Picking an Animal Rescue

Now is the time of year when most folks start thinking about adopting a pet. Folks start browsing sites like http://www.Petfinder.com and start becoming more aware of the adoption process.

Every rescue I know of has an application that needs to be completed and processed in order for that person or family to be eligible to adopt a pet from that rescue. We, as rescues, have to ask you, as adopters, a bunch of questions that might seem a bit personal or a bit off. But we need to ask you these questions to find out if the pet you’re looking at from our rescue is really the best match for you.

But what about YOU asking US about US? Why not? You’re looking for a long-term companion and you’re looking at US to provide that for you. So why NOT ask us? Well, here are a few questions you might just want to ask a rescue…

Are you a registered, non-profit organization? It takes a lot to get your non-profit status and we’ve got to jump through a lot of hoops to keep it. A rescue that has obtained this (or is in the process of) shows dedication. Registered, non-profit organizations have to submit reports of income several times a year so they’re monitored by the State.

How long have you been doing this? This is kind of self-explanatory…

What breed to you specialize in? This is an important question. I don’t know much about Australian Cattle Dogs. They’re not a breed I usually take in. I don’t have the energy for them so they’re never really a breed I considered rescuing so you’d rarely see one on my site. Now German Shepherds and hounds – THEY’RE my breeds. I can talk with you about either and know my stuff. If I had a Cattle Dog, I’d be lost. You want a Cattle Dog? I’ll call my friend, Cheryl – SHE knows THOSE dogs….

Is there a fee to submit an application? Ask this BEFORE you submit one. Is the application fee refundable if you don’t pass the application process?

What is your adoption fee? Adoption fees vary by rescue – some are very high, some are more reasonable. But ASK what it is and what it includes – Spay or neuter? Vaccinations?

What is your return policy? If you adopt a pet and it doesn’t work, will the rescue take the pet back? Will they give you ALL your money back or just a fraction? Is there a set time table that they’ll take the pet back?

Is the pet in foster care now? Is it IN STATE? Can you visit the pet prior to adoption? These are VERY important questions!! Adopting a pet you have not met is like buying a car you’ve never driven, but worse! Your pet lives in your house with your family.

Write down any other questions you may have. Make sure you can have a relaxed, take your time conversation with the rescue agency you’re working with. Make sure you like the person’s way of doing business. Be comfortable with the rescue!!!

Remember – this is a commitment on your part. The rescue you work with needs to make you feel comfortable in your decision to adopt a pet. The better relationship you have with the animal rescue, the better relationship you’ll have with your new pet.


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