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Saving Dogs the Big Paws Way

Big Paws of the Ozarks was founded in 2016 with a dream and passion for animal welfare. Since then our paw-print grew from a toy breed to large breed, but we’re not done growing yet! No matter our size, the Big Paws mission still stays true: to rescue, rehome, and rehabilitate dogs in Northwest Arkansas.

Where does Big Paws rescue dogs?

Big Paws is a non-profit dog rescue that is located in Fayetteville, AR, and funded by our community donors, volunteers, and supporters. That’s why our rescue impacts are focused right in our own backyard! We rescue dogs directly from NWA through shelter pulls, community requests with stray and dumped dogs, and occasional owner surrenders.

From parking lot puppies sickened with Parvo to dogs attacked with a machete and left for dead, we’ve seen it all unfortunately. Sometimes we make an exception for heartbreaking cases in neighboring rural areas, but we never stray farther than a couple of hours away from our home here in NWA.

Since we are not bound by city or county laws like our shelter partners, we have a little more freedom with who we bring into rescue. This allows us to be intentional with our intakes to ensure we can make the biggest life saving impacts. The majority of NWA dogs that come into our rescue are being saved from euthanasia, over crowded shelters, or from risk of falling through the cracks and remaining strays who have to fend for themselves.

How many dogs are rehomed through Big Paws?

After dogs are rescued, we pair them with a compatible foster home until their adoption day. Some fosters love the excitement of puppies while others prefer the laid back adult dog. Then there are anxious or reactive dogs who need a specialized foster. It’s a big transition time for dogs, and foster homes allow dogs to get more comfortable and confident than a traditional shelter. There are about 35 adoptable dogs in our care at any given time. Sometimes more when there’s puppy math involved. Big Paws is extremely proud of helping about 900 dogs get rescued and 850 dogs adopted (the 50 dog difference is dogs we were able to transport to other rescues!)

What rehabilitation services does Big Paws offer for dogs?

Dogs come into our care in all breeds, sizes, ages, and conditions. Medical conditions can rack up costly vet bills and it’s not like these dogs have insurance. Heartworm treatments, spay & neuter procedures, vaccines, gun shot wounds, and broken legs, are all recurring expenses in a dog rescue.

When dogs are seriously neglected or abused, it can also manifest into unwanted behavioral problems. Big Paws is so passionate about rehabilitation that we created a dog training division: Big Paws Academy. We employ an Director of Training and other dog trainers who provide obedience classes and board & train packages to the public. The proceeds go straight back to our rescue and help other dogs become their best self!

Big Paws Academy also lends a paw to neighboring shelters by consulting on behavioral cases and offering one free training session to every dog adopted locally. Our compassionate dog trainers open their hearts and homes. They spend dozens of hours building confidence and conditioning good behaviors, getting m