While I’m sure the directors and the volunteers of rescue organizations have their hearts in the right place many organizations do not comply with the standards of what it means to be a reputable rescue.
I obtained the reputable rescue checklist from Ohio Great Dane Rescue and I have highlighted a few of the standards below:
1) A reputable rescue makes sure animals are up to date on all vaccines, and microchips where appropriate to ensure all pets are healthy, up to date on all shots, heartworm tested/on prevention, and received necessary vet care before placement.
Most rescues obtain an Intrastate Health Certificate which means it is only good for transporting reasons. If you adopt from a rescue be sure to take your new pet to your own vet for a check up.
2) A reputable rescue takes responsibility for the animals adopted through them for the span of each animal’s life, not "just” for the span of foster care or transport.
Many of our clients who have adopted dogs from rescues STILL receive yearly or twice-yearly check-ups from their rescue agency. Now, that's impressive!
3) A reputable rescue has a contract, screens every potential adopter with a MANDATORY home visit before a pet is placed there, incl. foster/temporary basis and requires references.
In my opinion, none of these dogs should have been adopted out without a home interview, references checked, etc, but since this was a "Fast Eddie Salesman" operation, home interviews and reference checks weren't possible
4) A reputable rescue will help adopters make decisions about which animal is a good fit for their home, and will offer advice and assistance on meeting the correct animal for the adopter.
Of course, owners of rescue organizations want to find homes for their dogs as quickly as possible but a reputable organization should still take the time to ask potential adopters plenty of questions such as:
- What is your family’s lifestyle? Would you prefer a active dog or a lapdog?
- Will your schedule allow you to exercise your dog regularly?
- Have you ever owned a dog before and if not who is going to offer assistance and training?
- Do you have written permission from landlord to own a dog?
- Do you have a fenced in yard?
5) A reputable rescue works carefully to match up the right forever home with the right pet, based on the pet's needs/personality/etc.
Every dog and every family/individual had their own unique personality and it is important to match them up accordingly. For example, an overweight, inactive person should not adopt a Jack Russell Terrier because Jack Russell’s are high energy and need a lot of walks. He would be better with a lapdog or a dog who does not require a lot of exercise.
6) A reputable rescue keeps animals in foster care, or in situations where the animal was at a shelter, works with shelter staff for a short period of time before placing them, to screen for health or behavior problems.
Rescue workers should have foster homes in place and they should keep in touch with them regularly. Every effort should be made to place dogs in a permanent home as soon as he/she is ready.
7) A reputable rescue is not for profit, and works on adoptions, not sales.
Before adopting from a rescue organization be sure it is licensed to operate as a shelter and not as a pet store store. A reputable rescue should be licensed as a shelter which means they will be running the rescue for the sake of the pets and not for their own profit.
I am not against adopting dogs from the south but putting pressure on the public to adopt by a certain date in fear that they be euthanized puts unfair pressure on vulnerable potential adopters.
If you are considering adopting a pet from a rescue organization, please take a look at the following checklist before doing so!