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).

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.


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IIn 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. In 2003 we received our non-profit status and became a federally recognized 501c3.


In 2009 it became obvious that while we where making an impact for young adoptable dogs, there where just as many senior dogs who would never have a chance at adoption from the pounds and shelters, or when their owners passed away or could no longer care for them. At that time the Shades Of Grey Sanctuary for senior dogs was born as a part of SPARRO. SOGS fills the need for a quiet place for senior dogs to retire and live out the rest of their life without worry that they will be uprooted again and need to find another family. These seniors do NOT go up for adoption, but become members of the pack here, with as many as 10 or more sleeping in bed with me every night, until their final day comes. We provide love, affection, medical care, hospice and when that day ultimately arrives, a swift and painless crossing to the rainbow bridge to wait for us or be reunited with their family who has gone on ahead. While finding homes for young dogs brings great reward, seeing life and happiness return to a grizzled grey face is so much more gratifying. We love our seniors and special needs dogs and in return they give us so much more than we could ever give them.


Over the years SPARRO has continued to grow and now in our 18th year we have rescued well over 2500 wayward dogs. 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, the flooding in Baton Rouge LA. and victims of other natural disasters all over our coverage area. We work closely with our rescue partners to bring great dogs to waiting forever homes whenever we can. We work especially closely with the Paws Squad in Logan County WV to help the dogs of very rural Appalachia that do not get the same care and attention that we see in our local area. SPARRO always has young, beautiful retrievers available for adoption which you can see on our adoption page at www.sparro.org/adoption.html




History 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