Many rescue organizations work out of volunteer's private homes and can be difficult to find. Additionally, even if an organization lists their available pets on their web site, that list may not be up to date, especially during times when puppies may have a high turnover rate. You may have better luck locating a rescue in your area and calling them instead of just looking at their listings on a web site.
Finally, if there aren't any puppies in the area, let the rescue groups know that you specifically want a puppy and will wait for it. Ask them if you should call back (and how often) or if they keep a list and will call you if a puppy becomes available.
The following resources can be used to help you locate a local puppy:
- Look on a national pet search database such as Petfinder or The Shelter Pet Project.
- Some stores also hold adoption events. A list/map of these stores can be found on No Pet Store Puppies.
- Call local veterinary offices and/or grooming salons. They may know of puppies looking for new homes.
- Look for local classified advertisements.
- In my area there are a large number of "yardsale" Facebook groups and puppies are often advertised there.
- Craigslist often also sees a lot of pet postings.
- If you have a community forum or mailing list, you can usually find advertisements there (or can make a post yourself asking for references).
- Some community oriented stores/studios (like my local yoga studio) will have a community message board for advertisements
When you find a puppy you should consider if you are ethically comfortable with how the puppy was produced and raised. Many folks find backyard breeders and puppy mills distasteful and using these methods to find a puppy may turn up a dog from these origins. Puppies produced from these sources may be "purebred" but often were not screened for health/behavior problems that may surface later in life.