Finding a local dog rescue that is reputable is the first and most important part of adopting a dog. It can be the difference between adopting a dog with unknown health issues to adopting your perfect healthy dog.

Where is the best place to adopt a dog? It can take some detective work to find a reputable dog rescue or shelter. It’s unfortunate, but there are many people taking advantage of our big hearts and selling dogs simply for profit.

When we were ready to start fostering dogs, I researched four different local rescues before deciding upon Fetch WI Rescue. I wanted to make sure the values of the rescue matched mine.

collage of puppy photos

You’ve seen the sad stories about puppy mills, the awful conditions they suffer in and laws have been created in attempt to stop the sale of puppy mill dogs. But the puppy mills get sneaky and hide behind a the name of a “rescue”. Even rescues that appear reputable can be a shady. I personally have experience with this recently…. read our failed adoption story to learn more. 

My point is, do your research, ask friends, family, search Google for reviews. It’s hard not to feel sorry for the dogs when we see sad stories about their living conditions. But are you prepared to adopt a dog with health and/or behavior issues? It’s not always just about loving them, many of these severe cases require years of rehabilitation.

What makes a dog rescue reputable?

If you haven’t noticed, I keep repeating the word REPUTABLE! Why? Because can make or break your adoption experience. A reputable dog rescue will make sure their dogs are healthy before getting adopted.

A sketchy dog rescue may adopt dogs that have illnesses unknown to you until you bring the dog home. Then you realize it’s going to cost you $1,000’s in vet bills and medication. I’ve heard the horror stories, believe me they aren’t pretty. Some dog rescues just don’t care about the dog, they just want the cash. You can be bringing home a dog with severe behavior issues and end up paying big money for dog behaviorist trainers.

Not all rescues and shelters perform temperament tests. In fact this is what happened when we attempted to adopt a dog named Rocky. In the first two days, I learned the hard way that we was food aggressive, so extreme that he bit me. And later learned that he had bit the previous owner that surrendered him. Did the rescue know this or disclose this… all I know for sure is that Rocky was up for adoption the day after we returned him. 

So again, it bears repeating… reputable, research, questions and more research. This is your life, your family. Do you want a dog with health and behavior issues? Are you prepared to pay $1,000’s on vets and trainers?

Make sure to visit our dog adoption page to get all the information you need to find and adopt your perfect dog! And download our adoption questionnaire below:

Where Can I Adopt a Dog Near Me?

Compile a list of rescues and shelters within driving distance from your home. Talk with friends, family and neighbors for recommendations. When possible, call each rescue or shelter personally, ask questions and dig deep to help decide if they are reputable. Do a Google search on the rescue, look at reviews on their Facebook page, ask around… research, research, research.

Adoption websites are a great place to find local rescues. But don’t be fooled, just because a rescue posts a dog on these adoption websites, doesn’t make them reputable. I know this by personal experience, you can read about Our Heartbreaking, Gut Wrenching Adoption Story.


What’s Next?

>> Sign up Now for the Rescue Dogs 101: Roadmap to Adopting Your Perfect Dog >>

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About the Author

Debi@RescueDogs101

Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, three dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.

  1. I was wondering if you could check into C.A.R.E Rescue group in Columbus,Indiana. Thank you for your time. Janean Hebner

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