Chapter 5
How To Know The Best Source For Your Dog

Rescue Groups

A rescue group is an organization formed by a group of individuals who, instead of having a central facility like animal shelters and humane societies, operate on a volunteer basis and use their own home to provide short-term foster care for dogs while trying to locate a new home for them. How a Rescue Group Works. Rescue groups are typically composed of individuals who foster dogs 'rescued' from a less than desirable situation. During their time in these foster homes, the rescue members are evaluating the dog to see how it reacts with many of the situations it may encounter in a typical home. Is the dog housebroken? Does it know any obedience commands? Does it get along with other dogs, cats or children? Because these dogs stay in rescuers' own homes, the rescue group member responsible for the dog can get a more accurate idea of the dogs' behavior through day-to-day observation than can a shelter. These dogs come from every kind of breeder and breeding conditions imaginable. One of the challenges you face getting a dog from a rescue group is trying to determine the most likely kind of breeder that produced the dog in question. Without doing so, there is no way to assess your risk for getting a dog that could develop a genetically-based disease sometime in the future. Rescue groups may maintain a website where they post pictures of their dogs and may advertise by other means including posting to popular Internet dog sites like When a potential owner finds a rescue dog that interests them, they can contact the rescue group for additional information about the animal, to arrange a meeting or to complete an application for adoption. Rescue groups typically 'rescue' dogs from animal shelters and humane societies and tend to be more selective about placing their dogs than either of these two organizations. You will probably have to complete an extensive application process that requires you to provide detailed information about previous dog ownership and may also include a home visit to allow the rescue group to evaluate you as a potential adoptee. Even though you may fall in love with a rescue dog based on its photo and profile, if the rescue group finds that you might not be a good match for the dog, they may deny your application or suggest that you consider a different dog. Once you pass the application process, you can typically meet your new dog and may be able to bring him home on a trial basis. Again, because rescues are so committed to finding good homes for their dogs, they may follow up and require that you return the dog to them if the trial ownership is unsuccessful. There are two basic types of rescue groups, regional rescue groups, and breed-specific rescues. Let's take a look at each one and the advantages they offer in greater detail. Breed-Specific Rescue Groups. Breed-specific rescue groups are typically breed fanciers who have arrangements with shelters that form a network for re-homing a specific breed of purebred dog. When shelters receive a purebred dog, they phone the appropriate rescue group, which then provides the dog with a temporary home while the group works to find a new owner for the dog. This frees up shelter space for mixed-breed dogs and gets purebred dogs directly into the hands of their rescue group. If you're looking for a purebred dog but don't want to pay the price typically changed by a breeder for a puppy, a breed-specific rescue group may be a great alternative for you. However, a disadvantage of breed-specific rescues is, depending on the breed, they may have a very limited assortment of (or no) dogs at any one point in time. This is especially true of uncommon breeds where you may have a wait of months or even more than a year for the right dog with the right temperament. Breed-specific rescue groups also tend to be very selective about where they place their dogs. Expect to have to pass an evaluation to prove that you'll make a good dog owner in order to acquire a dog from a breed-specific rescue.