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Rescue group policies and practices

Help your rescue group make the greatest impact for pets and people. Discover advice and guidance on every aspect of rescue work, from incorporating your organization to setting the highest standards of care for every animal you help.

  • Rescue Group Best Practices Guide

    Brought to you by The HSUS and PetSmart Charities, the Rescue Group Best Practices Guide provides advice and guidance on every aspect of rescue work, from the ins and outs of incorporating to setting the highest standards of care for each and every animal you help.

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  • Rescue group program assessment

    Without a highly effective volunteer program, rescues can’t operate at their full life-saving potential. RGPA is a free, online tool that assesses a rescue’s volunteer program and provides concrete steps to improve the organization’s effectiveness.

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Most recent Tools and Resources > Rescue group policies and practices

  • Magazine Article

    Put it in writing

    Written agreements were key to rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and helped ensure that partnering organizations were pulling in the same direction.

    Good written agreements make for better relationships, in disasters and everyday shelter work

    Twelve years ago, Hurricane Katrina left chaos in its wake. Animal welfare agencies across the country hustled to get animals to safety, but the scope of such a massive response made it difficult to coordinate efforts. Sometimes it was hard to tell who was in charge of what, who had the authority to make decisions, or where animals had gone post-evacuation. 

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  • Magazine Article

    When love isn’t enough

    Rescue isn’t all heartwarming success stories, and sometimes hard cases call for tough decisions

    With his wagging tail and happy demeanor, the golden retriever-spaniel mix looks like a friendly, approachable dog. And for a brief moment, he is.

    “You can pet him for about two seconds, and then he’ll nail you,” says Karen Deeds, a trainer and certified dog behavior consultant in Fort Worth, Texas.

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  • Blog Post

    'Return' is not a dirty word

    Pets who come back present opportunities for us to learn

    When I travel the country sharing the Adopters Welcome philosophy with shelters and rescue groups, there’s one refrain I hear over and over:  “But if we eliminate our home checks, landlord checks and other hurdles and actually embrace people who want to adopt, rather than scrutinize and judge them, the animal might get returned!”

    My standard response: "So what?"

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  • Magazine Article

    Saving our soldiers’ pets

    Melanie (last name withheld) and Majnoon share a special bond.

    ‘No Buddy Left Behind’ program preserves bond between soldiers and strays

    No man or woman left behind—but what about our service men and women’s overseas pets? Members of the military often bond with stray dogs and cats in the Middle East, says Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue (GOR), a New York-based nonprofit. “It makes them feel at home,” he says. “It makes them feel normal, [like] they’re not in a war zone.”

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  • Magazine Article

    Face(book) value

    How you can learn to stop worrying and love your feed

    It may seem like it’s all political rants and oversharing about personal crises, but Facebook has become a powerful—and requisite—tool for businesses and nonprofits, including animal rescue groups. Once you learn to navigate the online world of private groups and public pages, you can reap the substantial—and time-saving—benefits of the world’s most popular social media platform.

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  • Magazine Article

    101 rescued cats

    Over the course of a month, Stray Cat Alliance (SCA) placed 101 cats from Kern County Animal Services, paying for their medical care before they went to new homes.

    Felines find homes thanks to two groups’ compassion and collaboration

    Last February, more than 100 cats were saved from an alleged hoarding situation disguised as a feral cat sanctuary in Mojave, California, but they weren’t out of danger. Almost all of them needed medical care, and although rescues took some cats early on, there were still 101 left at Kern County Animal Services (KCAS). The shelter had experienced huge intakes like this before, and it was always a struggle to get the animals (especially cats, not to mention supposed ferals like this group) placed in homes, says director Nick Cullen.

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