Adopting a pet means taking on a whole new set of responsibilities.
Even before you bring your new pup home, it’s important for future pet owners to do our research to make sure that we’re adopting from a reputable rescue group or shelter that doesn’t buy dogs from abusive puppy mills or auctions. Here are a few tips for making sure that you’re making the right choice when it comes to adopting your new best friend.
1. Head to a Rescue Group with a Good Reputation.
When you adopt a dog, you will likely be charged a fee, if not several, for the application and home inspection. Many reputable shelters claim non-profit status, but these fees usually go to rescue group expenses like medical care, training, and facilities. However, since there’s no governing body or national laws for animal rescue groups in the United States, it’s hard to tell in some situations which groups are genuine charities, and which are businesses. Consider using a source like the AKC Rescue Network for more information about national and local groups in your area.
It’s important to do your homework, but don’t be scared away by adoption fees. Rescues use those adoption fees to continue their life-saving efforts. Your rescue dog will come home already spayed/neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations, and they’ll be started on flea, tick, and heartworm preventative. Your fee goes toward those expenses and helps save future rescue dogs just like yours.
2. Ask How the Dog Came to the Rescue Group.
Rescue groups should be open and honest about how the dog ended up with them. If they are not transparent about one of the pups, try asking specifically if the dog was purchased at an auction – rescue groups that hide information may be more business-minded than charitable. It’s also good to know about a dog’s history to understand more about their behaviors and coping mechanisms should you decide to adopt. Sometimes the best answer you’ll get is, “He was found as a stray.” Adopting a dog means accepting you won’t know everything about their background, but always consider it a red flag if an organization doesn’t want to share that information.
3. Learn About the Group’s Rehoming Policies.
We all want our pup to be a perfect match, but sometimes circumstances make it necessary for an adopted pup to find a new home. Some rescue groups prefer, or even insist, that you return your dog back to them in the case that things just don’t work out. This likely means that they want what’s best for the animals, not for their business. If a group does not allow a pup to be returned in certain situations, consider adopting from somewhere else.
4. Go to the Local Shelter.
If you’re confused or concerned about rescue groups in your area, there are plenty of pups looking for homes in local shelters. Shelters are generally very transparent about where dogs come from and what they know about their background, so they are a safe bet for adopting the perfect dog for your household.
No matter where you find your new pet, your pup will love you forever for providing a warm home and a friendly family. Supporting adoption and rescue groups means supporting the health and happiness of animals everywhere.