Thinking about that special kind of love, companionship, and fun only a dog can provide? Here are some great reasons to adopt a pet through a dog rescue.
In a world where designer dogs are all the rage, many choose to adopt from national dog rescue organizations. So, what does adopting from a dog rescue entail, exactly? And what does it mean when someone says “adopt, don’t shop?”
First of all, adopting through these groups has lots of advantages. As the Humane Society explains, rescues have a wide selection of adoptable dogs and know their personalities very well. They can help you pick a pet who fits in well with you, your family, and your lifestyle. In addition, they can provide expert advice on training, diet, and care. Your (very reasonable adoption fee) also often covers pricey basics like vaccinations, spaying, neutering, and microchipping.
The term “dog rescue” grew popular in the 1990s as animal shelters shed their sad image of a “dog pound.” Instead of cold kennels where unloved dogs awaited uncertain fates, we began seeing shelters as foster homes for adoptable pets. Meanwhile, volunteers began hosting dogs in their homes as shelters got too crowded. Most rescues push for rehoming abandoned, surrendered, or lost dogs, rather than euthanizing healthy animals. Dog breeders, on the other hand, specialize in propagating just one or a few select breeds. The less reputable ones — “puppy mills” — also raise moral issues as they overbreed with no regard to their dogs’ health.
Aside from our concerns about puppy mills, buying a purebred dog can hit your bank account hard. Some people choose a dog breeder over a dog rescue when they have specific needs such as a hypoallergenic dog. But if you want a pet instead of a pedigree, you can adopt through rescues that specialize in specific breeds. These include popular ones like corgies, chihuahuas, and golden retrievers.
Finding Your New Companion
The first thing to do would be to figure out what you are looking for. Would you like a mellow dog that is a loving companion? A dog that’ll bark at potential intruders? If you’re looking for a specific size, try searching terms like as “big dog rescue project.” Or you can search by the desired breed, such as “Goldendoodle rescue dogs.” It may take some time depending on how specific your needs are for a rescue dog. Nonetheless, doing a bit of research pays off in the long run.
A quick internet search will likely find you more than one reputable dog rescue in your area. For families on a budget, it’s often more cost-effective to adopt from a rescue or shelter. Most areas have non-profits that can help you find a dog you can adopt. Look for your local shelter, Humane Society, Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). A good place to start is PetFinder.Com. They have listings for all kinds of dogs and other pets from rescues, animal shelters, and other nonprofits near you. There, you can search by location, type of pet, breed, age, and more.
Once you’ve found a shelter or dog rescue in your area, it is wise to vet them properly –- no pun intended. The last thing you want is to adopt from a place that mistreats animals or misrepresents their health and needs. So making sure they’re who they say they are, and do what they say they do is very important.
Special needs rescue dogs also need loving homes.
There are also dog rescues that specialize in animals with special needs. The stories of many of these rescued dogs can break your heart. For example, we’re constantly seeing news stories about pit bull puppies getting rescued from fighting rings. Having a high energy dog with special needs is a labor of love, to be sure. These dogs need structure and a great deal of attention and patience. When you rescue a dog you often don’t have their full history, and may not know what their needs will be. There will be some trial and error, but don’t give up! These special needs rescue dogs require lots of TLC and training, but their love is its own reward.
Training Rescue Dogs
Once you get your new friend settled into their new environment, it will be time to behavior train them. When you were a kid, did your parents tell you how much responsibility having a dog is? Well, they’d have been right. Your dog may dig up your yard, or bark at 3 a.m. without any apparent provocation. Your new dog may even eat your favorite shoes at some point. That’s why you’ll want to start training them as early as possible.
If you’ve adopted an older dog then they may already have had some experience with obedience training. When it comes to training a rescue dog, it’s likely that there are low-cost obedience training resources in your hometown. For starters, check with your local pet stores, animal shelters, and even your parks and recreation department. You also may choose to train your rescue dog at home with help from books and online tutorials. This may be preferable if you are on a tight budget. It is important for your dog to learn good habits and to break any bad habits as quickly as possible. Socialization with other dogs is also a good idea … Especially if you’d like to take your dog with you when you go places like the dog park or the beach.
I was this close to going on a serious rescue rant this morning about how dumb and negligent and terrible people are. Waking up to approximately 18+ text messages each morning filled with things that need to happen IMMEDIATELY is nothing short of exhausting. Just as I was about to go off, awesome foster mama @jdt1151 sent me this beautiful candid shot of her youngest, Gus, having a moment with their foster puppy, Skye, and all was well in the world again. This is why we do what we do.
Big Dog Rescue Effort
If you’re an outdoorsy person you may be looking for a big dog you can take out for walks and to the dog park, with energy to take trail running or camping. A large, high energy dog will thrive among high energy people. Adopting a large dog comes with its own set of responsibilities. In the wrong environment, even the most docile large breed can do harm to themselves, other dogs, or people without meaning to. For example, high-strung dogs may have issues with very small children and your other pets.
Featured image: CC0 Public Domain Stefanom1974 via Pixabay.