Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Core Paws and what do we do?

We believe that every dog and cat, no matter their age, medical need, or behavioral issue, deserves a forever home. We know if potential adopters knew about these special animals, they would welcome them into their homes. That’s where we come in.

Core Paws is a 501c3 non-profit organization that showcases hard-to-place animals in rescues and shelters across the nation on our website. These are senior animals and those with special needs or behavioral issues. Often times, rescues and shelters lack the time and resources to focus on finding the right homes for these deserving animals. We find the adopters out there looking to add these animals into their loving family.

You can learn more about us by visiting our About Us page or by watching our video.

What is a “hard-to-place” animal?

We categorize hard-to-place animals as the following: senior, special needs, behavioral issues.

These animals tend to stay in rescues and shelters longer than other animals not falling under one of the above categories. We may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

When was Core Paws founded?

Core Paws was founded on August 15, 2014 in Portland, Oregon. Our website,, went live to the public in June 2015.

What is Core Paws founding story?

Kara Hamada was at a local pet supply store, buying cat food. Inside the store, Kara noticed a kitten, Abbott, available for adoption by an animal shelter. He suffered from congenital heart issues and required medications twice a day for the rest of his life (and no one knew how long his life would be). For an entire year, potential adopters passed Abbott by when they learned about his special need.

Kara watched Abbott turn into a young cat as he waited patiently for a home. She decided one day she would adopt him, and to her surprise, was told that he was recently adopted by a family whose son had the same congenital heart issues. The right person is out there for every hard-to-place animal, the goal is to find them. That day, Kara wrote the business plan for Core Paws, and the idea was born.

You can read more about this story by clicking here.

You can meet our current leadership team by clicking here.

How does Core Paws decide which animal rescues and shelters to partner with?

Core Paws takes partnering with a 501c3 non-profit animal rescue, shelter or municipal shelter very seriously.

Officers or Board Members of a 501(c)(3) animal rescue, shelter or municipal shelter, are welcome to send us an e-mail to to explain your rescue/mission and your interest in affiliating with Core Paws. We get many submissions and we will work our hardest to get back to you as soon as we can!

Once a rescue or shelter is chosen to partner with us, it is a free of charge partnership for our services. The rescue/shelter will work with our Partner Intake Team, and will be sent an affiliation contract. This contract releases liability of Core Paws with the rescue/shelter animals, as Core Paws is not physically handling them.

Once the contract is signed, the rescue/shelter will be sent processes on how to submit for their hard-to-place homeless animals to be showcased our website.

Does Core Paws help owners trying to surrender their own animals?

Core Paws is unable to work with the general public on re-homing of their animals. Our main goal is to help existing 501(c)(3) rescues, shelters and municipal shelters gain exposure for their hard-to-place homeless animals.

If you are trying to re-home your animal, please look into local rescues and shelters that may be able to help you or put you in contact with someone that can.

What is Core Paws' Virtual Volunteer Program?

A majority of our volunteers are virtual and help out from wherever they live in the United States. Most of our volunteers are professionals working full-time positions, so we understand busy schedules! Being able to volunteer weekly at times that work for their schedules is a huge benefit to joining Team Core Paws.

How can I get involved with Core Paws?

Become a donor, and join us in our movement for hard-to-place animals. You can contribute a monetary gift by clicking here.

Core Paws would love your help in spreading the word about our mission and website. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Word of mouth advertising is one of the most powerful ways you can help these hard-to-place animals!

If you'd like to Volunteer, please fill out the Volunteer Sign-up Form!

Where is Core Paws located?

Core Paws is a virtual non-profit, meaning we are not a brick and mortar shelter or foster based rescue. Instead, we support our partners (rescues and shelters) find homes for their hardest cases by leveraging our online presence via, social media and more.

We have a mailing address and it is:

6312 SW Capitol Hwy, #445
Portland, OR 97239

You can reach us by email at:

You can also reach us by phone (it goes straight to voicemail but is checked throughout the week): (503) 568-1960

Why is Core Paws a need in the animal welfare community?

Shelters, rescues, and municipal shelters are housing hard-to-place animals, but they have only limited local resources when it comes to finding homes for them. The target audience for animals with special needs, behavioral issues or seniors is a small, niche market. These animals get overlooked and passed over by visitors interested in adopting a younger pet or one that does not require financial resources or extra time.

A free service like Core Paws becomes invaluable to our partners. We expose their hardest adoption cases to potential adopters in surrounding cities and states spreading their stories nationwide.

What is our success rate for placing animals?

We have amazing success stories of animals who have found their forever home because of Core Paws. One of our favorite happy tails is Odie’s story.

Odie, adoptable for over 11 years, was brought into a shelter as a stray puppy and waited there his entire life until he was a senior (age 12). His aggression towards other animals paired with a rural environment, led to him waiting his entire life in a kennel environment. When we met Odie, we promised him we would find his perfect home. And, we did! Odie was adopted in October 2016 by Sharon, who loves him unconditionally and could not imagine her life without him in it.

You can read more on Odie's story by clicking here.

What is Odie's Fund for Hard-To-Place Animals?

We started this fund in honor of Odie, one of our hardest-to-place dogs, who found a forever home because of Core Paws. Odie was adoptable for over 11 years in a kennel environment, due to his reactivity towards other animals. He lived in a rural beach town on the Oregon Coast, where potential adopters were most interested in smaller dogs, not a large reactive pitbull like Odie. We knew the right home was out there for him. Core Paws fundraised to pay for behavioral consultation(s) with a nationally known Veterinarian Behaviorist. Odie was adopted into the perfect home just weeks after his consultation took place.

We created this ongoing fund to support our partner’s hardest cases financially to help make the chosen cat or dog more adoptable. So far we have focused in areas such as behavior consultations, medical treatments like stem cell therapy, building an outside enclosure for a feral dog’s healing treatment and more.

How do our partnered rescues and shelters benefit from Core Paws?

Core Paws is a free service to our partnered rescues and shelters. We have tens of thousands of potential adopters visiting our website every month looking for their next family member. We also showcase these animals via social media, our blog and newsletter.

We help partners strategize their hardest cases, we even fundraise on behalf of some of our hardest cases to pay for services to make them more adoptable.

We have helped partners find transportation for their hard-to-place animals and fosters, started viral stories about their animals and more!

What do I do if I'm interested in adopting an animal showcased on Core Paws?

Core Paws does not handle any of our partner’s animals. If a potential adopter is interested in learning more about an animal showcased on Core Paws, the animal’s bio showcases the contact information for the rescue or shelter. We ask visitors to our website to please reach out to our partner directly. We hope the adoption works out for you!