When you are searching for a dog to adopt, there are many places to start your search online. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of scams and sellers who are not properly meeting their dogs’ health needs. Use these helpful tips to locate a reputable rescue organization near you as well as find the right dog for your personality, interests, budget, and lifestyle.

Get Involved
The best way to truly learn about a non-profit organization is to volunteer. Spending time with the dogs while working to give them a better chance at finding a forever home provides loads of opportunities to discover how this organization is impacting the community and helping dogs thrive. Start small by offering to be on the cleaning crew or the dog walking squad. For those who prefer to help from home, share the organization’s posts about the latest news from the rescue facility or dogs who are ready to be adopted. You can also ask about volunteering for local events or fundraising activities.

Open Your Home to a Dog in Need
Fostering is another excellent chance to learn more about a rescue organization and the care they put into the dogs they take in. Plus, by bringing dogs into your home during this transitional time as they wait for their adoption day, you will learn more about different types of dogs and which ones best suit your personality, lifestyle, and budget. Who knows? You might just find you cannot bare the thought of parting with your foster dog and decide to adopt him or her. Either way, you will gain a clearer picture of the dog you want to adopt while getting to know the rescue organization’s staff, mission, and policies. Plus, you’ll be rewarded daily with dog kisses and happy tail wags!

Research Community Services
Speaking of community efforts, there may be additional services the dog rescue organization is providing. For example, Sophie’s Circle in New Smyrna Beach, Florida provides a dog food pantry for nearby residents who have fallen on hard times. Every adoption and donation helps Sophie’s Circle volunteers and staff to supply dog food for families who would otherwise have to part with their beloved canine companions. Moreover, by supporting these families with something as simple as a bag of dog food, the number of dogs who are dropped at the nearby shelters is significantly diminished. So, you can feel good about adopting your next dog from non-profit organizations like Sophie’s Circle that are making a difference in multiple ways.

Check the Reviews
While reviewers do not always give the full picture of how a rescue organization is caring for your dog or treating adopting owners, we recommend looking at the overall rating as well as the individual comments. Are there more 4 and 5-star reviews than those with 1 to 3-stars? What do the 5-star reviewers say about the organization? If there are reviews with under 4 stars, did a representative of the organization respond to any concerns that led to the lower ratings in an appropriate manner? 

Stay Local in Your Search

It is almost always a good idea to limit your dog adoption search to the local area rescue centers. This way, you can visit the facility and ask about it when speaking with others in the community. Locals also have more opportunities to meet with the staff and volunteers at special adoption or fundraising events where you just might spot your next dog sporting his or her best manners amidst the crowd of dog-loving fans. Here, you can pet and possibly pick up your dog to see if he or she is the one you have been searching to find.

On the other hand, having a dog transported to you from across several state lines might mean you are requesting to adopt a dog that has the look you want yet may not work well with your personality or lifestyle, or worse – you could be paying for a dog that does not exist. Assuming the dog does exist, it is important to remember dogs are not all the same. Personality, breed instincts, and grooming needs should always be factored into your adoption decisions.

Wait for the Right Dog
We realize it’s hard to wait for the right dog to come along when so many need a good home now and you are ready to adopt. If this is the position you find yourself in where the dogs you have seen being posted by local rescue organizations do not match your expectations for personality, living with kids or other pets, grooming needs, or care needs, it is important to wait for the right fit for your home and loved ones. For these waiting canine fans, we recommend trying the foster avenue until you can find the dog that was meant for you and never give up the search. There are new adoption cuties being added in reputable dog rescue organization postings each day. Visit our adoption page to get start your search today.