How to Find a Quality Animal Rescue

Animal rescues are the backbone of animal welfare. They help to alleviate the homeless pet population, match pets with loving families, and educate the public about the importance of spay/neuter. Animal rescues also serve to take a huge weight off of overextended municipal shelters. They provide life-saving support to the animals who need it most.

Getting Involved with an Animal Rescue

If you are interested in volunteering with, adopting from, or otherwise supporting a rescue, you may wonder which one to choose. Like every kind of organization, there are vast differences in how one rescue operates versus the next. Not all animal rescues have great management or support. While most animal shelters are wonderful and do tireless work to help those in their care, there are important criteria to look for in finding a reputable animal rescue.

What elements make up a stellar animal rescue? Let’s take a look!

7 Elements to Look For in a Quality Animal Rescue

Most quality pet rescues have these things in common, but we always encourage pet owners to gather their own criteria when looking for the right fit.

    1. The animals are well cared for. We understand that many stray pets enter into rescues with upper respiratory illnesses, fleas, mites, and other problems of lack of care. Look for how well the rescue responds to these challenges. What is their spay/neuter policy? How do they provide for shelter, nutrition, and veterinary care?

    2. They do not overextend themselves. Reputable rescues will understand that they do a disservice to animals if they take on pets they can’t care for. They will limit their focus. Some will choose only one species, or even a breed, that they have experience with and an understanding of their specific needs. But there is always a great need.

    3. They have sound business practices. A good rescue will have good business stewardship. They support staff and volunteers are well trained to handle the demands of rescue work. Ensure that they have a 501(c) charitable status. Look for reviews online. Talk to others who have worked with them or adopted from their rescue to get some insight into how they run their rescue.
    4. Is friendly, cooperative, and answers your questions. A great rescue will want to answer your questions in the aim of creating a pet-person match. The more questions, the better because this gives the best chance of success with adoptions.
    5. Has guidelines for adoption and fostering. In a perfect world, everyone who wants to adopt or foster would be well suited to do so. But, in order to protect pets and people, some rules must exist. A good rescue will have basic rules for adoption as well as fostering and communicate those clearly.
    6. Is available at adoption events. When a rescue doesn’t have a brick and mortar shelter, they should be out and about at rescue events regularly. Being available to the public gives people the chance to interact with adoptable pets. It also helps raise awareness of the organization and their needs.
    7. Has resources and connections. Beyond the adoption, most quality rescues will have strong relationships with spay/neuter clinics, shelters, veterinarians, dog trainers, and other resources to help new adopters succeed. The end goal is always to help animals find their forever, loving homes.


Here at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital, we are huge supporters of Detroit Dog Rescue and treat many of the injured and ill dogs they rescue. They are a highly reputable rescue–but they are one of many good rescues in the Detroit area and around the country.

We hope these suggestions help narrow down the choices in finding the perfect animal rescue match for you. If you are unsure of where to find a rescue or have any pet health questions, please feel free to ask us!