Volunteering for a rescue group seems like a noble idea for an animal lover. More often than not, you will be able to find a group that is close to home, or that works with the type of animal you prefer. While their intentions may be good, there are times when a rescue group simply isn’t doing right by the animals they are supposed to be rescuing. I’ve been involved in dog rescue for some time, and I’d like to share some suggestions on how you can find a reputable group to work with.
A big problem is that some rescues have far too many animals and far too few volunteers. It’s easy to be led by the heart and want to save every needy pet, but it’s just not possible. There may not be enough foster carers to take in every animal. If they try and accommodate too many pets, it can result in them becoming stressed, or not getting enough time and attention to help them to become social, confident and adoptable animals.
Did you know that you can request financial reports for a rescue group? These groups are non-profit organizations wherein all financials must be reported. This information can be requested from the government itself if the group will not provide the information willingly.
The goal is to ensure that the group is not losing money. Rescue groups spend a lot of money, on veterinary bills and trainers, to make sure pets are physically and mentally healthy when adopted. Look at how much is spent on these expenses, and how they raise their funds. A rescue that spends more money than they raise isn’t sustainable.
Inappropriate Adoption Rules
Every animal must go to a safe and loving home, but the rules can’t be so stringent that people have to jump through hoops to adopt a pet. This can happen when fees are too high or demands are a little overzealous. I have known of a rescue group that refused to let a veterinarian adopt a dog, even though they could offer a great home! If it is just too hard to be approved for adoption, then people will go elsewhere to find a family dog, and adoption rates will plummet. This leaves no room for newly rescued animals to come into their program.
Not only do animals need to be given food and water, any illnesses or medical conditions they have should be managed appropriately. Rescues have a responsibility to make sure their animals are in good health, both physically and emotionally. Ask about when they seek veterinary attention for their dogs, and also whether they rely on the help of qualified trainers. Many rescue dogs have been traumatized by their stay in a pound or shelter, and need help to overcome this. If a rescue group is aware of this and works with a trainer, then they’re giving their dogs the best chance of finding a forever home.
Rescue groups are always in need of willing volunteers with the time and enthusiasm to support their efforts. Before you jump in to working with a particular group, do your homework and make sure you’re as happy with them as they will be with you.