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advice: pets for free

(33 Posts)
oldgreyknickertest Fri 27-Jul-12 15:13:07

We are going to get a dog and want a rescue dog. I have never been down this road before, although my husband's family always had rescue dogs but we are not near the rescue place they used.

I have obviously been looking on the websites before we go visiting: does anyone have any experience of that particular one?

Lucyellensmum99 Fri 27-Jul-12 15:23:22

Well first of all, and most importantly, a rescue dog is not a pet for free!!! If you want a free pet, might i suggest an imaginary one. Dog ownership is expensive!

I would recommend the Dogs Trust as they are very thorough in their vetting procedures, which makes it easier for them to find the right sort of dog for you. But you have to fit their criteria for ownership. They will also charge you a "donation" of £80. Most rescues charge.

How old are your children? Many rescue centres will not consider families with young children and this is sensible.

What sort of dog are you looking for?

Are you at work all day? (not all dogs will be happy left at home all day, some dogs manage)

Have you owned a dog before?

Be very wary of a rescue that doesn't ask questions about your family set up as they are often just desperate to get the dogs off their hands but this is the road to heartache if you don't get the right dog for you.

Have a look on battersea website, i think they have a "what breed is right for me" section that suggests breeds based on your answers to their questionaire. Things like how much time can you dedicate to things like walking, grooming etc.

Sorry if you have owned a dog before

Scuttlebutter Fri 27-Jul-12 16:23:37

Several points. You might find the website "Rescue Review" helpful link. This gives updates on people's experiences with different rescue organisations.

It's also helpful to have a quick update on what sort of rescues you might encounter. Firstly, there are the big national organisations like Dogs Trust and the Blue Cross. They have kennels all over the country, and usually have very thorough homing procedures. They will supply back up - only disadvantage may be that as a large, national organisation, their policies can be a bit fixed. But definitely worth a look if you fit their criteria.

Secondly, you have breed rescues (often national for less popular breeds, or regional for more common breeds such as Labradors or greyhounds). These specialise in one particular breed, so are perfect if you are wanting a very particular sort of dog, and many are very well known. Examples would include Wiccaweys (Border Collies) or Scruples Whippet Rescue. The beauty of these sorts of rescues is that you will unparalled access to real expertise in your particular breed, and for many people it also becomes a community of interest as well. For specialist breeds (huskies spring to mind) they can provide a great deal of advice and support for activities such as racing, sledding etc.

Thirdly, you have national rescues that may have other specialities - the wonderful Oldies Club springs to mind, which as the name suggests, finds homes for older dogs.

Fourthly, nearly every area will have a few all-breed rescues. Some will take more than one species, many will take dogs from local pounds, or other sorts of relinquishment. Bear in mind that they are NOT subject to any minimal standards, licensing or independent inspection - standards do vary wildly. Good ones will:- insist on a thorough homecheck, will carefully match you with a dog (not just one who you have fallen in love with), may be prepared to say no, will give FREE ongoing support and behavioural advice for the duration of the dog's life, will always be willing to take the dog back if you have an emergency/change of circumstances, will insist on the dog being neutered, chipped, wormed and thoroughly health assessed before homing, will tell you about any health or behaviour issues that are known, and will offer lots and lots of lovely social events later on, so you can meet and socialise with other proud adopters. Most all breed rescues will do their utmost to make sure that a dog has been in the care of a foster home before adoption - this gives a much more accurate picture of the dog's character and behaviour, especially around children, other pets etc.

Lastly, there are pounds. Basically, this is where unclaimed strays end up. Generally, you walk in, say "I'll have that one", pay and walk out. No homecheck, no aftercare, impossible to do accurate assessments. Some are better than others, but this is NOT the route to go down. Mostly, rescues try to work with pounds to get the dogs out before they are killed, then they can work to assess them and get them rehomed properly. Pounds tend to have higher rates of dog returning and the outlook for returned dogs is not at all good. sad

Hope this helps.

oldgreyknickertest Fri 27-Jul-12 20:08:49

I sent a long response, saying thank you, but the phone ate it. Here goes again.

First, thank you, v helpful.

Next, I was brought up with trained gun dogs ( pointers) and DH with mutts. I have family with staffies, terriers, lapradors ( the gourmet variety), setters, and my much loved granny had much loved but nervous spaniels. But I haven't had a dog since childhood.

We promised Ds a dog when one of is retired, so that there would be someone with it. Until now it has not been possible. Now is the time as DH is retiring.

But although if it were me I would just about be prepared to take on a puppy, that's not for DH and Ds. Some training, yes, but not the full caboodle. And there are so many dogs needing a home that it seems sensible to go down the rescue route, contribute to the rescue organisation and find a dog whom we suit and vice versa.

As to what type, I think a terrier would bully DH. I don't want a working dog as we live in an urban area and although I love individual staffies am a bit worried about them round Knickerston. I have never fallen for lurchers. so suppose I want some sort of cross.

Any views gratefully received.

Wanted: A nice reasonably quiet dog that likes being taken into the country, cuddles, ( I can see this is not the time to re upholster the sofa), wants to walk its masters twice a day, will.listen to Wagner and assist in playing Assassins Creed or FIFA 12, will scare the foxes from the garden , and give and receive unconditional love, apply knickers family.

TheCunnyFunt Fri 27-Jul-12 22:40:40

Some sort of sighthound. They are very calm, cuddly, happy to lie down and just listen. They love to go for walks, don't need hours of excercise. Lurchers are sighthounds though, greyhounds, whippets, italian greyhounds. Greyhounds may look bony, skinny and a bit weird at first, but look again, and a bit closer and you'll see they aren't skinny and weird, they are pure muscle, the elegant bone structure, those lovely long supermodel legs, and those gorgeous chocolate brown eyes that you just can't help but fall in love with. You really couldn't get a more kind hearted and gentle breed of dog. My greyhound is a huge flirt, give him a pat and he's yours, shoving his head at you, clambering up on the sofa for a cuddle.

We got ours when DD was 7.5mo, she is now 13.5mo and totally besotted with Sprocket, he is so good with her, so gentle!

There are thousands of greyhounds dumped and killed every year when they are no longer needed to race. It's the lucky ones that end up in rescue. A greyhound kennels will be the quietest kennels you'll ever visit (apart from an empty one!). I really couldn't recommend one more highly enough!

D0oinMeCleanin Sat 28-Jul-12 00:20:20

We have a lurcher atm who would fit your bill perfectly. He's not that skinny either. God knows what he is crossed with but his legs and feet are enormous. I, personally, suspect he is part elephant grin

All Lurchers are different. I really would not rule them out on looks alone. They are superb family dogs and sound like they are just what you are looking for. The same for Greyhounds and all sighthounds really. They are the most gentle group of dogs you could ever wish for.

MagratGarlik Sat 28-Jul-12 00:22:10

What Cunny said.

I went to rescue looking at the collie x springer, who I feel in love with on first sight and having been brought up with a collie x, I was slightly biased. The wonderful rescue pointed us in the direction of a very sorry-for-himself looking whippet, to whom I said "yikes". We then went away and read up on whippets and other sighthounds and went back to the rescue the next day to meet and reserve him. We now have a whippet and a whippet x greyhound. Both are wonderful, wonderful dogs and I would not get another breed.

We have 2 dc's btw, one who was 6 yo when we got whippetty and the other who was 2.9 yo when we got whippetty. Both children (don't annoy the dog when he is in his crate) and dogs (if you are fed up, go to your crate) were fairly easily trainded to avoid each other.

oldgreyknickertest Sat 28-Jul-12 11:49:24

Do sighthounds come if you let them off the lead and call them? And what sort of walks do they need? They always look as though they need owners who are a cross between usain bolt and a marathon runner. I've read the websites but not sure..

TheCunnyFunt Sat 28-Jul-12 12:07:46

The majority of sighthounds are ridiculously lazy. Greyhounds in particular grin they're happy with a quick 20 minutes twice a day but are happy to go for much longer. Scuttle upthread has a greyhound that her DH takes running. Re recall, greyhounds are the ones that would be worse at recall. Lurchers and whippets would probably be the best to let off with plenty of recall training. If you got a greyhound it would be a good idea to try and source a securely fenced field so the dog could have a good run around because watching them run is really the most spectacular thing to watch. I unfortunately can't find a local secure field sad

MagratGarlik Sat 28-Jul-12 12:15:34

Both ours have excellent recall. However, I only let them off in secure areas because if they do see something small and fluffy, the speed at which they can run means they could be miles away before they realise they have lost you.

They don't need a lot of walking, a couple of half hour walks a day is plenty and they are happy to sleep the rest of the time. They really are very, very easy dogs to look after. If you want to walk further with them, they will happily do so, but they don't demand it iyswim.

They have been excellent dogs for us. Our youngest ds has certain special needs, which mean he has been in and out of hospital a lot, trips to paediatricians etc and whilst we wanted a dog, we couldn't have coped with a very demanding one. Whippetty fitted in very easily and he and ds2 are virtually inseparable (even if it does mean he follows ds2 around the house and lies on his toys whilst ds2 is playing...). Both ours have been easy to train, they are not stubborn like terriers, but because they are not the brightest sparks, they don't demand lots of mental stimulation either.

oldgreyknickertest Sat 28-Jul-12 12:45:49

That's good news, esp the idleness and comfort. Ds is under various consultants and we have to have a not too demanding dog. How long do you leave them, though obviously we want to do that as little as possible?

MagratGarlik Sat 28-Jul-12 13:09:58

Ours are left for 4 hours each morning as I work mornings mon-fri. This is in part why we got dog2, so as to give whippetty some company when he is left. On a couple of very rare occassions they have been left longer than that (up to 6 hours), but I wouldn't be happy to do that regularly <<wicked dog owner who can now be shot down in flames>>.

D0oinMeCleanin Sat 28-Jul-12 13:55:35

We are a sighthound-y family. Whippy's recall is spot on. My Dad has a Lurcher whose recall is also spot and another whippet whose recall is fairly good although if she spots another dog she will run to greet them and not call back, she does eventually follow once she realises she is being left behind. His other Lurcher is a pain in the butt and usually walks himself i.e my Dad opens the boot, Lurcher boy runs off, they meet back at the car 2 hours later but he's only there 90% of the time, which obviously is not good enough. The other 10% of the time my Dad has to call out a search party to come and help find him. He really shouldn't be let off leash imo until his training is better.

TheCunnyFunt Sat 28-Jul-12 14:12:28

If you fancy some more info from other sighthound owners Knicker, come to a new cushion for pointies. Even if you don't want to talk, just read the lovely poem about greyhounds in the OP smile

BehindLaneNumberNine Sat 28-Jul-12 22:45:23

We have a rescued whippety lurcher. Before him we had a Cocker Spaniel which we had had from pup.

The Cocker Spaniel, despite training classes, was a high-maintenance dog - good recall but bad attitude around other dogs, always mithering other people on our walk, always pulling on the lead, always whining and on the verge of a near-nervous breakdown. And we attended various training classes, tried all sorts, but he was just as mad as a box of frogs. (Despite this we loved him and were devastated by his untimely death following an accident two years ago)

Whippety is amazing. He is so soft and gently, he does not pull on the lead but walks quietly beside us. Last weekend our 18 month old nephew held the lead (closely supervised by us) and as soon as the lead went even the slightest bit taut whippety boy stopped to let nephew catch up.
Whippety boy is a bit wary of other dogs and will stand in the park watching until he feels confident to play. Whippety boy is calm and loves being snuggled up with the dc. He knows his way around call-of-duty and various other ps3 games as he intently watches whilst ds plays. And if he had a voice I am convinced he would be able to sing all the horrible histories songs as he sits on dd whilst she watches them.
He loves to play with his squeeky moo-cow toy in the garden and loves running around and lark about with the dc (and dh!)
He gets an hours walk a day, usually spit in two shorter walks on weekdays and a long hours romp with the whole family at the weekend. He is equally content with either option.
We leave him home alone for just under 4 hours, weekdays, term time only, whilst I work. He snuggles up in his crate with a bonio and I leave the radio on for him. He seems to like this, as soon as we put our shoes on he takes himself off to his crate and snuggles down.

I was initially not keen on the look of lurchers and greyhounds but now I will never have another type of dog. I am a complete convert, I just love them, the most gentle, loving, funny dogs you will ever meet!

TheCunnyFunt Sat 28-Jul-12 22:59:21

Ooh and I'm not sure about whippets and certain types of lurchers, but greyhounds are brilliant for allergy sufferers like me, spent an hour at MILs this evening and she has 2 spaniels, by the time we left my nose was running like a tap and I was wheezing like I smoke 40 a day. Had sprocket 6 months tomorrow and I still haven't had an allergic reaction to him!

oldgreyknickertest Mon 30-Jul-12 20:40:06

I found that poem v touching and now look at them differently.

Although I adore larger spaniels, they can be very nervous and need constant attention. And dalmations are soooo stupid though so beautiful. I'm an English or Mediterranean pointer person, myself, but loving mutt will do.

But the allergy point is important; DH gets hayfever and I don't want to trigger more.

So I am now looking at the lurcher rescue sites. Greyhounds feel just a bit big for our v suburban house, tho the greyhound might not think so.

Scuttlebutter Mon 30-Jul-12 20:48:06

And just to add - we have a serious Wagner addiction in this household - all grunds are quite happy to enjoy it, though they refuse to countenance the idea of a visit to Bayreuth since it would be far too uncomfortable to sit on a wooden bench for five hours (the horror, the horror of a pointy not on a cushion).

DH suffers from asthma/allergies so grunds ideal. Also bear in mind they vary quite considerably in size. For instance, our latest foster girl, the Norty Minx is a delicate little thing and probably doesn't weigh more than 24 kg. The two boys are much bigger and are 32kg and 38kg, with the big boy having a 30" coat.

TheCunnyFunt Mon 30-Jul-12 21:00:07

It is lovely isn't it? Brought a tear to my eye the first time I read it blush

TheCunnyFunt Mon 30-Jul-12 21:04:00

Yy to the horror of a pointy not on a cushion, Sprocket is positively offended by our wooden floor in the front room and the tiled kitchen floor grin

annieapple7 Mon 30-Jul-12 22:53:30

I had my rescue dog from Black Retriever X Rescue - they have website and are in Facebook. Retriever, gun dog crosses, all fostered in home environment, lots of honest information, support and aftercare. Highly recommended. Good luck in your search...and take your time.

MagratGarlik Mon 30-Jul-12 23:38:05

My ds2 suffers from terrible hayfever. Our whippet and grippet (greyhound x whippet !?!) are great for that as they bring minimal pollen into the house. They also hate water and mud and therefore as dogs go, don't bring too much mess in either.

FWIW, our whippet weighs around 13.5kg and is about 22" to the4 shoulder. Our grippet weighs around 19 kg and is about 23-24" to the shoulder, so it is possible to find smaller ones in rescue, though small lurchers are more common than whippets, but lurchers do vary enormously in size and depending on the exact mix, they may be more sighthoundy or more working-doggy. There is a gorgeous one near us which is a springer spaniel x whippet.

oldgreyknickertest Wed 01-Aug-12 20:50:55

Have offered for a Cairn that has been with an elderly lady and is called by the knickers family name, but suspect lots of people after it so looking at sighthounds seriously.

If a sighthound had been in charge of the ring the cycle would have been shorter.

BehindLaneNumberNine Wed 01-Aug-12 20:56:20

Oldgrey - does his name begin with a T and end with a d? If so I think my friend and her family have applied for him also...

TheCunnyFunt Wed 01-Aug-12 21:55:42

My Greyhound reminds me of those massive shopping bags that you roll and fold up then squeeze it into a teeny tiny pouch. Basically, he is HOOOOGE but folds up really small grin

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