Ever considered a rescue dog for a family pet? If so, you probably also wondered what is the best way to find the right pet for your family. Some people wonder what the dog has done wrong to end up in a shelter or rescue. Hopefully this article will help explain how rescues work and whether or not a rescue dog is the right choice for you.
Rescues are full of wonderful animals, although this article will concentrate on dogs. Owners who do not spay and neuter their pets are the #1 cause of dogs ending up in rescue. In recent years however, the economy has played a large role in the surrender of family pets as well.
There can be many benefits to getting a rescue dog for your family.
1. What you see is what you get-When you get an adult rescue dog, they are what they are going to be. You do not have to raise it to be a nice dog. Most adult rescue dogs are housebroken already and have some house manners. This is a big bonus for a busy family who may not have the time to devote to housebreaking and training a puppy. It is not as easy as you might think to mold a puppy into a nice, safe and content adult dog. \
2. Medical needs are met-Most rescue groups spay or neuter and address any medical issues the dog has, such as fleas, intestinal parasites or any other problems they may have. This can save you quite a bit of money in the long run. Most rescue dogs adoption fees are between $150 and $250. You would be hard pressed to get a free dog and then have everything done that a rescue has already done, and get it for that same price. Most rescue dogs have had their distemper/parvo, bordatella (kennel cough), rabies vaccines, spay or neuter surgery, heart worm testing, parasite testing and treatment and a microchip. Rescues are sometimes able to get discounts on the purchase of supplies and veterinarians offer discounts to non profit groups. A private owner would pay approximately $550 for the same medical procedures to be done on their own pet., and that is if there is nothing other than routine medical needing to be done.
3. Rescues know your dog- Most rescue groups utilize foster home systems, which enables them to know the dogs better than shelters will. Dogs who live in kennel situations can behave differently than they will in a home. A dog who has lived in a foster home for at least 2 weeks prior to adoption will have shown the foster family all of his quirks and therefore you can know what the dog is like that you want to adopt.
Drawbacks to adoption are few, as long as you research the rescue group in question. Not all rescues are created equally and you need to know how to check out groups, what questions to ask and what to look for in a good or bad group. If you deal with a sub-standard group you could be putting your family and current pets in danger. Some groups will try to adopt out dogs with questionable temperaments as "Special Needs" and expect the adopter to deal with this animals baggage. This is not always bad, depending on how honest the group is, how dangerous this baggage is, and the experience of the adopter. Just be sure the group you are dealing with tells you all there is to know. I personally do not recommend obtaining a troubled dog for an active family with children. The risks are too great and there are many issue free dogs out there needing your love and affection to choose from.
Ask a rescue group for references. Reputable rescues should be able to provide you with at least one veterinary reference and one shelter reference. Rescues work closely with shelters and can usually provide more than a few references.
Find out what is considered standard veterinary care. Not all groups vet the dogs the same way, or cover as much in the way of care. You do not want to pay an adoption fee and then find out you still have to spay or neuter the dog in question. All reputable rescue groups should provide vaccines, deworming and sterilization at the least.
Ask questions about the rescue groups temperament evaluations. There are temperament tests available online that you can access and do yourself when you meet the dog. They are not fool proof but they do give you some insight as to the dogs personality.
Do not let a group pressure you into making a snap decision. A good group will encourage multiple meetings between your family and the dog you are interested in. If you are being rushed, there is a reason. Take your time, view more than one dog, get to know the dogs you like and then make your decision based upon the best fit for your family.
Find out of the group has post adoption assistance. Good groups will have a program in place to assist adopters and the dogs to make a smooth transition. If a group does not have information for you at the time of adoption and post adoption assistance you should reconsider the group you are working with.
Most groups have a very detailed adoption application and process. Do not be deterred by this. A good group wants to know as much as possible about the families interested in their dogs. They put quite a bit of time, energy, love and money into making these dogs adoptable and it only makes sense that the group would want only the best possible home for the dogs in their care. This is another sign of a good group, but do be prepared to go through a process. This is not the route for someone not willing to wait a week or so for their new friend.
In summery, a good rescue group is a wonderful place to get a dog. You can give a needy pet a second chance at life. It can be a very rewarding experience if you know what you are looking for in a dog and a good group.