There are many different reasons that an individual or family may choose to adopt a dog from a rescue or shelter. Adopting from a rescue is a wonderful way to find the perfect dog to meet your needs, as well as providing a loving home to a deserving dog. Rescues are typically run by volunteers; usually people that enjoy and have a good working knowledge of the particular breed. The costs that new owners pay to the rescue are used directly towards the care and re-homing of new dogs into the rescue facility.
Many rescues are breed specific, in other words they focus on one or two different types of dogs. As opposed to being a specific place or building, often rescues are more like a foster home situation, where the rescued dogs are placed in the houses of approved volunteers until a permanent home can be found. This system actually works very well, because the dogs are carefully observed interacting with other dogs in various types of situations, as well as how they respond to children. This information can then be used to help the rescue agency and foster family to find the perfect match for the dog and a new family. Many times the foster family will provide refresher training, as well as socialization for the dog. The foster family for the dog will help the new owners in understanding the dog, and also continuing on with any training that has been started. Many of the foster families also provide feedback on health issues with the dog, and ensure that the dog is used to grooming and regular maintenance such as nail clipping and dental cleaning routines. Since the foster families are already familiar with the breed, they are able to start to correct any problems, as well as begin working with specialized training that may be relevant to the particular type of dog.
Typically dogs from rescues will be adult dogs, or at least dogs past their puppy stage. Usually, puppies are easier to find a home for, and they rarely end up in rescues unless someone brings them into the rescue. Often the rescue will be called by a local animal shelter if the shelter staff realize a particular breed of dog has been brought in. Dogs may arrive at the rescue because they are lost or abandoned, cannot be kept by their current owners, or are removed from an owners home by the authorities and brought to a rescue.
Once the dog arrives at the shelter, he or she is completely examined and checked by a veterinarian and treated for any health conditions such as fleas, worms, respiratory problems or infections, as well as any injuries. The vet will then provide the required treatment, and the dog will be placed either in a rescue facility kennel or in a foster family setting. At that time the rescue will start to advertise the dog, and will also start to review any current applications to see if the dog will match with any family that has already made a request for a dog of the breed.
One of the biggest benefits to adopting a dog from a rescue is that the dog will usually be at least somewhat trained before he or she arrives at the new family. Many rescue dogs will be fully trained, and some will also be fully housebroken. However, some dogs are taken to the rescues because they have developed poor habits, or are rather rambunctious or difficult to deal with. Typically a loving foster home that understands the breed will quickly be able to start the dog on a fast track training program, using positive training methods.
Rescue dogs will usually always be adopted as spayed or neutered dogs, even if they are purebreds. This is to protect the dogs, as well as to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The cost of the adoption donation or contribution to the rescue is used to offset the cost of fostering the dogs, as well as the spaying and neutering procedure. Spayed and neutered dogs will be more relaxed and calm, and will have far les hormonally driven behaviors than the intact dogs of the same breed.
The Adoption Process
Breed or rescue adoption programs, also known as re-homing, are very detailed and complete. This attention to detail ensures that the re-homed dogs will match in as many ways as possible with the adopting family, to prevent any other moves or relocations in the dog's life. With some breeds that are very difficult to re-home, or dogs that are showing very challenging behaviors, only homes with experienced dog owners may be considered as acceptable.
Typically, the adoption or re-homing process starts with an application process. This application may be completed online, or by mail with most breed rescues. The application may include very specific questions such as:
The size of your house or living area
The size of your yard or exercise area
Type of fence or enclosure that you have for the dog
Number of people in the family
The number of children in the household and their ages
The number of other dogs or other pets in the family
Family and household schedules
Past experience with dogs and dog training
In addition, the adoption center or rescue may also ask for pictures of the house and yard, as well as information they may feel is relevant to the care and training of the dog. There will also be a commitment to routine vet treatments, communicating with the rescue as to the match with the dog and the family as well as perhaps a personal visit to your residence for a interview before the dog is adopted out.
This process is designed to ensure that the new owners have a commitment to the dog. Owners may have to wait for the right dog to be rescued, but once the rescue or shelter has the dog that is a match for the family, it is a very rewarding experience.