Pet rescue is a great way to bring a new best friend into your life and fill your home with love. Rescue pets provide companionship, amusement and health benefits. Whether a young cat or an older hamster, the affection and attention rescue pets bring us can, well, make us more human.

Pets, however, need more than love. They require time, money, and sometimes even a change in lifestyle. To ensure you are ready for the lifelong commitment of pet ownership, ask yourself the following:

1) Why do you want a pet?

Knowing why you’re preparing to bring a pet home will help you to determine the species and breed that will fit your lifestyle.

2) Are you ready for a lifetime commitment?

Your pet will need good food, fresh water, exercise and companionship for their entire life.

3) Do you have time for a pet?

They aren’t called companion animals for nothing! Any pet you adopt —dog, cat, rabbit, etc. — will need not just food and water, but care and companionship every day of the year. They are completely dependent on you to provide for them — mind, body, and soul.

4) Can you afford a pet?

Pets need food, toys, litter, bedding, regular veterinary care, grooming, and emergency medical care. All that can add up fast.

5) Is your lifestyle ready for a pet?

Your (and your families) personality and lifestyle will also play a role in what type of pet you choose. Will the pet be home alone most of the day? Are your children mature enough to deal with a pet? How much pet friendly room is in your living space? Is there any outdoor space for your pet? Make sure you are ready to share your kingdom!

How to Find a Rescue Pet

There are many different types of shelters that have rescue pets looking for forever homes. In most cases, the adoption process is similar. Most shelters will want to meet with you at least once, if not several times, to determine if you are a good fit for the pet. Your shelter can also help you determine what type or breed of pet is best for you.

Locally, Heartland Humane Society and Dakota Animal Rescue both offer various pets for adoption. Fish-n-Stuff is also known for taking in abandoned pets looking for forever homes.

Searching the internet can also help you look at the different types of pets available for adoption. Sites such as and offer searchable national databases, as do and All offer a variety of species, breeds, sizes and ages.

For those looking to adopt a purebred or pedigreed pet, there are options available. For dogs, the American Kennel Club ( has a listing of reputable purebred adoption organizations. and specialize in finding forever homes for purebreds.

Whether you decide to adopt a rescue pet or choose a pet from a reputable breeder or pet store, your pet will turn your house into a home filled with love. Unfortunately, for many animal lovers pet ownership is not feasible. Fortunately, there are other ways individuals can help find forever homes for abandoned pets.

Sharing information about local shelters among your group of friends or through social media is a way to bring information about animals and shelters in need to others. It takes mere seconds to share the plight of a shelter animal or forward a photo of animals currently living in shelters. Sharing can improve the animals’ chances of finding homes.

Shelters have limited resources and are more than happy to take both financial donations and donations of supplies. Many shelters accept towels, linens and other items that can be used to keep animals clean and comfortable.

Though many shelters pay their staff, many still need and rely on volunteers. Perhaps a shelter could use assistance cleaning out cages or walking dogs? Professionals with certain skills, such as accountants or office managers, may volunteer their services to keep the shelter running smoothly. Individuals who excel at event planning may be needed to organize fundraising events that put animals on display and encourage adoption.

“Help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered.”

- Bob Barker

Our Stories...

the following are rescue stories from staff at Yankton Media, Inc.



After losing our 14 year old dog Murphy, we knew we needed to have another dog around the house. But not just any dog. I didn’t want to go through all the puppy chewing and training, plus I wanted a dog that would be good with my grand daughter. One evening, I saw Jeanette from Heartland Humane Society and she told me all about a dog they had at the shelter. “Moe” was a 4 year old male Shitzu they took in with his 2 brothers. I was interested and said I might stop by. The next morning, my husband woke me up to show me the front page story in the paper about the dogs available at HHS. He told me to go adopt the one in the photo!


I stopped in, fell in love with the little guy, and took him home that night. Now called Buddy, he is a great companion to us, and is great with our grand daughter.

— Jeannine Economy



My husband and I bought our dog Kalel about 5 years ago at the little pet store in Yankton, Fish-N-Stuff. He was a rescue puppy from a litter that the owner had brought in because they wanted the dogs to go to loving families and not be euthanized. We were not looking to adopt a dog that day, but he was so sweet and when we found out he was born on the day I married my husband I knew we would not be leaving the store without him. He was the last one of his litter, and no one wanted him because he was so rowdy.


He was our baby for many years, when we had our son Myles everyone worried that Kalel would act out.

My husband and I knew he would be ok, in fact the first time he saw Myles he walked over to the car seat and gave him a puppy kiss. Now 18 months later those two do almost everything together, Kalel even walks into Myles room at bedtime to say goodnight.

We don’t know what breed he is, and we really don’t care. We call him The Hough Breed. He is one of the family, goofy, moody, loves us with all of his heart and would die protecting us if he felt he needed to.

—Sarah Hough



My sister-in-law knew we wanted to rescue a black lab when we moved back to the Midwest, and she had found a beautiful rescue ‘lab’ at the groomer’s, Canine Grooming Center…who also is involved with Dakota Animal Rescue.


Libby had been picked up by Yankton Animal Control, running the streets with a bunch of pit bulls, and had been in foster care a few days.

However, we hadn’t moved yet! Basically, my sister-in-law rescued our ‘lab’ sight unseen to us…and oh, what a beautiful match it is.

We fell in love with Libby the minute we laid eyes on her! And just out of curiosity, we decided to have a DNA test done on her, because she just didn’t look like a lab to us… Anyway, when we got the test back, she is ANYTHING but a black lab! She is 25% Pit Bull, 25% Rottweiler, 25% German Shepherd and 25% a mix of about 9 other breeds! LOL!!

It matters not to us…we love her with all our hearts…and she is just the best dog in the world…wouldn’t trade her for anything!

There are so many good dogs in the world…to me, the best way to find a pet is to rescue it!! We’ve tried to figure out what kind of life Libby may have had prior to us, but we just don’t have much to go on. We do know she hates anything in your hand outside. For example, if you’re outside with a shovel, or a broom, or anything that you’re moving with, she attempts to attack it! So she must’ve been abused in some way in the past in the fashion, and we think it was probably a guy, cuz she’s pretty skittish of men initially…especially with facial hair!

Lib just turned 2, and now weighs in at 90 lbs. And the big girl sleeps with us every night, along with our 4-pound Yorkie…and we just couldn’t love that girl anymore than we do!!!

—Caryn Chappelear

Gilly was found wondering around Omaha most likely gnawed off a chain that he was chained to outside for long hours. No one wanted him so he went to foster care at the Little White Dog Rescue in Omaha and then I adopted him. Gilly now lives with my aunt Brenda (Willcuts).

—Heather Steffen



Meet Scrat! During the summer of 2010, my parents found a litter of three stray kittens outside their home. At the time my parents lived on the edge of a very busy highway and we suspect the mother of the kittens was killed by traffic.


Hungry, skin to the bones, and alone, we decided to play “hero” and save the kittens from starving to death and/or being eaten alive by some wild animal.

We didn’t want to take in all three. My parents already own a dog so taking in three more pets would have proven to be too much of a frustrating challenge. So we gave two away and kept one. My sister and brother in-law received one while my aunt and uncle received the other. What we were left with was a playful kitten with ears the size of a dump truck (poor little thing could probably pick up radio signals if she wanted).

Because of her large ears, we were going to name her Yoda, but for some reason my mom thought it would be “cute” to change her name to “Yodel.” My dad cringed at that idea so at last her name was changed to Scrat (derived from the famous jittery squirrel on crack from the movie Ice Age).

To this day, “Scratty” is a healthy, playful adult cat who is obsessed with string, pestering the dog, and being lazy.

—Rob Buckingham

Three Generations of Rescue Cats

My daughter and her husband found an abandoned kitten outside their home along the Missouri River, over 15 years ago. I had pets most of my life, but at the time didn’t, as my poodle had passed. The kids brought me this little tiny black and white puffball that I named Boots. Today Boots is 30 pounds of playful kitten!

—Virginia Johnson

(Melissa’s mom and Roger’s mother-in law)



Our first rescue pet KittyKitty came to us after being found on the side of the road. She and her siblings were in a trash bag and had been “discarded”. With much love, KittyKitty was with us for 15 years.


After losing KittyKitty, my husband Roger and I both knew we wanted to have another cat, and that it would be a rescue cat.

Roger started following the cats available for adoption on the Heartland Humane Society website and came across KittyKat. Just like KittyKitty, she is a steadfast companion. I can not imagine our home without a rescue pet.

—Melissa Bader



Here’s Kitty and Gigi. We got them from the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society. Kitty was found as a stray kitten at only 6 weeks old. Gigi was almost a year old when she was brought to the shelter with all her siblings.


—Vince and Adrienne Bader

(Melissa and Roger’s son and daughter-in-law)

Sources and more information:;;;;;;;

Do you have a pet rescue picture to share?

Send your photo by Thursday February 13th to

Submitted photos will be published in the next Her Voice issue as space allows.