Shelter Spotlight: I Heart Dogs Rescue and Animal Haven

I Heart Dogs Rescue and Animal Haven was the third-place winner of the 2017 1-800-PetMeds Cares™ Change a Pet’s Life Contest, where they were awarded $500 towards Smokey Joe’s medical bills. You can learn more about how 1-800-PetMeds Cares here.

I Heart Dogs Animal Haven and Rescue Logo

Located in Warren, Michigan, I Heart Dogs Rescue and Animal Haven is a non-profit, no-kill shelter which aims to lead the no-kill movement by providing a place of refuge for homeless dogs through rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming. Since the first dogs came into their care in November of 2015, the organization has had a total of 361 dogs and 9 cats enter their facility. The organization has found forever homes for 294 dogs and 1 cat in its short time in operation.

I Heart Dogs Rescue and Animal Haven runs an initiative for pets belonging to domestic violence victims. Through their program, they will take in and care for a pet while the owners are fleeing their situation and reorganizing their lives. This helps both the pet and the domestic violence victim by ensuring their pet is cared for while allowing the owners make a transition in their lives without the stress of caring for their pet at that moment. Once the owners are settled into their new living situations they are able to re-adopt their pet into their newly stabilized home. Through this program, the rescue has taken in 13 dogs and 9 cats from situations arising from domestic violence.

I Heart Dogs emphasizes socializing the dogs in their care using what they call “active play groups.” These groups encourage the dogs in their care to interact and play together, which in turn helps to curb fear and aggression in the dogs towards other animals. By using their socialization techniques, it helps to make the adoption of the dog more appealing as it can ease the animal’s transition into a home which already has another animal as a pet. I Heart Dogs offers communal living and play time for the dogs to promote socialization, emotional and physical development, enrichment, bonding and assistance in overcoming fears.

Dexter is one of the many dogs in the care of I Heart Dogs. He is a pit-bull mix and is about 3 years old.

Dexter Adoptable Dog from I Heart Dogs

“When Dexter came to us he was a gentle boy with a very rough exterior that was rooted in fear.  He was surrendered by his owners by no fault of his own. You see, his parents were having a human baby and though it wasn’t born yet, they already didn’t have time for poor Dexter anymore. He was fearful of new people, places, and things. Since he was taken from the comfort of his home it was understandable that he would be scared and even guarded. Lucky for Dexter, we specialize in bringing a scared dog out of its shell, and that is exactly what we have done!  We slowly whittled away at his tough facade to expose his love for people. Dexter loves playing chase, going for walks, belly rubs, and snuggling. Dexter is even learning to play well with other dogs. Most would have thought this was impossible considering his extreme aggression towards other dogs before we started him in our training and socialization program.  Now, Dexter has quite a following with volunteers and staff. Those that know him, LOVE him for who he is, and those who do not know him, can’t wait to become friends so they too can get in on all of the fun Dexter has to offer!  Dexter has watched dogs in neighboring kennels come and go time after time after time. Now he’s wondering when it will be his turn to have a loving, cozy home to call his own again. Just look at that face!”

If you wish to adopt Dexter or see what other animals the organization has available for adoption, please visit I Heart Dogs Rescue and Animal Haven’s page for adoptable dogs. The organization’s adoption fees range from $150-$300, depending on the animal’s age.  If you would like to support the organization, please consider giving a donation by visiting their donation portion of their site. The group also has a wish list which allows you to purchase needed items and have them shipped directly to their organization. For questions or inquiries, please email I Heart Dogs Animal Haven and Rescue directly at


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