Small Animal Rescue: A Great Place to Find a Furry Friend or ‘Pocket Pet’

Want to adopt a pet through a small animal rescue? Believe it or not, they do exist.

Want to adopt a pet through a small animal rescue? Believe it or not, they do exist.

Many of us know about the fantastic work dog and cat rescues do every day. But what about rescue groups for small animals? Rabbits, hamsters, mice, rats, and gerbils are among the most popular small pets. In addition to being furry and cute, many pocket pets are affectionate and intelligent. In fact, some can be trained to do fun tricks.

For people with small living spaces, a small animal rescue provides great options. In addition, they’re less demanding than dogs and can stay home happily during the day. Small animal rescues don’t enjoy the high profile of dog and cat rescues, but their work is just as important. What’s more, if you’re looking for a new fuzzy buddy, a small animal rescue’s the perfect place to find one.

Did you know rats can learn to do tricks? To see, watch the incredible “epic rat tricks” video below.

Rabbit and Small Animal Rescue Organizations

small animal rescue rodents rabbits
Small animal rescues: Rabbit, image CC By 2.0 Berrit Watkin via Flickr

After cat and dog rescues, rabbit rescues are probably the most visible rescue organizations. Some rabbit rescues will also include pocket pets and other critters in their missions. The Rabbit and Small Animal Rescue of Detroit not only helps bunnies but also rodents and birds.

Heartland Small Animal Rescue of Indiana includes fish and reptiles, while Small Angels Rescue of Maryland is a small animal rescue that focuses on pocket pets like hamsters and gerbils. When many people think about the Humane Society, they think only about cats and dogs, but the Humane Society also participates in rabbit and small animal rescue — as well as helping birds and reptiles. The Humane Society of Pasadena, CA even hosted alligators recently, though the alligators have since moved on to various zoos and sanctuaries.

Small Bird and Animal Rescue at Municipal Shelters

small animal rescue birds
Birds, from canaries to parrots, can be helped by small animal rescues. Image CC by N-D2.0 Blazing Minds via Flickr

When you think of a bird or small animal rescue, your local shelter likely doesn’t come to mind.  However, many city and county shelters partner with animal rescue organizations to save these creatures’ lives. Because of this, they can not only help more animals but more kinds of animals. More shelters than ever are taking part in small bird and animal rescue efforts. Needless to say, this is great news for our furry and feathered friends.

How to Find a Small Animal Rescue Society Near You

Because small animal rescue groups tend to have smaller budgets, they’re often harder to find. But don’t give up! Websites like and gather information from tens of thousands of animal rescue organizations across North America. You can also check out the Small Animal Rescue Society or ask your local pet store or shelter for referrals. If you want to know more, you can also read up on small animal care, and even learn how to start your own animal shelter. If you think this might be the path for you, this excellent article has a lot of practical information that can help you get started.

Grants for Small Animal Rescue

small animal rescue mice hamsters
Mice, image CC By 2.0 Rene Schwietzke via Flickr

Speaking of starting your own small animal rescue, you can get some help with that. If you have the time, space, knowledge, and energy for this, you can get cash grants and other help.

1. The Binky Foundation offers grants for small animal rescue organizations that are just starting out.

2. Oxbow, a producer of food and products for rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small pets, offers a number of grants for small animal rescue organizations. Animal rescue organizations that apply for grants do not need to be registered nonprofit charities.

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”
— A.A. Milne

3. Small animal rescue organizations that take part in emergency rabbit rescue can apply for an HRS Emergency Grant through the House Rabbit Society.

4. The Albert Schweitzer Fund offers grants for educational organizations and organizations that promote animal welfare.

small animal rescue guinea pigs
Guinea pigs, image CC By 2.0 Photon-DE via Flickr

5. The Petfinder Foundation offers Petfinder member shelters the chance to earn various kinds of grants. These include disaster relief efforts, spaying and neutering, food, building a play yard, and more. Because Petfinder works with lots of small animal rescue organizations, this might be a great place to start.

6. The Petco Foundation invites organizations to apply for different kinds of grants, from animal welfare to spay and neuter to shelter innovation.

7. The ASPCA offers a number of grants for small-budget operations. Among those eligible are small animal rescues, shelters, and other efforts to promote animal welfare.

“‘The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ nor ‘Can they talk?’ but ‘Can they suffer?'”
Jeremy Bentham

8.Mason Foundation for Animal Shelter Design grant helps pay for a needs assessment and design for your future shelter.

9. The Hugs and Kisses Animal Fund specifically targets its grants for small-scale rescues, which includes many small animal rescue organizations.

10. 1-800-Pet Meds Cares. Small animal rescue organizations can apply once a year to receive free non-prescription meds and/or pet supplies.

If you’re not quite up to running your own small animal rescue — and few people are! — consider adopting a rabbit, guinea pig, or pocket pet. You can also open your home to foster animals, volunteering for your local small animal rescue organization. Or, you can simply donate supplies or money. Our furry friends and those who care for them will be grateful!

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Featured image: CC By 2.0 Toshihiro Gamo via Flickr.

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