About Great River Rescue

Our History

Great River Rescue is a private, non-profit, companion animal shelter located in Bemidji, Minnesota. We make every effort to save, care for, and find homes for each animal that comes through our doors. We provide high-quality care and enrichment for shelter pets, and get them into homes with loving and responsible pet owners. Additionally, we now offer low-cost spay/neuter services through our Pet Fixers program. Great River Rescue is supported by our community, who believe in our work and have always been by our side.

Since our inception in 1977, Great River Rescue has helped thousands of animals get a second chance at life. We are very proud of these and many other efforts that have made our dream a reality and now allows us to provide even greater quality service for more than 400 animals per year.

Great River Rescue is located in Bemidji, Minnesota, but we have no geographic restrictions for our services. Our services are available for anyone in need. For more details about the services we provide, please visit the services section of our website.

Our mission at Great River Rescue is to transition dogs and cats to loving homes, serve as a community resource, and advocate for kind, responsible pet care.

Great River Rescue envisions a society of responsible animal guardians in which every animal is treated with respect and care.

Our values are care, compassion, and empathy for animals and people; accountability to high standards of professional and ethical behavior; and respect and kindness with every decision and interaction.






Our Facility

We built our current facility on Carr Lake Road SE in 2000. Mike Hesch, from Hesch Construction, volunteered his services for this project, and we are eternally grateful for his generosity. The shelter was able to raise $165,000 of the necessary $225,000 for the project. A loan was taken out for the remaining costs, which has since been completely paid off, largely due to our community’s donations! Since then, we have made several improvements to the facility including new flooring and paint in 2020. In 2021, we completed a remodel project to convert one of the dog kennel rooms into a visitation and exam room. The cost of that project was also covered by community donations and grant funding. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our facility to better serve the animals and the community.


Our Partnerships

Great River Rescue strives to build and maintain partnerships with businesses and community organizations. We know that together, we can help build a better and stronger community.

Click here to learn more about our partnerships.


Important Documents & Statistics

Recent Tax Returns

Strategic Plan Document

2020 Annual Report

Current Shelter Statistics

Pet Fixers Statistics

Shelter Newsletters

Discontinue Contact Policy

Donor Privacy Policy




Great River Rescue