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Looking to adopt? 

Here are questions you should ask the rescue.

Can I see where you keep your dogs? 

Yes, people can always come to the Wags facility or to one of our foster homes and see the dog they are considering adopting.  They can ask us anything and we will be open and honest and care about everyone’s well being in the adoption process, not just the adoptable dog. 

Asking to see where a rescue keeps its dogs is a basic, straightforward question that shouldn’t be a problem for legitimate dog rescues. Regardless of whether a rescue keeps its dogs in a central location or in foster homes, it should always allow you to see where it kept your dog. NEVER adopt from a rescue that won’t show you where it keeps its dogs.

How long have you had this dog?  


We keep all of our dogs for at least 3 weeks.  This helps us ensure that we can do a good medical and behavioral assessment before placement.

Rescues should keep their dogs a few weeks before anyone can adopt them to ensure their dogs are healthy before someone adopts them.

Most canine viruses have long incubation periods. Keeping a dog for an extended period of time allows the rescue to identify and treat any health problems that weren’t evident when it arrived.

It also allows the rescue to do a thorough behavior assessment on a dog to avoid situations like the following:

  • If it knows basic commands or needs training

  • Whether or not it’s crate and/or house trained

  • What kind of temperament is has

  • If it can live in a house with other dogs, cats, or small children

Fake dog rescues don’t keep their dogs long enough to do behavior assessments. They want to sell them as fast as possible to generate quick cash.

What is your adoption process?  


See details here.

Dog rescues should have a standard, thorough adoption process to ensure one of its dogs is the right match for your family. We take this seriously. To thoroughly vet one dog, then thoroughly screen an adopter to place that dog in the best matched home is not a quick task. 

Do you spay/neuter your dogs before they are adopted?  


Always. You should never have to pay for a dog you adopted to be spayed or neutered. Every dog you adopt from responsible dog rescues will be altered. The only excepts are if the dog is too young or has a medical problem; rescues will arrange for these dogs to be altered at a later date.

Fake dog rescues will give you a voucher for a discounted spay/neuter surgery and assume you’ll schedule and pay for it. Or they won’t give you anything so you end up paying full price for the surgery.

They may also offer to credit your debit/credit card after a vet alters your dog. But when you call or email them after the surgery for the credit, they don’t return your messages and you eventually get stuck with the bill.

Altering dogs is one of the most important thing people can do to reduce the number of unwanted dogs euthanized in animal shelters.

You should avoid dog rescues that don’t have strict spay/neuter policies because they’re more concerned about making money than reducing the number of dogs euthanized in shelters.

What’s your adoption fee?

There’s no hard and fast rule about how much you should pay to adopt a dog from a rescue. Adoption fees for rescues in the Seattle area generally run from $150-$400. Puppies usually have higher fees than adult dogs. So ones from groups that rescue special needs dogs. Senior dogs often have lower fees. Some dog rescues in the Seattle area charge ridiculously high adoption fees – one charges as much as $800!

Rescues that charge high adoption fees aren’t necessarily dishonest, but you should be able to find dozens of rescues that charge more reasonable fees.

Where did you get this dog?


Many phony dog rescues don’t want you to know where they get their dogs. That’s because they don’t really rescue dogs.

Instead, they scour websites for dogs people give away, buy puppies from backyard breeders, breed their own dogs for puppies to sell, or pay people to grab dogs off the street for them in Mexico.

The Washington Post recently reported some of them even buy puppies at auctions where breeders sell their dogs.

Trustworthy dog rescues are completely transparent about where they get their dogs and will unhesitatingly provide supporting documentation if you request it.

Don’t trust any dog rescue that won’t tell you where they get their dogs.

Can I see this dog’s medical records?  


Adopters always get the original medical records and any notes as well. 

Is the dog up to date on its vaccines?  


We can include our vaccination protocol for puppies and adult dogs.  Also note that everyone is dewormed, has a heartworm test, on preventative etc.

Most rescues say that their dogs are fully vaccinated, but don’t take their word for it. Ask to see documentation showing they’ve been vaccinated.

At the very least, the dog you adopt should be up to date on its core vaccines, which are the ones all dogs must have. They are:

  • Rabies

  • Canine Distemper Virus

  • Parvovirus

  • Parainfluenza Virus

  • Adenovirus-2

Can I have the documents the IRS requires charities to provide the public?

Most dog rescue groups are classified as either nonprofits or 501c3 charities. Groups in either classification are exempt from paying taxes.

Nonprofits register with the state’s Secretary of State office. 501c3 charities register with the IRS.

Contributions to nonprofits aren’t tax deductible. Contributions to 501c3 charities are tax deductible. 

The IRS REQUIRES 501c3 charities to provide the following documents to ANYONE who requests them:

Their Exemption Application (Form 1023) with any supporting documents

  • The Exemption Ruling Letter issued to them by the IRS

  • Their Annual Information Return (Form 990 Series)

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