Animal Rescues in Need of Fur-Ever Homes in the High Country

Brown dog's face and floppy ears

Everyone loves their furry friends! As realtors, we’re used to finding people their forever homes. But when it comes to pets, we are always happy to help connect them with their fur-ever owners!

Animal rescues and shelters in the High Country of NC are essential and most are non-profits that depend on the community to help in the care and adoption of homeless pets.

If you’re looking for a place to adopt a pet in the High Country of North Carolina check out these local options for cats and dogs. Or keep reading to find ways you can give back to animals in need in our community.

Animal Rescues & Shelters in the High Country of NC

Homeless pets end up in a rescue shelter for various reasons – some are lost and need help finding their owners, some have never had a home and sometimes people need to give up their pets because of a change in their living/financial situation.

Whatever the situation, these pets and animal rescue organizations need community support and that’s where people like you come in to help provide care and resources for these pets and shelters or to adopt your own furry friend.

Here are 6 of the best animal rescues and shelters in the High Country of North Carolina you can try.

#1: Watauga Human Society

Mission – The Watauga Humane Society promotes animal welfare by providing services to improve the lives of companion animals and the people who love them.

Watauga Humane Society was incorporated in 1969. They are a 501c3 non-profit charitable organization and are dedicated to all aspects of animal welfare.

The Watauga Humane Society merged with Watauga County Animal Control in 2012 to save and care for the animals and better serve the community. The shelter provides housing, food, and medical care for homeless dogs, cats, and small animals and works to find permanent, loving homes for them.

They also offer a low-cost spay/neuter program and educational programs on pet care and animal welfare to the community. Most of the funding for the shelter’s needs comes from tax-deductible donations, grants, and fundraisers like SNIPS of Watauga Humane Society and Watauga Humane Society Bare Bones Thrift Shop.

Watauga Humane Society Contact Information:
312 Paws Way
Boone, NC 28607

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12:30 PM – 5 PM

Facebook: Watauga Humane Society
Instagram: @wataugahumanesociety

#2: Partners! Canine

Partners! Canines is a non-profit rescue group that helps rescue animals from euthanasia in small North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia shelters. The group transports the animals to other states and national “no-kill” facilities and rescue organizations where they are held until they are adopted.

Once a canine training and behavior counseling business, Partners! Canines became a registered 501c3 non-profit organization in 2007 in order to continue to grow its shelter canine transport and rescue efforts.

All funding comes from fundraisers such as the K-9 Keg Pull and Dogtoberfest and private donations which help cover medical, vet, food, and shelter (while awaiting transport) and transport expenses.

Volunteers are needed for foster care, fundraising, and help on transport days.

Partners! Canine Contact Information:

PO Box 33
Todd, NC 28684

Facebook: Partners! Canines

#3: Avery Humane Society

Mission – to respond humanely to the needs of animals in Avery County.

Avery Humane Society is a 501c3 non-profit charitable organization and has been operating as a community non-profit organization since 1978.

Avery County Humane Society receives no direct funding from the county, state, the federal government, United Way, or any national group such as ASPCA or Humane Society of the US. They rely on fundraising events, grants, and general donations, and Happy Paws Pet Boutique located in the shelter for their income sources.

Avery Humane Society Contact Information:

279 New Vale Road
Newland, NC 28657

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM until 4 PM. Sunday Noon to 4 PM.

Facebook Avery Humane Society
Instagram @averynchumanesociety

#4: Ashe Humane Society

Mission – to promote the welfare of companion animals in the community through programs and strategies aimed at improving responsible pet ownership and reducing the pet population.

Ashe Humane Society is a non-profit organization that is entirely run by volunteers and funded solely by donations and fundraisers. They are licensed by the NC Department of Agriculture to house cats and kittens only, and cannot have dogs at the facility or on the property.

Ashe Humane Society Contact Information:

1175 Old Highway 16
Jefferson, NC 28640
(336) 982-4297
Email: [email protected]

Facebook: Ashe Humane Society
Instagram: @ashehumanesociety

Hours to Adopt a Cat or Kitten are Saturdays 12 PM – 3PM.

#5: Ashe County Animal Control

Ashe County Animal Control is a government organization that takes in stray and unwanted pets. They have very limited resources but work diligently with different rescue organizations to try to get the pets out to foster care or adoption.

Ashe County Animal Control Contact Information:

767 Fred Pugh Rd
Crumpler, NC
Email: [email protected]

Facebook: Ashe County Animal Control

Hours: Monday – Friday 10 AM – 4 PM and by appointment only on Saturdays from 8 AM to 12 PM.

#6: Happy Tails Rescue, Inc.

Mission – Our Mission is to give the High Country residents a place to bring lost or unwanted cats and dogs without fear of judgment.

Happy Tails is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in West Jefferson, NC that strives to find homes for lost, unloved, and misunderstood pets.

Happy Tails Rescue, Inc. Contact Information:

431 E 2nd Street
West Jefferson, NC 28694
(336) 846-1727

Facebook: Happy Tails Rescue, Inc

Hours: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10 AM – 5:30 PM. Saturday 10 AM – 2 PM.

How You Can Help High Country Animals

Adopt Don’t Shop

By choosing to adopt rather than purchase a specific type or breed of dog through a breeder, you are providing a home and caring for a dog that already needs it instead of bringing another puppy into the world. It is one of the best ways to help put an end to the overpopulation of homeless pets and to ensure all animals receive the care they deserve.

Most shelters have a process for adoptions and most require an application and possible home visit. The steps for adoption are easy, and simple:

  • Visit one of the local shelters or adoption centers
  • Fill out an application
  • Start the adoption process

Foster a Pet

If you would like to have a pet but you’re not ready to adopt and become a full-time pet owner, consider fostering a pet. This is a great service for those pets that could benefit from a non-shelter environment or for those that need a little more special care.


Non profit organizations such as animal rescues and shelters rely on volunteers on a daily basis just to keep things running. There are so many opportunities for volunteers.

If you love animals why not volunteer your time to come into the shelter and interact with the animals with playtime and walks or help with the animals’ daily care such as feeding and cleaning the kennels? Volunteers are always welcome to help with fundraising and educating the community as well as a helper with a variety of other shelter needs.

Make a Donation

Donations are always welcome when it comes to animal rescue shelters. Cash donations are always helpful by providing the shelter with funds for the day-to-day care of the resident and foster pets.

If you would rather donate needed items instead of money, dog and cat food and kitty litter are always in demand. Other supplies items that can be donated that are needed to keep the shelter running are cleaning supplies, paper towels, blankets, towels, or office supplies.

Call one of the local shelters to find out what’s on their need list.

Sponsor an Animal

To sponsor an animal, make a donation to the shelter in one of the animals’ names. This donation goes into the operational fund which provides funds for food, medical care, spay/neuter, and other special care needs for the pets in the shelter’s care.

Spay or Neuter Your Pet

There are several benefits to spaying and neutering your pet. For the pet, there are behavioral and health benefits that make them a better pet. But for the community spay and neutering pets helps control the pet population and alleviate the burden of unwanted animals in the shelters.

About the Author
As a native Eastern North Carolina girl, I always dreamed of one day living in the mountains. In 1994, that dream came true when life brought me to the Boone area. I made my home on one of the most beautiful mountains in the High Country and knew immediately that this is where I belonged. In the 26 years that I have lived here, I have worked in many roles. Beginning as a hist-technologist, then a full-time mom and volunteer in various positions and organizations in the Boone community. Leading Watauga Education Foundation and serving as producer of their Shooting Stars Talent Showcase was one of the highlights of my volunteer work. When the time came for my children to leave the nest and go to college, I decided that I would pursue a new direction in life. Real estate seemed to be just the adventure I was looking for.  Working in real estate gives me many opportunities to share my knowledge and love of the High Country with others, as well as, finding new friendships and connections along the way. 

I am a graduate of Peace College and NC State University. I love music, craft things, nature and wildlife. I enjoy hiking, camping, boating, and spending time outdoors with my family. I am a member of Boone United Methodist Church where I am active in the United Methodist Women and Women's Ministries.  My greatest loves are my two children Addie and Will and my dog, Daisy and cat, Oscar. 

There is so much to see and experience in the High Country. I look forward to helping you explore as we find your perfect place.