When the time comes to add a new member to your family there are many things to consider. One question to ask yourself is; where will I start my search? Adopting from a local rescue group is one option that not only brightens up your family but helps your community as well!
As a board member and co-founder of Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue I would love to open your eyes to some of the things you may not know about the rescue world.
To begin, it’s important to understand that rescue groups are all individually operated. Therefore policies, procedures and agreements will vary. It’s important to look around and choose a rescue group you would like to support as the adoption fee will most likely be reinvested into saving another animal. The majority of Rescues are 501 (c)3 certified non-profits who rely on volunteer help to be successful. Adoption fees are put in place to cover the cost of veterinary visits that ensure rescues are healthy and vaccinated before being adopted.
Besides the average Google search, there are websites making it easier and easier to connect local rescue pups with adopters. Recently petfinder.com has updated its policies to support only animal rescue groups, another similar website is adoptapet.com.
Secondly, it’s important to know where the pets come from. Much like humane societies, rescue animals come from all different backgrounds and situations; strays, owner surrenders, and unhealthy or abusive situations are some of the most common.
Many pets in the care of local rescue groups are actually from humane societies. All too often, shelters around the world fill up, leaving the staff no choice but to euthanize those who have been there the longest or who appear least adoptable. According to the ASPCA’s most recent statistics approximately 60% of dogs and 70% of cats who enter a humane society in this country are euthanized.
Rescue groups work against those numbers to “pull” those animals to safety allowing them as long as it takes to find their forever family. A large number of animals in rescue have come from out of state shelters. This is because many groups focus on the shelters with the highest euthanasia rates.
When you find a picture and bio of a pet your interested in, be sure and ask what their story is! One benefit of adopting from a rescue group is the foster home experience. The majority of pets are kept in a home environment which allows their foster to really get to know them. They learn valuable things about the pet: Is he/she potty trained? Good with kids? Cats? And what is their favorite toy!? They report back to the individuals handling the applications to ensure a good match is found. Foster parents are expected to begin potty training as well as dealing with any other unwanted behaviors immediately so it’s likely you will be able to find a well rounded, well behaved dog.
One misconception is that rescue groups don’t have puppies available for adoption. This is in fact not the case. Puppies are quite abundant in the rescue world. When puppy mills are shut down there are large amounts of puppies needing rescue at once. Pregnant dogs are often surrendered simply because their pregnancy was unexpected and the owner doesn’t have the resources to support it. Sometimes breeders release puppies to rescue groups if they do not meet their breed standard simply to preserve their blood line’s reputation, these “imperfections” could be as simple as a slight curl of the hair or the runt in a litter. It’s much easier than you think to come across purebred puppies in local animal rescue groups!
There is so much to learn about all of our wonderful local rescue groups and as with any organization it’s important to do your homework! One way to get to know a group would be to become their friend on facebook, start volunteering for them or attend a fundraiser that sounds like fun to you! Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue is always having exciting, dog friendly events like 5k fun runs, spaghetti dinners, and concerts – we’d love to see you there!