There are three places you would likely adopt an animal—the animal shelter, humane society, or rescue group—and the differences between them become clear in just a few minutes.
Animal shelters are facilities run by the city, county, or state. Your tax dollars help fund animal shelters, and their modest budgets mean they might not be as visually attractive as a humane society. Though they may not look as eye-catching, these facilities have hard-working and caring staff that number among the best. They do a tough job with limited resources and deserve our appreciation.
These facilities are sometimes crowded because of limited resources, so you might see as many as three or four dogs in a kennel. But remember that the dogs there are no different than ones you’ll see in a humane society. They are all the same, and every one of them is simply looking for a good, loving home.
Because humane societies are funded by private donations and run by individuals, you’ll see a wide range in their appearances and conditions.
Whatever the humane society’s size, the individuals behind these organizations are amazing people. Every day, they impact animals that are surrendered, abandoned, or picked up as strays and the individuals who adopt them. If you are looking to contribute money to charity for animals, you can’t go wrong with contacting your local humane society.
Rescue groups vary by breed and housing facilities. Some rescues operate like humane societies, keeping animals at a central location. Others place dogs in foster homes until they are adopted.
Some rescue groups focus on specific breeds, and others have a wider variety. For example, you might see “Golden Retriever Rescue” or “German Shepherd Rescue.” Since these folks often work with just one particular breed, they are often pretty knowledgeable and can reliably answer any breed-specific questions you might have while adopting. Rescue groups often house the dogs in volunteer’s homes, so many of these dogs have a head start adjusting to a home environment and being desensitized to people and other pets.