collars

✔️Clean and laundered towels

✔️Puppy peepee pads


Items We Are Not Able to Accept:

❌Opened bags of dog, cat, kitten, and puppy food

❌Prescription medication of any kind

❌Plastic "airline" crates

❌Blankets, pillows, comforters, rugs

❌Doggie diapers

❌Dog clothes


All About Adoption

The first step in our adoption process is to fill out an Adoption Questionnaire. Once the Adoption Questionnaire has been submitted to us, it will be forwarded to one of our adoption counselors for processing.  If we are able to match you to an available dog, we will forward your questionnaire to the dog's foster family. The foster family will contact you directly to set up a mutually-convenient time for you to meet the dog you are interested in.  Please note that we do not have a shelter facility and therefore no public hours.  All of our dogs are housed in private foster homes, so to lessen the impact on our foster volunteers, we require a screened and approved Adoption Questionnaire on file before we are able to arrange for a visit. Additionally, please review the adoption contract below.

Sanctuary Rescue On-Site Adoption Center!!!

Our vision is to host occasional on-site meet-and-greets for pre-approved applicants where several of our dogs available for adoption at that time are present. 

All About Adoption

What Our Adoptive Families Say

What Our Adoptive Families Say

"We are so grateful for SR and everyone who saved and helped this guy thrive before he became ours! He was the perfect addition to our little family. I still get choked up thinking about what his fate may have been if it weren't for Sanctuary Rescue!"
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"Princess Fern is literally THE BEST dog ever. She's wicked smart and the kindest, sweetest pup. We're so grateful that she's part of our family. Thank you Sanctuary Rescue for saving her and giving her love and healing." 
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"Roxanne celebrated her first birthday yesterday! We are so lucky to have this wild girl in our lives and are thankful to everyone at Sanctuary Rescue who took care of her until we found her."

Frequently Asked Questions

We have had a ton of the same questions lately, and we’re so busy puppy raising, we just cannot keep up (and probably won’t ever be able to), but we appreciate your interest for sure! So, here are all of our frequently-asked questions answered in one place:

  • Where are you located?
    Sanctuary Rescue is headquartered in Midlothian, Virginia (a suburb of Richmond). We don’t have a brick and mortar kennel facility. All of our dogs live in foster homes with wonderful foster volunteers, so we don’t have any public visiting hours.
  • How can I follow you on social media?
    Facebook: Instagram: Tik Tok:
  • I found a dog roaming the countryside and can’t keep it. Will you come get it?
    Found dogs need to go to the animal control in the jurisdiction where the dog was found to serve a stray hold. Even if the dog looks abandoned, it may have been on its own for a while but does in fact have an owner. The first place an owner is going to look for their missing dog is at the local shelter.
  • I can no longer keep my dog. Will you take it?
    Unfortunately we are not able to accept owner surrenders or dogs from the community. We only pull our rescue dogs from municipal animal shelters. The only exception to this rule is if there are newborn puppies that have lost a mother and need immediate assistance/bottle feeding. Otherwise we aren’t able to take in dogs directly from owners. We are sometimes able to help with donations of dog food, supplies, and spay/neuter. So if help getting your dog spayed/neuter or dog food assistance will help keep your dog in your home, please reach out to us.
  • I'm interested in adopting, how can I learn more?
    We're so excited you are interested in adopting! To begin the adoption process, please visit the "Adopt" tab of our website to learn more about dogs currently available for adoption as well as the steps of the adoption process.
  • I just saw Fido on Petfinder. Is he still available?
    If a dog’s listing is on Petfinder, then we are still accepting applications for it.
  • What kind of dog is Fido?
    Your guess is as good as ours! If we know what kind of dog we have in rescue, which is rare, we’ll mention it online in their adoption listing and/or social media posts; otherwise, we likely have no idea. Because visual breed identification has been proven to be highly inaccurate, we tend to shy away from guessing breeds at all. Luckily good old fashioned mutts are the best breed we know!
  • I saw Fido on Facebook and I’m really interested. Can you give me more information? Can we meet him? When will he be available for adoption?
    All dogs will be listed on our PetFinder when ready for adoption. We are a little bit superstitious and don’t like to list dogs for adoption until they are at least six to seven weeks old (to leave after eight weeks). So if you have your eye on a young puppy, our Facebook page is the best place to find regular updates and pictures, and once we think they’re finally ready for adoption, we will list them with every possible detail we know about them on Petfinder, which is linked to our website. Meet and greets are only arranged after we have an approved application/adoption questionnaire. We don’t take “early” applications. So if a dog is not listed on our website under the adoptable animals section then please don’t submit an application/questionnaire yet. Any applications that come in for "any dog"/I don’t know yet/that white puppy I saw on facebook/one of Fido’s puppies/etc. etc. will be disregarded. We don’t mean to be harsh, but our adoption application file is a crazy place so it is important that we follow our normal processes and procedures to keep it all straight. A big part of that is accepting and processing applications/questionnaires for dogs that are officially available for adoption and whose adoption details have been reviewed and understood by potential adopters first. All details about a dog will be listed in their adoption profile, i.e. approximate age, size, temperament, adoption fee, etc.
  • Can you tell me the status of my application?
    Unfortunately, no. We realize that’s a crappy answer, but it is the honest one. We often get a whole bunch of applications at once, and we’re just not able to provide status updates to everyone along the way. The reality of our lives is that we are busy cleaning puppy poop out of our hair, chauffeuring dogs to the vet, clipping toenails, bottle feeding babies around the clock, running across the state to spring dogs from the shelter or a myriad of other doggy care chores, and checking individual application statuses falls by the wayside. This can also be a complicated question since we are going through several applications at once. We might love your application, but we’re already in the adoption process with another potential adopter. As crazy as it sounds, this could take several days to a week or more due to the scheduling of meet and greets, home visits, etc. only to get to the end of the process and the adoption just doesn’t work out, in which case we go back to our stack of applications and start all over again. So you see, with so many variables with adoptions, it is hard to give definitive application updates. If everything works out, then the dog’s foster family will reach out to schedule a meet and greet. If you don’t hear from anyone within two weeks of submitting an application, then it just didn’t work out this time. Please, please, please don’t take this personally. Again, we often receive more than one application for a dog, and it may just be a matter of timing, so don’t be shy to apply again in the future. We always have great new dogs coming through our rescue that would love a home just like yours.
  • I have applied to adopt from you previously, can you just use that old application for a new dog?
    It is easiest and quickest and therefore in your best interest to fill out a new application. We don’t often keep applications on file so to skip over the process of us digging aimlessly through old applications, please show your interest in a particular dog by submitting a new application for it.​
  • I would like to adopt a cat/kitten. Do you have any available for adoption?
    No. Unfortunately we tried our hand at cat adoption, and it turns out we aren’t very good at it. Sanctuary Rescue is strictly a dog rescue at this time.
  • I live in Virginia Beach/Colorado/Egypt, can I still adopt from Sanctuary Rescue?
    We try to stick to an adoption radius of within two hours of Richmond, Virginia. We do very rarely adopt outside of this adoption radius; however, local adopters are always given preference.
  • I’d love to help. How can I foster and/or volunteer?
    Yay! We’d love to have you! If you are interested in either fostering or volunteering or both, please visit the Foster or Volunteer sections of our website and fill out either a foster application or volunteer application (under the forms tab). If you are interested in fostering (which is like the coolest “job” ever) we will get your foster application processed, and if approved, we’ll invite you out for a foster training so that you have a good understanding of how things work. Due to insurance restrictions, all of our volunteers must be 18 years or older.
  • I love puppies and dogs, but I cannot adopt at this time. Is there another way that I can help?
    Yes!! One option is our fostering system. We cover all costs of fostering - including supplies and veterinary care. Please visit the "Foster" tab to learn more about the process and submit an application. Additionally, as a small non-profit, we rely on donations to continue to save dogs. If you are able to donate, please visit the "Donate" tab to learn more. Thank you for your support!
  • How can I donate?
    First, thank you for wanting to contribute to our little labor of love. Our expenses outweigh what we take in in adoption fees 4 to 1, so we couldn’t stay operational without the kindness and generosity of our community. You can make an online donation via the Donate page on our website or through Paypal at Our Venmo name is @sanctuary-rescue. You can always mail a check or a donation of supplies to: Sanctuary Rescue 1519 Huguenot Road, Suite 105, Midlothian, Va 23113 (please note this is just a mailing address with no business hours). And finally, here is a link to all of our wishlists where you can have much needed supplies sent directly to us: We go through about 53 million billion bags of puppy food a year so we always shed a little tear of gratitude when someone sends something off of our wish lists. We are a registered 501(c)3 public charity and your donations are tax deductible. Thank you again for supporting us.
  • I have some blankets/towels/toys/supplies I’d like to donate, where can I bring them?
    Thank you! We go through a TON of supplies, and we love in-kind donations. A few things to note: Doggy tummy aches are no fun, so we only feed one brand of dog food for consistency’s sake. That’s Merrick Classic. We wouldn’t be able to use any dog food brands other than Merrick. We are not able to take any open bags of food nor are we able to accept any prescription medications. If you have any used crates, blankets, dog beds, etc. to donate we respectfully ask that they be cleaned with bleach before being donated. Many of our rescues are young puppies that are not fully vaccinated, have immature immune systems, and are especially susceptible to basic canine illnesses, so it is important that any used donations be sanitized first. Finally, we have a donation drop-off box at Pet Supplies Plus in Midlothian (11400 W. Huguenot Road, Midlothian, Va 23113). Please feel free to take any supply donations to our friends at Pet Supplies Plus during their business hours, and they will make sure they make it to Sanctuary Rescue.

What dogs are available?

The best way to keep up with what dogs we have available for adoption is to check our adoptable animals section frequently - all dogs will be listed there when ready for adoption. We are a little bit superstitious and don’t like to list dogs for adoption until they are at least six to seven weeks old (to leave after eight weeks). So if you have your eye on a young puppy, our Facebook page is the best place to find regular updates and pictures, and once we think they’re finally ready for adoption, we will list them with every possible detail we know about them on

What are the steps to adopting?

First, please submit the adoption questionnaire linked above. If your application is approved, we will arrange a visit with your potential new companion at the foster parents' house. If you are still interested in adopting after your meet-and-greet, adoptions usually take place within 48 hours thereafter. We are planning an opportunity for monthly meet-and-greets at our future adoption center, but if you have a specific dog in mind, don't hesitate to fill out an adoption questionnaire now. We don't want anyone to miss out!


Additional Information

A copy of our adoption questionnaire, volunteer/foster applications, adoption contract and further information about our adoption process can be found on our website.


We realize this is long and chock full of information. Thanks for hanging in there through all of it. We have found ourselves in the unique position of not only having many puppies and popular dogs for adoption but also having a healthy and active social media presence. Both great things! But it means we get so many messages and so many questions, and we just can’t keep up with all of them. At the end of the day, we are still a small, grassroots, foster-based rescue. All of our volunteers are in the trenches with their sleeves rolled up doing lots of hands-on helping, so instead of leaving you hanging, we hope that we have answered your questions here. We have given lots of thought to our processes and procedures, and they are what keeps us on track. We love our dogs, our volunteers, our fosters, our adopters, and our supporters, and after many years in rescue, this is what helps us continue rescuing to the very best of our abilities.

Additional Information
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