Have you decided to get a dog from a dog rescue group? Well not all rescue groups or organizations are created equal. So how do you decide if a rescue group is a reputable one? There are no real laws for these groups just the same animal cruelty laws for the general public.

There are dog rescue groups that specialize in rescusing one breed of dog. These dogs are taken from private and public and private shelters, picked up a stray or even turned in by their owners. These groups if reputable are knowledgeable about their breed. So if you have a certain breed you want find a dog rescue group that deals with that peculiar breed. Other rescue groups take in any dog that needs rescusing.

Now the things you need to know and find out about a rescue group you think you might use.

1. Find out if they are registered as a non-profit organization, have a trade name or have a business account. (They should have a business account that you write your check out to for the dog.) To find a rescue group look at the American Kennel Club's website, www.akc.org.

2. A fee will be charged to cover expenses ( usually a flat fee no matter what kind of dog). It usually is $100-$300, if not beware.

3. Dogs should be examined by a veterinarian and given vaccinations they need plus wormed if necessary. This includes teeth examination and treatment. You should get proof of rabies shot and a copy of the veterinarian's record.

4. All dogs should be sprayed or neutered before you adopt them.

5. The dog should be placed in a foster home to assess them and determine what behavior problems they may have. It also tells the rescue group how the dog relates to children, men, women and other animals. Don't take a dog that hasn't had this done.

6. A good rescue group will have you fill out an application, asking questions to describe your history of animal ownership, your beliefs on dog discipline, about your house and yard and more. They will do a home visit and talk to you in person. If responsible they want to match a dog to you and your lifestyle.

7. They will want you to sign a contact when adopting a dog. They should state they will take back the dog for any reason if you don't want to keep it.

8. Check out where the dogs are kept - it should be clean. Even if he his at a foster home you should be able to see him. Make two or three visits with the dog before your final decision.

9. Ask how the dog came into the rescue group. If he was found wandering around, did they try to find the owner? (Rescue groups might not look for the owner if they feel the dog was neglected) What happens if you adopt him and the owner shows up? So ask if they looked for the owner in a case like this and look for microchips in the dog.

Remember a reputable rescue organization wants what is best for the dog. They want to match a dog with the right home and lifestyle. They will try to find a owner who will make a lifetime commitment to a dog. They won't hurry through the process. So look for a rescue group that does all of the above and don't get a group that just wants to make a profit.

Finally, it is a good way to save a dog's life and get a great dog!

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