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Should You Get a Rescue or Take Home a Stray?

These are the differences between taking home a stray or a rescue.

Whether you rescue or take home a stray, in both cases, you are either saving a life or are, hopefully, bettering the lives of an animal. So, should you get a rescue dog? Or should you take home a stray you have found on the street?

Read on to find out the key differences to consideration before you take your new pet home.


Both Strays and Shelters animals are either unwanted or are completely helpless. Shelter dogs at least have someone looking after them after they have been rescued. They get physically examined and receive medical attention from the shelter. Most of these sheltered dogs are either dogs given up by previous owners, and some are fosters that are given to these shelters to be looked after until someone can adopt them.

These rescued dogs get their vaccines, are spayed and neutered, and microchipped. These dogs are already accustomed to humans and domesticated. Their health and behavior are properly evaluated and examined before they are deemed adoptable. Which means after you take home a rescue, you don’t have to worry about much.


Stray dogs found on the streets or in parking lots are in more danger than those rescued in shelters. Stray dogs are often starving and live in constant threat and fear. They are left out to fend for themselves in extreme temperatures without anyone they can rely on. These dogs are often injured or even killed in car accidents. They could be suffering from various illnesses, and sometimes, they are even killed by people who find them to be a nuisance.

If you find a stray and take it home, you are claiming responsibility for an animal that you know nothing about. Does it have any diseases that need serious attention? Is it an aggressive dog, and will it get along with the people or children in your home? Maybe it has fleas? These are all things you will have to worry about and take care of.

Another big thing to consider when taking home a stray is if it belongs to someone. The stray you have found could be someone’s lost pet. The first thing you should do is take the stray to a shelter or vet to get it checked for a microchip that could reunite it with its family if it is lost. Remember, you are not the owner of a dog you have just found on the street.

Make your Choice

The key difference in adopting a rescue or a stray is that the strays are likely in more danger. You won’t be able to get a proper status update on the health and well-being of a stray. But, you will know that rescue dogs will be disease-free and will not be aggressive towards your children or other pets you might have. Also, when adopting from a shelter, you can have referrals to good vets and help take care of your new pet.

The best way to help stray dogs is to take them to a rescue shelter. This way, they can be correctly taken care of. Then if deemed ‘adoptable’, they can hopefully find a new home for themselves!

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Lisa Lee
Written By

Lisa Lee is a proud mother of three living in sunny San Diego county. With three children under 10 years old and a pet pug named Daisy, Lisa sure has her hands full. Before starting her career as a family lifestyle writer, Lisa worked as a third grade elementary school teacher. Through her time teaching and parenting, Lisa has become quite the expert at dealing with children and wishes to share her vast knowledge and experiences with other fellow parents.


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