Frequently Asked Questions
"Where do you get your cats and dogs?"
All of our dogs and cats are rescued from the euthanasia lists at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (AC&C) or from the "treatable" and "unadoptable" categories of animals at the Arizona Humane Society (AHS). Once we rescue them, they stay with us until we find them a loving, permanent home. For every animal we place, we are back rescuing another.
"What is the difference between RESCUE, the pound, and the Arizona Humane Society?"
The pound, (AC&C), is a county run department and has traditionally been the place where people go to drop off animals they no longer want to care for. AC&C is also tasked with taking in stray dogs. Maricopa County has one of the highest euthanasia rates in the nation.
The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) is a non-profit organization, like RESCUE. Unlike RESCUE they take in animals directly from owners who have decided they can no longer keep them or who no longer want them. They also provide assistance in cases of animal cruelty. Like AC&C, they can receive over dozens and dozens animals in a single day. AHS also euthanizes animals that become sick or are deemed "treatable" or "unadoptable".
In contrast to both AC&C and AHS, RESCUE does not take animals from the public, nor do we take in strays. Our sole focus is those animals who, through no fault of their own, find themselves abandoned. Because of our controlled volume, we are able to fully dedicate ourselves to finding the best possible human/animal match for each life saved. With each placement, we are back rescuing another.
"What do these terms "Adoptable", "Treatable" and "Unadoptable" mean?
Although the exact definition of these words can vary from organization to organization, in the organizations that euthanize, "adoptable" distinguishes healthy, well-adjusted animals while "unadoptable" defines those animals who are terminally ill, vicious or have otherwise been deemed detrimental to the community. The "treatable" animals are those who are not currently completely healthy and/or well-adjusted, but with appropriate veterinary treatment and/or training would become so. (Examples: a cat with a broken tooth is not considered adoptable because she needs dental work. A dog who is not leash-trained would be treatable because he is not well-socialized.)
It is critical to note that these categories can be extremely subjective. One organization's "unadoptable" or "treatable" animal becomes another's adoptable animal. It is important to note that 100% of the animals in RESCUE's care were categorized as either "treatable" or "unadoptable" by either AHS or AC&C. Once with us, not only are they "adoptable", many find their permanent home within short period of time. Our adopters are constantly amazed that their new lifetime companions were once considered unadoptable . . . it's clear these animals just needed a second chance!
RESCUE does not use categories to classify the animals within our care. We focus on the lives we save and place into permanent homes. We feel that every life is precious and once they enter our care they are our responsibility for life. We will always take our animals back regardless of how silly or serious the return reason may be. We take pride in the fact that our historical return rate is less than 3%, which is substantially lower than traditional animal shelters.
"What does "No Kill" mean?"
"No Kill" is a term that was coined by Rich Avanzino in the 1990's that is designed to make distinctions between the various types of organizations in the animal welfare movement. The term can be a bit misused. Th most important distinction here is that "No Kill" groups do not euthanize because they have run out of space (and therefore need to euthanize animals to make room for the non stop influx of animals abandoned by their owners). Virtually all "No Kills" however, will euthanize an animal that has shown repeated aggression towards people or other animals, or has a terminal illness that significantly impacts the animal's quality of life. While all "No Kill" organizations euthanize in rare cases, when they decide to euthanize vs. decide to continue working with the animal varies from organization to organization.
We are proud of our stance in this regard and have in many cases invested months and months with multiple experts attempting to correct potentially dangerous behaviors or treat major diseases. Most often times we are successful and it is a cause for celebration. Sometimes we are placed in the difficult position of having to recognize that despite everyone's best efforts, an animal must be put down because he is terminally ill and suffering, or poses a danger to the community. In each case, we work tirelessly to make the best decision for all parties. If you have any questions about our beliefs in this regard please feel free to contact us.
"How do you select the ones you save?"
It's hard! With dozens and dozens animals being killed every single day in this county, we regularly find ourselves faced with the toughest decision of all: who lives and who dies? We are at AC&C facilities regularly evaluating the animals scheduled to be destroyed and then choosing from those that we are able to offer a second chance at life. Our volunteers have evaluated tens of thousands of animals since 1995 and have become adept at assessing personality and temperament.
Many factors go into deciding which animals we take. We evaluate our boarding space and foster family availability. We look at age, size, sex, breed, compatibility and temperament, trying to make the best decisions for the organization while best serving the animals and our potential adopters.
"How do I adopt an animal?"
Starting in 2002, we initiated our MatchMaker Adoption Service. The purpose of this program is to fully understand the needs, wants and expectations of our potential adopters in order to combine that with our extensive knowledge of the animals in our care so that we can make the best possible matches. Many people "fall in love" with a picture from an animal's biography. Often their instincts lead them to the best choice for them, but equally as often when we take the time to assess the adopter's lifestyle, needs and what the adopter wants in a pet over the next 10 or 20 years, we can make even more appropriate suggestions. Our MatchMaker Adoption Service has three steps, briefly outlined below:
Step 1 - You fill out and submit one of our on-line MatchMaker Information Forms. Thoughtfully filling out this form enables us to gather information on what you are looking for in a new pet, and in understanding the particular concerns you family has about integrating a new pet into your household.
Step 2 - Typically within 72 hours, you will receive a call from a RESCUE MatchMaker. Based on that conversation, our MatchMaker will be in a position to discuss the most appropriate potential animals matching your criteria. A face-to-face meeting between your family and the animal(s) that seems to be the best match will then be scheduled if all parties agree to move forward.
Step 3 - The time has arrived! This is where you and your family meet your potential new pet to assess the match. You and the Adoption Counselor may decide the match is there. If so, the adoption will be finalized. You may decide to meet another of our animals that might be a better fit. You may decide there is no animal currently in our system that meets exactly what you are looking for. Don't despair! Once we have come this far in the process, we know your needs and will be on the lookout for future potential matches. Sadly, given the sheer number of animals facing euthanasia every week at Maricopa County animal shelters, we have a very good chance of finding what you are looking for within a few weeks.
"Why can't I adopt today?"
We have chosen to create a service that asks our potential adopters to fully think through and consider the commitment they are about to make. We want people to take the time to reflect on their lifestyle, finances, and other considerations they are about to take on for the next 10 - 20 years with the addition of a new pet. We want them to be sure, fully aware of the potential challenges that come with pet ownership.
"Do you have puppies/kittens?"
We generally focus our rescue efforts on adult animals.
Here are some of the many advantages to adopting a more mature animal:
They don't require your constant attention and supervision.
They are often already housetrained. (If they're not completely housetrained, an older animal is usually easier to train!)
Their personality is significantly formed and who you are adopting is a "known quantity".
Their immune systems are developed and they are less vulnerable to disease.
"How much does it cost to adopt?"
Our Adoption Services fee is $150 for cats and $200 for dogs. All of our cats are spayed or neutered and have tested negative for feline AIDS and feline leukemia (two of the most prevalent fatal cat diseases). All of our cats and dogs have also been spayed or neutered, received their necessary vaccines and have been licensed with the County. This services fee is not an adoption fee but rather an attempt to help offset the investment we have already made in our animals.
Our monthly veterinary bills are in the thousands of dollars every month and these Adoption Services fees only begin to cover our costs. Any additional donation you can make is fully tax-deductible and helps ensure that we can continue our work for the animals.
"What happens to the animals you can't adopt out?"
The RESCUE dogs and cats stay in our care until we find a loving permanent home that meets with their individual needs. They will receive care and love every single day they are with us, no matter how long.
Sometimes we will have a cat or dog with special needs who may be with us for a long period. But, even when we began to think we would never find a home, the perfect owner always seems to show up!
"Why should I adopt someone else's problem?"
While other people may have considered their dog or cat to be a "problem", virtually without exception the animals in our system are NOT problem dogs or cats. Instead, they are animals who desperately want to find a family to love and care for them. Undoubtedly, some have not received the attention, exercise and training that all happy, well-adjusted animals need. A new family will need to be prepared to provide that while also taking into consideration that the dog or cat is learning your boundaries and rules and recognize that while she/he has been abandoned in the past, this time she/he is here to stay.
“How many adoptions do you do?”
Since our inception we have saved and placed over 12,000 dogs and cats into their loving forever homes. For every life we place into their permanent homes we are back to save another life. We hope that someday soon their won't be a need for our services but until then we will continue our life saving efforts. We hope that you will join us in our efforts by Adopting, Donating and/or Volunteering.
Ironically, RESCUE is as homeless as the animals it serves. We have established ourselves as a "virtual shelter" with several veterinary boarding facilities, and most importantly a network of incredible, loving foster homes. While not having a central facility does create logistical challenges, it has not stopped us from saving and caring for over 12,000 lives. Our network of over 400 active volunteers allows us to do incredible work in a cost-effective manner. With little overhead, we are able to budget our dollars directly toward the care of our animals.
"Can you take my pet that I can't keep?"
We do not take in animals from the public. Our exclusive mission is euthanasia list rescue.
If you have challenges with your pet, please hire a professional behaviorist or trainer. These professionals can help most people work through the challenges they face with their pet. Many issues can be "fixed" in one or two sessions. While in the scheme of your animal's life, the economic investment is relatively small, it does require work and reinforcement on your part. Also, check out our Recommended Readings to educate yourself on animal behavior.