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Heartland German Shepherd Rescue (HUGS)

Gretna, NE

Our Mission

Heartland German Shepherd Rescue (HUGS) is a Nebraska-licensed, all-volunteer, 501c3 non-profit dog rescue organization founded in May 2015. We operate out of the Omaha-Lincoln, Nebraska area.

Our focus is to save German Shepherd dogs at risk of being euthanized in shelters or other dire situations. We also try to help other German Shepherds and mixes in need, as we are able to.

While our focus is on purebred German Shepherds, after the plight of the stray dogs living in the SD reservations came to our attention we made it our mission to also help these dogs as much as possible too. These poor, forgotten pups lead extremely harsh lives, often dying due to the lack of shelter in extreme weather, the lack of food, and due to illness and injuries. Many of them are Shepherd mixes. Many are puppies and/or moms with their litters. Many are sick or injured. And these adorable pups couldn't be more needy or deserving of our compassion and help. You can help too by opening your heart and fostering, adopting or donating.

Our Mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and place the dogs we rescue in permanent, loving homes. We do not have a shelter facility. The dogs we rescue stay with our volunteer foster families until the time of their adoption.

Adoption Policy

-As part of the application process, we ask that you provide references (to include a veterinarian), and a home visit is required.

-Applicants must be adults 19 years old or older.

-We require a securely-fenced yard (for more details please see our Safe Containment/Fencing section below). Use of Tie Outs or Invisible Fencing is not allowed for HUGS dogs.

-All HUGS dogs MUST be INSIDE, family pets in their adoptive home. HUGS dogs may NOT be outdoor, free-roaming, backyard, porch, outdoor kennel, dog house or garage dogs. NO EXCEPTIONS, PLEASE.

-The dogs we have in rescue are typically from breeds that require lots of direction, strict boundaries and limitations, and lots of exercise and dedication in order to become well-rounded adults. That is why we look for experienced dog-owners, with a proven history of great vet care and dedication to their dogs, regardless of medical or behavioral issues.

-Submission of an application for adoption is not a guarantee of approval. There is no guarantee that applicants will be approved to adopt a specific dog, or that a specific dog will still be available by the time that your application is approved. Applications are valid for 6 months from the time of submission. After 6 months, you may be asked to re-apply. Thank you for your understanding.

-Please note that submitting an application requires HUGS to go through a series of steps. Receiving a phone interview or Home Visit does not guarantee approval. The adoptions team can approve or deny the application at any time during the process.

-We do not have a public facility. Meet and greets are scheduled by appointment only for approved adopters.

-Even for approved adopters, it is not always easy to find a suitable dog quickly (especially when looking for a good match for a home with an adult dog). For example, some dogs will not be a good fit in a home with cats, or a home with other dogs. As an additional example, some dogs will need a very active home, while others may need a more calm and relaxed environment. Final decisions on adoptions are always at the sole discretion of the HUGS Adoption Team.

-Adoption fees range from $275 to $450 depending on age and breed. All adoption fees go back into offseting our high-cost vetting expenses and rescuing more dogs. HUGS is a 100% volunteer-run rescue group and we rely on adoption fees and donations to continue saving lives. Adoption fees include spay/neuter, current on age-appropriate vaccinations, fecal, deworming, flea/tick and heartworm preventative, heartworm tested if old enough (and treated if positive), and microchipped.

-For more details about the application process and requirements, please visit our website at

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