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Adopting a dog from an overseas rescue centre. WWYD?

(58 Posts)
BogeyNights Tue 02-Aug-16 15:16:57

We are looking to adopt a rescue dog after years of talking about it and waiting until the time was right. I don't work and my kids are both going to be at High School in September. We feel that we are ready to take on the responsibility.

We've considered puppies, but think that we'd rather adopt a rescue dog instead. One has come to our attention from Europe. I've seen a video, it's a puppy of about 4 months and he is of course very lovely & cute.

I'm in conversation with the centre, but I want to make sure my eyes are wide open before I commit fully to adopting from overseas.

Can anyone share their experiences - good or bad - with me?

Obviously it's risky as we will never have met the dog. I'm led to believe that the costs are set and include the transport, passport, immunisations etc. Is there anything that I should specifically ask whilst we are still in discussion with the rescue centre?

Thanks in advance.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 02-Aug-16 15:26:13

Does the rescue have everything in place so that you avoid quarantine?

They should really use the elongated "animals for rehome or sale" route - detailed here but most won't.

Dogs imported from Europe are usually harder work than native dogs, they tend to have had hard lives, and this can result in issues such as fear, not trusting humans, and extreme resource guarding. At 4 months, this may not be an issue - it'll depend on the conditions he's being raised in. If he's been on the streets, he's likely to have all three in varying degrees, if he hasnt, it'll depend if he's been well socialised at the centre and how much contact he's had with other dogs.

I know a few people who have imported dogs rather than rescuing. Generally it's gone fine. Plan for the arrival period to be a bit stressful, maybe for a few weeks, and then be prepared for the extra effort to train the dog out of the above issues, and after he's been with you a while, he'll probably be absolutely fine.

I would get good insurance and make sure you've got access to a good behaviourist, just incase you need one.

Best of luck!

TrionicLettuce Tue 02-Aug-16 15:27:34

One thing you need to be absolutely sure of is that they will offer back up in this country just in case you have any problems or if things don't work out. Some overseas rescues have support networks in this country to help new adopters but some don't.

Personally I'd also want to know what work the rescue is doing in the country they're based in to improve the situation for all dogs over there. I'd be happier supporting a rescue that was actively campaigning or running TNR programmes than one that just rounds up endless strays and ships them out of the country. An example of the former is Galgos del Sol, as well as rehoming dogs to various countries they do a huge amount of work in Spain, including programmes in schools, to change the perceptions of the local hunting dogs.

SallyVating Tue 02-Aug-16 15:32:08

Can I ask a question? Why would you adopt a dog from abroad when there are so many in this country who need homes?

I'm not trying to be goady or cunty or anything and I hope it doesn't come across that way but I'm interested to know.

Grumpysfirstwife Tue 02-Aug-16 15:42:05

Please consider getting one from the uk. There are hundreds across the uk needing homes. You will get the support you need and you will know exactly what diseases your dog will have been exposed to.
The rescue will be able to match you to a dog from a uk kennel, this is far more difficult from one abroad. Even european rescue dogs can carry a variety of illnesses and diseases, they are not guaranteed to be disease free just because they're from the eu.
Many tears rescue is very good at providing long term advice and help should you need it. Please do consider all options before plumping for one that looks cute on a video.

ChairRider4 Tue 02-Aug-16 15:44:30


I was refused uk rescue as they struggled see past my wheelchair and that I was only adult and that yes I be responsorible for training /walking feeding
U.K. Rescues seem have such strict criteria no leeway

In end we went puppy route and my boy has his gold good citizen award

BabyGanoush Tue 02-Aug-16 15:44:46

Why from abroad? Makes it so complicated.

If you get a dog from a more local rescue, you get their support if needed.

Also, meeting the dog first is a good, sensible thing to do.

Really would not get a dog from abroad.

TortoiseVTurtle Tue 02-Aug-16 15:51:24

I am taking one from Cyprus in September. The reason that I am doing it is that I already have one rescue from the uk and I know that the situation is far worse for dogs in other countries. It is costing me a lot of money but something that I want to do, just a drop in the ocean really.
They are in dire straits abroad, dogs poisoned by locals and much less support for rescue.

It's not for everyone but for me, a dog is a dog wherever it comes from. My rescue does all health tests, spaying, passport and full back up should it not work out.

We already have a Romanian dog in the extended family too and it's been a very positive experience.

I feel a bit grumpy with a couple of rescues here as I donated a big sum of money to two and didn't even get a thank you email- ridiculous reason to be put off but I can't help it.

This rescue is great at communicating, sends videos and regular updates, I will let you know how it goes smile.

Floralnomad Tue 02-Aug-16 16:22:05

With the myriad of diseases that there are in some European countries that we don't have here I wouldn't . I appreciate that life is really dreadful for some of these dogs but IMO they need to be helped in their own countries , bringing some fortunate ones over here is not a solution to the actual problem , it's a solution for a select few . There are plenty of dogs available in this country , if it's a puppy you are after Many Tears may be a good place to start , we got our dog as a 4 ish month old puppy from Battersea , with children who are 11+ there should be plenty of options .

MagentaRose72 Tue 02-Aug-16 16:25:49

I wouldn't adopt a dog from abroad because I know someone who adopted a pup from cyprus and it had a lot of problems which meant that they were unable to keep it. It was expensive and very upsetting for her children. They now have a kitten! Some of these dogs would be fine with just adults...but not suitable for children. It's always best to let the child and dog meet to see how their personalities interact. I love watching Battersea dogs Home with Paul O Grady (For the Love of dogs!)
My dog was a rescue dog in a sense, as her owner was terminally ill, but I found her online. I had her from a puppy and she gets on great with my kids and cats.

TrionicLettuce Tue 02-Aug-16 17:05:59

Do bear in mind that you need to do almost as much research into rescue organisations in this country as you need to if you're looking in other countries. There are rescues both here and abroad that are poorly run or even downright dodgy.

TortoiseVTurtle Tue 02-Aug-16 17:47:33

Agree Trionic, I am very happy as I know the lady who co ordinates the rescue. They have a fair few who are dumped by British ex pats just before they leave the country too hmm

TortoiseVTurtle Tue 02-Aug-16 17:50:16

I agree that it's not doing much to solve the problem but if everyone rescued, here or abroad, there would be far fewer dogs left in shelters or put to sleep every day.
I see on spaniel aid today that a pure breed springer was handed back to the breeder at 14weeks old as the family realised that they didn't have time for it.
So the breeder dumped it on spaniel aid.

The breeders need to be regulated in this country but I can't see that ever happening.

SallyVating Tue 02-Aug-16 18:47:59

thanks for the explanations

flowers ChairRider4

follygirl Tue 02-Aug-16 19:26:52

I've adopted a dog from Romania, we've had him for a month.

We don't know his exact age as he was found at a train station, but he's about 9 months.

We have been incredibly lucky as he is an amazing dog. He is friendly with people and dogs. He doesn't resource guard and doesn't have separation anxiety. He has no health problems and apart from the fact he still barks at my cats and isn't crazy about being in the car, he really is the perfect dog.

We didn't meet him beforehand, we just saw photos but we fell in love.

We are incredibly lucky and are all so grateful that we got him.

It can all work out fine. I did do some research and contacted a dog trainer so I wasn't completely naive.

I'd say go for it,

Gingersstuff Tue 02-Aug-16 20:40:47

We adopted a Romanian boy last October. He had a horrific life - they treat dogs worse than vermin over there - which is why we adopted from there rather than the UK. The worst shelter here is a palace compared to the hellholes they call shelters in Eastern Europe.
He was 3 though and it's been a challenge to integrate him to family life, I won't lie. But we absolutely adore him and wouldn't change him for the world. It breaks my heart to think about what he went through in his former life.
Since we adopted him (we have 3 other dogs as well) I've met so many people who have also adopted from abroad for much the same reasons we did. I haven't spoken to anyone who has had a bad experience. It's been hard work but absolutely the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

TortoiseVTurtle Tue 02-Aug-16 21:38:04

Folly what a gorgeous fox you have there!

Our Romanian girl is so gentle and sweet, just the kindest dog, I can't bear to think of what they went through.

davos Wed 03-Aug-16 08:07:59

Personally I wouldn't. My mil has adopted 4 from Greece. All have come with such massive trauma that she hasn't had a holiday in 15 years as they can't go into kennels and no dog sitters can cope with them.

One attacked my Dd. They have had such a shocking life, they can be very unpredictable. Whilst I think it's a lovely thing to do, I just couldn't.

But it is true the uk rescues have high criteria. We tried to get a rescue and non would consider us for any dog because Ds is 5. Everything else was perfect. Even the springer and cocker rescues wouldn't consider us until he was 8. Despite us always having cocker spaniels while both kids were babies and both kids having lots of experience with the breed.

follygirl Wed 03-Aug-16 08:11:46

Teddy was lucky in that he wasn't rescued from a kill shelter. The ones who are, are understandably more traumatised as they have been caught by the dog catchers and then put in kennels which are packed with dogs who aren't given food or water. I watched a video where the dog catchers literally hold the dog by the noose around their neck and dump them in crates. Sometimes 2-3 in a crate, even with dead dogs. They look as terrified as the poor dogs at the Chinese dog eating festival.

My trainer thinks Teddy was owned prior to being dumped on the streets as he is too friendly and trusting.

Everyone who meets him falls in love with him as he is so amazing. I know I'm boasting, but he really is.

One of the best things we ever did was adopt him.

I have had a few comments about why I didn't adopt from the UK. To be honest I saw his photo on Facebook and fell in love. Prior to that I would have probably put a pedigree although we kept disagreeing on breeds which is somewhat ironic as I now have a complete mongrel!

notsomanky Wed 03-Aug-16 08:35:51

Think very carefully about this.

I work for a UK Animal Charity, and every day we get calls from people who have adopted dogs from abroad, looking to see if we can take them in.

Frequently these dogs have behavioural issues, caused by the circumstances they were rescued from.A lot of the organisations that are happy to take money from people and bring them over here do not offer any back up in terms of behavioural support once the dog has landed in the UK.

Please bear in mind that if it goes wrong and you think about re homing the dog, it may not be that easy.

A lot of UK rescues have a policy where they will take the dog back if it doesn't work out, or provide behavioural support to help work on the issues in the home.

Overseas rescues don't normally do that.

TortoiseVTurtle Wed 03-Aug-16 11:47:55

But lots of UK rescues actually assist in bringing them over confused.

TortoiseVTurtle Wed 03-Aug-16 11:57:57

This is Helen McGarry's rescue, she does full back up, medical testing, passport, cat testing even. You sign a contract.

She works with a rescue in Cyprus who walk the dogs, socialise them and fully asess before re homing. Lots and lots of puppies who were born there.

I think that the most important thing- whether you rescue from here or abroad is that you have back up in case it goes wrong. I know pedigree dogs raised from puppies who have been re homes or put down due to aggression, it's about the back up.

Wherever you rescue from, it's one less dog left in a shelter or put down.

follygirl Wed 03-Aug-16 12:33:05

The charity I got Teddy from (REAN), insist contractually that he goes back to them if I can't cope.
I was home-checked and vetted before I was allowed to have him.
I did know that he was likely to have issues which I had catered for in that I had employed a trainer plus I have the time as I don't work.
I appreciate that I've been lucky but then do have quite a few other people I know.

TortoiseVTurtle Wed 03-Aug-16 12:40:18

I am actually quite annoyed at the sentence 'happy to take money from'. It's not some big money making scam, these people are doing it to help, often at their own cost. I am paying the full cost of my dog to be brought over (which is a lot more than the standard re homing fee) because I can afford it and would rather not burden the charity further.

The people doing this are doing more than most in this country (including me) to help animals.

BagelGoesWalking Wed 03-Aug-16 13:11:12

Balkan Underdogs
Help Pozega Dogs
Silver Fox Dog Rescue

Sorry, haven't got time to do links but all on FB. I suggest joining above (even if not the rescue you're thinking about). It will help you gauge the "vibe" of the rescue compared to others.

Help Pozega is one of the few who also tests for heartworm. Treatable but needs to be checked. If coming from anywhere abroad should be tested for major illnesses, including leishmania.

Does the rescue have a spay/neuter programme alongside rehoming? Often a sign of a good rescue. Join their FB group and see how they react to owners who have problems. Do they offer help of a behaviourist? Do they have foster dogs in the UK? What's their backup like generally.

I've fostered 2 dogs from abroad. Both were lovely, no issues, adapted amazingly quickly. They had been street dogs but in rescue kennels for a time, where they were assessed and socialised, basic training etc. One rescue even fundraised for a paid "walker" so the dogs weren't stuck in kennels.

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