What’s the difference between getting a dog from a shelter vs a rescue

What is the difference between an animal shelter and animal rescue?

Don’t worry this is a common confusion! And while they both have the same goal to place dogs (and other animals) in homes, they have many similarities as well as differences. I have one dog from a reputable breeder (big difference from a back yard breeder – which we do not support) and I have one from a kill shelter in Los Angeles. Both are absolutely amazing dogs.

First time holding Maggie at the Los Angeles animal shelter

A shelter is a place where homeless or abandoned animals are housed and provided with basic care, such as food, water, and shelter. A rescue, on the other hand, is a group or organization that takes in animals, often from shelters, and provides them with temporary care and rehabilitation with the goal of finding them permanent homes.

Rescues generally have a stricter adoption policy which may includes interviews, home checks, and in-depth applications. They may have more rules of who they don’t adopt to, I know families with multimillion dollar homes that have been turned down due to coyotes living in the area or not having a fully fenced yard. While a city shelter will pretty much adopt to almost everyone (there are a few exceptions), there is generally no application process, it’s much easier (and faster and cheaper) to get a dog from the city shelter.

Why it’s important to support kill shelters

It is important to support both kill and no-kill shelters, I know you’re thinking why would I support a shelter that euthanizes animals but they both play a crucial role in helping animals in need. Kill shelters, also known as open-admission shelters, often take in a high volume of animals, including those that are lost, sick, injured, or aggressive, and are unable to find homes for them. These shelters face the difficult decision to humanely euthanize animals when they reach capacity, to ensure they do not continue to suffer or to be able to take in more animals that are brought in.

Supporting kill shelters is important because it helps to fund their operations and enables them to continue to provide care for animals in need, even if they are unable to find permanent homes for them all. By supporting these shelters, you can help to reduce the number of animals that end up in the streets, and provide them with a safe and comfortable place to live out their lives. By rescuing a dog from a shelter you are immediately opening up a kennel spot for another dog, when there isn’t room for new dogs to come in that’s when euthanasias occur.

Benefits of adopting a dog through a shelter

Adopting an animal from a city shelter has several benefits, including:

  1. Cost-effective: City shelters often have lower adoption fees compared to private rescues or breeders, making it a more affordable option for families.
  2. Accessibility: City shelters are often located in urban areas, making them easily accessible to potential adopters.
  3. Immediate availability: City shelters often have a large number of animals available for adoption, which means that you can often find your new companion more quickly, often the same day or pick up the next day compared to rescues that may have home checks, a waiting list, applications, and so much more.
  4. Support from local government: City shelters are often funded by local governments, which can provide more resources and support for the animals in their care.
  5. Saving a life, you are immediately opening up a spot in the shelter for another dog and hence saving one that may be put down.
  6. Helping the local community: By adopting from a city shelter, you are helping to support your local community and the efforts of local animal control officers.

Shelters are not just bully breeds, there are purebreds, puppies, seniors, mixed breeds and everything in between. A friend of mine rescued a purebred Havanese, that was labeled as a terrier mix, from a city shelter and she lived to be almost 19 years old! There are absolutely incredible dogs that need a home waiting in the shelter. Maggie was actually listed as a terrier mix, she’s a Bichon Poodle per her DNA testing but most of all she’s perfect.

In conclusion, adopting an animal from a city shelter can be a cost-effective and accessible option for families, and helps support the efforts of local government and the animal control community while saving an animals life and opening up room for the city to help other animals. You can stop by your local shelter or often search online too. For Los Angeles animal shelter’s search click here.

Benefits of adopting a dog through a rescue

Going through a rescue also has several benefits, including:

  1. Increased options: Rescues often have a wider variety of animals available for adoption, including purebreds, older animals, and special needs animals this is due to them not having a time constraint to get more kennels open.
  2. Screening and rehabilitation: Rescues often have a thorough screening process for their animals, including behavioral and medical evaluations, to ensure they are ready for adoption. They may also provide rehabilitation services to address any issues that might make it difficult for the animal to be adopted. This also means they may know more of the dogs history like if she or he likes kids and other animals. They have the ability to spend more time with the dog (or kitty) and hence learn a bit about him or her (and with this time the resources and cost goes up).
  3. Personalized support: Rescues often provide support to adopters before, during, and after the adoption process, including counseling and training. This can help ensure a successful placement and reduce the likelihood of the animal being returned.
  4. Reduced euthanasia rates: By taking in animals from shelters, rescues help to reduce the number of animals that are euthanized due to overcrowding or lack of resources at shelters.
  5. Community involvement: Rescues often involve a network of volunteers and supporters, who work together to help animals in need. This can provide a sense of community and fulfillment for those involved.

Adopting from a rescue can offer a more customized and supportive adoption experience, and still help save the lives of animals in need.

What is wrong with shelter dogs?

Just because a dog is in a shelter does not mean anything is wrong with him or her. My own Maggie is from a city shelter and she’s pretty amazing if you ask me.

There are several reasons why a dog may end up in a shelter, including:

  1. Owner surrender: The owner may no longer be able to care for the dog due to a change in circumstances, such as a move, financial hardship, or a health issue. Or silly but awful reasons like the dog got bigger than they expected or the doodle sheds (yes, a lot of doodles still shed).
  2. Abandonment: The dog may have been abandoned by its owner and left to fend for itself.
  3. Stray: The dog may have been lost or wandered away from home and was unable to find its way back.
  4. Owner death: In the event of an owner’s death, family members may not be able to take in the dog, and the dog may end up in a shelter.
  5. Seizure: In some cases, the authorities may seize a dog due to neglect, abuse, or illegal breeding practices. These dogs may need a little extra time to warm up in their new home but often are simply really lovely animals.

In many cases, dogs end up in shelters through no fault of their own, and they may be perfectly healthy and well-behaved. Adopting a dog from a shelter can provide them with a second chance at a happy life and a loving home.

No matter where you get your dog from, remember it can take hours, days, weeks or months for your dog to fully feel comfortable, to see that personality shine. The dog you bring home on day one isn’t the full picture of your dog – learn more about the two-week shut down here.

Have fun training, bonding and changing your lives together.

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