What is the difference between “rehoming” an animal and “rescuing” an animal?

We got a tweeted question last week concerning the difference between the terms “rehoming” and “rescuing” from our friend over at Grouchy Puppy. Her question was, “What is the difference between rehoming and rescue? Is there any?”

Great question, Cleo (plus Cleo’s momma)!

We’ve seen the term “rehoming” is becoming more popular in social media. In many cases it’s legitimate. It can be used interchangeably; many reputable rescue groups and shelters use the term “rehoming” as another word for “rescue” or “adoption.” It can also be used by families who are in a desperate situation, or crisis, and are trying to do the best for their pet that they can.

However, in some cases and circumstances, using the term “rehoming” is how backyard and illegitimate breeders are skirting the rules with social media that say, “no pet sales allowed – rehoming with small adoption fee ok.”

Sometimes those illegitimate breeders make it sound like they’re in a desperate situation and need to find a new home for their pet. They post that they either need the money to part with their beloved best friend or they’re charging a “rehoming” fee to make sure the adopter is sincere.

It’s hard to tell which ones are legitimate families in a desperate situation that are trying to do well by their pet and which ones are just people trying to sell puppies. If you see a plea for help and want to assist, we recommend that you do your research, contact by phone, talk to the person who is rehoming their animal and visit the home, if possible.

Another way to adopt animals in need is by visiting reputable shelters and non-profit 501c3 rescue groups. There are always great animals looking for homes there! We appreciate the question! Please, keep them coming!

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2 responses to “What is the difference between “rehoming” an animal and “rescuing” an animal?

  1. I think there is more to it than that. Rescuing an animal is taking that animal OUT of a dangerous/unhealthy situation. Rehoming is finding a permanent home. Our group(a 501c3, http://www.plannedpethood.org) rescues animals from death row in kill shelters, or from abusive home situations. We foster them until we can rehome them.

  2. It is easy to get caught up in the debate over vocabulary that we loose site of the mission.

    The importance is the action, not the specific words. My husband and I used a sheltie rescue to bring home our two shelties. The rescue calls what they did in bringing the dogs to foster rescue and they also call the adoptions rescues. My husband and I could have chosen to get puppies through breeders, but we chose rescue because we believe in the importance of providing homes for dogs who need them. It is not important what others call the process, what is important is we have two amazing dogs because of the wonderful work done by that rescue orginization and their foster network.

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