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Establishing Your Bona Fidos

For rescue groups, strutting your stuff to local shelters can help you save more animals

  • Dory, a rescue dog, shows off her new backyard in Texas

    Just as rescuers are concerned about where their animals get placed, shelters want to make sure that animals who go to rescue end up somewhere safe—as Dory, a pet-of-the-week from Homeward Bound Animal Rescue in Texas, clearly has. HOMEWARD BOUND ANIMAL RESCUE

At Dallas Animal Services (DAS), good relationships with rescue groups have not only saved animals’ lives, they’ve had a wonderful effect on staff morale, says shelter manager Jody Jones. Even though one local rescue group got in "a little over their head" not long ago, taking in more animals than it could care for, Jones says that was in no way typical. It’s "not the norm for that to happen with your transfer partners. Not at all."

On the contrary, Jones says, rescue relationships have been a huge boon to her shelter, enabling them to save many more animals, and she wanted to make sure that other animal control agencies reading the Animal Sheltering got that message loud and clear. DAS loves its transfer and placement partners, and Jones and Mark Cooper, the officer who’s been coordinating the agency’s work with rescues, want to see animal services around the country embrace external placement groups and work toward an institutional culture that treats them as partners.

Delivering that message is one of the primary goals of this story. In the names of all the shelters that have found amazing transfer partners in their communities, let’s say it clearly: Rescue groups, thank you. Every day you help save thousands of animals. The progress the humane field has made in lowering euthanasia rates could not have happened without you. Shelters should no more avoid working with rescues because of the occasional bad actor than adopters should avoid shelters due to one bad experience.

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