adopt or rescue what's the difference

There are two major differences between shelters and rescue groups.

Shelters are run and funded by local government. Examples include Humane Societies and shelters run by the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). City pounds are another example of a shelter. There is usually a modest set fee to adopt, and guidelines in place for potential pet parents (including a background check). Shelters ensure that the dog is spayed or neutered before being adopted out.

Rescue groups are funded mainly by donations and most of the staff are volunteers. Rescue organizations often focus on a breed or size of dog.

Sometimes rescues are housed in one individual home, but more often than not rescued cats and dogs are fostered in homes created through a network overseen by the rescue’s founders.

As a pet parent, you may find it harder to adopt through a rescue. That’s because the volunteers who work with the animals look very closely at potential applicants, with a goal of finding a match that benefits both the animal and the person. They may also require you to foster your pet for a while before adopting to ensure you are a good fit. This can be very beneficial for both you and your new pet, in case it isn’t a good “fit”.


TIP: check out FidoSavy.com and their information on adopting.


Online Adoption Resources

There are 2 large, international websites that specialize in listing animals for adoption from literally thousands of shelters, rescue kennels, municipal facilities and more. They are Petfinder.com and Petango.com


Both act as aggregators – that is, they’re websites that feature feeds from hundreds and hundreds of shelters and rescue organizations across North America, about pets available to adopt.



pet aggregator websites

Websites like PETANGO and PETFINDER work by gathering information in real time from thousands and thousands of shelters and rescues across North America, then organizing this information on their huge website.


Petfinder is the largest pet Web site on the Internet, connecting homeless animals with the people who want them. Petfinder works almost like an Internet dating service. It allows prospective adopters to search a database of available pets based on search criteria such as
breed, age, size and gender.

Petfinder is owned by the PETCO chain of retail pet care stores.

At any one time, Petfinder has over 300,000 adoptable pets listed from more than 13,000 shelters, humane societies and rescue organizations. Listings are updated daily.  Last year, over 1 million animals were adopted through the site.


Petfinder.com is owned by Nestlé Purina PetCare Company




petango.comPetango is the other very popular website for pet adoption. Partnered with over 1,860 animal welfare organizations across the U.S. and Canada, Petango.com is the only adoptable pet search site to exclusively offer real-time updates of adoptable pets in shelters.

So whether you’re looking to adopt a pet in Toronto or Colorado you can be sure to find a new pet near you. Over the last 2 years, Petango partner shelters have taken in over 4.2 million animals. Petango is sponsored by Pethealth, a health insurance company for pets. Partnered with close to 1,150 shelters across North America, Petango helps connect people and pets.

If you’re considering adopting, Petango features:

  • real-time searches – all the available pets for adoption can be seen, with up-to-the minute availability status
  • watch list – keep an eye on the pets that interest you
  • email notifications
  • online pet adoption application

local-animal-sheltersAnd of course, your local shelter

Just google “animal shelter” to find shelters closest to you; these might be part of the Humane Society or the ASPCA (Association for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), or local groups.

Check your LOCAL newspaper or find a Morkie breeder online. If you are looking for a Morkie online, stick with Petango.com and Petfinder.com  NEVER buy a dog from a “breeder” who is advertising online, and especially not a puppy advertised on Kijiji or Craigslist. When you buy a dog online, sight unseen, you’re buying from a puppy mill. Period.