The rescue group that you will work with will always attempt to find the best home for their dogs. They will require an application and will need to check on your home and make sure your outdoor space is suitable for a dog. They will ask that you have a vet for your new pet, and they’ll check your references. Be wary of any rescue that does not ask for an application. In the same way that you might check out a babysitter or nursery school for your child so too will a good rescue check out potential homes for their dogs. Often part of the application will state that if you give the dog up for any reason, then the dog must be relinquished back to the rescue. That is an added level of security for you; if you’re no longer able to keep the dog or are facing issue you hadn’t planned for, they will help you.
Questions can certainly include information you feel is very private, such as any issues you may have had with prior dogs or income status. Some rescues will outright refuse to adopt to people with young kids, those who don’t own their own home, families who own other pets, individuals who work full time, people who own homes with no yard access, etc. It may feel frustrating. Please remember that the rescues want the best for each dog, so do your homework ahead of time and find out if there are any restrictions on adopting. Don’t be frustrated or discouraged – keep an open mind and remember that everyone involved is trying to do their best for each dog. Typically shelters will be much more likely to adopt to any interested party, whereas rescues will be more guarded and protective over their dogs. Rescue groups will never euthanize a dog, unless it is sick or extremely aggressive. Conversely rescues will seek out certified canine behaviorist or vets to help them.
Of course, you should ask questions of them too. You can ask them:
- Who started the rescue?
- Are they still involved? If not, why not?
- When did they get their 501c3 status?
- How do they interview, screen and train their volunteers?
- Do they pull from all shelters or do they prefer to work with only a few?
- How do they recruit foster families?
- How do they choose their vets?
- How do they fundraise?
- What does the adoption fee include?
- Do you allow the microchip information to be changed right away or is there a grace period?
- Do you have references?