Rescue agencies typically operate differently than normal adoption shelters. The adoption process for rescue animals involves a few extra steps because it’s critical that pets with a troubled past get placed in the perfect home for a great life. The rigorous process isn’t meant to deter you from adopting. Rather, all the paperwork and interviews ensure that you bring home the fur baby of your dreams!
Every rescue does things slightly differently, but the process usually involves the same few steps across the board. If you’re interested in rescuing a pet, here’s what you can expect from the process.
Make sure the agency is legitimate
Before you can find a rescue pet to fall in love with, you’ll want to make sure you’re adopting from a credible rescue agency. There have been reports of puppy mills and animal traders posing as rescue agencies for the sake of gaining profit. No animal lover should get tricked into giving money to a company that mistreats its poor pets!
There are a few telltale signs that will expose a “rescue agency” for what it really is. For starters, they probably won’t interview you or conduct a background check. That’s because the breeder will want to make a sale as quickly as possible. The organization might also charge way more than the typical adoption fee.
A credible rescue agency will have a location you can visit, and their website will have information about the adoption process. It may sound like they’re asking you to jump through too many hoops, but that just means they care about making sure the human and pet are a good match. You can also search for verified rescue agencies using online tools.
Once you’ve found a suitable shelter, you’ll begin to explore their list of adoptable pets and find a few who appear to be a good match.
Answer a few simple questions
When you’re ready to begin the adoption process, the staff will ask you to fill out a questionnaire. This is where future pet parents might feel taken aback. Rescue agencies usually ask questions about your home life, marital status, finances, lifestyle and place of residency. Not everyone is eager to divulge such personal information to strangers. However, the questionnaire is designed to make sure both the owner and pet can live happily together.
It’s crucial that your answers are completely honest. Don’t lie and say your income is bigger than what it actually is. Don’t say you own a house with plenty of yard space when you’re really living in a one-bedroom apartment far from any grass. Whatever your answers may be, the staff won’t judge you! Honesty is the only way to ensure you’re rescuing a pet that fits with your work schedule, activity level and living situation.
Complete a background check
Many rescue agencies request a background check. Again, this step may feel a tad invasive. Just remember that no one is accusing you of being a criminal—background checks guarantee that every furry friend ends up in a safe home. Background checks are also super easy. All you have to do is give the shelter your information, and they do the rest for you.
Unlike regular adoptions, a background check is necessary when the fate of a rescue pup is in your hands. Rescues often come from the poor living conditions of puppy mills, dog racers, abusive owners or off the streets. The rescue agency wants to make sure the animal’s next owner isn’t an animal rights offender or has a history of giving their pets back to shelters. Every rescue deserves a second chance at life!
Meet your new furry friend
The time has finally come—you get to meet your new fur baby! Once the rescue agency approves your questionnaire and background check, staff will set up a supervised meet and greet between you and the rescue animal. The meeting will take place inside the shelter and is intended to see if you and the pup get along well together.
This step may be followed by a home visit or “trial period” to see if the pet does well with your family. If both steps go well, you can move forward with adoption. If you two aren’t a match, don’t worry—plenty other pets still need a home!
Pay a small adoption fee
One big difference between adopted animals and rescues is the price owners pay for adoption. Rescue animals typically come with a much smaller adoption fee, which covers expenses like vaccinations, spay/neutering and microchips. What’s more, all that money goes toward funding the rescue agency’s operations. By paying a nominal adoption fee, you’re saving a life and helping the shelter save many more!
With the fee paid, you’ll be free to bring your new rescue pet home and give them the loving home they deserve.
Rescue adoptions are relatively simple. All you have to do is be yourself, and the right match will come to you. Don’t feel discouraged if your perfect match isn’t there on your first visit. Finding a lifelong companion takes time, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself or the rescue animals. The right fur baby is waiting for you to find them!