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Questions Rescue Groups May Ask before You Adopt a Dog

Rescue groups have great expectations. They want you to provide the perfect new home for a rescued dog. Animal rescuers have seen plenty of bad pet parenting, and the point of the entire rescue adoption process is to ensure that your potential pet gets the best possible home.

A rescue group relies heavily on your answers to a long list of questions when determining whether you’ll make a good adoptive pet parent. Reviewing the list of possible questions that follows can help you prepare for the Q-and-A session. The rescue group wants to know details, including:

  • The full names, ages, occupations, and brief personality profiles of everyone living in your household, including children and other pets.

  • How long you’ve lived in your current home and how long you’ve been employed at your current job — the rescue group wants to weed out transient types likely to dump a dog when they move on to the next adventure.

  • Details about your home and yard, including size, setup, type of neighborhood, proximity to busy streets, and whether you have a fenced-in yard.

  • Whether you own or rent your home, including proof of ownership.

  • Whether your landlord approves of your adding a dog to the mix.

  • Your knowledge of local ordinances concerning dogs (to find out this information, call your city hall or courthouse and ask where you can get copies of animal-related ordinances).

  • Where, specifically, you plan to keep or house the dog and where it will sleep.

  • How long the dog will be left alone each day.

  • Your daily activities, schedule, and hobbies.

  • A general description of what you’re like (Do you like pina coladas? Getting caught in the rain? Do you often stay out all night or forget to water your plants?).

  • Whether anyone in your family has any allergies.

  • A detailed explanation of why you want the particular breed you do.

  • What color, sex, and age of a dog you’re looking for and reasons for each preference and how flexible you are about these factors.

  • Whether you’d consider a pet with special needs, such as a medical or behavioral problem.

  • How much you’re willing to spend each year on vet care, food, grooming needs, supplies, and other expenses. As little as possible? Whatever it takes? How often you think the dog will need vet care.

  • What kind of food you plan to feed the dog.

  • Your future plans for grooming (the pet, not yourself).

  • Whether you’re also looking for pets through other channels, such as pet stores, breeders, or animal shelters, and why you’re looking there.

  • Whether the pet will ever be taken into public areas or come into contact with children, dogs, cats, horses, or other pets of the same type.

  • How you plan to socialize and train or tame the dog.

  • Who the primary caretaker will be.

  • What activities you’d like to do with the pet.

  • What kind of enclosure you’ll use, if any (such as a dog crate, birdcage, or critter cage).

  • How you plan to handle times when you are away for extended periods, such as vacations.

  • What you plan to do with the dog if you have to move.

  • How you plan to help the dog adjust to its new home.

  • Whether you have specific concerns about certain behaviors, such as barking, scratching, or refusal to be handled.

  • A list of all the other pets you have ever owned, including type of animal, sex, age, whether they were spayed or neutered, and if you don’t still have them, why?

  • Whether you ever owned a pet similar to the one you want to adopt, and if you have, whether you still have it. And if you don’t still have it, what happened to it?

  • How you heard about the rescue group.

  • How much you know about basic veterinary care, pest control management, or conditions common to the breed.

  • Who will inherit the dog in the event of your death.

  • Whether you can provide several references (and they will call your references!), including the veterinarian you use for other pets.

Most rescue workers believe that if everybody had to answer questions like this before buying or adopting a pet from anywhere, no more dogs, cats, or other animals would have to be rescued — and they might be right.

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