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An animal rescue group or animal rescue organization is dedicated to pet adoption. These groups take unwanted, abandoned, abused, or stray pets and attempt to find suitable homes for them. Many rescue groups are created by and run by volunteers, who take the animals into their homes and care for them — including training, playing, handling medical issues, and solving behavior problems — until a suitable permanent home can be found.


Rescue groups exist for most pet types (reptile rescue, rabbit rescue or bird rescue), but are most common for dogs and cats. For animals with many breeds, rescue groups may specialize in specific breeds or groups of breeds. For example, there might be local Labrador Retriever rescue groups, hunting dog  rescue groups, large-dog rescue groups, as well as general dog rescue groups.

Animal rescue organizations have also been created to rescue and rehabilitate wild animals, such as lions, tigers, and cheetahs; a job which is normally shared or backed by zoos and other conservation charities. These animals are normally released back into the wild where possible, otherwise they will remain in captivity and may be used in breeding for an endangered species.