How to Find a Reputable Rescue

Dec 9, 2019   Tracey Aston   Pet Safety

After much consideration you've decided to add a new furry member to your family and have made the decision to rescue a pet. Rescuing a pet and providing them with a safe, loving home is wonderful and will bring you years of joy, but where do you start? How does one find a reputable rescue? 

Foremost, make sure the rescue or shelter has a good reputation by either checking reviews or speaking with others who have adopted a new pet. It's heartbreaking to fall in love with a pet found online or Facebook and then finding out the rescue has negative reviews or poor communication or the pet is not available, not properly vaccinated, good with other pets, or advertised incorrectly. 

Always be aware of backyard breeders and know the signs. A backyard breeder won't allow you to view the facility, will always appear to have numerous litters of puppies for sale, and has no or limited adoption criteria.

A reputable rescue will be just as interested in screening you as much are in finding out about them.  This is a good thing. This shows they care for their pets and want to keep them safe. You will be expected to fill out an application, provide references, and some even go as far as having in home checks before allowing adoption. Different rescues have different requirements such as a vet references or requiring a fenced yard. In the unfortunate circumstance that the adoption doesn't work, they require the pet to be brought back to them.

A reputable rescue will have some form of contract detailing the adoption. This protects them but also gives you rights and responsibilities as the new owner of the pet. 

A reputable rescue will be interested in knowing your lifestyle and if you are the right fit for a particular pet or can recommend a pet based on your needs. Depending on the circumstances of how the pet entered the rescue, the rescue may be able to provide medical records, health conditions and known behavioral issues.  They may also be able to tell you if the pet is dog/cat friendly, if they are good with children and their basic personality. Always remember a pet who feels secure will start to come out of their shell so if a rescue says they are shy and low energy, that may be what they've seen, however, that doesn't mean a pet who is now familiar with their new home environment and feeling safe won't become more confident and playful. Make sure to allow the new pet time to adjust before their true personality shines. 

A rescue will require the pet be spayed or neutered and up to date on vaccinations. If the pet is too young to be spayed or neutered a rescue may have a clause in their contract that requires the adoptive parent to get the pet neutered within a certain length of time after adoption. 

Some rescues will be breed specific, so never assume that all rescues equal mixed breeds. While it's true many rescues deal with older pets, rescues will sometimes have very young dogs or cats or puppies and kittens.

Ask to meet the pet before signing any paperwork. You'll be able to see how well you connect with the pet, visually inspected their health and get a basic idea of their personality.  Again, always be aware this pet may have had negative experiences with people in the past, may not feel well or be stressed. 

Adding a pet to your family through rescue will provide you with years of friendship and companionship but taking the time and precautions to know what you're looking for in a rescue is best place to start.  

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