About Us

Overview and History of the Organization

Helping Hounds Dog Rescue Inc. – Organized January 26, 2009.

Mission – “Helping Hounds Dog Rescue provides a compassionate approach to dog rescue by matching homeless dogs from over crowded shelter systems with loving homes.”

What is HHDR?

HHDR is a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization funded by donations, fundraisers and adoption fees, that works to find forever homes for rescue dogs in the Central New York area. HHDR is located at 6606 Kinne Road in Dewitt, NY. Our facility is a 3,000 square foot building with indoor and outdoor kennels and runs. While we have to hire a very limited number of staff members, HHDR is primarily a volunteer run rescue. HHDR would simply not exist with out the overwhelming support of our volunteers and this community.  We are able to successfully place over 1,200 dogs annually into loving homes.

Where do our rescue dogs come from?

HHDR takes dogs that are currently in the shelter or dog control system and transfer them into our adoption program, leaving the gift of time and space for the ones left behind and the next one in need.  We currently work with two out of state rescue partners.  Traveling Tails of Dixie is a partnership between Save A Stray and Angels Arms in Mobile, Alabama.  Precious Cargo Transporters provide a safe and comfortable ride to HHDR once a month.

Love on Wheels is our partnership with The Humane Society of Flower Mound, Texas.  Dog Runner Pet Transport or Pets LLC provide a safe and comfortable ride to HHDR twice a month.  This partnership has been recognized by the Humane Society of the United States as having set the gold standard in transport rescue and we were honored to co-present a workshop at the HSUS 2015 Expo in New Orleans, LA.

So many shelters have to euthanize dogs on a daily basis due to overcrowding.  HHDR can select from a large variety of breeds, ages and sizes.  our rescue partners go into the shelters and temperament test the “staff favorites.”  Once they select the dogs for CNY, they are pulled from the high kill shelter and begin a minimum two-week foster-based preparation program.   The dogs are socialized, vetted, evaluated, treated for any medical issues, and most importantly loved.  Please note:  we do not transport breeds that are overpopulated in our local shelters.  We constantly watch the dogs in need in the Syracuse area and avoid transporting any that are similar in breed.

Does HHDR take in local dogs?

While HHDR is committed to helping dogs from high kill shelters in Alabama and Texas, we also help within our own community. We partner with local agencies and dog control kennels to transfer in local dogs in need.  We often find that a dog that may have sat in a different facility for several months will find the exposure they need at HHDR to find a forever home. We are not set up to take direct owner surrenders.

PLEASE NOTE: HHDR is not a drop off location for local stray dogs. As much as we would like to help these defenseless animals, proper procedures within our area must be followed. Please call the dog control officer in the area the stray was found or contact the CNY SPCA.

Does HHDR only rescue hounds?

Although we love beagles and hounds, HHDR accepts a variety of breeds. We focus on temperament and carefully select family friendly dogs. Our goal is to monitor the current dogs in CNY shelters and to avoid bringing in similar dogs or breeds. We, in no way, want to add competition to the dogs that are already waiting so patiently.

We have successfully place over 1,000 dogs each year into loving homes. This number includes everything from five pound Chihuahuas to over one hundred pound Great Danes.

Is HHDR a “No Kill” Rescue?

HHDR does not euthanize for space or for time. We do not euthanize what our team determines are adoptable animals.

We will euthanize when an animal requires medical treatment that goes beyond our ability to humanely provide, or has a condition that puts other shelter animals or workers at risk.

We will also choose euthanasia when an animal has negative behaviors, such as unmanageable aggression towards people that goes beyond our ability to correct, especially if that behavior presents a safety concern to a potential adopter or to the community. We have a multi -step process involved in this decision. A trainer or multiple trainers are always consulted, the dog is made a priority for a group of specially trained volunteers and staff, a foster placement is considered or searched for, a behavior modification program is implemented and off site “breaks” from the shelter like environment are provided.
We feel strongly that it is NOT responsible to place a potentially dangerous animal in the community. While we understand people believe there is a “perfect home” out there for every dog, we ask you to consider that that perfect home may be next door to a family with young kids or a family dog that is unaware that some dogs are extremely aggressive toward other animals.

The staff and volunteers of HHDR are always notified when a dog is euthanized. We will never make any attempts to hide the facts. In 2013, only six dogs were humanly euthanized due to unpredictable behavior. This is less than 1 percent of the 1042 dogs adopted that year.

What does “No-Kill” Shelter Mean?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“A no-kill shelter is a shelter that saves all healthy, treatable and rehabilitatable animals. A rule of thumb is that, to be no-kill, a shelters saves more than 90% of all animals received.[5] Ideally, No Kill would mean all “adoptable” and “treatable” animals are saved and only “unadoptable” or “non-rehabilitatable” animals are euthanized, but 90% is the threshold. Definition of the terms adoptable, unadoptable and what is treatable, may vary widely between organizations[6] and this has led to controversy. A common definition used by shelters is that of the Asilomar Accords, created by a group who described themselves as “some of the most influential leaders in the animal welfare movement”.[7][8] The Asilomar Accords definition has been criticized by other No-kill proponents as being too vague, which may lead to “misuse and misapplication”.[9]

California Law, SB 1785 Statutes of 1998,[10] also known as “The Hayden Law”, defines the terms as follows:
Adoptable animals include only those animals eight weeks of age or older that, at or subsequent to the time the animal is impounded or otherwise taken into possession, have manifested no sign of a behavioral or temperamental defect that could pose a health or safety risk or otherwise make the animal unsuitable for placement as a pet, and have manifested no sign of disease, injury, or congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the health of the animal or that is likely to adversely affect the animal’s health in the future.
Adoptable dogs may be old, deaf, blind, disfigured or disabled
A treatable animal shall include any animal that is not adoptable but that could become adoptable with reasonable efforts.”
Sick, traumatized, infant or unsocialized dogs need appropriate medical treatment, behavior modification and/or foster care to turn them into healthy animals ready for placement.
“Unadoptable” or “non-rehabilitatable” means animals that are neither adoptable or treatable. By way of exclusion, SB1785 defines “unadoptable”:

  1. Animals eight weeks of age or younger at or subsequent to the time the animal is impounded;
  2. Animals that have manifested signs of a behavioral or temperamental defect;
  3. Those that could pose a health or safety risk or otherwise make the animal unsuitable for placement as a pet and
  4. Animals that have manifested signs of disease, injury, or congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the health of the animal or that is likely to adversely affect the animal’s health in the future.”

How does HHDR find the best homes for our dogs?

HHDR finds homes for dogs through Petfinders.com, our website (www.helpinghoundsdogrescue.org), our very active Facebook page, local adoption events, television appearances and through our large network of volunteers. We evaluate each dog for personality, temperament, and their training needs. By doing this, we are able to place each dog in the most suitable homes.
If you are interested in adopting from HHDR you must fill out an application online or stop by ore rescue building at 6606 Kinne Road in Dewitt, NY. We are a stand-alone building outside of Shoppingtown Mall.

Does HHDR charge an adoption fee?

Yes, our adoption fee helps cover the spay/ neuter, age appropriate vaccinations, microchip (in most cases) , transport fees (when applicable), flea/ tick/ heartworm preventative and the care of the animal while it waits to find its forever home. Please keep in mind, the cost to rescue, fully vet, and care for a dog out weighs the adoption fee.

PLEASE NOTE: HHDR does NOT adopt to homes with un-sterilized dogs or adult dogs that are not up to date with current vaccinations and routine veterinary visits. A veterinary reference is required for all families with current (or recently deceased) animals.

Who can adopt from HHDR?

  • Applicants must be at least 21 years old.
  • Adoption applications must be filled out completely and will be reviewed by our Adoption Coordinator.
  • We will need picture ID, with name and current address, to verify your information.
  • If you own your home, we will verify this information with your town’s assessment.
  • If you rent, we must get permission from whoever owns the property.
  • If you are looking to adopt a dog and already have animals at home, we must speak with your vet to verify your animals are up to date with current vaccinations and altered. We will also ask if your animals are seen for routine check ups.
  • If you have another dog(s), they must meet before finalizing an adoption.
  • All members of the family must be present or have previously met the dog before adoption.
  • All dogs will be spayed / neutered before leaving the shelter.

Please Note: HHDR reserves the right to deny any application after reviewing the above requirements. We may also recommend a different dog to better meet your needs. We firmly believe in matching the right dog with the right home. We never encourage families to pick a dog based on appearance. Breed, activity level, temperament, size and emotional needs are always a priority.

How to Help

Sponsoring a HHDR dog is a way to provide care for a particular dog. Sponsorship can be as little or as much as you would like. This donation can cover medical treatments, trainer evaluations, transportation costs, training class fees, or grooming visits, just to name a few ideas.
If you would like to sponsor a HHDR dog, you can do so quickly and securely over the Internet with PayPal.
If you would like to sponsor a specific dog, please indicate which dog in the NOTES section of PayPal when making your donation.

Here is an idea of what your donation can mean for a HHDR dog-
$30- provides a basic veterinarian visit and vaccination
$50- provides an exam, vaccination, fecal exam and heartworm testing
$85-provides an evaluation and one time private training session
$150- provides a spay/neuter
$175-provides pull and transport from a high kill shelter to HHDR
$600-provides life saving heartworm treatment

HHDR is happy to send thank you notes if you would like to make a donation in someone’s name for a special occasion.

Other ways to help

While sponsoring a dog is wonderful, there are many ways for you to help.

Adoption- Every time a dog is adopted it opens a space for HHDR to rescue a dog waiting to be saved!
Donate- Any amount, any time! You can donate online or by check. All donations are tax deductable. You can also donate items from our wish list!
Volunteer- Sign up for a volunteer training session. Once you have complete training, you can stop by and walk, clean, feed, or just hug a dog! There are so many volunteer opportunities. See our Volunteer section for more information.
Foster- When a dog needs experience within a home setting, HHDR looks for a foster family. HHDR pays for medical expenses while you help socialize, train and love the dog. HHDR will set up appointments with approved applicants to meet your foster dog. When HHDR and the foster family agree on the perfect match, the dog will begin their new life with the forever family.
Fosters are sometimes needed for pregnant mamas rescued from euthanasia. If you have experience with this, please contact us.

Happy Birthday!!


Are you having a birthday soon and don’t want your friends to have to fuss over what to get you?
Be part of the HHDR birthday club. Have your guests bring an item off our wish list to your party. After the party, stop by and deliver the items. We promise the dogs will thank you!

A Day in the Life of a HHDR dog

People would be amazed if they knew what each day consisted of at HHDR. Volunteers arrive before the sun comes up to greet, walk, clean and feed each dog. Don’t be surprised if you smell homemade treats or chicken soup in their bowls. Our volunteers accept nothing but the best.

Each time a dog is walked, a time is recorded on their board. (This was we can assure the dogs get plenty of walks every day.) If you see an empty space, it is very likely that the dog is on an adventure. We have volunteers that take the dogs to Wegmans Good Dog Park, walking on the Erie Canal, on car rides where they can stick their heads out the window and enjoy the wind, day trips to homes with fenced in yards where they can run until their tongues hang out and even to training classes! While some dogs go out on adventures, others rotate between outdoor pens, indoor play areas, cuddle time on the couch and, of course, walks! The afternoons are full of visitors at HHDR. The dogs do everything they can to connect with each family that walks in the door. They never know when the day will come that the family selects them!!

The evening air is filled with classical music to calm the dog and prepare them for a good night sleep. The volunteers (that have worked all day) now stop by to give everyone one last long walk and hug before tucking them in for the night.

While HHDR is not open to the public everyday, we are at the rescue everyday of the year meeting the dogs needs. We cannot close for a holiday or take a vacation. The dogs are depending on us 365 days of the year!
While HHDR does everything we can to make the rescue dogs day enjoyable, please note…our rescue is NOT a home. Each and every dog would love a family and couch to call their own!