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How to Help a Street Dog

Each week, Duck Team 6 receives 20-30 requests from people to save dogs from the streets. Unfortunately, because we are a capture team and not a traditional rescue group, we do not have a shelter or facility to take all the dogs that need help. We depend on Good Samaritans in our community to help us help the the dogs, by securing a safe place for the dog in need to go, so that we can concentrate on the work of saving more street dogs.

If you have a street dog that you would like to help, please follow these tips:

Take photos/video of the dog you want to help.
They help to tell your dog’s story. Take your time to get good pictures.

  • The best video clips show him/her being petted, wagging his/her tail, with children or other dogs. These scenes show the dog is friendly, good with children/other dogs which increases the odds of the rescue/foster/potential adopter being willing to help.
  • Good quality, color pictures are best. Use photos that don’t have distracting backgrounds and clearly show the dog’s face.
  • Pictures showing the dog with other dogs, cats, people and/or children also are good as they depict the friendliness of the dog.
  • Pictures where the dog looks relaxed or “happy” are good pictures. Pictures where the dog is panting or has his/her eyes closed are less desirable.

Name your dog.
Naming your dog makes him/her seem more “real” to people and helps them to remember the dog. This is especially important for the rescue groups you will contact, who get many emails every day from people who want the rescue group to help their dog. Make your dog stand out!

Circulate photos/video via email and Facebook to your friends, family, and coworkers.

  • List your contact info and the city the dog is located in. For the dog’s safety, don’t list the exact address.
  • Ask if they will foster the dog and/or pledge money towards vet care.
  • We have found that Good Samaritans have a whole new network of people to reach out to and often have success finding a friend who is willing to help out.
  • Do not list a dog on Craig’s List as “free.” There are many very sad stories of what happens to dogs if listed like this such as becoming bait dogs (used for training fighting dogs) or being sold to Class B Breeders (used for experimentation).

Find a rescue group near your dog’s foster home if possible.

  • If you find a person interested in fostering but haven’t secured a rescue group, contact the local Petsmart, Petco, or Pet Supplies Plus to see what rescue groups host adoption events at locations nearby where your foster lives. Note: It is more convenient for vet appointments and adoption events if the foster home is located near the rescue group’s primary location.
  • The interested foster should contact the rescue group and ask if they will take the dog into their program. Make sure you provide the foster with as much info as possible regarding the dog, including amount of money gathered in pledges for vet care. The foster will likely be asked to submit a foster application. Keep in mind that the process to be an approved foster may take several days, and the rescue group might also ask to evaluate the dog prior to accepting the dog into their program.

Contact local rescue groups (even if you don’t have a foster)

  • A list of local rescue groups can be found at and
  • Ask if they will take the dog into their program.
  • Tell your dog’s unique story, but keep it brief. Rescue groups get many emails every day and it is unlikely they will read a long email about any dog. Select the key points, especially the things that make the dog’s story poignant, memorable, and the dog seem adoptable. Let your passion for the dog and willingness to help be known but remember to be concise.
  • Rescue groups are more likely to accept your dog into their program if you have someone who is a committed foster and if you are able to provide funding to help with vet care.

Create a Facebook Page for your dog to increase exposure.

  • A Facebook page where you show pictures of your dog and provide cute updates goes a long way to keep interest in your dog and to show the dog off to people besides your friends. Ask people to contact you if they want to help by fostering or adopting.
  • Alternate between posts that are focused on finding a foster/adopter and posts that help show the desirable/fun sides of your dog. Make your dog’s page fun!
  • Remember to ask people to “like” and share your posts!

Consider creating a Fundraising page for your dog.

  • If the dog you want to rescue needs medical care such as vaccinations, sterilization, heartworm treatment or other issues (broken legs, mange, etc), then having money that covers the dog’s care is extremely helpful in getting a rescue or adopter.
  • Keep a list of names, amount, and contact information for pledges. Remember that if you promise a rescue a certain dollar amount in vet care that it is very important that you make sure you hit that target. Rescue groups operate on shoe string budgets and if you promise to cover a certain amount in veterinary care, it is very important that you be able to honor that commitment.
  • Some fundraising sites allow people to make payments to an account that you set up in advance. This means you know the funds are committed, but also means you need to manage the account and transfer the funds over to the rescue groups once they have admitted the dog into their program. A fundraising site is additional work, but it insures financial commitments are honored in advance.

Consider getting your dog basic vaccinations.

  • If you can afford to, it is helpful to have your dog get a rabies shot, distemper/parvo shot, and dewormed.

Be broad in your exposure.

  • Post your dog’s story on your Facebook page, other rescue group Facebook pages, Lost and Found pages, on your neighborhood Facebook page, pages such as “Neighbors Go” or “Next Door” community Facebook pages, vet offices, pet stores, and any local businesses that allow your posts.
  • The more places the dog is posted the more avenues for finding a possible adopter or foster there are.
  • Don’t forget to talk to all your friends about the dog and ask them to tell their friends. Word of mouth helps!

Your first priority is getting the word out about the dog in need. DT6 may not be able to help immediately, but another group or individual may.

Also, be aware that for many dogs, being cautious on the streets is what keeps them alive. Dogs may not come right up to people at first, but we have found if you feed them daily at the same location and time(s) of day that will help build trust and establish a routine, which makes it easier to trap them once they have somewhere safe to go.

The street dogs tend to adjust really well once they are in a home environment; they just need a chance. Thank you for helping them – these dogs are fending for themselves and they need our entire community’s help.

Please let us know when you find a safe place for the dog to go, as then we would be happy to help you get them off the streets.

Semper Woof!