What to look for in a Rescue/Rescuer
These are suggested basic rescue guidelines, for potential adopters to consider. Relinquishing owners could benefit from this as well.
A responsible, reputable, and ethical rescue/rescuer will have strict adoption policies in force. The screening of a potential adopter usually consists of an adoption application, reference checks, and home visits. If a suitable match is found and the adopter is approved, a contract needs to be signed. Adoptable animals will be spayed/neutered BEFORE they are adopted out. If, for medical reasons, the spay/neuter cannot be effected before placement there must be an enforceable spay/neuter agreement included in the contract. Contracts should include a clause stating ďIf something/anything should happen and you cannot keep the dog, the animal will be returned to the rescue.Ē
If a rescue/rescuer does not ask many seemingly intrusive questions of you, if they donít want to visit your home to meet your family and other pets, if they donít have the proper paper work( surrender forms, vet records) on the animals they have for adoption, or they canít answer all your questions about the animals, be very careful! Rescues/rescuers who donít do these things are often more interested in quantity than quality in their placements.
You also have the right to, and should screen rescues/rescuers if thinking of adopting from them. They arenít all the same. If the rescue isnít comfortable with you checking them out, then it is probably best to look elsewhere.
A rescue should be upfront and forthcoming with all information pertaining to themselves, the animals, and their policies. They should be willing to share with you how they fund their efforts. They should be able to provide you with references, and should welcome you to visit their facility or home.
Rescuers should have an in depth knowledge of the breed/type they rescue. You will need to question some rescuers to get the needed answers, some will tell you more than you ever wanted to know. Some of the things you need to know:
1) What experience have they had with the breed/type?
a) Where did they gain that knowledge?
b) When did they start working with the breed/type?
c) Why did they start working with the breed/type?
d) What can they tell you about health issues particular to the breed/type.
e) Can they tell you what the general breed/type's temperament is, should be?
If youíve done YOUR research on the breed you will have a sense of what these answers should be. If answers are vague ask for specifics.
2) Where do the animals they rescue come from? Owners who no longer can keep them? Shelters? Breeders who couldnít sell them?
3) How many do they take in annually? How many do they place annually? How secure have those placements been? Remember there needs to be a contract clause that says they will take back any they adopt out, for whatever reason. Do they have the facilities to take them back?
4) Do they have volunteers who do foster care? If so, what is the screening process for their volunteers? Are the foster homes inspected on a regular basis? What training and/or expertise is required of volunteers?
5) Do they use a ďself fosterĒ policy (owner keeps until adoption)? Has a trained rescue volunteer (or other knowledgeable person) been out to evaluate the animal for health and temperament? Will the owner help with the selection of an adoptive home? Is the owner required to sign a release of the animal?
6) Any rescue, foster (including owners), or volunteer who is housing the animal you are considering, should be able to tell you a lot about the animal, as the dog should have been in their care long enough for a solid evaluation.
The rescue/rescuer should be able to answer ALL
your questions, not just these sample questions, now and in future. Will they continue to help/advise
you in dealing with issues that may arise after the adoption?
Responsible rescues CAN and WILL.
Note: We would like to thank a number of people who have been successfully rescuing for a number of years for help with this article. If you feel something needs to be be added to the above, please contact us.
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