There’s a certain kind of nobility in dog rescue, or rescuing any kind of animal. Pets who have been separated from their homes and families, by accident or intent. Some have been outright abandoned, some have been taken away from abusers. But others have been lost through storms and disasters, or run away, or been given up by responsible families who simply can’t care for them anymore. And when someone else considers getting a dog, the alternative route to going to a breeder can be adoption, giving these dogs a new home.
There are plenty of dog rescue organizations in America alone, but there are even more of them internationally. Many of these dogs are adopted to other countries than the ones from which they were rescued, and some end up in America. Because dogs need our help all over the world. Some of the most well-known, and generally considered most respected and reliable rescue organizations, are spread out all over the place. Aside from them, there are several smaller organizations, which operate perhaps from only one country to another. Most of them rely heavily, if not entirely, on donations.
Animal Aid Unlimited
This organization operates out of India, and while they don’t provide adoption services, they do a whole lot of good. They focus not only on dog rescue, but also save donkeys, cows, and other animals in need of care. Some can be treated on the street, while others need extended hospital care, and AAU responds to more than 50 cases a day. They also have a spay/neuter program. Most puppies born from homeless dogs don’t survive very long, and the mothers become emaciated from caring for them. The spay/neuter program, as well as rabies inoculation, helps both dogs and humans live better lives, side by side.
Not only does AAU help animals in need, but they provide education to the ones who hold their lives in their hands; humans. Part of AAU’s work involves teaching children in classrooms, as well as adults, about animal care. They try to motivate them to see animals as living beings worthy of love and respect, creating a long-lasting, compassionate mentality. In a place so used to seeing wounded, emaciated dogs, this can change everything. People become desensitized to this suffering, but are encouraged and more likely to call for help if it can be found nearby.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
A big organization based in the United Kingdom, the RSPCA also uses the approach of education. They teach people ― especially children ― about respecting, understanding, and caring for animals. This in turn helps how animals are treated, as the organization takes care of those in need. They do more than dog rescue; tey help cats, cows, rabbits, and pretty much any domesticated pet who needs it. If you find an orphaned wild animal, though, they’ll help with that, too.
The RSPCA not only helps animals, they also help with adoption. They rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome thousands of animals a year, to make sure they live full lives. If someone wants to help, but can’t adopt, there’s always the option of fostering. Farm animals, lab animals, performing animals, abused, neglected, and abandoned pets ― they all deserve a second chance.
Started during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, this Russia-based dog rescue organization has done a lot of good. During the Olympics, it was discovered that Russian officials were poisoning stray dogs, which prompted the creation of Sochi Dogs. Strays are very common in Sochi, and widely mistreated. Sochi Dogs aims to rescue and rehome as many as possible. Most of these dogs are in their shelter in Sochi, but some have been moved to foster homes in New Jersey, USA. The organization used to be able to fly their dogs to new homes all over the world, but due to limited resources, this has changed. They are currently only able to adopt along the American east coast, but hope that this will change again, soon.
Any dog up for adoption has been vetted, vaccinated, chipped, and spayed/neutered. Additionally, they’re given deworming medication and a flea/tick preventative. Like most organizations like this, they’re dependent entirely on donations from the public.
Humane Society International
This well-known organization has bases in over 50 different countries, where they work on a variety of animal welfare issues. They work closely with local organizations and governments in any given place, to pass on their expertise and knowledge. Mostly, they cover topics such as the illegal wildlife trade, farm animal welfare, cat and dog rescue/welfare, and disaster response. 85% of their donations go toward animal protection programs, with the rest going to fundraisers and administrative costs. HSI doesn’t facilitate adoption, but they do work with shelters in Canada, the UK, the US, and the Netherlands. There, the dogs are cared for and eventually adopted into new homes.
HSI is currently most focused on specific areas in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Once they pass programs to their local partners, they can move on to help another, and another. As an organization, they work on a large scale, focusing on big changes, rather than rescuing individual animals. Anyone who encounters animal cruelty is encouraged to turn to a local organization.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International
While the SPCA was first organized in England back in 1824 ― then focused mainly on the abuse of carriage horses ― SPCA International was born in 2006, in the US. Like any other animal welfare organization, their goal is simple: to advance the safety and well-being of animals. The first American SPCA was founded in 1866 in New York City, and now there are several all over the country, as well as the world.
Most local SPCAs and humane societies around the world aren’t affiliated with national organizations. SPCA International strives to develop and use a worldwide network that supports independent dog rescue and animal welfare groups. This involves assisting in the impact and growth of independent shelters. Alliance building, information networking, as well as national and international programs, are their approach. Education is another huge part of their mission, like with most other organizations. This is to spread awareness, knowledge, and compassion for animals all over the world.
One of the organizations major initiatives has been Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide. This was at the request of US military personnel serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. While it’s an expensive and logistically challenging program, it provides vet care, clearance and transport for dogs that US service members want to take back home. Not only does this program save the lives of animals, it helps those deployed overseas, as well as their transition when they return home.
Other international dog rescue organizations
There are several dog rescue organizations around the world, and those mentioned above are just a fraction of them. Some operate locally, others adopt across country lines. What they have in common is that most of them are dependent on donations to stay afloat. Some other organizations that do great work are the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International) and Best Friends Save Them All (based in the US). Smaller ones operate out of countries like Sweden and Denmark, rescuing and rehoming stray dogs from Romania and Spain. In other words, people all over the world work hard to ensure a higher quality of life for all kinds of animals. Whether it’s through rescue, adoption, education, or all of the above.
Adopting dogs from other countries is definitely possible, even encouraged, and happens all the time. It can however be a long and tedious process, more so for some countries than others. There are rules and regulations to consider, and it often involves long quarantine periods. This is why the work of international rescue organizations is so important; they deal with a lot of the paperwork, so it’s easier for people to adopt. Still certain bumps simply cannot be avoided.
Adopting a vacation dog
It does also happen that you simply meet a stray dog on your vacation, whom you then fall in love with and want to take home. This can also be done, of course, but can also be pretty complicated. First off, you should take the dog to a local veterinarian for a health exam, along with any necessary vaccinations. Health certificates are also vital in getting your pet through both air travel and customs.
A rabies vaccination is necessary for any dog entering the US from a country with rabies. Though, if the dog has lived in a country determined “rabies-free” for the past six months, or since birth, you should be fine. The reason vaccinating the dog anyway might be tricky is due to several factors. They have to be a certain age for their first rabies vaccination, and if the dog is too young, you may have to stay longer until they’re old enough. They also need to be vaccinated 30 days before entering the US. Dogs who only need a booster vaccine don’t need to wait the 30 days. Vaccination for screwworm is also important to consider.
The rules are the same regardless of your mode of transportation in crossing American borders. If you fly, make sure that your airline has a spot for your dog, and find out which rules apply. Some will let you fly with your dog in the cabin, depending on size, while others only allow dogs in the cargo hold. As soon as you arrive back home in the US, remember to contact your state animal health officials to make sure you comply with local pet laws. In most cases, dogs who weren’t vaccinated against rabies before traveling will need to be as soon as they arrive.
If you’re looking to adopt a dog, but ― understandably ― aren’t up for dealing with the hoops you’d need to go through internationally, there are other ways. Plenty of shelters all around the US have dogs in need of forever homes. Even fostering can be an option, which means helping prepare a dog for adoption by giving them a home in the meantime. Check out some local shelters where you live, or even further away if you’re okay with long drives or plane rides.
Many argue that one should focus on helping dogs in one’s own country before looking abroad. There are thousands of them in need there, too, after all. But some see no difference; any dog deserves help, and you never know when or where you’ll find the dog for you. So whether you choose to adopt locally, nationwide, or in an entirely different country, be sure to keep an open mind and do your research. No matter what, there is a dog out there waiting for you to take them home.