Fresh Start Sheltie Rescue

Dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating Shelties that need a "fresh start" in life

About Us

Dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating Shelties that need a "fresh start" in life

Fresh Start Sheltie Rescue, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating Shelties that need a "Fresh Start" in life. We are primarily located in Memphis, TN, and take in Shelties that are abandoned, lost, mistreated, or no longer wanted. We do not have a shelter facility. Therefore the dogs in our program are housed and cared for in our network of dedicated foster homes around the mid-south. Our special rescue Shelties will be available for adoption after they have been vaccinated, spayed or neutered, checked and treated if necessary for heartworms, checked and treated if necessary for parasites, and groomed. Prospective homes will be thoroughly screened before being considered to adopt.

For additional information about the adoption process, please visit the Adoption Info page. Our Shelties have been adopted to wonderful homes in the Memphis, TN area, as well as all throughout surrounding states. We even have rescue Shelties who have been adopted to out of the area, including Georgia, Virginia, Missouri and as far as Alaska!

Years of rescuing

Adopted Dogs and counting

Fur-ever homes

Current News

See our Facebook a feed for up-to-date news on available dogs, new adoptions, fund raisers, and sometimes just cute pictures from our foster homes and adopters.

About the breed


Shetland Sheepdogs, or Shelties as they are frequently called, resemble the Collie. Although they are often called Miniature Collies or Toy Collies, the Sheltie is actually a completely separate breed. The breed evolved from its ancestors who once lived on the Shetland Islands off the northeast coast of Scotland. The Sheltie was developed as a herding and guard dog and an intelligent and affectionate companion. The breed's attentiveness and his willingness to obey were qualities desired by the crofter and the shepherd alike.


Shelties have a very strong desire to please their owners and an enormous capacity for love and affection. Each sheltie has its own personality. Some are more reserved while others are very excitable and energetic. They are usually very easy to train and are responsive companions, as well as outstanding learners and workers in obedience, herding and agility events. Shelties raised as pets develop a lasting loyalty to their owners. Shelties are very alert and protective, and will bark to let you know something is different in their realm. Their natural affinity for children make them gentle and loving companions. Unlike some breeds, there is little difference in temperament between male and female shelties. Both make wonderful companions and pets.

Physical Features

According to the breed standard, the ideal Sheltie should stand between 13" and 16" at the shoulder, and will generally weigh 20-25 pounds. Oversize and undersized Shelties do exist and can appear in the same litter. Although not suited for showing or breeding, they can make excellent pets. Ear set, carriage, and tip contribute to proper Sheltie expression, which is important in the conformation show ring. Although they will have little effect upon your Sheltie being a good pet, prick ears and hound ears can be avoided with proper care and ear bracing during puppyhood. Most breeders can give you advice and show you the proper way to train your puppy's ears.

Is A Sheltie Right for Your Family?

While Shelties possess many delightful qualities that make them rewarding companions, they also have two traits that may give pause to potential adopters: They have long hair to shed and they bark. Before acquiring a Sheltie, you should consider carefully whether you are willing to assume the special responsibilities associated with these.

Shelties are a double-coated breed and require a minimum of one thorough brushing a week to maintain their coats. During sheds, daily attention is a must. Most adult Shelties shed their coat once a year. When youngsters "blow" their puppy coat, it seems as if there is fur everywhere, but this only happens once. Generally, males have heavier coats than the females, and of course the bigger the adult Sheltie, the more coat there will be to deal with.

The other challenge to owning a Sheltie is that they are notorious barkers. To some extent, this varies with the individual, but as a breed they are known to be vocal. And unlike some smaller breeds which are barky but have "baby" voices, Shelties possess a penetrating bark. Your neighbors may not appreciate the fact that your dog's ancestors always lived within three miles of the ocean, and had to be heard over the sound of crashing surf, the call of sea animals, the bleating of lambs, and the howl of high winds. Two or more Shelties can be next to impossible to keep quiet, which is why many multiple-Sheltie owners have some of their dogs de-barked. Some of our rescue dogs come to us debarked but we never debark them ourselves and would only suggest this as a last resort.


One of the best ways you can help is to donate money to cover our expenses. Each dog typically requires transportation to pick up and drop off to new foster homes, vetting (vaccinations, spay/neuter, and often treatment for parasites), and many of our dogs come in with other existing health conditions that often exceed basic vetting. The best and easiest way to donate is via PayPal, or you can mail a check directly. If you're looking for mail instructions please send us an email to get those details.

Have you thought about getting involved in rescue? Here are a few suggestions:

Can you...

  • Be a FOSTER HOME for a rescue?
  • Donate towels, brooms, gently used shop vac for cleaning?
  • Donate some treats, dog toys or a bag of food? (We feed our rescues Fromm's.)
  • Help socialize and play with a rescue?
  • Brush or help bathe a rescue?
  • Donate some grooming supplies (shampoos, combs, brushes, etc.)?
  • Help transport a dog to a foster home, new owner or rescue?
  • Donate a gift certificate to a pet store?
  • Donate flea and/or tick prevention (Nexgard, Simparica, Advantage Multi, etc.)?
  • Donate heartworm prevention products (such as Interceptor Plus, Simparica Trio, etc.)?
  • Conduct a home visit or accompany a rescue person on the home visit?
  • Have a yard sale and donate the money to rescue?
  • Talk to all your friends about adopting and fostering rescue dogs?
  • Donate vet services or help by donating a spay or neuter each year or some vaccinations?
  • Write a column for your newspaper on dogs currently looking for homes or ways to help rescue?
  • Help organize and run fundraising events?
  • Donate a bottle of bleach, trash bags, or other cleaning products?
  • Pay for the dog to be groomed?
  • Donate printer paper, envelopes and stamps?
  • Provide post-adoption follow up or support?
  • Donate a coupon for a free car wash or gas or inside cleaning of a rescue vehicle?
  • Buy two of those really neat dog-items you "have to have" and donate one to rescue?
  • Make financial arrangements in your will to cover the cost of caring for your dogs after you are gone- so rescue won't have to?
  • Donate a doggy seatbelt or car carrier?
  • Organize a rescued dog picnic or other event to reunite rescued dogs that have been placed?
  • Donate gently-used dog equipment?

Kroger Community Rewards

Shop at Kroger? You can help Fresh Start Sheltie Rescue every time you shop! This applies to those of you living in the Kroger Delta region: west Tennessee (Memphis, Jackson, Paris), Missouri (Poplar Bluff), Kentucky (Paducah), Mississippi, and Arkansas.

Register your Kroger Plus Card in the Kroger Community Rewards Program & Fresh Start will earn rewards for every eligible purchase. You can register Fresh Start Sheltie Rescue (organization # 81204) via the Kroger website. It's simple and it's FREE!

Go to Scroll down and choose the (green) ENROLL NOW by the Delta section.

If you don't have a Kroger account with a login and password, you will need to do this now. After getting that set up, you can start helping us by entering our organization # 81204 or part of our name.

If you use your phone number at the register, you can call the HELP desk at 1-866-221-4141 for more information.

Don't have a Kroger card? You can get one for free at the customer service counter and then register it online.

To verify that you have selected us, you can sign in via with your email address and password. Scroll down and select Community Rewards. It should then list Fresh Start Sheltie Rescue, our organization # 81204 and the date you enrolled in this rewards program.

Please ask your family and friends to participate, also! (NOTE - solicitation to the general population is prohibited).

Thanks for helping Fresh Start Sheltie Rescue!

Want to adopt?

Thinking of adopting? Consider the information below.


Read. There are many good sources of information about Shelties. There is a brief description in the About the Breed link located on this site. There are many good books written on the breed. One such book (affectionately know as the Sheltie "bible") is Sheltie Talk by Betty Jo McKinney. You can do a search on the Internet and find good material about this wonderful breed.

Talk. Talk to actual Sheltie owners. Ask them what it is like day to day living with a Sheltie. Ask them to tell you about the challenges as well as the rewards.

Think. Now that you have read and talked to others about Shelties, spend some quality time considering if a Sheltie is right for you. Will it fit into your family and lifestyle? Even if you have owned a Sheltie before, adopting and owning a rescued Sheltie can be quite different due to "baggage" this new family member brings with them. One example might be excessive shyness due to living in a puppymill with little socialization. Also, think about whether you are willing to commit to owning this dog for the rest of his/her life. We only want adopters that are looking to give a dog their "forever" home.

Ideal Adopters

  • Have a securely fenced yard for the safety and welfare of their dogs--only rarely do we consider other options to a fenced yard. We do not adopt to homes that use invisible/underground fencing.
  • Are looking to give a dog a "forever home."
  • Have their other pets spayed or neutered unless showing in conformation or the animal has a medical condition that prohibits safely spaying or neutering them
  • Are going to keep their adopted Sheltie as an inside family member. Potential adopters that want a Sheltie as an outdoor dog are automatically declined.
  • Realize that rescued Shelties might have some "baggage" or issues to deal with and are willing to work toward helping the dog realize his or her full potential.

Adoption Process

The first step is to fill out an adoption application. After we receive your completed application and review it, then we contact your vet to check that your other pets are current on vaccinations, on heartworm prevention, etc. Then we will contact you to set up a time for someone to visit your home to meet you and your family. Once you have been approved, we will contact you to discuss which dog might best fit your family and lifestyle.

What are the adoption fees?

The adoption fee charged is to help cover our (many) expenses. The fees for adopting a Sheltie through our organization are as follows:

  • Shelties - up to 1 yr. old - $350.00
  • Shelties - 1 to 9 yrs. old - $250.00
  • Shelties - over 10 yrs. old - $150.00.

These adoption fees includes spay or neuter, routine vaccinations, heartworm check and preventative, flea prevention, microchip, grooming, and a dental cleaning if needed. Exception - puppies too young are not spayed or neutered. Adopter will sign spay/neuter contract and the surgery will be their financial responsibility.

These fees often do not cover the costs of caring for a rescue dog. We are a non-profit, and are more focused on finding the right family for the right Sheltie.


If you feel that you're ready to adopt, please fill out the form linked below and email it back to [email protected]. Once it's reviewed we will contact you and work on proceeding to the next steps of the adoption process.

Click here for the application.


Please contact us at [email protected] or via Facebook for further information on adoption, providing aid to a Sheltie in need, or anything we haven't addressed on our site.