Five Responsible Animal Rescue Guidelines to Always Stick To


dog rescue photo WSWIf you’re in the animal rescue field, there’s no doubt that your heart is in the right place. However, extenuating circumstances sometimes come into play. Conflicting personalities within a rescue group, lack of funding, and other obstacles can occasionally cause rescuers to stray from their core principles. Below are five guidelines to always keep in mind, no matter what the circumstances:

1.)    The animal’s best interest should always be your first priority. No matter what disagreements may arise on your team, egos should never trump the wellbeing of the animals in your care.

2.)    Know your limits and respect them. It’s important to set realistic limitations on how many animals you are prepared to care for physically, financially, and emotionally.

3.)    Ensure adequate funding before taking in an animal. You won’t be able to continue rescuing animals if you can’t keep up with your bills. You should always have a solid budget in place.

4.)    Provide comprehensive and timely veterinary care. All animals should be fully vetted, vaccinated, treated for parasites, and spayed or neutered. If you cannot afford proper veterinary care, you cannot afford to take that animal into your rescue.

5.)    Follow through. Getting an animal out of a life or death situation is only half the battle. The next step is to do everything possible to find that animal a loving, forever home that fits his or her individual needs.

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Comments & Responses

5 Responses so far.

  1. Linda says:

    This is an EXCELLENT article that everyone who is considering animal rescue should read and re-read. Thanks for printing it!

  2. Rosemary Hoffman says:

    I see too many sad posts on Facebook about dogs who get lost during transport or just after going to their new home.

    May I share a few suggestions my Cattledog-Elkhound mix escape artist taught me?
    1. If at all possible, get a leash on the dog while inside the vehicle with all car doors closed. This may require some contortion on the human’s part. 2. Or have a leash on the crated dog (they may chew it though) and squeeze your hand through the smallest possible door opening to get hold of it before fully opening the crate. The other hand holds the door as closed as possible (expecting the dog to try to push it open) while feeling for the leash or dog’s collar. Alternatively, have a hunk of rope (length depends on the dog) clipped to the dog’s collar so you can hold onto that while putting the leash on the dog.
    3. Make sure the dog cannot slip its collar. Use either a tighter-than usual buckle collar or a Martingale.
    4. (More for new adopters) If the car door needs to be opened with the leashed dog inside, first put a seatbelt through the leash handle and click it. Then the human can get out of the car, collecting keys, purse, etc. That way, if the dog makes a break for it, he can’t go far and he learns not to blast out of the car.
    4. For transit and the first few weeks, put a collar on the dog that has a large, easy-to-read phone #. Maybe get a bunch of these made with the rescue cell # in various sizes and give the new owner a self-addressed envelope to use to send the collar back so it can be used again.

  3. chloe says:

    Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    I think #4 can be tricky. Some rescues that I’ve seen will only provide basic care and when things go wrong (parvo, hip problems, etc.) won’t try anything else because of the expense. I think even in these cases all the above guidelines should apply.

    It is my belief that once you have a dog, you should do everything to save it. If you aren’t willing to do this, then don’t “save” the dog to begin with. This could be prevented if rescues followed your #2 and #3 advice.

  4. debbie says:

    I am a rescuer who didnt follow these rules…now I am overwhelmed…my kitties aee safe and well fed but dont have alot of human interaction

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