5 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
When most people think of a rescue dog, they think of a dog that was adopted from a shelter or animal rescue. And I’ve made it very clear on this blog that I’m not happy about people buying puppies from pet stores and breeders. But what about dogs that are re-homed? If someone is giving away their dog to another family, is that dog then considered a rescue? There are lots of opinions on this, but I’ll share what I think about it.
Yes, I think dogs who are re-homed are rescues. Even if the original family got them from a breeder, the new family did not. The new family would be giving a home to a dog who needs one, and the old family wouldn’t be doing it to make a profit, which is why I think it’s okay. However, there are some instances where this isn’t the case. It’s a confusing situation, but I want to try to share how a rescue dog like me sees it.
When is a Dog Considered a Rescue?
Here is how I define a rescue dog: “a dog who was looking for a home simply because humans care about the dog’s wellbeing, not because humans want to make a huge profit.” So, dogs at shelters and rescues are certainly rescue dogs. But by that definition, dogs who were re-homed are too.
But you might be thinking: “But people re-homing their dogs are usually asking for money. Isn’t that making a profit?” It is true that many families will give up their dogs and ask for a little money in return, but in those scenarios, the amount of money is small, not hundreds or thousands of dollars. Plus, many families have to give up their dogs because of money problems, so that small fee could help the family greatly. The bottom line is that they’re not selling dogs to make a living and they’re certainly not hurting dogs in the process like pet stores selling puppies do.
Now, you’re probably wondering: “But shelters and rescues charge fees that are often a couple hundred bucks. How is that not making a profit?” Yes, it’s true that shelters and rescues charge a lot for some dogs, but all that money goes to a good cause. They use that money to care for the dogs waiting for homes and they use it to rescue more dogs from at-risk situations. Plus, that cost is actually a deal considering that rescue dogs often come fixed and with all vaccinations. Designer puppies are often thousands of dollars without any of that extra stuff.
So yes, I believe that most re-homed dogs are rescues. They came from a family who couldn’t care for them, so those adopting them were able to give them a better life. However, getting a dog from another family isn’t always as innocent as it seems.
When is a Re-Homed Dog Not a Rescue?
If your re-homed dog came from a friend or family member, perfect! Then you know you got them from a reputable source. But sadly, there are some scenarios where this isn’t the case. If you find a dog being re-homed online, it’s very easy for puppy mill owners and animal abusers to pretend to be someone they’re not. That’s why many animal advocates advise that people avoid using Craigslist for adopting or giving away a pet.
For example, let’s say you saw an ad for a family looking to give away their beloved puppy. It might seem innocent and sincere, but for all you know, that puppy could’ve been bred in a puppy mill. The family posting the puppy could actually be a breeder trying to manipulate dog lovers. It sounds ridiculous, but it happens more than you think.
So, if you ever come across a person trying to re-home a dog, please don’t hold back on the questions. Meet them in person, ask them for details about the dog and why they’re giving them up, and if possible, see where they’ve been keeping the dog. If they’re resistant or full of excuses, it’s possible that they’re trying to scam you into thinking you’re adopting when you’re really not. There are many people out there who probably thought they adopted, but ended up supporting a horrible business without knowing. That’s heartbreaking to think about!
If you’ve adopted a dog from another family in the past, don’t feel bad if you didn’t ask enough questions though. We can’t go back in time and change something that has already happened. Instead, give your dog plenty of love and be sure to be more cautious in the future. When in doubt, please adopt directly from a shelter or rescue because that way you know for sure that you’re rescuing a dog instead of buying one.
Unfortunately, getting a dog is more complicated than meets the eye and there’s always more to learn. But if we always put a dog’s safety and well-being above appearances and money, then we can help steer this world in the right direction. Please be careful about where you get your dogs from. Every dog adopted saves the lives of more dogs, but every dog bred adds to the overpopulation problem. So, thank you to everyone who has chosen to adopt a dog in need!
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