Southwest Pennsylvania Retriever Rescue Organization or S.P.A.R.R.O. is not your standard rescue, we are a temporary home for wayward, abandoned, unwanted, or abused dogs. All dogs that enter our organization are treated as members of a family.  Some do stay forever! If a dog is found to not fit in after several attempts at placement or no interest is shown in a particular dog we just make room and he stays for the remainder of his life. S.P.A.R.R.O. IS MOST DEFINITELY A NO-KILL ORGANIZATION! We attempt to crate train all dogs as well as teach them basic commands and how to walk on leash.

Joe & Barb Maringo

Joe is the Director of Southwest Pennsylvania Retriever Rescue Org/S.P.A.R.R.O. and Shades of Grey Sanctuary For Senior Dogs, and Barb is the Assistant Director. Dogs left to right: in Barb's arms is Lealah-11 weeks old (black), Nelly-13+ years old (black), Hope-19 years old (black in my arms), Sammy- 14 years old (yellow), Jake- 15 years old (golden retriever), and Paige- 18 years old (black).

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We incorporated in the very beginning and in 2003 became a recognized 501c3 non profit organization. We work as partners with the Petco Foundation and the Petfinder Foundation to apply for grants and funding opportunities. ALL of our funding comes through our adoption fees that we require at the time a dog finds a new home. However, special needs and senior dogs that stay forever do not bring in any adoption fees, so we count on the kindness of strangers and dog lovers like yourself to help us make their life comfortable.



In September of 2000 we saw the need for a place for abused, abandon, neglected and wayward dogs in our area to go where they could be loved, rehabbed and find forever homes. That was the birth of Southwest Pennsylvania Retriever Rescue Organization, or SPARRO. Just one year later with the tragedy of 9/11,  SPARRO was thrust into the forefront of rescue in our area. In 2000 we where able to rescue 4 dogs, but after the WTC attack and throughout 2001 we took in and re-homed 133 dogs, including 2 chocolate lab brothers directly from the NYC area just one week after the attack.


Over the years SPARRO has continued to grow and to date we are very close to rescuing our 1,000th wayward dog. We have helped dogs from every single state east of the Rockies and many from Canada as well. We helped with the dogs of Hurricane Katrina and continue to work closely with our contacts in New Orleans to bring great dogs north to forever homes whenever we can. SPARRO always has young, beautiful retrievers available for adoption which you can see on our Adoption page.


Saving One Dog Won’t Change The World, But Surely, For That One Dog The World Will Change Forever

2014 © Southwest Pennsylvania Retriever Rescue Organization Website Created by  Cindy Downard Graphics

142 Stark Drive,  Plum, PA 15239