Where Does Tennessee Rank Among The Best States To Adopt A Dog?

Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

Americans love their dogs! In fact, Forbes magazine recently estimated that the average dog in the U.S.A. gets pampered to the tune of $730 a year — and that’s just the average. We all know that one dog mom or dad who’s going well beyond that! All told, last year, pet owners spent $136.8 billion on their animals.

Of the estimated 78 million dogs kept as pets across the country, 38% were adopted from a shelter or rescue. That got us thinking: where does Tennessee rank amongst the rest of the country in terms of dog adoption?

States with Most Dog Rescues per Square Mile

To find out, BetTennessee.com decided to briefly step away from Tennessee sports betting to visit RescueMe.org and made a list of all the adoption and dog rescue groups in the U.S. Using this info, we then created a ranking of the states based on the number of dog adoption organizations per square mile.

Here are the results: 

RankState# Dog Rescue GroupsRescues per Sq. Mile
1Rhode Island920.059551165
3New Jersey3480.039896453
7New Hampshire1090.011658801
11North Carolina4580.00850998
16New York4050.007423704
17South Carolina2340.007307821
23West Virginia1120.004622361

These are the kind of stats you will not find on Tennessee sportsbook apps

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Tennessee Residents Do Their Part

As you can see, we’ve rated Tennessee as the 13th best state to adopt a dog. Already, there’s 47% of households sharing their roof with a canine, with 22,975 adoptees in 2020. Throughout Tennessee, there are a total of 344 organizations committed to dog rescue and adoption.

The oldest animals shelter in the state is the Humane Society of Tennessee Valley in Knoxville. Founded in 1885, it became a no-kill shelter in 2001 and has helped 22,000 dogs and cats find their fur-ever homes since that time. Amongst their current roster of adoptable pups, you’ll find Sox, a 3-month-old white hound mix, a shy 14-lbs beagle named Buddy, and a pair of bonded senior chihuahuas, Big Bear and Sissy.

If you’ve been considering getting a dog, adoption is the way to go. There are so many good boys and girls looking for a home and a human to call their own. While it is a big decision, not to be taken lightly, pet adoption is one of the most rewarding things an animal lover can do.


Jeff Parker is an entertainment writer for BetTennessee.com. A writer for film, television and the internet, Jeff is a life long movie buff, with a Masters Degree in Popular Culture. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he works full time as documentary filmmaker and producer.