Finding a local dog rescue that is reputable is such an 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.
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 ours as a family. I’ve learned a lot since being involved in the behind-the-scenes of dog rescue.
We all have seen sad stories about puppy mills, and laws are being created to try and help stop the sale of puppy mill dogs. But the puppy mills are getting tricky and hiding behind a rescue name. Even rescues that appear reputable can be a little 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. We 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?
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 cold hard 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?
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I had started to compile a long list of reputable rescues per state. Until I realized that you need so much more than online reviews to deem a rescue reputable. You need to talk to them personally in great detail, talk to references, really dig deep. And I can’t personally do that in such a great volume.
So I have decided to choose a handful of rescues and shelters to interview with. Those are listed below for your convenience. If you have a rescue you’d like me to interview, please leave a comment below with their information.
Other great resources to find local rescues are PetFinder.com, Adopt-a-Pet.com, and AKC.com. I talk about the benefits of each of these adoption websites here.
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.