Bringing Home A Rescue Puppy - All You Need to Know

Adopting a rescue puppy might be challenging. Click to see our adoption tips, how to prepare your home and understand the training your new puppy will need.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for puppies to end up removed from abusive homes or brought to a shelter from off the streets. While a shelter is often a better alternative than their previous living conditions, it tends only to be a temporary reprieve because of the persistent overcrowding of rescue shelters and humane societies across the US.

The goal of rescue organizations is to rehome as many pets as possible to avoid resorting to euthanasia. When it comes to where to get a puppy, it might be tempting to go to a pet store or designer breeder, but rescuing a puppy is an excellent contribution to helping animals in need and is just as fulfilling an experience. 

Animal shelters admit over 3.3 million dogs every year and, by rescuing a puppy, you can help one of these neglected animals find a loving home where they can thrive.

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How To Adopt a Puppy

Adopting a rescue puppy is a very different experience from bringing one home from the pet store. Many rescue dogs have previously set behaviors that make them rambunctious, energetic, destructive, or standoffish. Taking care of one requires a lot of time and patience as your rescue dog gets used to its new living situation. 

Puppies and Rescues

Rescuing a puppy from a kennel involves more than just purchasing a bed and a few toys. First, you have to make sure that you can make a pet a regular part of your life with little trouble. 

Many potential adopters fail to account for certain obstacles in their life that would complicate rescue ownership. For example, if they live in an apartment and don’t check if their landlord allows pets on the premises. 

Another example is a lack of preparation for the extra financial strain that taking care of a pet creates. While the initial adoption won’t cost much money, you’ll have new lifetime expenses to think about, like dog food and medical care. Letting these factors blindside them after rescuing the puppy forces the prospective owner to return the dog to the kennel. 

Thankfully, most shelters will ensure your home is a good fit during the application and screening process. Of course, the details will differ from shelter to shelter. Still, you’ll usually have to divulge personal information such as a verifiable address, income, and previous rescue experience so that the shelter can be sure that the rescue dog is going to a good home. 

While adopting a dog may seem like a hassle, it remains a worthwhile endeavor because you’re giving a puppy a second chance at a loving home. 

Where To Adopt a Puppy

As mentioned above, 3.3 million new animals find their way into human society homes and shelters every year. These shelters will usually have an adoption process you initiate by signing the proper paperwork. But, just because every shelter offers some form of adoption doesn’t mean you should adopt from any shelter. 

While most shelters are run by kind and helpful animal lovers, several aren’t so above board. These dubious shelters are often fronts for puppy mills or cramped breeding operations. It’s important to research reviews online before giving a place your business to ensure that you’re supporting a legitimate dog home.

You can also choose to visit a shelter in person to determine if it’s a reputable home with your own eyes. Fortunately, there are many signs to look out for that give away when the staff of a home is mistreating the animals. For example:

  • No Standards of Care: There are no federally mandated operation standards for dog homes, so they can function however they wish as long it’s following state law.  However, there are standards of care set by animal protection agencies that shelters can choose to adhere to in order to provide optimal care for their charges. When shelters don’t do this, it’s a red flag. 
  • Animal in Poor Health: One of the best metrics for the quality of the shelter is the overall health and happiness of their animal charges. If the dogs are emaciated, bug-infested, and covered in waste, run the other way (and consider reporting them to the authorities).
  • Inadequate Space: Adequate space means room for each animal to have their cage and a wide-open area to play. When shelters subject animals to cramped spaces, it often causes more aggressive behaviors. 
  • Uncleanliness: A strong ammonia smell likely indicates unclean animal urine and feces, indicating that the facility cannot care for those needs adequately. 
  • Limited Vetting Process:  One of the primary goals of an animal care facility is not just getting animals adopted out the door; it’s ensuring that they go to good homes. That’s why the vetting process for most of these places is so comprehensive—to eliminate potential owners rescuing a puppy without the ability to care for them. 

What Are the Costs of Rescuing a Puppy?

While adoptions are more affordable than straightforward purchasing, you’ll incur the same at-home expenses and opportunity costs either way. 

The initial adoption costs can range from free to several hundred dollars, depending on the shelter you adopt your puppy. And then there are food costs, which will change as the puppy matures, bowls, toys, beds, medical treatments, a dog crate, a leash, and, of course, a collar. 

Overall, the basic expenses for your new rescue dog can quickly add up to $2,000 in yearly fees. So make sure to take that into account when deciding whether to adopt. 

Training Your Rescue Puppy

Training your dog is the most crucial step in acclimating them to you and their new home. As mentioned above, training requires patience and is not something any owner can force without losing progress. 

The first thing you should do is ask the shelter what your dog’s history is. Their past experiences will determine how difficult training will be and how much space you should give them when they arrive home. 

Training is something you shouldn’t rush, and if you’ve adopted a puppy that’s a bit more energetic or sullen, don’t be discouraged when they don’t listen to you right away. Instead, give your puppy time to adjust and slowly introduce desired behaviors, offering rewards when it does them right and ignoring bad behavior. 

Your rescue puppy will be thoroughly trained and well behaved before you know it. 


Rescuing a puppy is an investment and hard work once you’ve given them a place in your home. The expense can be burdensome for some adopters, and you’ll have to practice your due diligence to ensure that you’re getting your furry friend from a reputable puppy shelter. 

But there’s a societal benefit to adoption, allowing neglected puppies to find new loving owners while helping them avoid euthanasia and making room in the kennel for the next rescue at the same time. No matter where your puppy comes from, you’ll be able to create lasting memories with them.

While many expenses come with taking care of a dog, pet insurance is likely one of the most important. A good policy will ensure that you’re not paying medical bills out of pocket in case of an emergency.

Thankfully, Fursure Pet Insurance is here to help you protect your pet as soon as you bring them home. Buy your pet insurance policy for your pet, today!

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