It is estimated that 390,000 dogs are euthanized at animal shelters in America annually. Although this number is decreasing with the advent of adoptions, it is still alarming.
By adopting a rescue animal, you can potentially save its life and provide a loving home for the remainder of its days. You can look forward to unconditional love, a sense of purpose, and a companion. If you are considering adopting rescue dogs, have a look through our tips.
What is a Rescue Dog?
Rescue dogs are those that have been taken away from or abandoned by their previous owners. This can be due to neglect or abuse or because the owners no longer have the means to care for their pets.
Where to Find a Rescue Dog
Most people’s first thoughts of finding a rescue dog are with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or SPCA. This isn’t surprising since the first non-profit organization to specialize in animal welfare was the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in England back in 1824. Since then, SPCA organizations have been founded in countries around the world.
However, there are numerous places to find a rescue dog and offer them a new, stable home environment. Don’t be surprised to find that charities specializing in adopting out rescue dogs insist on a background check and monetary contribution. They simply want to ensure the viability of your new canine relationship.
An animal shelter houses stray dogs, cats, and other domestic and agricultural livestock. Some of these animals have been abandoned, whereas others have been taken away by the relevant authorities due to neglect or abuse. All reputable animal shelters will insist that adopted dogs are either spayed or neutered to assist with animal overpopulation.
Not every dog needs to be rescued because of abuse or neglect. Caring for a dog should be a lifelong commitment. Unfortunately, dog owners sometimes die in accidents or due to old age, and more often than not, there are no family members or friends willing or able to take on a pet, a bonded pair of dogs. Similarly, even the most loving families sometimes need to find a new home for their pet due to divorce, a big move, or even allergies. In these cases, websites such as Rehome are an excellent resource for reaching potential adoptees looking for an older animal.
It may seem ironic that we recommend contacting a breeder to find rescue dogs. However, many responsible dog breeders are members of associations that assist in rehoming their specific dog breed. Due to death or circumstance, at times, people cannot continue to care for their pets. As a result, breeders are sometimes called to find a new loving home for an older animal. Alternatively, you could search online and find a specific association yourself, such as the Dachshund Rescue of North America. Please ensure that the organization is accredited non-profit.
Animal shelters and rescue services are often looking for loving homes to temporarily foster a dog or dogs. There are typically far more dogs in need of fostering than foster parents available. If you are uncertain if you can commit to caring for an animal permanently, or are still contemplating what size or type of dog is right for you, we would encourage you to consider fostering for a fixed period of time.
What Traits to Look for in a Rescue Dog
Once you decide to adopt a rescue dog, it is tempting to head straight out and take home the first one that licks your hand. However, it is best first to consider what type of dog would fit best into your living conditions, family dynamic, and lifestyle. Below are a few questions in which to deliberate:
- Age – Would you prefer a puppy or an older dog?
- Breed – Does an exact breed type matter to you?
- Health – Can I afford and cope with a dog with chronic health conditions?
- Size – Would a miniature dog or a giant breed fit into your car, your home, or your life?
- Energy level – How active are you prepared for your dog to be, and how big is your yard?
- Food – Based on the above, what are its pet food requirements?
- Temperament – Does it matter to you if the dog is good around other pets or children?
- Noise – Are you alright with a dog that often barks?
- Grooming requirements – Do you have the time and dedication for grooming a longer-haired dog?
Be honest about how much time you intend to commit to training and making your dog feel safe in its new environment. While some dogs have come from loving homes, many others have had a tough life to date, and it could take a significant amount of time to gain their trust. However, with patience, commitment, and positive reward training methods, we are confident that rescue dogs will be a much-loved addition to your home.