Updated – May 1, 2019
Dog Adoption – Where is the best place to find your perfect match? Now a days there are many places where you can go for dog adoptions. With so many options it is sometimes hard to decide. We will look at the pros and cons of each and touch on where you should not go for your dog adoption.
Where not to go for dog adoptions
Hopefully everyone knows that buying a puppy from a puppy store or a website that has many different breeds for sale means you are probably buying from a puppy mill. But did you know that “adopting” a dog from a puppy store can also mean you are buying from a puppy mill.
To get around laws aimed at stopping puppy mills, pet store owners are now offering dogs for adoption. But some of these dogs are actually bought from puppy mills.
Chicago Tribune Investigation
During a Chicago Tribune investigation they found that a loophole in the city ordinance allowed three Chicago pet stores to sell puppies supplied by rescues that are closely linked to longtime commercial dealers. Read more at the Chicago Tribune on line – Designer and purebred puppies from other states sold as rescue dogs in Chicago, outsmarting city ordinance
Where to go for dog adoptions
Rescue Groups vs Shelters
It is important to understand that a dog rescue group and a dog shelter are not the same. Although they are in the same business, placing dogs into homes, how they go about it is different. Rescues are independent and can choose which dogs they have available to adopt, where your county shelter will generally take in local street dogs or owner surrenders. If you are looking for a specific type of dog, either a purebred or designer dog you will have better luck with a rescue that specializes in that particular type of dog.
Another difference is that animal shelters typically keep their animals in kennels while dog rescues generally use foster homes. There is also a difference in costs. A true local animal shelter generally has a lower adoption fee. Rescue Groups tend to have higher fees associated with their adoptions.
If you would prefer the satisfying feeling of rescuing a dog in need and don’t mind the mystery of a mixed breed then a shelter may be the right place for you.
Shelter Dogs have a lot going for them. I can’t really explain it but shelter dogs tend to be more grateful. They typically know what a hard life is and are more appreciative when they are given a good life. Also since shelter dogs tend to be mixed breed (though you can find a purebred on occasion), the combination of two or more dog breeds can balance out their personalities, physical characteristics and health concerns.
Just remember that if you select a mixed breed puppy from a shelter there is no way of knowing exactly which breeds make up the mix, how your puppy will look or what health problems they may end up with.
How to Find a Shelter
Finding a local shelter is fairly easy. Just look on Petfinder.com or do a google search for local shelters.
Finding a dog that fits exactly what you are looking for at a local shelter is not. We had a really hard time finding the right one. Read: Shelter Dogs – The Realities of Finding One to hear about some of our experiences in the search to find a dog.
Within the realm of Rescue
Groups there are at least two categories. The first are the rescues that do it for the love of dogs. Often they tend to be breed specific and have been around for a while. They are generally founded by people who love and understand the breed, sometimes they are breeders themselves. It is a labor of love and not done for the money. Then you have a new trend that has been labeled Retail Rescue. These Rescue Groups are in it for the money.
If you look on Petfinder.com you will find a large assortment of rescues. It is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a rescue who only wants to save the lives of dogs and the one that does it primarily for the money. I might even argue that as long as a dog is being saved it doesn’t matter. Right?
Sometimes it does matter
At its best retail rescues have beautiful dogs that are handpicked to be adopted quickly and the only downside is higher fees.
At its worst retail rescues are a scam. Some will foster or kennel dogs out of state until they have a buyer. Then you must pay the non-refundable adoption fee before you can meet the dog. You see the dog for the first time on the day you pick them up to bring them home. It is not uncommon for the adopters of these dogs to be stuck with sick and dying dogs. It had gotten so bad that the state of Connecticut created laws against the practice.
A word on Petfinder. com – We used petfinder.com to find our most recent pup. It is a pretty easy way to search for all the available dogs (and cats) in your area. Petfinder.com requires that all parties wishing to use their site go through an application and screening process prior to posting. They must also provide a letter of reference from their primary veterinarian.
Watch Out for Scams
To protect yourself use a reputable dog adoption website like Petfinder.com. Petfinder has a screening process in place to ensure only reputable rescues can advertise on their site. Then do your homework. Do extensive research on any rescue you have an interest in before submitting an application.
Research should include but not be limited to:
- A general online search for good or bad reviews
- Ask questions
- How did the dog end up at the rescue?
- Where did they come from?
- Ask for proof of origin.
- Find out as much as possible about the dogs background as you can.
- Ask for the medical records and get the vets name so you can verify the information.
- Check the IRS website to make sure they have a 501(c)(3) charity status – Tax Exempt Organization Search
- Check to see if there is any feedback on the Rescue Group at these charity watch sites