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Thinking of owning a dog? Please read this?

(35 Posts)
VallhalaLalalalalalalalaaaaaa Thu 23-Dec-10 09:51:04

This is a bit of a soapbox subject for me, so please forgive me if I get carried away!

If you are considering owning a dog, now or in the future, may I suggest that instead of contacting a breeder you contact some rescues?

As well as helping practically in my local rescue I am what they call a "network volunteer". I get tens of calls and emails each day about dogs which are either in pounds or with owners who can no longer keep them and my task is to find those dogs suitable rescue places before they are put to sleep.

As a result of my experiences I have seen not only the heartbreaking side, where I have sat up until the early hours to save a dogs life but also many beautiful, friendly and affectionate dogs moving on to loving family homes and my aim here is to reach out and increase that number.

You may not know this but if a stray is taken to a pound he has just 7 days grace before the pound is permitted to put him to sleep... and so many do. A dog which is surrendered to the pound by an owner can be killed immediately. These poor creatures need all the help they can get - as the saying goes, "why breed and buy while others die?".

This is why I am asking that you consider rescue....

A decent rescue will not just homecheck you but will match your family and circumstances to the right dog and offer lifetime support. You may find your ideal companion in a local, independent rescue or in a national one, you may have a breed in mind and find your friend through websites such as Biggsd or Bullies In Need, you may find the Oldies website has a calm, older family friend. Remember that rescue dogs are BY NO MEANS all strays with no history, many have lived in family homes which can no longer keep them and that any reputable rescue will assess a dog thoroughly before placing him with your family so that he is safe with your children, cats or other pets. Such rescues will also neuter and vaccinate your friend before he goes home with you.

We struggle to find rescue on a daily basis and last Christmas was the worst I have ever seen with more dogs in pounds and about to die than ever before. Of course, if dogs in rescues are not re-homed there is no space to save the lives of those languishing in the pounds across the country.

Of all the dogs which I have helped, both pedigree and crossbreeds, Staffies and Greyhounds make up perhaps the greatest number. They are much maligned but Staffs make wonderful, loyal family companions and Greyhounds don't need miles of walks each day, just a couple of half hour ones then they are ready to loll about with their legs in the air and make the most marvellous, gentle and well mannered pets.

I think I have jabbered enough but just in case you are wondering, yes, I do have children, dogs and cats and all my dogs are and have been rescued and I have had dogs since long before my children were born and throughout their lives.

So, if you are considering owning a dog or may do in the future, please, look at those in your local rescue and search the net for rescues across the country, many of whom are willing and able to rehome a dog despite the distance between you and him and please do pm me if you'd like advice in finding a rescue as I have many contacts nationwide, or if you need assistance in any way.

Thank you for reading this.

FestiveAsFuck Thu 23-Dec-10 09:58:54


sNoway Thu 23-Dec-10 13:25:32

So, a bit off topic tbh - would it be better to go and meet different animals in the week(s) after christmas?
Or would the shelters/rescues be rushed off their feet? Are there any specific questions I should be asking?

DD1 has terrible asthma/breathing problems in winter, how are we going to know if she has a bad reaction to a particular dog? What on earth do I do if she does and we've already adopted our dog? Are there things to help prevent any bad reactions?

I know she's coughing and wheezing after a 40 minute stay at my sisters house with her cats, but have never tried with dogs...
Any advice about anything to do with dogs is welcome, because tbh I'm clueless.

nannynobblystockingnobs Thu 23-Dec-10 13:34:18

Our dog is a rescue. Complete mongrel, GSD ears/tail, stocky Staffie body and shark grin, Lab muzzle/eyes, short little legs, brain of a stuffed toy. I'd never buy from a breeder, they comedy results of cross breeding are too great.

pipsy76 Thu 23-Dec-10 13:41:17

To true, second hand dogs are the best!

When our greyhound died we looked for another dog but found a lot of places wouldn't rehome with preschool children. Eventually I found enfield dog resuce and out of 14 dogs they had they had a lurcher who 'didn't have a bad bone in his body' She was spot on and he has made the greatest pet, everyone says what a lovely well behaved dog he is.

The advantage of rescue centres is they aim not to have the dog bounce back to them so they will be really honest when rehoming and only make suitable matches.

EdgarAleNPie Thu 23-Dec-10 13:41:27

snoway - to allergy test your daughter, it would be best to have her visit the dogs current home (where there will be not just fresh dog hair, but week-old back of sofa dog hair), spend a few hours there, cuddle and pat the dog (politely of course!) with her medicine there in case of reaction. then if she is ok with it, then that dog is ok - this can be done when the dog is currently fostered by a family.

there is no such thing as a 'hypoallergenic' dog as even non-shedding breeds may cause a reaction to a very allergic person.

TheMonster Thu 23-Dec-10 13:45:33

<applauds Val>

Iklboo Thu 23-Dec-10 13:45:46

My beautiful, beautiful girl was a rescue - cross whippet/greyhound. Gentle natured, very very loving, slept 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. Finally had to have her put to sleep in March this year after 14 wonderful years with her. I still miss her.

catinthehat2 Thu 23-Dec-10 13:50:54


Iklboo Thu 23-Dec-10 14:04:47

Sorry, my point was I agree that rescue dogs make great pets and the centre will make sure you get a great match.

SeaGreen Thu 23-Dec-10 20:53:39

grin at nannynobbly that is such a sweet description!

kid Sat 25-Dec-10 00:55:11


dogs make great pets. I was staring at my sleeping springer spaniel earlier today and thought how lovely it was to have a dog here with us. They bring so much pleasure to families (well to my family in particular) and he is just so gorgeous and I love him soooooooo much.
Sorry, just wanted to share that grin

Blackletterday Sat 25-Dec-10 01:21:04

Oh I would love a dog, not practical yet as ds2 is still little. We are planning to get one when he starts nursery. I have looked at rescues, but why do almost all adverts say, not with small children? Are they just covering backs?

I would be uber happy with a rescue mongrel, not set on any kind of breed etc, just wondering if it's possible with under fives. I also don't get the whole "breed profiles" online, my mil bought a border collie (which are apparently not good with kids) when dd was 6 months. We all lived together happily for another 18 months until we moved out. She is a lovely dog, if a little mental. Very protective.

I'm not sure on the whole staffie thing, but would consider one, a greyhound would be marvellous though.

salsmum Sun 26-Dec-10 17:47:16

Val I couldn't have said it better myself! well done! we have always had rescue animals including a hobbly legged parrot...don't ask lol dogs get put in rescues for all sorts of reasons including owners going into nursing homes, divorces etc..etc..Blacklet.. I have had 2 rescue staffys and they are wonderful dogs (in the right hands)I have also helped to rehome 2 more rescue staffs grin. I don't know if it's true per say but apparently rescue homes are busier around summer holiday time because people don't want to pay kennel fees but at the moment perfectly healthy dogs who are gentle and kind are being PTS simply because the rescues have NO ROOM so sad and totally unnecessary just because people are breeding at home and trying to make a quick buck. I love puppies but give me a rescue dog any day of the week they are worth their weight in gold grin.
p.s. vall have you worked for RHU? do I know you? smile

VallhalaLalalalalalalalaaaaaa Sun 26-Dec-10 18:38:23

Salsmum, I very rarely use RHU these days. I got tetchy after I was rollocked for rescuing an old, half blind Shep with kennel cough from a northern pound 2 Xmases ago, without waiting for rescue back up. He was originally posted on RHU and had received no rescue offers. I called the pound to ask them to hold him and reassure them that I would find rescue only to be told he'd just been taken down to the vets for PTS. He was literally seconds from death, when the pound manager rang to stop the vet from putting the needle in. It was then that I decided that he had best come to me pronto and got him transported down south using my own AR contacts. I had no rescue back up and RHU mods were less than impressed - and I was less than impressed with the idea that a big old bear of a long haired white Shep could well die if I waited to get back-up, pointed out that no other bugger had offered to save him and from then on had little to do with RHU as I can't always work their way.

I'm now wracking my brain as to my user name on there at the time when I was an active participant. Probably paulsspangle or just Spangle, I can't remember!

salsmum Sun 26-Dec-10 19:03:55

We got in contact with RHU recently because they had advertised a staff who was due to be PTS 4 days later I wanted to be considered as a new 'mum' for him...heard nothing at all and then suddenly he'd got rescue back-up {confused] I know were all working to the same ends but I was so worried about this staffy especially being as he resembled in colour my old boy who I lost 2 years ago with his black n tan markings I just thought he'd been pts and felt awful. I spos they just get really bogged down. (tries to remain impartial) IYSWIM wink I am also based down south and I know what you mean.

salsmum Sun 26-Dec-10 19:05:22

p.s. My partner 'staffylover' says he thinks he remembers you frm RHU grin x

JaxTellersOldLady Sun 26-Dec-10 19:24:55

Val, can you tell me please, where the pounds are in the country, rather than Kennels/rescue places.
I would hate to think that if the Cane went to CC Rescue she might end up PTS, I cannot let that happen!

Do all breed rescues have a PTS policy? I am actually a bit peed off with myself for not already knowing this or at least knowing more than this.

Any help/links you can provide I will go read.


VallhalaLalalalalalalalaaaaaa Sun 26-Dec-10 19:25:38

The problem is that RHU insist on rescue back-up for every situation, regardless. To me, that's rather like having a blanket ban on rehoming to families with under 12's - it takes no account of individual circumstances. Meanwhile, dogs are at risk of PTS whilst all the faffing is going on.

I wonder where that Staffy went after he got the necessary backup? confused

Hmmm... the name Staffylover rings bells too, I'm sure it does.

<<Val has irrational wobble and hopes that Salsmum's partner isn't one of those her attitude towards RHU has peed off!>>

VallhalaLalalalalalalalaaaaaa Sun 26-Dec-10 20:29:00

Pounds are located in various establishments and their titles can be misleading, Jax. For example, Battersea Dogs Home is a pound - it takes in London's stray dogs from each of the city's borough councils. Likewise Manchester bloody Dogs Home is nothing but a glorified fucking pound, as is Birmingham Dogs Home.

Often they are located in the same premises as boarding kennels (although the two types of resident must be kept strictly seperate, by virtue of health laws), such as the bloody shambles of a place used by North Herts District Council.

The way to identify pounds is to ask the relevent district or city councils. I don't know all of the pounds in the UK by a long stretch. Forgive me for being thick (and I'm happy to give all the help I can), but why do you want a list of pounds? What really obvious thing am I missing?!! <<twerp emoticon>>

WRT rescues, they all have their own policy. My advice is to ask for it, better still get it in writing/check websites BUT be careful. Some will claim a no kill policy "except for reasons of ill health" or similar. That's a common get-out imho and is sometimes used by rescues as an excuse to look better than they really are. Sometimes "we don't PTS unless for medical reasons" can be used to kill an aggressive dog - after all, mental health is a medical issue, isn't it? So is kennel cough and so rescue (and more epecially, dog pounds) could PTS a dog suffering from it, despite the fact that it is easily curable. This is not unknown in pounds where it is viewed as cheaper to kill one dog with kennel cough, which spreads like wildfire, than it is to treat 50, 60 or 100 dogs with antibiotics. Then again, such wording could just be a case of a badly phrased policy on the part of a rescue. (If a pound said this I'd be even more dubious that they really did have a genuine no kill policy, with good reason, tbh).

All this is why I am quick to recommend the rescue I help at, which does have a genuine no kill policy.

What you need to know is that the rescue, as well as having a no kill policy and homechecking, also sends their dogs out on contract and ensures that the dog MUST be returned to them should the owner not be able to keep her, no matter how far into the future that may be. If that's not the case, avoid, because heaven forbid that the new owner should end up not being able to keep pooch. Rescue spaces are hard to find, especially for the bigger breeds/bull breeds which are harder to home, and the pooch could end up in a pound and/or PTS.

DooinMeCleanin Sun 26-Dec-10 20:34:36

Our local pound calls itself a rescue center hmm It also has very cheap boarding kennels that I wouldn't house rats in.

Hope you find somewher lovley for the poor CC Jax. She sounds like a wonderful dog, if I only had a bigger house.....

DooinMeCleanin Sun 26-Dec-10 20:36:44

Oh yes I also got a contract off them stating that under no circumstances could I return my dog or rehome him in any way, so basically if it didn't work out for any reason the only thing I could do would be to have him PTS (over my dead body)

JaxTellersOldLady Sun 26-Dec-10 20:48:27

not read all posts, but you arent missing anything val, I just wanted to make sure that if the CC went into breed rescue she wouldnt be put to sleep. We cant keep her ... although getting harder by the day not to totally love her, actually we do, scrub that.

back soon. x

JaxTellersOldLady Sun 26-Dec-10 20:53:37

ok caught up now, was talking to my niece and family.

will have a good chat about the Cane. thanks, didnt know that about Battersea. hmmf

MotherJack Sun 26-Dec-10 21:06:55

Well bloody said and brilliantly put as usual Valhalla.

And Salsmum..... do I know you??? I Certainly know someone with the prefix "staffylover" to their email who is involved in Staffy rescue.

I do know of an apparently very good, specifically large breed, rescue Jax, through a friend who works in rescue. From what I know they have a genuine no pts policy. Happy to send details to you Val, (if you are stuffed to the britches at this time of year)... see what you think???

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