Adopting a pet is a great way to give an animal a loving forever home. But what many people don’t realize is that there’s a difference between adopting a dog and rescuing a dog. Just because you bring a dog home from a shelter doesn’t mean that pup is a rescue. A rescue is a dog that comes from neglectful conditions and a hard life.
If you want to make a meaningful impact in the life of a lovable dog, consider rescuing when you decide to expand your family with a four-legged friend.
Rescue vs. adoption: What’s the difference?
Once rehabilitated, rescue dogs eventually go on to become adoptees. But not every adopted dog is a rescue dog. To understand the difference, it’s important to understand where that pup comes from and how they got to the point of adoption. It’s also important to realize that rescuing vs. adopting is a very different experience.
- Adoption: General adoption typically happens in a shelter. You go to the shelter looking for a dog, find one you love and adopt them. There’s usually a fee and some paperwork, and it’s only a few hours before your new family member is snoozing peacefully on your couch after a welcome-home meal. It’s a process that’s pretty simple and straightforward, and it’s meant to be an attractive option that sways people away from pet stores or breeders.
- Rescue: When you rescue a dog, it’s a two-way street. Not only do you need to find a dog you love, but that dog also needs to be a good fit for your home. Rescue animals typically come with trauma, special needs or health problems, and rescue organizations want to make sure these pups will go to a home that’s equipped to care for them. (This happens during adoption, too, but the rescue process is much more involved.) It can mean temporary placement to see if the fit is right, as well as an evaluation of everything from your home’s temperament to your financial stability.
There’s a stark difference between adoption and rescue. Rescuing comes with many more responsibilities, and you’ll need to prove yourself capable of bringing home a dog that likely needs more than a bowl of food and a yard to run around in. Adopting a rescue pet is a big undertaking—but it’s also extremely rewarding.
5 reasons to adopt a rescue dog
On the surface, rescuing a dog sounds like a lot of work—and that’s because it is! So why do people do it? Because rescue dogs who are treated right become some of the most loving, loyal, heartwarming pets. They often come from situations where all they know is fear, pain or neglect. Experiencing love, tenderness and compassion unlocks a unique and amazing bond between that animal and the family willing to put in the effort.
Why should you adopt a rescue dog? Here’s a look at five of the top reasons to rescue, as opposed to plainly adopting from your local shelter:
- You want a specific breed: Many active rescue groups focus on a specific breed of dog. Instead of paying thousands and waiting for breeder availability, you might be able to bring home the breed you want now if you rescue.
- Know what you’re getting: The thorough evaluation process involved in adopting a rescue means you know exactly what you’re getting from a pup. This means you’ll have everything from medical records to temperament evaluations explained to you upfront.
- Trial your adoptee before committing: The trial period that’s associated with rescue adoptions gives everyone a chance to see if it’s a good fit. That means you have the opportunity to back out of the fit isn’t good—or the rescue group can do so, as well.
- The cost of rescuing is lower: Rescue groups put significant funds into getting dogs ready for re-homing. That means you can expect to bring home a pup that’s up to date on healthcare, training and more—all expenses you won’t need to pay after adoption.
- Improve a dog’s life immeasurably: Whether they come from a puppy mill, off the street or from a neglectful home, you’ll be giving a warm, happy home to an animal that really needs it. This isn’t to say shelter dogs don’t! Rescue pups have just seen it all.
Choosing to bring home a rescue dog is a life-changing experience for both your family and your new dog. It’s going to be a trying and sometimes difficult experience, but one that’s unlike anything else in the world. When you look into the eyes of a dog that’s learning what love is for the first time in its life, you’ll know immediately that you made the right decision to rescue.