Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Some simple rescue rules for adopters

Here is a short and I mean short how to article on how to find the right rescue dog  that I wrote for November's Raising Maine Magazine.  You can't say a whole lot in 500 words but I tried to fit in as much as possible. 
Reprinted with permission.

Do you have a forever home for a dog?

If you are looking for a dog to add to your family, you’ll likely start your search on the Internet. Petfinder.com is the virtual home of 347,259 adoptable pets from 13,439 adoption groups, proving that the Internet has changed the way we rescue dogs and make them part of our families.

It is estimated that three to four million unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized each year.

Many homeless dogs end up in shelters through no fault of their own. And the Humane Society of the United States estimates that 25 percent of shelter dogs are purebred.

If your family has it’s heart set on a particular breed, be sure to get in touch with your local breed rescue. As a general rule, breed rescues do an excellent job of matching dogs with forever homes because those families know and love the breed. Always keep in mind a dog breed’s intended use when deciding if a particular dog is a good match for your family.

But beware: Not all rescues are created equal and the shuffling of dogs from state to state has given rise to unscrupulous practices, some for money, but others stemming from misguided good intentions. Rescue dogs can be the perfect addition to your family, but do not “buy” a rescue puppy, sight unseen from an unknown, online source.

Rules of rescue

1. Don’t fall in love with a photo. Rescues, foster homes, shelters and breed rescues evaluate dogs that are in their care and can be an invaluable match making source. Listen to them!

2. Don’t over estimate your skills in training your new addition or the time that you have to devote to a dog.

3. Never adopt a dog off a truck (see No. 1). Due to quarantine laws and behavior evaluation issues, dogs should be in foster care first.

4. Be prepared for extensive screening and a home visit.

5. If you are turned down for a dog, don’t take it personally.

People who work in animal adoptions are trying to find the best matches they can. Get to know area rescues so they understand what you are looking for and can help pick the right dog for you.

6. While it is true that some rescue dogs come with baggage, not all do. With proper training and guidance you can change that baggage to a small carry-on in no time.

7. Be prepared to wait – sometimes for a very long time – for the right dog to come along.

An extensive list of local shelters and rescues can be found on Petfinder.com.

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