Create and maintain rescue partner relationships

Many rescues and shelters have more animals than they can find homes for in their community. The solution is often to find a partner rescue in a part of the country that has a higher demand. In this article we will go over how to create relationships with partner rescues and how to maintain those relationships to save more animals in your community.

Creating a good rescue partnership

There are a few key parts to finding a good partner and being a good partner. Let’s walk through them:

  1. Clear expectations – Before you send your first animal, be clear about what you want and need from the other partner. Here is what you should determine before getting started:

    Receiving partner:
    – How much are you paying per animal?
    – Who coordinates transport?
    – When do you need to confirm the transport list by?
    – When and how do you determine which animals you are able to take?
    – What do you need to know about an animal before agreeing to take them (age, behavior, vaccine history, etc.)

    Sending partner:
    – How much are you charging per animal?
    – When do you need to know what animals they will be taking?
    – What are your responsibilities before the animal gets on the truck?
    – What is your availability after the transport has taken place?
  2. Transparency – Always communicate with your partners. If you see something concerning with an animal, reach out to the receiving partner. Transparency will create a stronger relationship in the long run.
  3. We’re all on the same team – Try to understand the other side. If a receiving partner reaches out last minute and says they can’t take an animal because their foster backed out and they have nowhere for the animal to go, it can be very frustrating. Similarly, if a sending partner reaches out that a litter of puppies is missing some hair and didn’t pass their health inspection to travel, it can be difficult to have to scramble to accommodate. Remember that these things are going to happen, and you should try to stay out of an emergency mindset. Keeping in mind that we all have the same goal can keep your relationship positive.

Maintaining a good partnership

Now that you have a partnership, let’s walk through how to maintain the relationship:

  1. Reserve contact to 1 or 2 people – Part of working with a partner in any capacity, is getting to know them personally. Because of this, it’s best to have one or two people on both the sending and receiving ends be the contact person for the rescue. If you’re talking to a different person every time there’s an issue, it can be hard to form a personal relationship.
  2. Listen to requests – Both the receiving and sending partners deal with different challenges, but if a receiving partner says they can’t find fosters because the pictures are blurry, do your best to try to accommodate.
  3. Keep communication open – Talk frequently and keep the line of communication open. After a while, you will learn what is urgent for any individual partner and what can be included in a general update.


Moving animals from areas of overpopulation to areas they can be adopted is a major part of what we do. Check out our Email Templates for a sample introduction email to begin a partnership. If you need more personalized advice, contact us!

Is this article missing something? Have questions? Want help applying what you learned to your organization? Send us a message!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: