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Dog Rescue: Adopt a Dog Only From Reliable Rescues

There are good dog rescues and bad dog rescues.

Rescue Dog Adopt Before adopting from a dog rescue:


* Read about the breed or mix of breeds that the dog your are interested in is and make sure it is the right breed for you and your family.

* Become informed about the dog rescue group that you work with. Most rescues are reputable, honest and do amazing work in rescuing and rehoming dogs in need. However, some dog rescues register as non-profits with the intention of making money. They are not honest about the health, age or temperament of the dogs they place, and these dogs are not properly cared for, properly vetted or thoroughly treated for any health conditions. Beware, and don’t let your heart make your decision before doing your homework.

* Make sure you are committed to keeping your new dog for his lifetime, especially through the early adjustment period.


If adopting from a rescue, we recommend that you adopt your dog from a rescue that is familiar with the dog. A good rescue will have tested the temperaments and have the current vet health records of the dogs in their care. If you are not shown the current vet check and health information and any treatment regarding the dog, consider looking elsewhere. Rescues that do not completely temperament test, vet check and treat dogs needing any health care before adopting should not be supported monetarily from adoptions. It is most often better to adopt from a local rescue where you can see the dog that you are going to adopt. If you adopt from a rescue that is going to ship you a dog, make sure it is a very reputable dog rescue. Speak to others who have adopted from the rescue.


Good rescues will only adopt dogs that are groomed and in good condition. They will ask reasonable prices for the dogs they adopt to cover transportation, care and vet expenses. Beware of rescues that offer “rescue” dogs at very high prices. Rescue is a labor of love and an effort to find every dog their perfect forever home. Expect to fill out a long application and be thoroughly questioned about the home you can provide for your new dog. This is perfectly normal and will help the rescue to match you with the right life-long friend.


On each of the dog breed pages found on this web site you will find a list of hereditary dog diseases that could affect each particular breed. These are some of the problems that you might want to keep an eye out for in your dog.  Keep in mind that if the dog that you are considering adopting is a mixed breed or a “designer breed” (which is a mixed breed) the dog could inherit hereditary diseases from any of the breeds of which it is a combination.


Health Guarantees


You should have a written contract before paying a fee or agreeing to adopt your dog. The rescue contract should contain all details of the adoption agreement. The agreement should be fair to all parties, and should protect the dog first, then the rescue group and you. It is customary that a rescue group require that you must take good care of the dog, have proper fencing etc or they could take the dog from your possession. However, be wary of signing a contract that stipulates that the rescue group could take the dog if you use a collar instead of a harness or other minor things that are typically left up to the adopter. Some rescue groups micromanage their adopters and threaten lawsuits for the most minor things. It is better not to adopt from these groups so be careful.


The rescue should provide a written health guarantee that states you have 48 hours or so to take the dog to your vet for a health checkup, and if the dog does not pass your vet’s health checkup, you will get a full refund of your adoption fee. If the dog was shipped from out of town, be sure to consider this expense in the contract. Get everything in writing in the form of a signed contract before you put down any money for the adoption. Please keep in mind that there are many conditions such as allergies, skin conditions, eye disorders and more that could affect your dog. Most people who adopt take this in stride and realize that, just like humans, dogs have many of the same health conditions and they are more than willing to accept this and gladly provide the care needed for their new dog. The reason for a health guarantee is that if the dog has a condition that you could not afford to properly care for and manage, such as the need for hip surgery, it would be possible to give the dog back to the rescue so that it could get the needed treatment that you could not afford to provide.


The following is from Karen, printed at her request:

“My puppy Mickey, a beautiful Yellow Labrador Retriever, was given to me as a gift from my children for Mothers Day. At around 7 months of age we noticed that he was limping and having a hard time walking when he got up from a resting position. We took him to the vet and had x-rays taken. It turns out he has elbow dysplasia in both elbows, plus right hip dysplasia. Besides that, he also has an impacted canine tooth, and enamel hypoplasia on two of his teeth. My vet says that he is a GENETIC MESS.


He had surgery on his elbows two weeks ago, and is recovering nicely. The surgery and x-rays have cost $2100 so far, and we haven’t taken care of the oral situation yet. I wrote a letter to the south Florida pet store where Mickey was purchased for $500.00, and asked them how they wanted to handle the situation. I received a reply saying that it is not their policy to pay for vet bills, but that they would give me another puppy from different parents, and I could keep the one I have. I wouldn’t part with my sweet baby now, and will do what ever it takes to ensure him the healthiest, happiest life we can give to him.


Had I known then what I know now, I would never have bought from a pet shop; however, if Mickey hadn’t come into my life he could have possibly been put down, or had to deal with a miserable and painful life.  I am glad we have him, and I know he is a lucky little guy to have us.”


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