We are a nation of dog lovers and with roughly one third of households owning a pet dog, demand is at an all-time high. But with thousands of dogs still waiting for a loving home in rescue centres, we should be considering rehoming these before buying puppies from breeders.
Rescue dogs can be challenging
Even though taking on a rescue dog can be a challenge, it can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. By giving your furry friend a loving home and helping them overcome any issues they may have, the bond between you both ends up becoming very special and you will be sure to be treated with unconditional love. At the end of the day, every dog comes into a shelter for a different story and it’s important to remember that not all rescue dogs are rehomed due to being difficult to handle. Most dogs in rescue centres need to be rehomed through no fault of their own, such as a change in their owner’s circumstances in which they can no longer realistically look after the dog. This causes the dogs further psychological harm such as issues with abandonment, making it harder to rehome them.
Puppies are expensive
Buying a puppy can cost anything between £200 to £2000 and that’s not all. You also have to consider costs such as microchipping, worming and flea treatment and training fees. Some rescue dogs are free but often the shelter will ask for a small fee to help support the work they’re doing to help other dogs. Rescue dogs do tend the work out cheaper than getting a puppy, as well as giving you the rewarding feeling of potentially saving a dog’s life.
You may save a dog’s life
By adopting a dog that’s been at a shelter for a while, you could be saving their life. Shelters are under-resourced and overcrowded, meaning the animals that get taken there effectively have a set time in which to get adopted. There are certain circumstances in which dogs are more likely to be put down, such as if they’re old or have a large number of health issues. The longer these dogs are left in the shelter the less likely they are to be adopted, and they can only afford to keep these dogs for so long.
What to think about before rescuing a dog
Taking on any dog is a huge commitment, but taking on a rescue dog can be even harder work and isn’t for everyone. Having enough time is essential with rescue dogs. As we mentioned above, a lot of dogs from rescue homes have abandonment issues and don’t like being left alone. Rescue centres put all applicants through strict tests and usually won’t give you a dog if everyone in the home works full time. Most breeds of dogs live to around 13 years old, with smaller breeds living up to 20 years. This is a huge commitment for a long time, and you need stability for dogs who have had a tough upbringing. It’s recommended that you bring the entire family to meet the pet before you adopt it and be certain of your decision before taking on the responsibility.
Is your home a pet-friendly place to live? If you live in rented accommodation, you need to double check with your landlord that pets are allowed to live there. Some landlords request a change in tenancy contract and a slightly larger deposit to keep a pet in your home. However, if you own the house, just double check that your garden is enclosed as most rescue homes won’t allow their dogs to go to a home deemed ‘unsuitable’ for dogs. Most rescue centres do home visits prior to adoption, this allows them to get an idea of the suitability of the home and ensure the dog will be looked after. You also have to consider that these dogs have had difficult lives and may not be house trained, meaning carpets and your furniture are at risk until they’re trained.
How to find a good rescue home
There are tonnes of rescue centres out there, it can be difficult to choose the right one.
The things to look out for in a reputable rescue centre are:
- Their dogs are vaccinated
- Their dogs have been checked to make sure they are safe to be rehomed
- They can neuter/spay their dogs
- Before going through with the adoption, a home check is carried out first to make sure you live in a place suitable for dogs
- They ask about your circumstances and evaluate these to make sure their dogs get an owner who will look after them
- Even after completing the adoption process, they provide you with guidance and support
Most rescue centres will aim to rehome locally, so it’s best to search for the ones around you. Some of the major charities such as The Dog’s Trust and The RSPCA will have rehoming centres all over the nation so keep an eye out. Just remember that every dog is different. Try not to judge it by its looks and breed, but by its character. After all, they do say never judge a book by its cover.