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Unsure whether to apply for a dog from rescue

(23 Posts)
tooearlytobeup Fri 15-Jul-11 22:03:57

I have been lurking in the dogshouse for a long time, as I would love a dog, but I have stopped myself so far as I am not sure if we would be giving it a good enough home. I would really appreciate some advice, as I am naturally a ditherer who over thinks things. I would appreciate advice from anyone, especially those involved in rescue, and I promise I will take any comments on board, even if its not what I want to hear!
I swing between thinking we should not consider it, as we can't offer a 'perfect' home, and thinking we would do our best for any dog we had, and surely that is better than a life in kennels, or being put to sleep.
The main obstacles I feel, are that I have 3 children, the youngest is nearly 4. This would be the first dog for myself and my husband to own, although we both had 'family' dogs before moving in together. We have a rabbit and Guinea Pig, the rabbit has the run of the garden most of the time, but I realise this would probably have to stop with a dog about. She is more than happy to chase cats away though, so could maybe teach a pup where it stands in the pecking order? I am not always home for all of the day, I work 5 hours a day, four days a week. My husband is here though about 50% of that time, and a friend would walk the dog during that time when he is not.
Taking this into account, would a rescue consider us? And if so, which rescue would you recommend we try? We live in South Wales.

goingwiththeflow Fri 15-Jul-11 22:22:26

don't really have any particularly useful advice just wanted to say 'good luck' we dithered over getting a dog with the head winning over heart most of the time.. we have four DC's , two cats, chickens and guinea pigs I am a SAHM ( of sorts!..morelike not very successful self employed grin) and thought maybe we were kidding ourselves that we could cope with a dog too, but felt we had a lot to offer with a family home with someone around for all but 2 hours total in the day and with an outdoorsy kind of lifestyle (camping etc) .
Prior to the recent dogless two years I had a rescue Springer from the RSPCA who I had prior to DC's , he grew up with them and was a true family dog in every sense until a good old age of 15yrs when he passed away ...

this time we really struggled to get even through to looking at suitable rescue dogs due to the age of the children ( which is understandable in most cases) but even puppies were refused due to our youngest being only 16 months (puppies not even weaned)
In the end we opted for a Lab pup not in the rescue system (but nota pedigree or cost lots of £££) and he has been a fantastic addition to the family.. and even the chooks would possibly agree!

maybe with the DC's you need to be careful about knowing the background of any dog you get ..unfortunately some dogs are abused or neglected and become nervous around the hubbub of family life and you cannot take a risk with DC's around however careful you are ..however there may well be a 'family dog' out there looking for a home like yours've just got to find them.

aswell as looking at the 'regular' charities and centres look at smaller organisations or breed specific rescue groups ...'dogsblog' was a website we trawled through on a regular basis

tooearlytobeup Fri 15-Jul-11 22:46:26

Thank you for replying! I'm currently looking longingly at a Spaniel puppy, and have half filled in an application form. Did you find all rescues turned you down with a young child? That's my main worry, that and my time out of the house.

I don't want to get the kid's hopes up, and then be rejected, so would like an idea of if we are likely to be considered. I would definately want a dog that I know will be safe with the kids, can't take any chances with that.

BehindLockNumberNine Fri 15-Jul-11 22:52:36

Go for it!! I was in exactly the same position as you last month.
Dh works crazy hours, we have two dc (age 11 and 8) and a hamster...
I work 25 hours a week term time only as a primary school TA although this is being cut by either 2 or 4 hours next year.

We have had a dog before who was sadly put to sleep last year and have pined for another dog ever since.

We went to our local greyhound rescue thinking they would not think us suitable but they were great. They said so long as I came home for lunch on the days when I work all day, and so long as we gave the dog plenty of attention when we all come in from school at 3 then that would be absolutely fine.
They said that even people who are home all day do not spend all day playing with and entertaining their dog. So they would not demand someone to be home all day.

We had our homecheck this afternoon and will hopefully bring our little whippet cross boy home soon smile

Go for it, apply. Good luck smile

tooearlytobeup Fri 15-Jul-11 22:57:43

Great, All positive so far! So Shall I press submit and send the application form? I've just realised another problem, my husband is working away from home at the moment, and the website says they need to meet each member of the family before a homecheck sad are they likely to understand this, or will it rule us out? He does not eat puppies or anything, and would be happy to speak to them on the phone...

Scuttlebutter Fri 15-Jul-11 23:05:43

Am laughing at "he doesn't eat puppies" grin

Unfortunately, the rescue WILL want to see your husband. The reason for this is that they need to be sure that every single adult in the house is signed up for taking on a dog. Unfortunately, without meeting him, they only have your word, and sadly, as we've seen here on MN, situations where one half of a partnership gets a dog without the sign up of the other half rarely end well. Without knowing the individual rescue, they MIGHT be happy with a phone call particularly if he was serving in Afghanistan/on an oil rig/riding the Tour De France etc.

There are plenty of good rescues in S Wales. I'd consider Four Paws, Hope Rescue, Greyhound Rescue Wales, Lizzies Barn, who are smaller independents as well as the big RSPCA rehoming centre at Llys Nini, and Dogs Trust at Bridgend. Are you going to tell us which charity you're going with?

Joolyjoolyjoo Fri 15-Jul-11 23:13:55

I think you should go for it. I had my dogs before I had my children, so ended up with 2 dogs and 3 children under 5- there probably wouldn't have been a rescue that would have looked at me at that point, but it actually worked well. The long walks we went with the dogs really became a central pivot to our day, and the children have grown up with dogs, which, imho, is a great thing.

One of my good friends also9 had 2 dogs before dc, both of whom sadly passed away at grand old ages, and she became very frustrated with rescues which wouldn't even consider them because she had 2 young children and worked (but had managed to accomodate 2 dogs for years, via outside help, her DHs hours etc) In the end, someone told her of a rescue a 4 hour drive away that was a bit less "strict" and she drove at the crack of dawn to get her much loved new girlie.

I'm all for the rescues making sure dogs go to good homes, and to vetting owners etc, but some of them seem to rule people out on one or two factors (eg having children) which is a bit frustrating when you know from experience that you can offer a dog a great home.

Let us know when you acquire your new addition! smile

DogsBestFriend Fri 15-Jul-11 23:15:01

I'm a rescuer, both independently and as a hands-on and admin helper for an independently run rescue.

From what I'm reading rescue should bite your hand off, if you'll forgive the pun! You seem to have it all covered - you're accepting that you'd be novice owners and are therefore wisely sensible, have got the work/dog balance covered and have considered the children and the rabbit and guinea pig. Perfect! smile

I take it that you're both up for dog owning? Assuming this is so, then all you need are some pointers.

Firstly, it's mainly the independent rescues which will tend to be more flexible about rehoming to families with small DC. Bigger ones tend to have blanket policies. I'd advise that you have a set idea of the rescue type you're prepared to deal with and that you have an open mind about the breed/size/sex and age of the dog you want. This is the woman who having lost her 12 yo small collie X girl to cancer went looking for a similar bitch of about 4-6 years... and ended up adopting a 9yo long haired GSD! That was one of the best decisions I've ever made, he was just perfect for us.

What you mustn't compromise on is the rescue. Please, for your sake as well as the dog's, only deal with one which will:

1. Homecheck and expect you to visit the dog in kennels/foster home too. No-one cares what your wallpaper is like, all we want to know is that we can iron out any problems before they arise and better judge the right dog for you. Far rather that you're asked to make the fence higher before pooch moves in than he dies on the road two days afterwards. Equally far rather rescue puts, say, a bolder dog in your home than a timid one if your youngest is boisterous! grin

2. Neuters/spays before rehoming unless a pup and then they must ensure that you contract to do it asap and follow up to confirm it. That's not a slur upon you, it's a sign of a responsible rescue.

3. Assesses the dog thoroughly before rehoming - ask how long he's been with rescue, if he's lived in a foster home, does he have a history. PLEASE don't write off a stray without a history though... the rescue I help out as has lots of ex pound strays but all are thoroughly assessed, interact with loons like me and my DC, who are also volunteers and many have had time in other volunteers homes too. You work with these dogs day in, day out, as the rescue owners will, and you get to know them inside out.

4. Vaccinates, microchips, worms etc.

5. Contracts to take the dog back at any time of his life if for whatever reason you can't keep him. Heaven forbid that you should hit personal problems and have the heartache of not knowing where the hell your dog is going to go to as well as dealing with your other worries.

6. Offers a lifetime's support and advice.

Many rescues will rehome across the UK - Many Tears in Wales is just one, Heathlands in Herts is another and I'd recommend both. Breed rescue often will too, either from a central point or via fosterers and branches across the counties.

Independent rescue kennels might come as a shock to you. They don't have the funds and support that, say the DT or RSPCA does and so you won't find shiny new buildings and plush reception areas. Don't let that put you off. If the rescue can offer the things above you can be as sure as possible that the owners, who will be funding the dogs through their own pockets and stalls at car boot sales and have only unpaid volunteers for assistance are pretty ruddy dedicated, if somewhat mad... you have to be to dedicate your life to rescue!

Many dogs come from family homes where they may already have had experience of children and small pets so don't write off the idea of an older dog. Equally most can be trained to accept both - I've done it with several dogs over the years, both my own and fosters. Only once have I failed... a gorgeous, loving and affectionate Staffie who loved my kids but who saw red mist when she saw my cats. Try as I might I lost that battle and made sure that her permanent home was cat and small creature free!

Hope this helps and good luck.... and enjoy your search if you decide to go for it. Patience is the key, hold out for the right dog for you and let rescue guide you... it's no good hankering for the pretty Labrador or Yorkie who hates rabbits and the Staffie, Greyhound or German Shepherd you meet might just be perfect for you even if you'd never have considered them.

tooearlytobeup Fri 15-Jul-11 23:20:40

He is not anywhere as drastic as that, but has problems travelling back as he is working 12 hours a day and 7 days a week at the moment. He only does this though for short stretches, and is home the rest of the time. He is just as keen as me. the difference is, that he is more of the 'good idea, let's do it' camp, while I keep turning it round and round in my mind. We have both been saying for the last 6 years or so that we would like to have a dog. It took us much less time to decide to have babies blush

I have spent ages looking at dogs on the Many Tears website, but a lot are ex breeding dogs, so need you to already have another. I've also been looking on Llys Nini, but very few are suitable for younger children. Mine are 11, 9 and nearly 4.

tooearlytobeup Fri 15-Jul-11 23:45:18

Oops, sorry crossposted becaus the page hadn't refreshed. Thats a fantastic help, just what I need.

I'm really happy we sound as if we might be accepted, Reading the writeups on the rescue sites made me think we would not be.

I've got to be honest, I am not totally open to all sorts of dog's I have ruled out large breeds blush before you start to hate me though, can I explain that this is because I personally am quite small (5ft1) and not particulary strong. I don't want to be in the position where I need to restrain a dog and can't physically do it. If it sees a cat and bolts or something. I know training is the most important thing, but don't want to take any chances.

A bolder dog is not neccessry, my youngest is the only one who is not totally on board. She is nervous of jumpy dogs, so I think an older, calmer dog would be better for her. She is not scared as such, but prefers them to sit still before she will stroke them. If it has floppy years like her favourite cuddly toy, that would be a bonus (but I don't think I should mention that when applying)

I would really like to know we have the support of a rescue, this is definately a lifelong commitment. so would appreciate recommendations.

Independent rescue is fine by me, we adopted a cat from one a few years ago. I was a bit shocked at the surroundings, but we rescued a lovely cat for my mum who has lived happily now for 12 years.

Can you point me in the right direction? I am currently halfway through filling in the application for a spaniel pup, but I am worrying that they will turn me down because our rabbit has not been vaccinated. Not that I'm paranoid or anything.

chickchickchicken Fri 15-Jul-11 23:59:39

i agree with all the advice above regarding approaching a reputable rescue and being open minded about breed.

however, i think it is fair to say you dont want a large breed. my neighbour did this when they wanted to rehome a dog, their reason was that they have a small touring caravan and only wanted a small/medium sized dog

as you say dd is nervous of jumpy dogs and would be ok with an older, calmer dog are you sure about applying for a spaniel pup? spaniels are lovely but a pup is likely to be boisterous

chickchickchicken Sat 16-Jul-11 00:02:22

btw your circumstances sound ideal for a dog and you have obviously thought it all through. good luck

tooearlytobeup Sat 16-Jul-11 00:08:31

Yes I know I've contradicted myself a bit there. I think an older dog would be a better bet, my husband would prefer a pup. i am happy to take the rescue's advice on the best dog for us. I have to apply for a particular dog for them to consider us anyway and carry out a home check, so thought if i put in the application, it is at least a first contact, and it means I can speak with someone there so they will consider us.

tooearlytobeup Sat 16-Jul-11 00:12:22

Forgot to say, I thought a pup might be better slotting in with the bunny and piggy. The rabbit is quite dominent (chases the kids around) so I thought a pup being smaller might not try to attack it. I admit though that I am a novice and might be totally wrong abount this! Please tell me if I am smile

DogsBestFriend Sat 16-Jul-11 00:13:50



I'm 5 foot 3 and have 2 ruddy great GSD and a Labrador cross!

It depends on the dog - my younger GSD will pull like a train if I let him but a halti does the trick well and I've trained him out of trying to pull me across th road to go play with passing pooches with a distract and "watch me" command.

Luckily his recall is virtually perfect so off lead he's a dream.

If you fancy an older dog (and want to avoid the puppy peeing/crying and chewing bit) why not have a look at the Oldies website?

tooearlytobeup Sat 16-Jul-11 00:21:23

I know avoiding larger dogs is not totally rational, but if I couldn't hold it back and it ran on a road and got hit by a car or something I would never forgive myself. Can you see why it's taken so long to convince myself to go ahead? I have clicked submit and applied for the cutest spaniel puppy ever on the Many Tears site. Where is this Oldies site though so I can have a browse? It would distract me from thinking that my fences are not tall enough etc lol

tooearlytobeup Sat 16-Jul-11 00:27:36

DogsBestFriend I found the Oldies site, and would love to give a home to Ian, I've seen him before on the Many Tears site. Unfortunately though we are ruled out as we do not have a dog at the moment sad

tooearlytobeup Sat 16-Jul-11 01:05:37

Scuttlebutter, I'm sorry I forgot to say, I have also tried looking at the rescues you mentioned, Lizzie's barn luckily seems to have homed the dogs we would have considered, the dogs at Hope Rescue, seem to need families with children older than mine. There is one dog at the local Dogs trust who can be housed with children but needs an experienced owner, and I have to admit I am not that. I cannot seem to find my way around the Four Paws site blush I will keep checking these though Thanks for your help smile

chickchickchicken Sat 16-Jul-11 01:33:26

puppies with small furries doesnt always work. i have 3 dogs. the best dog with my chickens is the rescue we adopted at 1-2yrs of age. the worst dog with them is the dog we had from 8wks old. he cannot be trusted with them on his own. he is fine if they are calm but if they run he will chase them. his prey drive is very strong and i could never totally rely on him to remember his training and not chase.

the older rescue, otoh, is amazing with them. he is very gentle and is great with kids and all animals. it really is best to be guided by the rescue.

remember you may have dog for 15yrs or so, its worth waiting for the right dog for your family

tooearlytobeup Sat 16-Jul-11 22:09:45

I just thought I'd give an update. I had a phonecall today from the rescue I applied to. Unfortunately (for me not the dog) the puppy I applied for was reserved earlier in the day. But they said the application was fine, and they would be happy to home a dog with us grin They will accept a phone call from my husband rather than meeting him in person, but need to speak with my friend who has agreed to dog sit to confirm this is the case.

They suggested a puppy would be better than an older dog for us, which I was suprised at, and also suggested we avoid collies and terriers because of our bunny. The man I spoke with said to look again at the website, and apply again.

I have a couple of weeks off work booked for the end of August, so I am going to leave applying again until then, and hopefully have a dog in our family soon.

Thank you all for being so positive last night, it was the push I needed to finally make contact with them grin

goingwiththeflow Sat 16-Jul-11 22:23:01

aww congrats smile so pleased that you have found somewhere happy to work with you to get a 'match' and not dismiss you due to too many tick boxes ... so glad a rescue dog is to get a home ..come back and update again

chickchickchicken Sat 16-Jul-11 22:25:48

the adopted rescue we have is a collie x. he is great with all animals. last winter he actually slept with one of our hens as it was too cold to leave her outside (the hen was the boss, she jumped out of her box and found her sleeping in the dog bed). he is completely trustworthy

am surprised what the rescue said but glad you will be adopting a dog soon

tooearlytobeup Sat 16-Jul-11 22:33:18

That sounds like a lovely dog smile I was suprised at what they said too, it wasn't what I expected at all. I am going to wait a few weeks, so that when we find the right dog, I can be home all the time for the first few weeks. I am really really excited now grin

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