Have you ever taken in a stray dog or been a pet sitter, and still wish you could do more? If you want to make a difference in a dog's life, opening a dog sanctuary could be your calling. Here's what you need to do to get started.
Before you dive in and start the planning process, visit and volunteer at shelters and sanctuaries for at least three months so you can get an understanding of how things works and make a note of things you may want to do differently. While you're visiting these places, ask questions about what you can do and the best way to do it.
Research and Plan
Before you can get your sanctuary up and running, you need to research and plan as much as you can. Research the locations of sanctuaries and shelters near you and far from you to try to find an in-between place that can serve more than one place. Your plan should include what you plan to do with the sanctuary. A few things you need to consider are the services you will offer and your policies. Other parts of your plan need to include funding specifics and the supplies you need to get started. You will need dog pans for feeding, a place to bathe the dogs, and a designated area for the dog bathroom. Will you let the dogs go outside to use the bathroom or will they use a potty training alternative, such as DoggieLawn? DoggieLawn is the perfect alternative to the dogs using the bathroom outside. These dog potty pad alternatives are mad of actual real grass and do not hold any odors, which is ideal for puppies who are learning the ropes. Other considerations you need to take are the number of dogs you plan to keep at once and your hours of operation.
Shelter and Zoning
The number of pets you decide to shelter will determine the space and building codes you need to follow. Find suitable land in the places you want to build the sanctuary and find out which zoning laws apply to that property. Before any construction takes place, you have to contact the county or city offices, which depends on where you're interested in building. Pay close attention to zoning laws. These laws determine how you can use the land and how many animals are allowed on the land at one time.
Observe the area and see how close the next building or how is to your ideal property. Dogs can often be noisy and annoying to neighboring residents or business, especially if there is no buffer zone, such as trees and fences to mask the sound. If not, surrounding neighbors and commercial properties can file a complaint, and that's a hassle you'll want to avoid.
Choosing a Building
Choosing a building can be as easy as choosing a building that is already built and repurposing it for your needs or as tedious as building a brand new building. Keep in mind that traditional shelters house animals on a short-term basis. In your situation, you are planning to provide a home on a long-term basis, which means you have to plan accordingly, such as creating a lifetime plan for dogs who are not adopted.
Medical Care for Your Dogs
The health and care of all the dogs you rescue is your sole responsibility. You have to make sure they are fed, clean, and taken to the vet regularly or you could face animal cruelty charges and be shut down. Vet care could involve minor and major care, and it's something your pets can't go without. Before you open a pet sanctuary, you should have your finances in place and money on-hand before you rescue any dogs. Dogs should go to the vet before entering your sanctuary and maintain a regular schedule after they enter your sanctuary for your safety and the safety of other dogs.
Choosing a Veterinarian
Choosing a veterinarian means using your best judgment, as well as conducting research on the veterinarians of your choice. A dog sanctuary needs more than four veterinarians to ensure the health and proper care of your dogs is maintained. Try to get veterinarians who work in the same facility so everyone is familiar with the same techniques and treatment methods, and has the same amount of time to travel.
Starting a dog sanctuary is a commitment you need to be passionate about and enjoy doing. It is time-consuming and is a lot of responsibility but also rewarding. If you can, get help. There are a lot of people who are willing to help as much as they can. Once you put this plan in motion, you are on your way to helping many dogs in need.