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Jul 18 2018

Are you considering adoption? How to make sure you are dealing with the right rescue group

Are you dealing with a risky rescue or reputable non profit?  Many animal lovers believe strongly in the ‘adopt, don’t shop’ motto when ready to look for a “soul pet”.  However, there are certain things to look out for when trying to determine if the rescue/shelter/adoption agency your dealing with is reputable or risky.

  1. Steer clear of rescues that don’t seem to interested in your history.  A legitimate organization vets potential adopters and will make sure to ask lot’s of questions.  So if they don’t ask questions, if they aren’t concerned about where the pet will be spending it’s time, or if he’ll be alone a lot, who he will be spending his time with or what kind of resources are in place for his care, then the rescue is likely just in a rush to get rid of the animal and get their money.
  2. The home visit is, well, just a brief stop to collect money for example.  The home visit is a key step in the adoption process to evaluate you and your space, and determine if those match up with the dog.  They will want to take time to interview you in person and explore the property the dog will be living on to check things like if there is a yard, is it fenced, where will the dog sleep, spend its time when your home or at work etc.  It should be in-depth , with a host of questions that leaves the rescue with a good understanding of who you are and your dog training/owning philosophy and where the dog will live.
  3. Just like it is the responsibility of the rescue to ensure that they are sending their animals to good homes you should be taking the time to ‘interview’ the rescue.  If they get defensive or start responding like it’s the Spanish inquisition if your asking pretty standard questions, there may be more to it.   Especially if they can’t or won’t answer easy questions.  Obviously, in some scenarios, you may not have much information.  However, in most cases they should have information on the dogs past, medical records (at a minimum whatever the rescue has done itself), whatever disclaimers the animal may have such as violence/aggression (the reason for the surrender) etc.  These things can all impact your decision to adopt and you have the right to this information before bringing an animal into your life.  If the rescue won’t provide it that is a red flag.
  4. These days we can research everything, the power of social media and the internet means we have considerable investigative power.  We check out Google, Facebook and Yelp for restaurants, clothing shops, and even our veterinarians so why not animal rescues?  Search the Web, check out Facebook, reach out to people you can find online that have adopted through that rescue to get feedback.  If the rescues reputation is negative…if their reputation precedes them…and not in a good way, then there may be some weight to it.
  5. The adoption process seems really quick.  It takes time to assess an animal’s health and get an in-depth sense of their personality, triggers or what type of home would be best for them.  This is why a rescue usually fosters their animals for a time while they get veterinary checks done and to allow time to get a sense of what would be the best placement for any particular animal.  So if you find out they just got this dog in yesterday they’re ready to adopt already…ask more questions.
  6. Most reputable rescues will follow-up to ensure all is well and hopefully prevent re-surrenders.  Many even insist that you return the dog to them specifically if things aren’t working out.  So, not hearing form them after the adoption, although there isn’t much you can do, is a telling sign as far as ever working with them again or recommending them to anyone else.

Adopting is a lifelong commitment.  You want to make sure you know what you are getting into temperament wise AND health wise if possible.  Be prepared for the rescue to interview you and know you have the right to interview them right back!



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Julia Lohasz

Practice Manager

Bayview Seven Animal Hospital



“Your healthy companion is our pride & joy”

Bayview Seven Animal Hospital, a veterinary clinic located on Hwy.7, one block West of Yonge, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Thornhill, Vaughan and North York since 1988. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, rabbits, pocket pets and birds.

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.

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