A new emergency shelter has opened to rescue animals in medical distress and in desperate need of homes in Calgary.

The Safe Haven facility, run by the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, opened Sept. 15 and will provide emergency, quarantine and temporary shelter to domestic pets in need.

"It has been a long time planning and fundraising, but our dream of having a small animal shelter has come true," said executive director Deanna Thompson. "We now have the ability to rescue more animals in desperate need and provide them with a safe haven against cold, hunger and abuse."

But she says they don’t just take any animal.

"So we don't accept surrendered animals here — we're only here to help the most needy medical cases and those stray animals that really need a place to go right away," Thompson explained.

Hanna McLoughlin, 10, just adopted a dog.  

"I like to help them and that, and a lot of dogs love me so it might be easier for them to get along," McLoughlin said.

That message was echoed by Gordon Waugh, who also rescued a dog.

"They turn out to be that all ... they need [is] love and they want love and they turn out to be the best dogs," Waugh said.

Nearly 500 animals have been adopted this year so far from the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society.