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Has anyone adopted their rescue from abroad?

(10 Posts)
blinkedandmissedit Fri 02-Nov-12 12:33:00

I posted a couple of days ao as we are thinking about getting a dog - a first for a family, although I grew up with a dog. I got some very helpful replies regarding rescues, sighthounds and also some links to rescues abroad - we will definitely be getting a rescue when the time comes.

I have just been looking through the rescues from abroad sad and I am just in shock. Has anyone here adopted their dog(s) from abraod? I think my concern would be that we would have no idea of the personality of the dog until it arrived, where as at a UK centre we could meet the dog first. Would they put on the website that a dog was good for a family that turned out the be aggressive? I'm sure that wouldn't help the rescues in the long run but it's a niggle in my mind and I know DH would be conccerned about this.

So, if you have adopted from abroad, how was the experience? I suppose I am worried that we could get a dog that just didn't get on with us!


LadyTurmoil Fri 02-Nov-12 13:07:12

You can find Desperate Greekies, SOS Animals UK, Action Aid for Animals (Romania), Rudozem Street Dog Rescue etc via their websites but they also have groups on FB. From what I've seen, they assess dogs before they go on websites and I'm sure you could find out more if you asked them about a particular dog. Also, many dogs are born in the shelters and so are socialised from an early age and aren't specifically street dogs in the fullest sense. I've put links to these rescues in another thread "I want a doggy"

Scuttlebutter Fri 02-Nov-12 13:42:13

There is a debate to be had about the ethics of importing strays at great expense into the UK, when there are no shortage of dogs needing homes in the UK - but I'm guessing you have worked through those issues.

What does need to be considered:-

Behavioural assessment - how full and how detailed?
Behavioural backup - does the rescue have "boots on the ground" in the UK to provide support, behavioural advice and ultimately a take back service if something goes wrong. This need not be a behavioural issue - for instance, two of our foster dogs currently resident with us are here because their owner is in hospital - six years after she adopted them. Could the rescue offer this sort of back up? If they don't you are simply importing dogs which could be creating problems for British rescues down the line.

Health issues - has the dog been exposed to illnesses which could be problematic in the UK e.g. leish? Could they have been exposed to illnesses which a British vet might have problems in identifying/treating?

Microchip - if already chipped, bear in mind that dogs chipped overseas are often chipped on a different part of the body, so a dog warden scanning them might not find their chip and fail to reunite them with owner. Depending where they are from, their chip, even if scanned, may not be easily recognisable in the UK (depends on the database).

Behaviour - There is no easy way to sugar coat this. Dogs who have been through multiple and severe deprivations will usually have behavioural problems, some quite severe. Many of the dogs in overseas rescues have been through unimaginable cruelty and horrendous treatment including starvation and beating - don't underestimate the long term work in physically rehabilitating a dog who has been through this. There have been some recent threads here on MN from people who have taken on dogs with good intentions, from horrendous circumstances and have run into problems months down the line and are now wanting British rescues to pick up the pieces, because they can't cope. Believe me, British rescues are not overflowing with eager, experienced, childfree foster homes who have plenty of spaces to rehabilitate behaviourally complex dogs with a history of biting.

Do you have experience in dealing with dogs with behavioural problems? Could you cope with a dog with separation anxiety, nervous aggression with other dogs, etc.? These issues are manageable but they require a great deal of work and commitment. If you have DC, do you know if the dog has been assessed round children? Would you be willing to put in this work and commitment as well as dealing with young DC? Some people are, which is great, but many people quite understandably just want a nice easygoing family pet.

blinkedandmissedit Fri 02-Nov-12 14:24:08

Thanks Scuttle and Lady. Scuttle, they are all exactly the issues I am worried about, and no we haven't decided if we feel it is right to rescue a dog from abroad when there are so many in the UK. We have lots to consider and won't be getting a dog just yet. We are not particularly experienced dog owners and want to make sure we look at as much information as we can before getting one. I looked at those websites earlier and, as with most people probably, my emotions got the better of me!

I am glad you pointed out those issues as they are what I was worried about, so know that I would need to look into it a lot further. Thank you

issey6cats Fri 02-Nov-12 17:45:48

i recently adopted my dog from cyprus pride house in cyprus, they have contacts in the uk and a rehome if it dosent work policy, i was homechecked to see if my home was suitable, and adopted wander she is a coonhound cross, 8 years old and was used as a puppy breeder before being dumped outside thier gates,

she is the sweetest dog you could meet a real charmer, gets on well with the cats as they have lots of cats at the rescue, june and micheal who run the rescue asses all thier dogs for temprement and do all the chipping, vaccinations, neutering, vets checks, pet passport that need doing for flying into the uk,

the animals fly into heathrow and its easy to go and pick up your dog from there, i dont live anywhere near heathrow and there was a lovely lady who was picking up her dog who lives in birmingham so she agreed to pick up wander and my son picked her up from this ladies house, at the moment i know they have a fabulous coonhound boy who is only 18 months old and fab temprement etc, they are on facebook, they ask for a minimum donation of £150 and any help you can donate towards the flight cost, as they are a very small independant rescue

issey6cats Fri 02-Nov-12 17:46:26

meant to say they are on facebook under cyprus pride house

Fraggle78 Fri 02-Nov-12 21:03:09

We got Dog no 2 from Dogwatch UK a couple of months ago and they brought him over from Spain. We spent some time looking around local rescues first but settled on Dogwatch because they seemed to be very honest about their dogs and quite a few have been in kennels or fostered by their volunteers for some time. Our main priority was finding a dog who would get on with Dog no 1, so rescuing one who had been observed for a while was the best thing for us. A few people have suggested that rescuing a dog from abroad is somehow wrong and that "there are enough dogs in the UK", but to be honest we took the view that if a dog needs a home it really doesn't matter. And he's lovely! We haven't had any real problems with him other than a slight skin condition which has now cleared up.

LadyTurmoil Fri 02-Nov-12 22:04:30

I really think you can usually tell when rescues are being honest about their dogs if you take a good look at their websites/FB pages. And surely it's up to the potential owner to quiz any rescues with all their questions until they feel satisfied and comfortable that they are adopting the right animal for them. And I really don't believe many rescues would take too many chances by offering "unsuitable" dogs because word tends to get around very quickly and they must realise it would damage their reputation. Fraggle and issey your dogs sound lovely! I also agree that if a dog needs a home it doesn't matter where they are from, especially when they are treated like garbage to be thrown out in some of these countries. I know dogs/cats get put to sleep in UK pounds every day but sometimes it's very difficult to find any type of dog except for Staffie/JRT breeds that not everyone wants and which often have real behavioural problems that not every potential owner would feel capable of taking on. I have heard from several people who took on rescues from Spain/Romania/Greece who say their dogs seem so grateful to be rescued and given a comfortable home that they are the sweetest dogs ever smile

Baddeck Sun 04-Nov-12 11:29:33

Yes, and it did not work out. I felt some guilt over not taking a dog from the UK but felt some frustration in not being able to easily find a suitable dog in a UK centre, as, like others have said, the same breeds seem to dominate the shelters.

The dog we got seemed to be a safe bet as we wanted a dog that was well socialised with other dogs, and this one was in an outdoor shelter alongside lots of other dogs. It was fostered in the UK first too. But it had a lot of behavioural problems we had either not been told about or no-one yet knew about. We had to give him back to the foster home.

I wouldn't recommend taking on a dog that you cannot meet first unless you are prepared to take it on no matter what. Make sure it has been fostered first and ask loads of questions. I now realise there is a big difference between what people mean when they say 'needs some training'. I don't know if we will get another dog, as it's taken some months to get over what was a horrible experience for us and the poor dog. We have been put off. We really do not want to go down the puppy route but don't know how to go about getting 'a nice family pet' from a rescue centre without encountering the problems we did.

LadyTurmoil Mon 05-Nov-12 01:29:29

Baddeck It sounds like it was absolutely awful for you and I really do sympathise. It is a real problem that you can't meet the dog beforehand, I agree, and get that connection going from the beginning. It was lucky you could give him back to the foster home but I can see why it would put you off so completely. It's not that I'm "bigging up" foreign rescues versus UK ones... I wouldn't be able to cope with a dog that had lots of issues either... sad

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