What it is: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was the first humane society established in North America; it’s still one of the largest in the world. “Our organization was founded in 1866 on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans, and must be protected under the law,” says Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA adoption center.
How it works: Visit its NYC adoption center or browse through its available animals at aspca.org. The ASPCA doesn’t ship dogs and cats, however, so if you can’t travel to NYC to pick up your new pet, try your own local animal shelter.
Why it’s unique: The ASPCA focuses on compatibility between pets and their owners in order to create a lasting relationship. “We utilize the ‘Meet your Match’ program, which works like a dating service,” says Buchwald. “An adopter will fill out a Canine-ality or Feline-ality assessment to make a match based on personality, what the adopter is looking for in a pet, and what the animal needs in an owner.”