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Dog Rescue Q & A - what you need to know

Updated: Mar 5

In this 4-part series, we'll be covering commonly asked questions about pet rescue so you can make an informed decision when adding a furry member to your family.

Should I Buy or Rescue a Dog?


There are many great reasons why you should choose to adopt your next pet rather than buying one from a breeder or pet store:


Buying a pet can cost from $500 to $3,000 or much more. Adopting through a rescue, shelter or humane society costs from $50 to $500, depending on the expenses involved with saving the pet, including transportation, spay/neuter, vaccinations, microchips, heartworm preventatives, and more. So even though you may be spending a few hundred on your rescued pet, you’re likely saving money when compared to buying your dog.


Most of the puppies and adult dogs bought through a breeder or pet store are not spayed or neutered, which can add hundreds of dollars to the overall costs of your pet. (There are numerous reasons why you should ALWAYS spay or neuter your pets, but that will be covered in a future blog post.)

Most pets purchased through a breeder or pet store come with a health guarantee while rescued pets do not. But it’s important to understand what that guarantee means. More often than not, if you experience health problems with your purchased pet, you will be asked to return it to the breeder or store for a refund or exchange. Imagine having your puppy for a few months and then having to bring it back? While rescued dogs can also have health problems down the road, rescue organizations do everything in their power to ensure the dog is healthy when it is adopted. While they won’t exchange a pet, they will happily take it back and find it a new home. That cannot be said for the breeder or pet store.


When you adopt a dog or cat, you are literally SAVING A LIFE by helping reduce the number of dogs and cats euthanized in high kill shelters every day. When you adopt, you open up shelter and rescue space for another animal who desperately needs a second chance at life.


How Do I Find a Dog Rescue?


The wonderful world of rescue is immense, and it can be intimidating

for anyone looking to add a furry friend to their family. But take heart; that’s what our Dog Rescue Minnesota website is all about. The Dog Rescue page lists more than 70 organizations in Minnesota that have dogs available for adoption.


While most rescues save all dog breeds, including mutts, like Secondhand Hounds, Ruff Start Rescue and Matty’s Heart & Soul Animal Rescue, numerous rescues focus on specific breed and breed mixes, like Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest, Across America Boxer Rescue, Gemini Rottweiler and Pitbull Rescue, and Adopt a Husky Minnesota, to name a few. Follow the links on our Dog Rescue page to their websites to find out more about them.

Please note: Not all rescues are created equal. Make sure you do your homework to understand how the organization operates before adopting your dog. Get recommendations from friends and local veterinarians. Go to their events and meet the volunteers to get to know the rescue. With more than 70 in the state, you should have no problem finding your pup through a well-established, highly-regarded organization.

Animal shelters and humane societies have their dogs in kennels at their locations, which makes it easier to view more than one animal at a time. Rescues use individual foster homes to care for their animals, so there is no single location to visit. But “meet & greets” are held weekly at pet-friendly businesses in the area, like PetSmart, Petco and Chuck and Dons to name a few. Check our Events page for the latest events happening near you.

You can meet a pet by contacting the rescue and requesting a visitation. By placing dogs in loving homes while they await adoption, they are able to acclimate to a new home, and the foster mom can quickly discover their personality, including temperament, play level, food choices and more. They know the dog they are caring for and can make sure the pet finds the perfect forever home.


Another popular site to find your perfect furry friend is Petfinder. Many local rescues will list their available animals on that nationwide search site as well as on their own websites.


Can I Get a Purebred Dog in Rescue?


While most dogs entering rescues and shelters are mutts (or mixed origins), you can also find purebred dogs that were surrendered by owners, purchased at a breeder auction or picked up by animal control as strays and never claimed.


According to our friends at iheartdogs, these are the 15 breeds most commonly found in shelters:


#1 – American Pit Bull Terrier

#2 – Labrador Retriever

#3 – Chihuahua

#4 – Boxer

#5 – German Shepherd Dog

#6 – Beagle

#7 – American Staffordshire Terrier

#8 – Dachshund

#9 – American Bulldog

#10 – Border Collie

#11 – Australian Cattle Dog

#12 – Jack Russell Terrier

#13 – Australian Shepherd

#14 – Shih Tzu

#15 – Rottweiler

Choosing to adopt a dog should not be taken lightly. You are committing to love and care for this pet for the rest of their lives, which may be 10+ years or more. Make sure you have the time and resources available to keep your dog healthy and happy, including grooming, vet appointments, potty training, quality diet, toys, and bedding, just to name a few of the ongoing expenses of owning a dog.

In the next installment of Dog Rescue Q & A, we'll be discussing the questions to ask a foster when meeting a dog for the first time, what are the rescue organizations "best practices" you should look for, and why you should consider adopting an adult dog.


As always, we'd love your ideas for upcoming Q & A posts as well as comments and questions on the topics discussed here.


Have you adopted a dog through a rescue? Do you have any advice to share other prospective adopters? Please comment below.

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