Deciding To Adopt A Rescue Dog

Let’s first consider what a rescue dog is, since getting any dog is a big responsibility.

A rescue dog is a dog that has been placed in a new home after being abused, neglected and/or abandoned by its previous owner.

Many animal rescue organizations are made to help rescue, protect, and rehome dogs from its past owners.

Rescues are funded mainly by donations and most staff are volunteers.

With that being said, rescue dogs still deserve the chance to be happy, a stable and reliable home, and the owner who will love them just like they would love any other dog.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about rescue dogs, the adoption process, and the reasons why adopting a rescue dog might be a good option for you!

Should I Get a Rescue Dog?


There are many reasons you should adopt a rescue dog, here are a few top reasons:

  • When you adopt one dog, you allow another dog to get a place at the rescue. There are millions of dogs that need homes each year, so adopting a rescue will help more than one dog.
  • You will change a dog’s life! You will be giving a dog a new home and the love it deserves.
  • Many dogs from rescues are house-trained, this makes the process of introducing your dog to its new family a lot easier, as well as not having to worry about having to train your dog.
  • By rescuing a dog, you will be taking a step in helping stop puppy mills. Puppy mills are factory-style breeding facilities that put profit first rather than the welfare of dogs.
  • Getting a rescue dog also costs less. Most of the time, when you adopt a dog, the cost of spay/neuter, first vaccination is included in the adoption price.
  • Most importantly, you’ll save a life. It is estimated every year over a million dogs and cats are euthanized in the US, due to there being just too many pets in shelters and not enough people adopting.

How Do You Get a Rescue Dog?

The adoption is simple, however rescue organizations and shelters must give the adoption process time.

This is because it is important you get to know your rescue dog as well as the adoption volunteer to spend time with you in order to know you are the perfect fit for the dog.

The first step is to find a dog online. Each dog has different experiences in life.

There is a rehoming application form you fill in, then you should contact the center the dog you like is at and arrange a visit.

Make sure to bring your application form with you to the center.

During your visit at the center, you will get to know your dog. It is best that everyone in the household comes to visit the dog, to rule out any issues such as allergies.

Once your visitation is complete, an adoption support volunteer will visit your home to discuss your new dog with you and give you tips on how to proceed and adjust for when your pet arrives.

If you are happy and the adoption volunteer is pleased the process begins. The next step is going to the center to officially have your new family member signed over.

Time to settle in! The beginning may take some time to adjust as your dog may be nervous. You will have received a dog adoption booklet which will have tips.

How Long Does it Take for a Rescue Dog to Bond?


Every dog has had a different experience in their past home, this means each dog has its own adjustment time period.

However, it usually takes between two days to two months in order to fully adjust to its new home/surroundings.

Don’t be surprised if this period takes longer. Some rescue dogs just need more time to adjust.

I’ve even shared a couple of tips below that will help you establish a bond with your new rescue dog right from the start.

This should definitely help you out but what’s going to help you and your rescue dog the most is patience.

Trying to understand how your rescue dog feels in certain moments can also help you learn more about the dog.

And once you start noticing patterns, you will be able to easily understand how your rescue dog feels in certain moments of the day.

What Should You Expect from a New Rescue Dog?

Your dog’s first day at its new home will most likely be stressful as they will need time to adjust to its new surroundings.

Giving your dog time is important, this includes when meeting new people.

It is important you remain calm around your dog; this will allow your dog to settle in easier and it will allow you to have time to bond and to understand what your dog likes/dislikes.

Depending on your dog’s past experiences, some objects and using certain words/phrases may frighten or make your dog feel uncomfortable.

The center will have already told you about your dog and the booklet you receive will have tips inside.

However, it may also take you time to adjust to using certain objects or phrases, so it is important you allow yourself and your dog time to learn and adjust.

Many people say they don’t see their dogs’ true personality come out until about a few weeks after adoption.

It is important to create a regular daily structure where you schedule for walks, feeding etc.

This is because dogs thrive on routines and a routine will let your dog know what to expect each day and when to expect it.

Do You Have to Pay to Get a Rescue Dog?



Depending on the center/organization you are getting your dog from, adoption fees vary.

Adoption fees may sometimes be free but can also be relatively low in price ($50-$150 this is without any vaccination or spay/neuter).

Adoption fees help cover the medical care, food, and transportation costs while your dog waits for a new home.

However, this might still cost you less than buying a dog. Of course, in some situations, adopting any dog can be the cheapest option.

Rescue dogs don’t come free but they’re really worth the money, especially because they deserve a stable home!

How Do I Know My Rescue Dog is Happy?

Here are some of the common signs your dog is happy:

  • A high and wagging tail means your dog is excited and indicates positive emotions.
  • Floppy ears means your dog is relaxed.
  • Your dog is playful. A happy dog will want to play and run around.
  • A relaxed dog will lean into you. Dogs tend to come to you in order to get your attention and if they lean into your hand while you stroke them, it is a good sign.
  • Licking you is also a sign they want to show you affection.
  • Following you around means your dog is loyal and enjoys spending time with you.
  • Sitting in your lap. If your dog is curled up in your lap it is a sign your dog loves you.

These are some of the signs to know whether your dog is happy. Remember each dog has its own ways of showing love and happiness.

How to Help Your Rescue Dog Adjust

It might take some time and a lot of patience for your rescue dog to adjust to your home, but here are some useful tips.

The first tip is to start slow. Patience is key.

Moving for us humans can be stressful, this is the same with dogs. Allow your dog to gradually adjust into its new home and surroundings.

Dogs are like humans; they love to be social and play with you, but they also need their personal space.

Give your dog a space where it can go to sleep and relax, whether it’s a corner in a room or a spot in the middle of the couch.

Your dog will eventually most likely find its own spot in the house after it has done its exploring.

It is important to remember dogs have emotions and thoughts too. It is completely normal that your rescue dog will need time to adjust and adapt.

Begin to create a daily routine as this will help your dog relax because routines give them reassurance that things are going the way they should be.


Adopting and not shopping is the best way to go and if you can help provide a home to a rescue dog, you’ll never regret the decision!

Even though rescue dogs might seem like a lot of work, you will feel very proud every time you think of your rescue dog.

Just like any dogs, rescue dogs deserve only the best and unfortunately, it’s a bit harder for them to get what they actually deserve.

Yes, the decision of adopting a rescue dog can be hard to make. However, you won’t ever look back after you take the step!

Hopefully this article helped you learn everything you need to know about rescue dogs, and maybe even get you consider adopting a rescue dog.


Is there anything else you would like to know about rescue dogs that wasn’t mentioned in the article? Feel free to leave a comment or a question down below and I’ll be happy to help you out!


All the best,


Founder/Creator:  Love A Rescue Dog ?

“Saving one animal won’t change the world, but for that one animal, the world changes forever”


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