There are many places to find dogs that need rescuing, and each offers its unique set of challenges and benefits. Animal shelters are often the first place people think of when they want to adopt a dog, but there are also private rescues, pounds, and even individual dog owners who need to re-home their pets. Here are some things to consider when choosing where to adopt your new furry friend:
Animal shelters are operated by municipalities or non-profit organizations and take in homeless, abandoned, or surrendered animals. They provide food, shelter, and medical care for the animals in their care until they can be adopted into new homes. Many shelters also offer training and behavioral services to help make the adoption process smoother.
The Benefits of Adopting From a Shelter
- A wide variety of animals to choose from
- Animals are typically spayed or neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations
- Many shelters offer adoption counseling to help you find the right pet for your family
The Challenges of Adopting From a Shelter
- Shelters can be crowded and stressful environments for animals, which can make it difficult to get an accurate assessment of their temperament.
- Adopters may have to wait weeks or even months to take their new pet home, depending on the shelter’s policies.
Private rescues are typically run by volunteers who take in homeless, abandoned, or surrendered animals and care for them until they can be adopted into new homes. Some rescues specialize in particular breeds of dogs, while others take in all kinds.
The Benefits of Adopting From a Private Rescue
- Rescues typically have fewer animals than shelters, so adopters may have more individual attention when choosing a pet.
- Many rescues require potential adopters to go through an interview process to ensure that the home is a good match for the animal.
The Challenges of Adopting From a Private Rescue
- There may be less variety to choose from, as most rescues only have a few animals at any given time.
- Rescues typically rely on a network of foster homes to care for their animals, so adopters may have to wait longer to take their new pet home.
Pounds are operated by municipalities and are typically the last stop for homeless animals before they are euthanized. They often have high intakes of animals and limited resources, making it difficult to provide the best possible care for all the animals.
The Benefits of Adopting From a Pound
- Adopting from a pound is often cheaper than adopting from a shelter or rescue.
- Pounds typically have a higher turnover rate than shelters, so there may be more animals to choose from
The Challenges of Adopting From a Pound
- Pound animals may not have received the same level of care as animals in shelters or rescues, so they may have more behavior or health problems.
- Adopters may not have as much time to get to know the animal before taking them home, as pounds typically have shorter holding periods for animals before they are euthanized.
Individual Dog Owners
Some people choose to adopt their new pet directly from an individual dog owner looking to re-home their pet. This can be a great option for people with specific requirements for their new pet, such as a certain age, breed, or temperament.
The Benefits of Adopting From an Individual Dog Owner
- Adopters can often learn more about the animal’s history, personality, and needs.
- It may be easier to find a pet that is already a good match for the adopter’s home and lifestyle.
The Challenges of Adopting From an Individual Dog Owner
- Adopters may not have the same legal protections as they would if they adopted an animal from a shelter or rescue
- Adopters may not have access to the same resources, such as training or behavior help, that they would if they adopted an animal from a shelter or rescue.
Top 10 Dog Rescue Groups in the US
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
- Best Friends Animal Society
- Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
- National Humane Education Society (NHES)
- SPCA International
- The Fund for Animals
- The Humane League
- United Animal Nations (UAN)
- Wildlife SOS USA
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Top 10 Dog Animal Shelters in the US
- Animal Humane Society
- Austin Pets Alive!
- Best Friends Animal Society – Los Angeles
- Detroit Dog Rescue
- San Francisco SPCA
- Seattle Humane
- Spokane Humane Society
- Twin Cities Humane Society
- Wisconsin Humane Society
- Yonkers Animal Shelter
These are just a few great organizations working to rescue dogs and find them loving homes. If you are interested in adopting a dog or would like to help support these groups, please visit their websites to learn more.
Tips on How to Choose a Dog From an Animal Shelter
When you visit an animal shelter, there are a few things you need to remember that will help you choose the right dog for your family.
- Think about what kind of personality and energy level you want in a dog. Do you want a laid-back couch potato or an active running partner?
- Consider what size of dog is best for your home and lifestyle. A large dog may not be the best fit if you live in a small apartment.
- Take your time getting to know each dog before making a decision. Ask the staff at the shelter about the animal’s history and personality, and spend some time playing with them to see if they are a good match for you.
Returning a Dog to the Animal Shelter
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When you adopt a dog from a pound or rescue organization, you are not only giving that animal a new home, but you are also helping to save the life of a homeless pet.
Returning them to the shelter does not make you a bad person. If your circumstances have changed and you know you won’t be able to take care of the dog, it is better to give him back to the shelter than throw him in a life full of neglect.
Here’s what you should do:
- Make sure you have a safe way to transport the dog back to the shelter. If possible, use a crate or carrier.
- Call the shelter ahead of time and let them know that you will be returning the dog. This will help them prepare for the animal’s arrival.
- When you arrive at the shelter, remain calm and quiet. This will help reduce stress on both you and the dog.
Adopting a dog from an animal shelter is a great way to find your new best friend and help a deserving animal in need. With a little research and patience, you are sure to find the perfect furry friend for your family!