How to Find Your Best Friend: Part One

Shelby Semel Dog Training :: How to Find Your Best Friend

Get Your Rescue On.

There’s nothing quite like the love and companionship that you get from a dog. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness never had a dog. But, where do you find your new best friend?

Each year, approximately 3.3 million dogs will enter the shelter system nationally, making rescues and shelters a popular place to get a dog from (ASPCA, 2017). With so many rescues and shelters across the country, how do you know which one to adopt your dog from? You can start by considering these 5 characteristics.

1. Interview Process

Don’t be offended if a rescue gives you the 3rd degree. A great rescue will interview all potential adopters before choosing a forever home for their dog. They will want to make sure that you are the absolute best home for their dog. Each dog placed in an inappropriate home that ends up returning to the rescue is taking resources away from another dog that could have been saved. You may be asked questions about previous dog ownership, and you’ll likely be asked to provide veterinary references and schedule a home visit,

2. Transparency About Behavior

Look for rescues that are honest and up front about the good and bad qualities of their dogs. While the emphasis will be on the good qualities a particular dog or puppy has, a good rescue will also tell you where the dog struggles. If the dog has behavior issues that will require the assistance of a trainer, the rescues should give you an idea of the extent of the training and give you a recommendation of a good, science-based positive reinforcement trainer.

By the same token, a responsible rescue will know when their dog is unsuitable for placement. Dogs with severe aggression that require intensive training and extensive management should not be adopted out. Physical and mental welfare of an animal should always take precedence.

3. Healthy Dogs

Healthy adoptable dogs are a sign of a responsible rescue. Dogs who are recovering from prior maltreatment or neglect should not be available to be adopted until fully recovered. If these dogs are adopted prior to recovery, the rescue should assist with the costs of veterinary care, and potential owners should be made aware of the extent of the illness. Make sure any potential new pet is up to date on all age appropriate vaccinations, and neutered where appropriate. You should receive a copy of your new pet’s veterinary history.

4. Returns

Responsible rescues are all about placing their pets in the home most likely to be their forever home. They don’t want to have to take their animal back, but they will if they need to for any reason. A good rescue will have you sign a contract stating that if for any reason you need to rehome your new pet, that you will relinquish ownership of the dog back to the rescue.

5. Puppies

Choose a rescue that pulls the mama dog along with the litter of puppies and makes her available for adoption. A responsible rescue will keep the litter together until 8 weeks of age, as the puppies continue to learn a lot from their mom and siblings during this time. Puppies born in foster care or in a shelter should also be receiving environmental enrichment and socialization so they’re fully prepared to be adopted out and lead confident lives. A responsible rescue will also never adopt 2 or more puppies to a single family, as the likelihood of serious behavior problems down the road is too high.

Leave a comment if you rescued your best friend, and tell us how you chose the shelter or rescue!