The first step you take towards finding a great new pet for your family is finding the right kind of rescue organisation for you and your adoption needs. To help you choose, here’s a quick summary of your options.
Rescue, breed rescue or foster care groups – Pet lovers saving animals
Rescue groups that call themselves ‘breed rescue’ or ‘foster care groups’ are generally a collaboration of animal-loving volunteers working in their community to provide a safety net for rescue pets. Some have kennels, but often (particularly in the case of foster care groups) these people care for the pets their own homes. They take in the overflow of pets from pounds and shelters, and sometimes accept surrenders direct from the public. Breed rescue groups (as the name suggests) specialise in particular breeds and are often part of a pure-breed fanciers club. As these groups are essentially volunteers, you may find that they’re not always available to take your call or respond quickly to your email. However, the biggest benefit of adopting from an independent rescue group is that the animals haven’t been through the stress of kennelling. Instead, their pets have been assessed in a home environment, so they can be more accurately matched to suit your family and lifestyle.
Shelter – An animal-welfare-run kennel
Shelters sometimes take stray animals on behalf of local councils, but generally they are privately owned charities run by animal welfare organisations such as the RSPCA or Animal Welfare League. Shelters have kennelling facilities to hold pets and can be very large (200+ kennels) or quite small (<10 kennels). Some accept surrenders from the public, but they often have waiting lists due to space constraints. Shelters are a good place to search for a pet, as they generally assess the animal’s health and temperament before rehoming to ensure they are fit to join a family. They also allow you to meet a number of potential pet matches in one convenient location (check shelter opening hours before planning your visit). They can be very busy organisations, so be sure to find one that’s willing to spend time helping you choose the right pet for your lifestyle and keen to offer follow-up support.
Pound – A pet holding facility
A pound is a council facility that holds pets seized by rangers or found wandering in the community. It’s often the first place a lost pet will end up. By law, stray pets must be kept for several days to give their owners a chance to reclaim them. Some pounds handle hundreds of pets every week. Once the holding period is complete, pets are collected by local shelters and rescue groups to be rehomed or can be killed if no home or temporary accommodation is found for them (see our Safe & Sound Pounds page for more info). These facilities are open to the public and you can adopt pets direct from the pound, but be aware that they usually haven't been screened for health or temperament issues.
Our best advice to you
Whether you're a brand new pet owner, or have long-term experience in being a pawrent, our advice is to find a rescue group you trust and can build a rapport with. Once you’ve found ‘the one’ you're on the way to finding your new best friend! Check out the 4 signs of a good rescue group or shelter, or start your search for a new family member on PetRescue today!