While there are many, I am listing my favorites here with the hope you will click on them, learn about what they do, and see how you can help. Here at the end of the year, it's a good time to make a contribution if you can.
Pet Rescue, Inc. - local Westchester County organization that does enormous rescue work, everything from the pull, transport, vetting, foster, and adoption process. Been around a long while (25 years or so), so has a terrific cadre of foster families, and rescues numbers of animals yearly on par with national groups. Hard to imagine that but this is a fantastic place to drop some cash.
Rolling Dog Farm - New Hampshire (formerly in beautiful Montana). Adopts "disabled" dogs and horses for the rest of their lives. Been around about 12 years and is run by a couple who gave up the corporate life to care for animals on a farm. Their blog has a fun and dedicated readership, and Steve and Alayne give thrice weekly updates on the antics of everyone's favorites (like Widget!)
Noah's Arks Rescue - Okatie South Carolina - rescues dogs from shelters who are in extreme need of medical attention. Jennifer runs the place and keeps several dogs at her home, as well as manages the foster families that take in these very needy dogs, like Smiley/Miley, rehabilitates them and makes them more adoptable. Money is used for vet care for dogs that would absolutely be put down if it were not for this group.
Animal Farm Foundation - Hudson Valley, New York. Dedicated to rehabilitating the image of the American Pitbull. Does facilitate fostering and adopting, and also awards grants to organizations that match pitbulls with forever homes. Has great notecards, too!
Pets Alive Westchester - took over the old-time Elmsford Animal Shelter, getting lots of warehoused animals adopted within their first year at the helm just by using a new model of outreach. Has a fantastic volunteer program, where people can help with all levels of work: painting the fence to dog-walking; you name it! Very dynamic, very committed, and this past year opened a dog sanctuary in Puerto Rico, with a major gift of $250,000. That island desperately needs their help as dogs aren't always treated so well. Pets Alive Puerto Rico is changing that and giving an avenue for dog lovers there to organize.
Guardian Angels for Soldiers' Pet - fosters dogs and other animals of military personnel while they are deployed. I know the lady who co-founded this group, Linda, and let me tell you, she runs a tight ship. This organization has 2,500 foster families across the country ready willing and able to take in animals while their owner is overseas for a year or more. This effort prevents dogs from being dumped at shelters where they will face certain death. They also have a dog sanctuary in Texas, where they are headquartered.
Coastal German Shepherd Rescue - Orange County and San Diego (two chapters!) California. I have never worked with them but their reputation is stellar. Someone (probably multiple people) out that way is breeding German Shepherds for volume and many end up at shelters emaciated and in need of major medical care and love. This group does everything from the pull, to the vetting, to the foster, to the adoption process. More money means more dogs get rescued. They offer hope where there is none for these forgotten dogs.
Soi Dog Foundation - if it were not for this organization - an army of volunteers! - many dogs would have been left to perish on Dog Island in Bangkok after the floods. Also - this fantastic organization has neutered or spayed over 32,000 animals in Asia in the short time they have been around! That is huge, and really getting to the root of the problem. You can travel to them and volunteer (direct action!), too, but the flight costs a lot. Visit them for photos of hope coming out of hopeless situations. You will be glad you did.
NYC Top Dog - this is the place where I am boarding Olive and Dixie, and which has recently turned from business model to a non-profit model. They provide a segway for dogs going from rescue to adoption, which is critical. Many times the only thing preventing a rescue from taking place is the lack of a temporary place to house the dog for a few weeks. Pedro Rosario, who runs Top Dog, is a caring animal advocate and is a well known dog lover. Rescues love him. He houses about 140 dogs (big and small), and about 50 cats. What he needs is to own the building he's in so he can build running-around pens! Any major donors out there?!
Wheels of Hope (partners with New York City Animal Care and Control) - this is a transport vehicle service that works with the New York City Shelter system (read: a lot of animals in a high kill situation) and which has also provided a critical piece of the rescue continuum: transport from one place to the next in a professional, systematized, and safe way. While relying on volunteers to cart dogs around from point A to point B sounds good, that kind of things is a lot of work to organize and manage well. With Wheels of Hope, they are already familiar with the shelter system, and they know where point A and B are... not small things. This simple van transport has literally saved thousands of dogs' lives by providing a piece of the puzzle that often stops a rescue from taking place. Logistically, their existence also allows someone in another state to organize pulling a dog, and bringing them to a place like Top Dog for boarding until a foster or a more permanent situation can be worked out.
Cloud Nine Rescue Flights - A fabulous organization run by a now-married couple (they met doing this work!) Pilots donate their flying hours, Cloud Nine owns two planes who provide safe transport, and dogs from high kill areas (usually in the south but also in the Midwest) get flown to high adoption areas, some 19 or 20 animals at a time. A true lifesaver. Over 500 pets a year saved. Amazing. They also have the amazing "barkery" -- where they hand-make and bake dog and cat treats twice a year. Special order yours!
Alley Cat Allies - dedicated to cat care everywhere. Promotes anti-cruelty legislation, tutors in cat-colony management, advises about feral cat care. I'm selling them short, I'm sure. Take a look yourself.
Again, these are just a few good orgs. I have two more to add later. Jenny's Hope in Westchester and The Grey Muzzle Foundation, but I am out of time. Mom is visiting, today is Museum Day, and I already convinced her to adopt a dog this vacation. Can't push my luck.