Chapter 5
How To Know The Best Source For Your Dog
Disadvantages of Rescue Dogs. As with any other shelter dog, rescue dogs are generally in a rescue for a reason. In some cases, this may be because of behavioral issues that the previous owners didn't have the inclination, energy or experience to address. In other cases, the dog may have simply been a mismatch between the interests of the owner and the needs of the dog; but many rescue dogs are perfectly suitable pets for people who are well matched to the needs of the animal. Be clear about behavioral issues and your lifestyle requirements when you talk with members of a rescue group. For breed-specific rescue dogs, you have the added disadvantage of what may be extremely limited availability. Adult purebred dogs that need to be re-homed are usually more difficult to find than purebred puppies available from breeders. If you contact a breed-specific rescue group, you should be prepared to be placed on a waiting list to find a dog that is a good match with your lifestyle. Rescue groups typically require a much more thorough background check from people who are interested in adopting their dogs. This may consist of house visits, as well as detailed information about your history of dog ownership, familiarity with everyone who lives in the home and other details they believe relevant to successfully placing a dog. Some people find that they simply don't want to submit to the process of adopting a rescue dog. If you're looking for a quick solution for finding a dog or aren't interested in filling out an application and the resulting detailed follow-up, a rescue group is probably not a good option for you. Rescue groups may also be more expensive than dogs in animal shelters or humane societies. Because of the character of rescue groups which are networks formed entirely by dedicated volunteers, they typically have limited resources with which to pay operating overhead. They must pay for dog food and medical expenses from their own pockets. Rescue groups tend to charge anywhere from $100 to $400 for their dogs, which is more than you'll pay in most shelters and humane societies. Because rescue groups are so committed to finding a good, permanent home for their dogs, it's not unusual for them to require more restrictive contracts for potential adopters than other sources for dogs. Among other things, potential adopters usually have to agree to return the dog to the rescue group at any time in the future if the owner no longer wants the dog. Some rescues may require far more restrictive conditions, including agreeing to feed a dog only a certain diet, agreeing to vaccinate according to a contract-dictated schedule, or other restrictions. Make sure you review the rescue group contract closely before adopting to make sure you are comfortable with all of the terms of the agreement. If you don't understand a provision in the contract, ask for an explanation. If you don't like a requirement of the contract, request the provision be changed. The group may not agree, and it could even cost you the dog you want to adopt, but it's better to have no dog than a contract that imposes unacceptable conditions on your future behavior.