Welcome to the ultimate destination for celebrating the unsung heroes of the dog rescue world. At Rescue Spotlight, we're dedicated to highlighting the remarkable journeys of rescue organizations and the incredible individuals behind them.

Whether you seek heartwarming tales of second chances, inspiring stories of rescue missions, or practical insights into the world of dog adoption, you'll find it all here.

Today, we're privileged to interview Savanna Mitchell, one of the devoted people behind Rural Dog Rescue You can find a direct link to their Instagram here.

Here is their story:

What inspired you to start or become involved with this rescue organization?

Mitchell: As the daughter of a veterinarian, animals have always been a huge part of my life. When I first moved to DC in 2016, I knew I wanted to find a way to spend time with animals, and happened upon RDR through a volunteer opportunity at work. I've been supporting them in various roles ever since!

Can you tell us about a particularly memorable rescue mission or adoption story that stands out to you?

Mitchell: One of my favorite dogs to come through the rescue is a pup named Roxy. She was adopted and then returned to us at about 6 months and spent a lot of time bouncing between temp fosters and boarding. She was a high-energy dog that needed some structure and the right person ready to commit to her needs but just had so much love to give and was a total goofball once you spent some time with her. After two years of being in our care, some formal training, and finally an awesome foster willing to stick it out with her, she found her forever home - which happened to be a foster fail with that foster! Roxy is a great example of not giving up on the underdogs and proof that there is someone for every dog in our care. We sometimes just have to be patient.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a rescue organization, and how do you overcome them?

Mitchell: We are 100% foster based, which means we do not have a facility to help us hold dogs in our care. As we continue to see the demand increase from shelters around the US, we are struggling to keep up with our current foster pool. We really need a variety of folks to help us continue showing up and providing a safe and loving home while a dog prepares for their forever family. I think people worry they don't have the capacity to foster a dog but even just 24 hours can make a huge difference for an org like us.

How do you select the dogs that your organization takes in, and what criteria do you use for adoption?

Mitchell: Rural Dog Rescue works with high kill shelters in rural North Carolina to pull what we consider the "underdogs" - this typically includes hounds, dark-colored dogs, seniors, and medical needs dogs. The dogs that are often not as quickly adopted or might need some additional TLC before they are ready to move to a forever home. When adopting out our pups, we have a very thorough process to ensure we are matching them with the best fit possible. We factor in size, age, personality traits, and lifestyle needs before allowing someone to move forward with adoption.

In what ways do you work to rehabilitate and socialize dogs before they are adopted?

Mitchell: We try to meet every dog where they are and provide our fosters with free resources to set their dogs up for success. This includes free virtual resources, group classes, and even in-home training if they need it. We also provide fosters with access to free daycare and boarding services to ensure they are getting the proper care and socialization they need.

What role do volunteers play in your organization, and how can people get involved?

Mitchell: Volunteers are everything to Rural Dog Rescue. As a 100% volunteer-run org, they ensure we are able to run everything from transporting dogs from NC to fostering, to volunteering at adoption events and screening potential adopters. For anyone that wants to volunteer with us, we have an application on our website and can help match you with the right role. We often accommodate virtual or in-person preferences and currently have volunteers that spread from Washington DC to Washington State.

Volunteer with us

Can you share some success stories of dogs who were once in your care and have now found loving forever homes?

Mitchell: Roxy, mentioned above, is a great success story! We don't currently have success stories on our website (going through an update) but you can find several success stories on our social media.

How does your organization collaborate with other rescues, shelters, or animal welfare organizations?

Mitchell: Rural Dog Rescue works closely with several shelters in NC to pull dogs and help move them to DC for adoption. We don't work with many other rescues or orgs unless it is to cross-promote a dog that needs special attention.

What initiatives or programs does your rescue have in place to promote responsible pet ownership and prevent pet homelessness?

Mitchell: We provide a lot of resources to our fosters and adopters, as well as use our social channels to advocate for responsible pet ownership. One example of this is this page on our website -

Training Resources

Looking ahead, what are your organization's goals and aspirations for the future?

Mitchell: A few big goals for us include expanding our foster program into NC so that dogs can begin getting the care and attention they need faster while waiting for transport to DC, growing awareness of our organization to allow for additional fundraising and partnership opportunities, and to increase our adoption numbers in the years to come!