A safe harbor for German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois

Saving Paws Rescue Arizona is an all-volunteer, 501 (c)(3) charitable organization in Phoenix, Arizona. We are dedicated to providing veterinary care, evaluation and adoptive homes for German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois dogs who are left in pounds to await uncertain fate, are owner surrenders (such as divorce, death, etc.) or are from abusive or negligent situations. We help provide a safe harbor for these dogs that might otherwise be destroyed. Learn more about our rescue.

Did you hear the exciting news?

For those who follow us on Facebook, you might have seen our founder Trisha’s special message in December 2018. If you didn’t, you missed some exciting news happening in 2019 – Saving Paws Rescue is getting a new home! To read Trisha’s post and learn how you can help us in this special milestone, check out A New Home for 2019!

Available Dogs

Are you interested in adopting a German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois? Head on over to our Available Dogs section and see who is ready for their forever home.

View available dogs

Love For Life Program

In March 2016, we started a program called "Love For Life." Dogs are placed in loving foster homes until their rehabilitation process is complete, or dependent upon circumstances, may remain in a forever foster home or the rescue center sanctuary until the end of their lives. We provide all the medical care, food, medicines and vaccinations while the forever foster parents provide a loving home.

Learn more about Love For Life

How you can help

If you would like to help Saving Paws Rescue Arizona, there are numerous options available such as volunteering or becoming a foster. But did you know you can also help us out by simply shopping on Amazon or grocery shopping at Fry's Food Store? Check out all the ways you can help us save more lives!

Learn more on helping

You can help make a difference!

Our mission will always be to help rescue a homeless or suffering German Shepherd or other dog out of a dire situation. We rely on donations and fundraisers to enable us to help needy dogs. It is the generous individual and group donations that empower Saving Paws Rescue Arizona to be able to help. We thank you for your support!

Saving Paws chosen by Grey Muzzle to start a Seniors For Seniors program

Phoenix, AZ–Old dogs have something to wag about this summer, as The Grey Muzzle Organization announces the recipients of its annual grants, and dogs at Saving Paws Rescue are among the winners. SPR is one of 66 animal welfare groups in 30 states who were chosen from more than 300 applicants to receive a grant to help local senior dogs.

The Seniors For Seniors program is aimed at placing senior dogs and senior hospice dogs in adoptive and foster homes with mature adults in the surrounding metropolitan Phoenix retirement communities.

“This grant will help SPR give senior dogs, like 7-year-old Apollo, the veterinary care, medications, and support he needs so he’ll be ready to go to his forever home,” said Trish Houlihan, Founder. “No one is more grateful or loving than an old dog, and SPR is looking forward to helping more senior dogs get the second chance they all deserve.”

Over the past decade, the national nonprofit Grey Muzzle Organization has provided nearly $1.5 million in grants to support its vision of “a world where no old dog dies alone and afraid.”

“Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we’re delighted to help deserving organizations like Saving Paws Rescue AZ make a difference in the lives of dogs and people in their communities,” Grey Muzzle’s Executive Director Lisa Lunghofer said. “Many senior dogs in the Phoenix metropolitan area are enjoying their golden years in loving homes thanks to the wonderful work of Saving Paws.”

“At Saving Paws, we’ve always focused on saving dogs who many others overlook. Now, with this assistance from Grey Muzzle, we can save even more,” said Trish Houlihan, Founder. If you are interested in adopting or fostering a senior, such as Apollo, please be sure to fill out an adoption or foster application.

Additional information about our Seniors For Seniors program may also be obtained by contacting Susan Pratt or Debi Palestina by telephone: 480-737-6089 or by email: SPRSeniorsForSeniors@gmail.com.

The national nonprofit The Grey Muzzle Organization improves the lives of at-risk senior dogs by providing funding and resources to animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries, and other nonprofit groups nationwide. For details, please visit www.greymuzzle.org.

Upcoming Events

  1. Tunnel To Towers Tempe

    September 8 @ 7:30 am - 5:00 pm
  2. 2019 Phoenix Strut Your Mutt

    October 19
  3. Sparky’s 3rd Annual Rally For The Rescue

    November 9


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Tongue 👅 our Tuesday!! Check out a couple of our different furkids looking for they forever home! #kingston #quincy #rover #merk #azfamily #tongueouttuesday #gsdlove #germansheperdworld #germanshepherdcentral #azrescuedog #rescuedog #adoptdontshop #lookingforaforeverhome


Senior Sunday!!! We can not say Thank you enough to our volunteer for getting Miss Lady out for a walk. #azfamily #azdog #seniorsunday #seniorgsd #gsdlove #germansheperdworld #germanshepherdrescue #azrescuedog


Please welcome Quincy to SPR!

Quincy was brought to us as a stray from Nogales. He is about 10-12 months old and is a ton of fun. He’s goofy, but he has some manners for a young guy. He’s great on a leash and loves to be with humans.

He spent the 4th of July evening in a thunder shirt because the fireworks scared him, but now that the booms are over, he is settling in well. He would do well in a home with someone who is there more than the average person and could spend time with him. He might be ok with another dog, given the proper introduction. He has a lot of energy, so would do well with an active owner and teenagers. He might be a little much for little kids. He’s definitely trainable and could make someone a great little buddy to hike with or play in the pool.
If you’re interested in Quincy, please fill out an application. #azfamily #quincy #rescuedog #azrescuedog #gsdlove #germanshepherd #germansheperdworld #greatboy #lookingforafamily


It’s Thankful Thursday so today it is OUR turn to give our thanks. We are getting so many great updates from adopters (and fosters) of the adventures of our alumni and fosters this summer. We got this from Deb “Donny, Marie, Paloma and our two Rosa (SPR girl) and Moorea went on a 5 day camping trip. Playing in lakes, rivers and exploring. They all had a blast. Completely exhausted when we got home”

Donny and Marie are both special needs so this just shows that special needs are just dogs who need a special family. We are thankful for all the SPR fosters who step up to provide special homes for our dogs. Many of them have special medical, physical or behavioral challenges.
Thank you John and Deb and EVERY SPR foster who volunteers their time each day to love and care for their SPR dog.
What adventures have your dogs been on this summer? #azfamily #azrescuedog #gsdlove #germansheperdworld #germanshepherdforever #straighleggsd #gsdstraightleg #roadtripdog #thankfulthursday


The ever shrinking Shavo!
Our dedicated leader was the first to tackle the matted coat of our new coated boy. We have brushed out several large garbage bags of matted fur. Trish and volunteers have been working daily to get through the matts that cover this boy. They are very tight and close to the skin, so the work is tedious and tiresome for Shavo. He’s been a trooper! We are certain that he is feeling better, but we continue to work on him in sections. We have also found he has a large hanging mass on his ear that will need to be removed and some attention to what may causing his back end weakness. Regardless, this boy is quite the love bug and there is never a shortage of volunteers sitting and spending time with him and we are excited that Shavo has recently gone into foster! His foster mom says he loves hanging on the cool kitchen tile!
We want to reach out to all those that have been sending wish list gifts for Shavo. He has been on a diet, so the dietary food coming in is PERFECT. Thank you for your love and generosity – Ruth, Susan and Vicky #shavo #gsdlove #germansheperdworld #germanshepherdforever #seniorgsd #loveseniors #haircut #azrescuedog #rescuedogs #azfamily


Happy 4th of July SPR Nation!!! SPR Alumni Ranger and Andie!! Are your pups showing their “Independence spirit” today? Share your pups in Red, White and Blue!

Remember that tonight is the single worst night for dogs getting out and lost, so be sure your dogs are secure, ID tags are on and gates are secured. If you are a NEW adopter and this is your 1st 4th of July with your new dog, please take extra precautions since you may not know what to expect.
Have a safe 4th everyone! #azrescuedog #azgsdrescue #greatgsd #4thofjuly #usa #fourthofjuly #gsdlove #germanshepherdcentral #thegermanshepherdworld #besafe


Do you believe in love at first sight — or should we walk by again?

Hi, our names are Merk and Rover. We are older siblings looking for our perfect match. We have lived most of our lives outside. We’re fortunate enough to be in a foster home now, inside and well taken care of.
We are house trained and kennel trained. The last home we were in used to give us canned food every day. We are now eating nutritious food and we are in great shape. We like to go for walks but we arent great on leashes. Its kind of a new concept to us. You’ll need to work with us on that. We’re kind of past the age of wanting to run up mountains, but a walk now and again is awesome. Especially since we can come home to the air conditioning and soft beds!

Because of where we came from, we are a very humble pair and very laid back. If we wore clothes, it would probably consist of flannel shirts and levis – that kind of laid back. We love to be loved. Pet us, and we can be BFFs.
Since we have been together our entire lives, we ask that we stay together. It would be really hard to leave each other. We might like other dogs, but havent really been around them. There are some dogs on the other side of the fence from us and we talk. They seem cool, but we havent met face to face. Its kind of like meeting people online. You cant really see what you’re getting until you meet in person. If you have other dogs, we would just need to meet them.
We are ready and willing to fill your home with our unconditional love. We guarantee you will love us. Check us out on Savingpawsrescueaz.org. We’re looking forward to meeting you! #azdog #azrescuedog #azgsdrescue #greatgsd #gsdlove #germansheperdworld #germanshepherdcentral #fostergsd


We like to say Thank you to the volunteers. Without them helping in so many ways the rescue would not be able to safe so many lives!! We love this update by on of the volunteers Erika. “Such a bittersweet day ❤️ couldn’t be more excited for this girl to have found her forever home, but after spending almost everyday with her for a few months I will miss her soooooo much. From watching them grow and seeing her personality come through, she and her fam will forever hold a special place in my heart. She is both a lover and a fighter and I am so happy I got to be a part of her life ❤️ thank you Saving Paws Rescue for giving this family a chance, even though it was heartbreaking at times, days like this are what make it all worth it!” Thank you! #azfamily #volunteer #volunteersmakingadifference #azrescuedog #azgsdrescue #greatgsd #gsdlove #dogrescue #greatvolunteers #adoptdontshop


Sometimes fate intervenes in the strangest ways, and this is one of those times where SPR was intended to help a dog in need.
This dynamic duo has quite the story to tell. Ryker is a previous resident of the county shelter, twice in fact, and has an already established fan club. Members of his fan club were so dedicated to finding him a home the first time he was found that they raised money for his training and even fostered him for several months.

Fast forward to a month ago and it seems Ryker was found abandoned, and he didn’t look so good with major hair loss and not feeling well at all. Luckily, his fan club came to his rescue once again when he ended up at the county shelter. But, guess what, this time, he brought a buddy! He was found wandering with his BFF Robby, so of course, SPR took in both of them, who quickly became volunteer favorites. He’s on the road to recovering and his coat and health are rapidly improving.
Ryker and Robby are both active, large males and absolutely love to play together. We don’t really know much about Robby’s history, but he is incredibly sweet and loving and just loves every minute of life! He enjoys cuddling on your lap (even though only his head fits there) and loves to play ball and chase his friend around.
Ryker lives for the water. This guy is hilarious in the play pool. He splashes and stomps around and has the biggest smile on his face. So, a home with a pool would be ideal for this pair.
Both are good with people and prefer only each other’s company, so would do best in a home together with no other dogs. They walk pretty well on a leash, but they are strong and will need additional training. These loving pups will need an active household with strong handlers that will continue their training and provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation too. In return, you’ll get two of the best friends you’ve ever had and lots and lots of cuddles and fun times.
This dynamic duo deserves a happy, forever home. If you are it, please complete our online application.



We like to share a great story shared for Thankful Thursday posted on the Saving Paws Facebook page.
This weeks story is about Orion and Snowball, who are part of FOUR SPR dogs adopted by Danielle and her family: “On April 20th, 2016 Cleo gave birth to her litter of puppies. At the time I was living with my mother, and we already had one SPR Alumni and one Foster. But I needed a puppy. So I applied. “Did your mom say this was okay? Hahahahaha!” was the response. Yes. Yes she did. And on June 22nd I brought Orion (FKA Miner) home!
Bronco quickly taught the young whippersnapper his manners, and Aurora taught him how to use the bell during potty training. Orion adored the other pups and loved playing with them, even if they didn’t always want to play with him. About 6 months later I moved out and took Orion with me. Despite our best efforts and training sessions to keep him busy, he became depressed and lonely. So I did what any sane (or insane) person would do, asked if SPR had anyone that needed a foster home.
On December 23rd at 10pm Michelle brought a smelly white 6 month old puppy to my home to do a meet and greet. Snowball had been found in the San Tan Valley and lured onto a goat farm with 2 other young dogs. Poor Michelle already had 13 dogs in her home and was hoping I could take one off her hands. As soon as the two pups met, I knew she would be our first Foster Failure. Orion adored her, and Snowball adored him. They were the perfect opposites and the perfect match. I couldn’t believe our luck. I still can’t believe our luck! These two have proven to be the best cuddlers, and were recently promoted to Guard Dogs. Baby E loves to watch his fur-siblings play, and Orion and Snowball love to try and sneak kisses when nobody’s looking. I am so thankful for the two Guardian Angels in disguise, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our pack!” #azfamily #azrescuedog #azgsdrescue #seniorgermanshepherd #greatgsd #fosterfail #snowball #orion #greatfamily #thankfulthursday


Hello I am looking for someone who like to play ball with me. They think I am a senior but I sure love to play with the #jollyball and #nerffootball. I am good at bring the ball back to you too throw again. See what great shape your arms will be in. It a win win for all. Well if you might be interested to come meet me. Please feel out an application on the website in the bio. #azfamily #azrescuedog #azgsdrescue #seniorgermanshepherd #seniorgsd #greatgsd #clive #lovetoplayball


On Friday you read the heart-felt plea from our founder, Trish, Rescues are overflowing this time of year and county has an outbreak of distemper at its East shelter.

Pictured was a young female looking pretty sad. We’re happy to say she’s with SPR now and is doing well. We are in the processing of getting her medically evaluated. County had her listed as 1 year old and weighing 31 pounds.
She came to the rescue yesterday, promptly received a medicated bath, and immediately brightened up. Trish named her Cherish – which we will do while she’s under our loving care. She is a happy-go-lucky girl and was so excited to be out of the shelter. She bounced around, gave lots of licks, received lots of loving, and ate a big lunch.

Our friends at Phoenix Animal Care Coalition (PACC911) is lending a hand with her medical expenses through a critical care grant, and we are so appreciative.

We can hardly wait to see what a beautiful girl she will blossom in to as her skin issues are healed and she gains weight. Stay tuned! #azfamily #azdog #azrescuedog #azgsdrescue #greatgsd #adoptdontshop #germanshepherdcentral #belgiantervurensofinstagram #rescuedog #medicaldog #gsdlove