Minnesota Sheltie Rescue


SheltieBy Ellington Starks

LOCATION: Foster homes in Minnesota, western Wis. and Fargo, N.D.


Who they are:

An all-volunteer, foster-based rescue organization (501(c)3) dedicated to finding the “best and last home” for Shelties in need. Dogs are housed in foster homes while they await their forever homes. The are fully vetted prior to being adopted.

“We specialize in senior Shelties, Shelties with medical needs, shy Shelties, puppy mill survivors—Shelties who may not have a good chance of finding a forever home elsewhere,” says volunteer Julie Heller.


“All of the volunteers love the breed and want to help Shelties in need, whether it’s finding them a good forever home, helping find lost Shelties or providing training suggestions to Sheltie owners so that they don’t feel like they have to give up their dog,” Heller says.

Volunteer Commitment:

Volunteers provide foster homes, review adoption applications, complete home visits, follow up on adopted Shelties, provide behavior and training assistance, transport dogs to foster homes and vet appointments, organize events and fundraisers, and maintain the website and Facebook page.

By The Numbers:

Since 2003, over 600 Shelties adopted. In 2015, 40 adopted so far. Currently 23 dogs in foster care.

In Action:

The MNSR 2016 calendar showcases cute Shelties adopted from MSNR and is available at www.cafepress.com/mnsrstore. A Rescue Reunion for Sheltie lovers and their dogs is planned for April 16, 2016. Give to the Max Day in November is the largest fundraising event of the year. In 2015 the group raised over $33,000 and came in second place for small nonprofits.

How to Help:

“MNSR welcomes volunteers who would like to get involved,”

Heller says. “Our biggest need is for qualified foster homes as the more homes we have, the more dogs we can help.” Vet bills in 2015 passed $45,000. Donations are needed.

Ellington Starks is editor of The Wagazine.

The Sheltie Breed 

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) is a “small, alert, rough-coated, longhaired working dog.”

Shelties are bright, energetic and playful, says MNSR volunteer Julie Heller. “They are affectionate with their families but can often be reserved toward strangers.”

Like any breed, there is variation in size and energy level. “They are herding dogs and like to have a job to do—agility, obedience, herding, playing fetch, therapy work, learning tricks,” Heller says. “They are fun to train, large enough to go running and hiking with you, but small enough that they don’t take up the entire bed at night and are easy to pick up if necessary.”

She stresses that Shelties are not miniature Collies. They do shed, and they can be vocal when excited. They also want to be with you.

“If you want a dog that will be happy when alone in a fenced yard, or if you like to go into the bathroom without a canine escort, then don’t get a Sheltie.”