So you’ve decided to adopt your next canine friend. The question you’re now faced with is whether to pick one from an animal shelter or an animal rescue. What’s the difference?
A shelter is an organization that rescues homeless pets in the community. Shelters are often run and funded by local governments. Most shelters have a facility you can visit where rescued animals are housed in a kennel type environment. Shelters usually have an “open door” policy that means they do not turn away any animals. They take in all sorts of animals and are almost always full.
Although shelters pay their staff members through government funding and donations from the community, they also rely on the help of volunteers to care for, play and socialize with the animals.
Generally, adopting from an animal shelter takes less time and costs less compared with adopting from an animal shelter. However, keep in mind that given the shelter’s short turnaround time in keeping pets, the staff and volunteers may not know about every animal that comes in enough to tell whether one will be a good fit for you.
An animal rescue can be an individual or a non-profit organization that is dedicated to pet adoption. Generally funded by donations and staffed by volunteers, rescues typically have “limited admission” and rely on foster homes and boarding kennels to house animals until a suitable permanent home can be found.
Since rescues are often volunteer-run, adoption fees tend to be a little higher compared with animal shelters. On the upside, since animals spend a lot more time in the rescue living with their foster parents, there is usually a lot more available information about the animal you may be interested in. This also means that what you see and hear is what you will get when you adopt from an animal rescue.