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Our Featured Rochester/Buffalo, NY Partner:

Big Dogs Big Hearts Rescue

Dog adoption saves lives. Adopt a dog and you'll have a friend for life! Contact us, or contact another local humane society, animal shelter or SPCA.

Pets at Our Rescue Group:

Cities, Towns, and/or Counties We Serve:

BDBH Rescue Inc is committed to finding forever homes (through adoption) for rescued German Shepherds and other Large Breed dogs in the Rochester and Buffalo Niagara region of New York State.

About Our Rescue Group:

Big Dogs, Big Hearts Rescue Inc. ("BDBH") is dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing large breed (pure or mixed breed) dogs, thus helping to reduce the number of homeless stray dogs and the need for euthanasia in shelters.

BDBH concentrates on rescuing German shepherds and other large breed dogs, although on occassion we let the medium and even sometimes small ones join us! Most of the dogs come from local area shelters, and when we have room, shelters in the southern United States. Some come from owners who have requested our help in finding a new home for their companion, however, dogs in kill shelters take precendence.

BDBH is committed to finding forever homes (through adoption) for our rescued dogs.

Not For Profit Organization

BDBH is organized as a not-for-profit New York corporation and is completely dependent on donations and adoption fees to support its activities. None of the volunteers with our organization are compensated employees.


BDBH is funded through the adoption and application fees and donations. Donations and adoption fees help to cover some of the costs associated with caring for the dogs.


BDBH has not yet obtained 501c3 status with the IRS. When BDBH is successful in obtaining 501c3 status, we will update. At this time, donations are not tax deductible.

BDBH dogs receive vaccinations and veterinary care including, but not limited to, DAPP or similar vaccine, rabies vaccine, heartworm testing and heartworm preventative, flea and tick preventative and are provided basic treatments and tests as needed before adoption.

All BDBH dogs are spayed/neutered prior to adoption, unless, for veterinarian documented medical reasons, it is not safe to do so. If this is the case, the adopter will be required to agree in BDBH's adoption contract that under no circumstances will the adopted dog be used for breeding, including accidental breeding. If breeding does occur, it is a default by the adopter under the terms of BDBH's adoption contract.

Come Meet our Pets:

We have meet and greets every Saturday at Pet Supplies Plus in the Rochester and Buffalo area. Please check with our dogs foster parents for their availability at meet and greet

Our Adoption Process:

Adoption Process and Stages (in general):

Please note that BDBH is an all volunteer organization. The majority of us have our own dogs and families, work full time jobs and are very involved in the rescue community. We ask that you please be patient during the application process. We want to assure that our dogs are placed in appropriate homes and that they will truly be their forever homes!

All BDBH rescue dogs are in private foster care homes with pre-approved foster families, BDBH does not have a facility. BDBH requires prospective families to meet our dogs at our public Meet and Greet locations or as arranged at the convenience of his/her foster family.

BDBH is looking for forever homes for our dogs in which he/she will be a much loved part of the family. All our rescue dogs must live inside the home as part of the family.

BDBH considers adoption applicants from the following states: NY, PA, OH and CT. BDBH has a network of its volunteers or other reputable rescue contacts/animal shelters/humane societies who we coordinate with to complete those home visits outside our local volunteer base.

1. BDBH requires an application with references (personal and veterinary). All resident animals must be altered*, up-to-date on vaccinations (minimum requirement of rabies and DAPP or like), that all resident canine companions are heartworm tested yearly and on a heartworm preventative protocol (6 months or all year).

*Exception 1 - proof dog is a current working or show dog.

Exception 2 - written medical reason as why it would be dangerous to his/her health to spay/neuter.

2. If an application is approved, the next step is a home visit, for which all family members need to be present. The purpose of the home visit is to allow BDBH to get to know the potential adoptive family a little bit better. We are not looking for immaculate housekeeping, but rather a loving, safe environment for one of our rescue dogs. The volunteer(s) bring a dog with them on the home visit. The home visit volunteer(s) provides the rescue with information that helps us make a decision as to appropriate placements. We are trying to see the whole picture with the information available to us. We ask that both the approved family and rescue give thought to the adoption for 24 hours prior to a decision regarding a particular dog.

3. Once a family is approved at the home visit stage, our Home Visit Coordinator will notify the applicant, via an email, of approval. BDBH reserves the right to qualify an approval, i.e. approved to adopt a specific gender of dog, a submissive dog, a dog of certain age, etc. If we have more than one approved family interested in a particular dog, the foster family retains the right to make the final decision in the best interest of their foster dog. If another home is chosen that does not mean the prospective adopter would not be a good home, but rather that the situation does not meet that dog's best interest.

4. Once a family finds their new family member, we require the adopter(s) to sign an Adoption Contract which permits BDBH to do its best to always be there for its rescued dog, including reserving rights to have the adopted dog returned to BDBH for any default under the Adoption Contract. BDBH stays in close contact with the forever family i.e. questions, pictures, updates, visits.

Dogs are placed with the forever home that best meets the dog's needs. BDBH does not operate on a "first come, first served" basis. While we do our best to ensure a fair chance of adopting the dog of your choice, ultimately, we are looking out for the best interests of our rescued dogs. We consider each and every one of our rescue dogs part of our family.

BDBH does not reserve dogs. Completion of the adoption application and home visit begins the approved to adopt process.

BDBH reserves the right to refuse an application if the home situation or environment is deemed incompatible with the needs of our dogs. Our emphasis is on the dogs needs. We gladly answer any questions about our process, or any of our dogs. Please feel free to ask questions!

Application Fee

There is a non-refundable $20 application fee required prior to processing your application. It will be applied towards the adoption fee if/when you adopt a rescue dog from BDBH or it will be used as a donation towards medical treatment for our dogs if you choose not to or are unable to adopt from BDBH. Please go to our main webpage for an application

Our non-refundable adoption fee is $295, less the $20 application fee credit, for a total of $275 at the time of adoption. The $295 represents a contribution to defer BDBH's expenses both directly and indirectly attributable to the rescue of the specific adopted dog and other BDBH dogs. The adoption fee helps defray some of BDBH's expenses, which allows us to save more dogs. *** Senior Adoption Fee: 6 years old and over: $ 200.00 ***

Procedure for Submitting Adoption Application to BDBH:

1. Download and print* Adoption Application;
2. Fully complete and sign Application; and
3. Mail Application, along with $20.00 Application fee, to:
BDBH c/o Application Coordinator Jamie Martin
P.O. Box 120, Ionia, NY 14475–0120

*If you do not have the ability to print the Application, please contact and we will send you an application.

All applicants should hear from BDBH within 72 hours of receipt at the PO Box confirming receipt of your application. If you have not heard from us by then, please email, to inquire about the status of your application.

Due to the time involved in processing applications, please advise us if you have adopted elsewhere, are no longer interested in adopting, or would like to withdraw your application as soon as possible. This will allow us to spend our time working on open applications to find homes for our dogs. Thank you!

Ever wonder why rescues ask soo many questions? Check this out

Our Adopted Pets:

We have helped lots of pets connect with loving and caring owners. Check out our adopted pets list!

Why should you adopt?

Dog adoption and cat adoption saves lives. Adopt a dog or adopt a cat and you'll have a friend for life! What is the difference between adopting a dog or puppy versus getting dogs for sale or puppies for sale from a dog breeder? When someone is breeding puppies, they are creating new dogs who need homes. Some people are interested in a very specific breed of dog or puppy and they think the only way to find that specific breed is to buy a dog for sale from a puppy breeder. Yet animal shelters are filled with dogs who must find homes. So rather than buying a dog or puppy for sale from a dog breeder, we encourage people to adopt a dog or adopt a puppy at their local animal shelter, SPCA, humane society or pet rescue group.