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Has anyone adopted a dog from abroad?

(33 Posts)
squeezycheesy Sun 04-Jan-15 19:55:33

Looking for some advice, but not for me (slightly convoluted story that I can bore people with if they like, but not exciting at all) . . .

Has anyone adopted from abroad? If so, which agencies would they recommend?

Is there anything in particular they should be looking out for?

Having never done this myself, I'm sort of assuming (maybe wrongly- probably wrongly), that there isn't always the same level of after-support if required as there would be in the UK.

Many thanks in advance smile!

Madcatgirl Sun 04-Jan-15 19:57:33

Yes! My spanish Podenco is currently lying on me. He was delivered via SOS Podenco and for the love of cats and dogs. Total cost including all the vet bills was about £400. Normally it's a couple of hundred euro or so, but he had illnesses I paid to treat prior to his arrival.

Ask away.

Buttholelane Sun 04-Jan-15 20:14:34

Why would you want to?
I'm sorry to be blunt, but there are literally hundreds of dogs dying every week here in the UK.
The vast majority of them family pets who have gotten lost or have been abandoned with no real issues.
Died for no reason other than they don't have a home available.

I cannot ever agree with these charities, yes the dogs suffer terribly but they should be educating the people and spaying/neutering the strays, not just shipping them over here!

Ask yourself also what happens if it doesn't work out, these 'charities', as far as I am aware have no means to take back dogs.
After all they have suffered, a large proportion of these dogs are likely going to have issues around food, possible fear aggression, quite likely a sky high prey drive if they are on the streets.
A lot of these dogs are going to need a specialised home imo.

squeezycheesy Sun 04-Jan-15 23:08:47

But I don't want to confused - that was in the very first bit of the OP!

Thanks Madcatgirl - I've just Googled that breed, how lovely. It's really useful to know about costs - may I ask how long it took from you first seeing the dog you wanted to him arriving? Also, did they give you much information on him, and was it helpful?

SunshineAndShadows Sun 04-Jan-15 23:18:21

Yes two dogs from different countries, both of which I was able to work with prior to adoption so not a standard experience but I'm familiar with a lot of the major dog charities and some if the issues.

Often aftercare is very limited and depending on the history of the dog, pre existing behavioural and/or medical conditions are not always well evaluated so it can be a gamble.

Dogs that have lived independently on the street for much of their lives or in shelters for many years will behave very differently to standard pet uk dogs, they're often much more 'doggy' e.g. Both of my dogs are very sociable and communicate well with other dogs but one (with a shelter history) guards toys and food. The other is quite nervous of strangers and traffic and can be a bit racist. They can be more difficult to train if they've been self reliant on the street.

However those risks can occur with uk adoptions too.
It's about understanding how individual experiences will shape their motivation

LadyTurmoil Mon 05-Jan-15 00:02:22

I fostered 2 dogs, one from Action Aid for Animals and one from Balkan Underdogs. Both were absolutely lovely. No issues with children, people, other dogs. They were both able to go off lead after about 10 days. One loved to wander a bit but always came back. The other was fabulous with her recall.

One took a few days to be housetrained but she had an upset tummy which is very normal for a new dog, especially as she'd been on a very long journey. The other would chase the neighbour's cats when they came into our garden, but is now living with cats! He didn't have a single accident from the day he arrived.

Both charities are UK registered. Both conduct homechecks. AAFA gives full backup with access to a behaviourist if needed. Both has very active FB groups which are available for advice and help, especially in the early days, with a wealth of info and experience from other adopters.

All dogs arrive fully vaccinated, neutered, with full EU passport. Cost of adoption covers travel costs - around £250-280 but considering they have already paid for above neutering costs etc is really a very fair deal.

I would say that if you join their FB groups, you can get an idea of what goes on, what type of dogs are available. You can also offer to foster which is a great way of doing things if you want to meet the dog before you commit. Good luck!

LadyTurmoil Mon 05-Jan-15 00:03:12

BTW, both these charities will take back dogs if the adoption doesn't work out. 100%

LadyTurmoil Mon 05-Jan-15 00:04:27

And, both these charities work with local organisations to get as many street dogs/cats neutered so that, even if they go back on the streets, they will not be reproducing and adding to the problem.

LadyTurmoil Mon 05-Jan-15 00:15:24

Alternatively, some dogs from Portugal are at Many Tears Rescue, including Paco a Podengo cross

NiceCupOfTeaAndALittleSitDown Mon 05-Jan-15 00:23:57

My gorgeous boy is a rescue from the kill shelters in Romania. He was due to be euthenised the day after he was rescued which in this particular shelter meant a shovel to the head.
He's an absolute joy to us. Sweet natured and really seems to get that he is in a better place. We were able to have our dog "visit" for 3 weeks before we made a decision, which I don't think most rescues would offer. I've heard of many dogs because of our experience that are equally happy, but I have also heard of a few that are really traumatised because of what they have been through.
Having said that, I also know of people that have rescued in the UK dogs (and cats) that have been traumatised by their experiences and reputable UK-based shelters that have been reluctant to help where there have been problems. If an animal has been treated badly, it may have problems in a new home regardless of whether they are from the UK or abroad.
I hope that helps, I'd be happy for you to PM me if you want more info.

Madcatgirl Mon 05-Jan-15 11:41:06

My boy came at aged 7 months, his mum had been abandoned by her hunter when she got pregnant so he was Bon on the streets. It took two or so months for him to arrive with us because of his medical treatment. He had a "foster mum" here in the UK that was used by us as a go between and we are still in contact every week. The aftercare has been brilliant and when I broke my foot his foster mum offered to come and take him to hers if I was finding his care too difficult.

He is a sweet guy if not a little bonkers and is a dreadful scav, but he's a very lovely boy and we wouldn't be without him.

Yes there can be problems with unknown behaviours from rescues, but that can happen in the UK too! We Tokyo a dog on and had to return it because the poor love couldn't cope with kids or other dogs and has since gone to a couple and is having doggy therapy.

squeezycheesy Mon 05-Jan-15 14:38:14

Thank you all so much for your input - I've sent the names of the organisations given to the woman who is hoping to do this.

I know the subject causes some heated debate but, from what I know of this woman, she has her heart set on this and wouldn't just 'swap' to a UK-based rescue. Maybe she does have a romanticised view of saving some poor dog, but she has the money and time to do it, she has had dogs before, and this is something that has really touched her.

You're all absolutely right in saying that UK rescues can have dogs with hidden problems too, and from what you've told me, the support of foster-homes is invaluable, so I'll encourage her in that direction too.

Many thanks again!

QueenJoan3 Mon 05-Jan-15 14:50:48

We are adopting a Podenco through Spanish Strays UK. We don't want a puppy and I feel strongly that I want a rescue dog. However after nearly a year of looking we have been unable to find a suitable rescue dog in the UK that can be homed with a four year old and cats, despite the fact that we are experienced dog owners, believe me we have tried. So in our case I would rather rescue a dog from overseas than not get one at all or get one from a breeder. We know a few people who have adopted through Spanish Strays UK, all received great support and back up and the dogs are amazing. They also have dogs being fostered in the UK.

revealall Tue 06-Jan-15 22:39:53

I agree that countries should do more for their dog population but I also think that about humans too. However these strays have such appalling lives and futures that I ended up with one ( in spite of my better judgement).
He was a difficult dog for all the reasons mentioned but at the same time utterly brilliant. He never barked or complained and was satisfied with his regular feeds, his walks on the lead and we could leave him at home without any issues. We also that we had made his life 1000 better without having to very much at all. As he did ours.
At least the UK dogs if they go into shelters are looked after. shelters abroad would be condemned in the UK and yet they are the best a street dog can hope for. It's very sad.

squeezycheesy Wed 07-Jan-15 11:18:19

I think there is such an emotional pull to these dogs, which is what the woman in question is feeling - I've sent her all the info and told her about this thread (she isn't a member), so many thanks to all. It's been lovely to read the stories about your dogs too smile.

Twooter Thu 08-Jan-15 22:37:55

My worry is that some of these dogs are getting into the country without the proper vaccinations. I know uk vets who have seen imported dogs, supposedly vaccinated but too young to have been the right age for the vaccine. It is just a matter of time IMO until we start getting rabies seen, especially with this recent desire to rescue Eastern European dogs. How much are you paying to rescue them? Are you sure you're not encouraging puppy farming by another name?

squeezycheesy Fri 09-Jan-15 16:34:05

Again, it's not me who is looking to do this. I'm asking for recommendations of reputable agencies that other people have used so that I can pass them onto someone who has contacted me through a work link.

QueenJoan3 Fri 09-Jan-15 16:47:29

If it helps to reassure you, we have been told by the charity that we are adopting through (Spanish Stray Dogs UK) that we will be visited by a DEFRA vet within 48 hours of our dog arriving, to check everything is in order. All their dogs are neutered/spayed, vaccinated, have blood tests, etc. I initially tried to adopt through UK rescues but the combination of youngish child and cats meant that they wouldn't even consider us, so by adopting from abroad we are definitely not depriving a uk rescue dog of a home, just helping a dog that needs it. Incidentally we were given a very extensive home check before being approved by the charity we are adopting from, and the lady who did it also does home checks for well known UK rescues. She was happy that we know what we are taking on, that we are realistic about the challenges and can provide a suitable home for our dog, and confirmed that this charity are reputable and will provide back up. And I know people who have adopted through them and have had no problems. And surely it is better to save a dog from abroad than to encourage irresponsible breeding in this country?

Buttholelane Fri 09-Jan-15 18:22:42

Are you sure an ex street dog with cats is wise QueenJoan?

A fair proportion of these street dogs have incredible prey drive after being forced to hunt to survive.
They don't chase like 'normal' dogs do, they silently stalk, grab and kill.

Buttholelane Fri 09-Jan-15 18:27:17

Edit : I just noticed its a podenco from Spain.
Isn't that a hunting dog?!?!?!?!?!
Spanish hunters are notorious for hanging, abandoning or shooting spent hunting dogs, they aren't seen as pets over there.
I am very concerned this dog is coming to live with cats and would advise you to take EXTREME care.

QueenJoan3 Sat 10-Jan-15 09:34:04

I can understand your worries Buttholelane, but we have researched this and met dogs adopted from this organisation that are living with cats with no problems, and I trust the people involved. The dog that we are hoping to adopt has been in the shelter all his life, so has never been used for hunting. I have seen videos of him with cats and children and spoken to people who know him and it is in there interests to be honest with us so that it is successful. Obviously we are going to approach the introductions cautiously and he will never be left alone with the cats or my child. I have experience with dogs including rehomed animals, so I am going into this with eyes open.

Booboostoo Sat 10-Jan-15 11:24:25

Be careful with Podengos, they are not a breed for the inexperienced and not ideal for families. Have a search on here for a poster who had a horrific time with a Podengo who turned out to be aggressive and bit several family members and visitors. They are not easy dogs and are not bred to be family dogs.

Booboostoo Sat 10-Jan-15 11:26:27

There you go for part of the story:

Charitybag Sat 10-Jan-15 11:32:47

We adopted our 10 month old Lab cross from K9 Rescue Bulgaria. They were fantastic. We were given lots of advice and they follow up with emails and phone calls, we also know that they are there for advice, too. If for some reason we couldn't keep our dog any longer then he goes back to the charity. A DEFRA member of staff visited us within 48hrs to check his vaccinations, paperwork and microchip.

I spent over 12 months looking for a dog in various local rescue centres but the majority were unsuitable to be rehomed with children under 12. I looked at buying a pup but after my friend bought a pup from a KC recommended breeder and it was so ill it nearly died, I was put off.

Good luck!

QueenJoan3 Sat 10-Jan-15 13:47:26

I had seen that thread, Booboostoo. Podengos are extremely similar to Podencos, but originate in Portugal rather than Spain and are considered by most to be a separate breed. I seem to remember that that dog came from a breeder, not a rescue. In fact the breeder did not offer much in the way of back up so was obviously not particularly responsible, and the dog had not been socialised properly. In addition it had not been tested with children or cats, unlike rescue dogs from a decent organisation. I have owned collies and springers, breeds that were bred to be working dogs not family pets, and they were all great with kids and cats (I admit it took some time with the cats in one case). And I think there is a thread at the moment about labradors and how they are not as family friendly as people think. I have also spent a lot of time with sighthounds so I understand the type of breed and their limitations. I am prepared to put the work in rather that than buy a dog and encourage irresponsible breeders. Anyway I will be happy to update you on how we are getting on once we have him.

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