12 Things About Adopting a Dog and Rescue Groups

After the loss of our beloved dog Brooks, we started to think about adopting another dog. We spent a lot of time looking at pictures of adoptable dogs on Petfinder and talking to our local rescue groups. We were looking for a new furry best friend (and companion for our dog, Kelly), and it took some time, but we weren’t in a big hurry. (At least, that's what we kept telling ourselves. But when we saw or heard about some of the dogs, our hearts always got a little mushy!)

There's no shortage of homeless dogs, but you may be surprised to find that if you choose to adopt, it may not be a quick and easy process.  Here's what you should know:

Rescue groups-

  1. Ask a lot of questions
  2. May require you to fill out a lengthy application with questions about your schedule, your family, your yard, and more.
  3. May ask for personal references
  4. Will call your veterinarian to check that you've properly cared for your pets
  5. Will inspect your home
  6. Generally charge around $150-$450 in adoption fees
140512 Rescue and Shelter Cat

Here's what else you should know:

Rescue groups-

  1. Care about dogs. A lot. A lot a lot. Did I say a lot?
  2. Care about people, too, and finding the right dog for the family.
  3. Are volunteers with jobs, families, stresses, health concerns, financial pressures, and pets of their own. Yet they still put in countless hours to help save dogs in need. We sometimes get emails from one of our rescue group coordinators at three in the morning. I'm not sure that she ever sleeps.
  4. May witness horrific situations of hoarding, abuse, neglect, and abandonment, the reality of high kill shelters, and still continually put their hearts out there again and again. I often ask people in rescue how they handle it. Usually they say that they have to focus on the ones they save.
  5. Have a heart for the old, the sick and the homely. And have witnessed situations of true transformations when these dogs are given loving homes.
  6. Nurse sick dogs back to health. Bring homeless dogs to the vet for shots, treatments and surgeries. Have dogs spayed or neutered, microchipped. Often pay out of pocket for dog food and medical supplies. Those adoption fees only cover a small percentage of what's needed.

Rescue groups ask a lot of questions because they care about finding homeless dogs good homes. They don't want to see those dogs back out on the streets. They also have a lot of people waiting for certain dogs, and not enough people looking for other types of dogs. The main thing to remember is that rescue groups will work to find the right dog for your lifestyle, and the right forever family for each dog.

About the Author: Peggy Frezon, author of Dieting with my Dog; The Dieting with my Dog Guide to Weight Loss and Maintenance; Heart to Heart, Hand in Paw; and the forthcoming book, Greetings at the Front Door, The Amazing Power of the Human-Animal Bond (Paraclete Press, fall 2015). Peggy is also a regular contributor to Guideposts magazine and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Connect with her on her blog, http://peggyfrezon.blogspot.com/, on twitter @peggyfrezon, and check out her newsletter with positive pet news.  This article was originally posted on June 10, 2013 on Peggy’s Pet Place.

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