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How to start a dog rescue

Updated April 17, 2017

Starting a dog rescue is a huge undertaking and it is important to understand the steps that you may need to take to succeed. A dog rescue is a business and businesses need to establish themselves in their community in order to be successful. You need to make decisions about your rescue and what you want to do with it before the project even starts to get off the ground.

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  1. Decide what kind of dog rescue you would like to run. Would you like to be a non-profit dog rescue? Non-profits have to follow certain federal, state and tax guidelines to stay within the non-profit category. What kind of breeds will you rescue? Where will you house the dogs that you rescue, and who will give them medical attention if they need it? These are all decisions that need to be made in the beginning part of starting up a dog rescue.

  2. Name your dog rescue. Make it a strong, memorable name so that people will instantly recognise your organisation as you get going.

  3. Determine where your funding will come from. Will you receive funds by donations? How will you collect the donations? Will you have adoption fees? What will the adoption fees include? Set up a financial plan with goals in mind for how much you need to start your project as well as how much you will need to keep your dog rescue going. Talk to financial advisers and discuss all your options for starting a dog rescue with them. Do some research and try to find out how other dog rescues got their financial start.

  4. Recruit volunteers for your dog rescue. You will need volunteers to help take care of the dogs as they come into your organisation. Set up training for your volunteers ahead of time so that they are trained and ready to go when the dogs start coming in the door.

  5. Talk to other animal shelters and find out how they started. Ask them what worked and did not work for them. Offer to work in partnership with the agency as you both strive to place dogs in the best homes possible.

  6. Set up an adoption policy and contracts. State all the information you think should be in the adoption paperwork and add any clauses that you feel may be necessary to protect the dogs. Make sure that your policies are fair and that they protect the dogs with which you are working.

  7. Set up the location that you will use for your dog rescue. Clean everything and make sure that you have plenty of supplies on hand to get going. Check with local inspectors and make sure your new rescue is up to code before you open your doors.

  8. Alert the community when your rescue is operational. Use word of mouth and market your new rescue. Set up a website and advertise with the local newspapers. Let local church groups and organisations such as the American Legion know that you exist. Many organisations are willing to help each other start up and will help spread the word about your new dog rescue.

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About the Author

Angela Reinholz is a full-time freelance writer. Reinholz started writing professionally in 2007, specializing in animals and social work with some branching off into legal matters. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern New Hampshire University and an associate degree in network administration from McIntosh College, located in Dover, N.H.

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