Adopting a dog through a rescue organization can be a life-changing experience. Not only are you literally saving a LIFE, you are also enriching the lives of your entire family. As they say, “You may not be able to make all dogs have better lives, but you can make a life and death difference to ONE dog.”
First, for the sake of this post, I am assuming you have already determined the timing is right, that you have the right living situation and all of the basic questions on timing and appropriateness have been affirmatively answered. This post addresses your actual interactions with the rescue organization.
Keep in mind – Reputable rescue organizations are going to ask questions and lots of them! They will work to connect you with the right dog for your situation and lifestyle. Be prepared for unexpected questions and remember, they only ask to better match you with your best potential dog!
Here are just a few of the questions you might be asked:
Why do you want this particular breed?
Have you ever owned a dog before? If so, when? What kind of dog?
Do you have enough time to properly exercise a Jack Russell or Border Collie or Australian Shepherd?
Do you have a fenced yard? If not, do you plan to walk the dog every day – rain, shine, snow, fleet, hail or will you use an indoor potty system?
Do you have a swimming pool? Live near a body of water?
Will the dog live indoors or outside?
Do you have other pets? if so, what types and how many?
Are there children in your home? If so, how many and their ages?
Do you plan to visit the veterinarian at least once a year? Note: You may be asked for a vet reference.
Each question has a good reason behind it. If you are adopting a French Bulldog, Bulldog or Basset Hound and have a swimming pool with no fence filling your entire backyard, you may be denied. Short-legged, dense bodied breeds swim like bowling balls. If you live in Minnesota and want a Whippet, but plan on it being an outside dog, you will be denied. For that matter, most rescue organizations want the dog to be inside, with your family receiving the attention it deserves.
Also, some dogs have been turned in to rescue because of an inability to get along with other dogs or children, so it would be for everyone’s happiness that tough questions are asked. A Jack Russell dog with a high prey drive (chases smaller animals) would probably not be a good match for a family who’s daughter dotes on her three beloved guinea pigs. Just as a dog who has not interacted well with children will absolutely not be placed in a home with three toddlers and a daycare! So, please, don’t be offended if some of the questions seem personal or “picky.”
The safety and well being of the dog and you and your family comes first. No one wants to send a dog to a home that is not a good fit. Good luck bringing home your new family member!