Where Do Rescue Dogs Come From?

We’ve all seen the commercials that show footage of dogs in need of a forever home. We all know someone who has rescued a dog from an unfortunate situation. Rescue dogs bring so much joy and light into our lives on a daily basis. However, we rarely ever stop to think about where they come from and why they need our help so badly.

Natural Disasters

One of the most common producers of rescue dogs is natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. Areas that are hardest hit by these types of storms often leave thousands of stray animals in their wake. Residents are forced to flee their neighborhoods, and often times are unable to take their dog with them. The dogs that are left behind mate with each other and create even more dogs that do not have a home. After a natural disaster, the impacted area is usually inhabitable, and those who used to live there do not return.

Fortunately, organizations like Hurricane Pets Rescue and The Sato Project actively visit sites of natural disasters in search of dogs that need rescuing. Once they are found and collected, these dogs are sent to dog shelters across the country. Here is where they are cleaned up, fed back to health, and in some cases spade or neutered. By the time you arrive to adopt them, they are well-fed and ready to go home. However, it took a lot of effort to get them to that point.

Abusive or Neglectful Situations

The last thing we ever want to think about is someone harming or hurting a dog. However, it is something that happens far too often. Dogs often need to be taken out of homes due to abuse at the hands of an owner. There have been many documented cases of organizations such as ASPCA having to go into a home or farm to rescue several animals at once. Many times this is a result of a neglectful owner who did not have the time or energy to take care of them.

While we do not want to think about what our rescue dog went through before we adopted them, it is essential to ask about it. If your new pup has a history of being abused or neglected, they may be shy or skittish. Something as simple as trying to pet them or a child attempting to hug them could upset the dog and cause them to lash out. If you are rescuing a dog of any age, ask for a full medical and personal history to understand how best to take care of your new pet.

Unfortunate Circumstances

Rescue dogs are not always the result of something negative. At times, dogs need to be rescued due to unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances. They may have once belonged to a loving owner who unexpectedly passed away or became too old to take care of them. Sometimes a building that once allowed dogs changes their rules, and the owner cannot afford to move somewhere else. If an owner is forced to give up their dog and does not have any family or friends who can take them, they are turned over to shelters.


Rescuing a dog is a noble and commendable action. It can result in a lifetime of love and happiness. However, it’s a responsibility that should be taken seriously. To ensure a smooth transition and long term happiness for your new dog, you owe it to them to understand how they became a rescue dog in the first place. Only then can you provide the specialized care and attention they deserve.