Tuesday, January 7, 2014

7 Signs of a Reputable Rescue Organization

For many owners of rescue dogs (including myself), the checklist of what a reputable dog rescue organization looks like is discovered long after the adoption takes place because the excitement of dog ownership takes precedent over the practicality of researching a rescue organization beforehand.

After doing a great deal of research I found a list of 32 signs of a reputable rescue from the Ohio Great Dane Rescue but because this post would be too long if I listed them all I chose highlight seven that I felt were the most important 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.

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 will never hurry the adoption process or waive requirements simply for the convenience of the rescue.

Putting pressure on the public to adopt by a certain date is unfair to potential adopters and equally unfair to the animals who have been transported to an adoption site because the dog may not be right for the family and/or vice versa. 

4) A reputable rescue will help adopters make decisions about which dog is a good fit for their home and will offer advice and assistance on meeting the correct one for the adopter.

5) A reputable rescue helps educate new adopters and may require adopters to participate in training courses to assist in a good adoption.

6) A reputable rescue keeps dogs in foster care to screen for health or behavior problems.

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. 

If you are considering adopting a dog from a rescue organization, please keep this checklist in mind. You and your new pooch will be happy you did!


  1. Thanks, April! If anyone is looking for a local all-breed rescue group that follows these practices and more, check out PAWS New England ( My PAWS dog is a client of April's and I foster for PAWS NE. They are great and will do anything for their dogs and adopters!

    1. Hi Maureen!
      Thank you so much for commenting! I feel so honored! :)
      Your willingness to open your home to Gilbert until you found a home for him was very kind of you and the fact that you adopted happy and healthy Tulah was a wonderful thing! PAWS New England is very lucky to have your help!

  2. Fostering has been a huge factor with why we've stayed with the same rescue for both are dogs and will likely be back there for our third. I was impressed that they insist they want the dogs back if for any reason you need to surrender. In fact it is in our will that should anything happen to us, that is where the dogs go, since there are currently no family members who would be in a position to take on the dogs. I feel comfortable that the rescue would place them in safe and quality homes.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Bailey! I believe all dogs (and all other pets) appreciate us for rescuing them from unfortunate circumstances and I'm positive your dogs feel the same way. I am impressed that you set up a will that your dogs will go back to the shelter. You are a wonderful dog owner, that's for sure!


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