If you decide adoption is right for you, the three main sources for adopting are the county shelters, county Humane Society, and private rescue groups (some of which are breed-specific). Four groups we highly recommend are South Charlotte Dog Rescue (based out of Waxhaw), Saving Southern Kitties, the Humane Society of Union County, and the Humane Society of Mecklenburg County.
Searching online is a great way to be introduced to what pets are available from the different organizations and to learn a little more about each one. Most of these groups will use petfinder.com to list available pets in addition to their own websites. When you think you found a few that may be a good fit for your home, you can contact the group(s) to set up a meeting. Please note that not all the organizations have a facility where they house the pets, many use a network of fosters, so often times you will be meeting with the foster or organization representative.
Once you find your perfect pet, the adoption process is fairly simple, and depending on the source may offer same-day adoptions or require a more lengthy application and interview process. One of the greatest advantages to adopting from a trusted organization is the comfort in knowing they will work with you and your family to ensure that pet is the right fit. To learn more about the adoption process please refer to humanesociety.org and aspca.org.