Another whiny thread about finding a rescue dog!

(27 Posts)
MeadowHay Fri 04-Nov-16 19:21:54

DH and I want rescue dog, but it's taking us ages to find a suitable one. It's nobody's fault, well it's mostly our fault because we have very specific requirements! We need a dog that will live fairly comfortably alongside our two guinea pigs, that can go up and down stairs ok (as we live in a flat), and that can be left alone comfortably for a few hours. We particularly want a lurcher/sighthound type. So I know we are asking for a LOT and that cat-friendly sighthounds have lots of demand. Oh and we can't drive so our ability to travel to find a dog is severely limited too!

We have had a home check from a sighthound rescue a few weeks ago, but they currently only have one potentially suitable dog which is very, very far away from us and I did contact the fosterer but they didn't seem very impressed with me when I said I hadn't had a lurcher before. We are also waiting to hear from sighthound rescue about organising a home-check, been waiting a few weeks but obviously I understand how busy they must be.

I just want a big fluffy baby now!! But obviously we will wait and not run off to buy a puppy farmed pup or anything.

BestIsWest Fri 04-Nov-16 22:12:43

We've struggled too.

We've applied for a few and have either not heard back from the rescues or repeatedly been asked to fill the same form in and still not heard anything back or the home visitor has not turned up or we've been too late (not a bad thing as I hope it means the dog has already been rehomed) or turned down because our boy is not neutered etc.

I need to be more patient.

MeadowHay Fri 04-Nov-16 22:23:31

It's tough isn't it, when you so want to help a dog find a loving home. I hope you get more lucky soon too!

Ylvamoon Fri 04-Nov-16 22:37:33

I think you need to widen your search - if you haven't done yet.
There are usually quite a few, small more local animal rescue centres- worth having a look around.
Also, being restricted with travel, have you considered public transport / taxi? (I lived in London and took my BDH Rescue Dog home on the Underground...)
Some rescue centres can be a bit s***, when I looked for my first ever dog, one had a big sign: No Garden, No Dog! -was time to move on for me.
I can understand that you want a specific type of dog, but as you have quite a few requirements, maybe you should keep your mind open or be prepared to wait. There are some lovely cross breeds / mongrels around that might look the part minus the strong hunting instinct who will be used to other small pets and normal family life.

Alternatively, you could have a look around breed clubs / breeders - sometimes they know of adult dogs in need of a new home. Plus point is, you might get a dog that is not tarnished by kennel and used to home life. Minus point, the waiting could be even longer!

Scuttlebutter Fri 04-Nov-16 23:10:29

I'm sorry if this is not what you want to hear, but I'd honestly rethink this. We are a multi sighthound family, we foster, do transport runs and I homecheck regularly.

The fact you live in a flat is not a red flag - that is manageable with commitment provided you have the will and the goodwill of the other tenants/your landlord.

Being left for a few hours occasionally - also not a dealbreaker.

But the massive issue for me is the guinea pigs. Sighthounds, like terriers are bred with specific hunting drives, if you look at an ex worker even more so. As you live in a flat, these guinea pigs are presumably indoor ones so they have no opportunity to be away from the dog and where/how do you exercise them? I honestly don't think it's fair to your piggies to be putting them in a situation that is potentially scary and downright dangerous.

Not driving - a homechecker is going to want to know how you will get your dog to the vet and out and about e.g. training classes, longer walks at weekends etc. Don't assume you can go by taxi - in many places now taxi drivers will refuse to take dogs.

I personally would wait until your guinea pigs have left you and then get a lovely lurcher.

Oh, and re the distances - many rescues will, if it's a perfect home, organise volunteers like myself to do a transport run. For the sake of getting a dog into a home, each person will take a leg of the journey. Most reputable rescues will have access to FB groups where these sorts of runs are organised.

MeadowHay Sat 05-Nov-16 11:19:30

We've literally contacted loads of rescues and tend to meet dead ends - either because they don't think they can offer us a dog that can live alongside guinea pigs (totally fair enough, the safety of the animals is paramount), or they're just too busy and we can't get through to them at all.

We are not dead set on a sighthound, other larger breeds would be fine - staffies, labs, large crosses, it doesn't matter too much to me.

We have a vets that is 5 minutes walk from our house and I know people who get taxis with dogs frequently so I didn't think that would be a huge problem? Certainly nobody has knocked us back yet due to our lack of transport.

So far we have contacted Lurcher Link and passed their home check, but they don't seem to have anything suitable other than one dog that is very far away whom the fosterer stopped replying to my messages when I said I hadn't owned a lurcher before confused. We are waiting to hear from Hounds First for them to arrange a homecheck, taking a while as they are so busy. This morning we called Dogs Trust who wouldn't tell us if any of the dogs at the local centre are suitable and said we would have to go into the centre - not a huge problem but given the difficulty and expense it seems silly to go all the way there to find that none of them could live with guinea pigs. We called RSPCA and the lady said she had no idea and again said to go into our local centre (I don't know why as she was working there herself and asked a colleague who also said they didn't know confused). We called our local RGT and they said none would be able to live with guinea pigs - understandably if they're all ex-racers. We called two other local dog rescues but couldn't get through as they're so busy, although we left one a message as they seem to have a dog that could potentially be suitable. We've been in contact with EGLR before as well who said that we should be fine to adopt a dog from them as long as it wasn't one with a huge prey drive but at the moment they don't have anything suitable. It's exhausting lol!

MeadowHay Sat 05-Nov-16 11:21:28

Oh also, the guinea pigs cage would be secured and their cage is very large so they don't really have a need for much exercise out of the cage. We do allow them to run around our living room sometimes but we could keep a dog in another room for that. I don't think the guinea pigs themselves would be bothered at all by a dog, certainly they're not phased at all by my parents' cats, they don't even register they are there when they are sniffing around their carrier for example.

drinkingchanelno5 Sun 06-Nov-16 13:16:11

I would think they are telling you you have to go into the centres because it's an easy way to weed out people who might not be seriously looking. Otherwise they'd have people calling up all day and a lot of it could be a waste of time.

Scuttlebutter Sun 06-Nov-16 18:15:01

I am sorry to say this but you don't have a realistic picture of what a determined hound can do. My friend's greyhound broke into and killed their house rabbit. I know plenty of hounds who can get into ovens, fridges, open doors and easily break I to cages. Please rethink this.

BagelGoesWalking Mon 07-Nov-16 18:08:00

Sounds like you need more of an in depth discussion re. the likelihood of finding a greyhound with a very low prey drive. Many rescues won't call you back as they simply don't have the time. Nearly all are volunteers and resources are always stretched. I'm afraid you have to be proactive and keep in touch, join their FB groups (more up to date than websites in most cases). Have a look at these (all on FB)

Greyhound Gap
Silver Fox Dog Rescue
Balkan Underdogs
Hope Rescue
Four Paws Rescue
Black Retriever X Rescue
Heathlands Animal Rescue

If you are willing to look at lab crosses and/or staff crosses, I would have thought there would be plenty of choice.

MeadowHay Sun 27-Nov-16 19:29:06

Still searching, and now it's getting close to Christmas I guess it won't be happening anytime soon as understandabley don't rehome near Christmas.

We are still waiting for a home check from Hounds First.

Scuttle I appreciate your comments but there is at least one person on Lurcher Link who for many years has had both guinea pigs and sighthounds and as I say LL have approved us to adopt a sighthound as long as it's the right one.

Bagel We are definitely open to other large-ish breeds like staffies/labs etc. Thanks for the list I will take a look, although I will not rehome a dog from abroad unless it has already been in UK foster for awhile because there's too many horror stories of dogs arriving with illnesses particularly parasites that haven't shown up yet before coming over here due to their incubation periods and I'm not willing to take a risk like that.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Sun 27-Nov-16 19:50:36

Have you been looking on Gumtree and social media? We found our pooch two weeks ago. Met the owner etc and exchanged lots of information and brought her home with us.

Missy is currently in the pub with my DP.

We decided to go this route after searching through rescues for a long time, because this prevented Missy having to go ivy a rescue centre in the first place, and we got to meet her previous owner, in her own home and own environment.

Now to get the cat to come downstairs.....

MeadowHay Sun 27-Nov-16 19:57:19

I had thought about it but how do you know the person you're speaking to isn't just lying to you though? I worry they could be like "oh yes, my dog spends 10 hours alone every day and doesn't mind, they only need walking once a week and they're best friends with next door's rabbit" and it all just be a pack of lies. Obviously I'm exaggerating but you know what I mean - it's impossible to verify how long they can be left for, what they're like with other animals etc they could be telling you anything to get rid of it and I worry about then ending up with a dog totally unsuited to us which wouldn't be fair on the dog either.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Sun 27-Nov-16 20:03:53

This is true. We took Missy out for a walk and she met a cat and we were reasonably happy with the way she behaved towards the cat, on the lead etc. We knew she hadn't been left alone much with this family so we would have to work on that.

We are probably fairly lucky, but we basically interviewed the owner and she interviewed us. I'm an ex-copper, so I'm used to interviewing and assessing what I'm being told so that probably helped! smile

In fairness, she's been wonderful but is testing the boundaries today. My lovely fiancé is definitely a Disney Dad, so I'm the disciplinarian. She's responding better to me though, so he's stepping up to the same level as me now. She also goes to work with him every day. We wouldn't have got a dog unless he could take it to work, because we have slightly bonkers jobs.

MeadowHay Sun 27-Nov-16 20:12:43

I had a quick look on gumtree but didn't feel I could really trust the few adds I saw in my area, except maybe one that was in a rural area so I don't think we could get there as we don't have our own transport. I might keep a check on it now and again though, thanks for sharing your story. I'm really glad it seems to have worked out for you, she is a beautiful pup! I am very jealous haha.

I'm hoping if we get a dog I can take it to work with me too, I work in quite a chill office and there is an emotional support dog around infrequently so I am hoping I could get permission to bring my pup too fingers crossed.

madgingermunchkin Sun 27-Nov-16 20:19:48

The problem with the guinea pigs isn't that they are in a securely locked cage, it's the fact that just knowing they are there could drive any dog mad.

I know a couple of lurches and terriers who will just stand staring and drooling at pig cages because they are so transfixed. That's not fair on the dogs.

CrazyGreyhoundLady Sun 27-Nov-16 20:33:57

I have two ex racers and had four guinea pigs as well as a house rabbit when I adopted them. It depends on the dogs. Mine were fine but it took me a while to find ones that were. (happened to luck out and find a pair).
Also currently living in a flat, with patience and smelly cheese cubes hounds can master stairs but not all know how instinctively. They can however open doors and the fridge hmm baby lock on the door to the room your piggies are in when you are out/in bed would be my suggestion when you do find a pup. (rescue suggested this for me when I bought mine home, better safe than sorry!)
Good luck!

MeadowHay Sun 27-Nov-16 21:13:54

madginger Of course, but not all dogs have a prey drive that high. We obviously would not consider taking on a dog that would react that way because as you've rightly said it wouldn't be fair on the dog at all.

Crazy Wow, I'm really surprised it worked with ex-racers! shock I would assume all ex-racers would have a very strong prey drive. Thanks for the tips, the lady who did our home check suggested putting a baby gate on the outside of the door to the living room (where the pigs are) too. We could also crate but I feel for periods of more than an hour or two it seems unfair to crate.

CrazyGreyhoundLady Mon 28-Nov-16 06:02:21

meadow They hated cats, still hate squirrels, and don't get me started on the one time we saw a stoat by our local canal! Saying that rabbits in fields never bothered them and they were used for meet and greets at a local pets at home by the rescue so I think maybe they were used to bunnies and pigs from that? Plus the kennels they raced out of was in the middle of the countryside surrounded by bunny fields.

Baby gate is a brilliant idea, but make sure you get a really tall one and that there isn't anything near it they could use to get a "leg up". My boy can jump over a standard height gate and my girl is too smart for her own good, she worked out within a few days that if she used the chairs and table in the kitchen to get up she could stand on the work surface!

Crating isn't a bad idea at all, many hounds will be used to it and actually you might find that they prefer it, especially when you are out. It works like a den, it's a safe place that is only theirs. I have a friend who's hound likes to sit inside her crate even when her family are home. She will just get up and wander in there for a nap when she's tired. Do be prepared to have to retrieve clothes and socks from in there though, they love having something that smells of their family. wink

MiaowTheCat Mon 28-Nov-16 07:47:52

Took us months and months of waiting to get a cat-workable greyhound. We'd passed the homecheck and everything - just had to wait it out till a small furry-workable dog arrived (Nancy decided her response to the cat-testing stunt cat was to give it a good lick bless her). She'd walk through a field of bunny rabbits and just roll her eyes and carry on mooching though - took retirement very very literally that one.

I'm currently going nuts as we didn't get another greyhound when Nancy died last year as we knew we were getting tonnes of building work done this year and now that's done I've started asking around to check who'll home to us since the kids have come along and know there are rescues out there who will - and DH says I've got to wait till next year! Argh!

PoisonousSmurf Mon 28-Nov-16 11:05:04

How old are the guinea pigs? Might be best to wait until you don't have them anymore and then get a dog?
I would LOVE to have a dog, but it won't be fair on my 8 year old cat. So I'll have to wait a few years. Might even be 10 years lol!
I've never had a dog either, but would rather have an older rescue so I don't get thrown in the deep end with a puppy!

MeadowHay Mon 28-Nov-16 22:25:14

Smurf My piggy boys are roughly 3 and a half but that's an estimate as they are rescues. I get what you're saying about waiting but I really would love a dog now and think we could care for one well, plus there's a good chance when one of the pigs passes we will get another one to be a buddy for the one left and the cycle may just continue for the forseeable future grin they bring me so much joy and they're no bother at all. And yes I don't think I feel confident enough for raising a puppy but regardless it wouldn't be suitable for us as neither of us can be at home all the time and you can't leave a puppy.

Miaw Yes we may be waiting many months too it seems! Lurcher Link has some gorgeous puppies in at the moment and my heart aches for them but I know we can't have a puppy!!

Crazy Wow your dogs are so clever! I think all animals tend to surprise us with their intelligence though, my guinea pigs are way smarter than I realised they would be before I got them. And they learn new things all the time too!

Wolfiefan Mon 28-Nov-16 22:29:53

You mention big dogs. I really don't think it's realistic to be looking at big breeds in a flat. Do you have access to a garden?

CrazyGreyhoundLady Tue 29-Nov-16 01:07:36

meadow IME piggies are exceptionally smart and noone ever expects it. I certainly didn't!
Do be warned, greyhounds are amazing at working out how to get where they want to be, it's really common. If you have a nose online escape artists and counter surfers are a normal occurrence in the breed.

wolfie while I certainly wouldn't want a Staffie or a lab in a flat (wonderful breeds but huge energy levels) hounds take up very little room as they curl up to sleep, are incredibly quiet as a rule, and contrary to popular belief only need 2x20-30 minute walks a day. They tend to do very well in flats/low space environments. I think the energy level of the dog should always be of bigger concern than the size. Plus as OP is adopting through a rescue they won't place a dog in the home that couldn't cope with the size of said home.

ScattyHattie Tue 29-Nov-16 01:47:36

I think with a sighthound you just have to be patient for a suitable dog to come up & put feelers out to a few rescues (not all are able or willing to test with cats/small furies).
I would avoid going private rehoming route with such specific needs and lack of experience as its risky and you'll have no back up if it doesn't work out, people are also willing to keep quiet about health problems along with behavioral/training issues.

Have you let Lurcher Link HQ know that you're still interested but the fosterer isn't responding? It maybe just that fosterer 's busy but if they don't think your suitable home they should inform Kaye.

I do homechecks for few sighthound rescues and can sometimes pass the info on to a different rescue to save another volunteers time where initial rescue doesn't have suitable dog. Its worth asking if that's possible, though best to keep all rescues in loop. They do all have differing homing criteria though.

I've both greyhounds & a lurcher, prey drive varies between individuals (all breeds) and can be different indoors to outdoors, fast movement triggered etc. Some greyhounds that have raced do go on to live with cats or other small furies. One of my greys could probably have been trained as he wasn't particularly interested in wildlife (too busy sniffing) and just curious at petshop animals & easily distracted. He did train to race and there's greys that retire young (12-24mths) due to not chasing the lure however not all young dropouts are low prey drive can be disqualified due to interfering/playing with other dog on track, too slow or injured.

If you think how big dog kennels are, then flats are fine as long as dog has room to maneuver, its more down to on how much room the person is willing to share with their dog and logistics if have stairs to get in then have to consider what happens if injured/elderly. Dogs should be getting sufficient exercise/mental stimulation out of the home (gardens are more for owners convenience). Energy level doesn't go by the size of the dog, small breeds can be livelier than the giants. My sighthounds spend the majority of the day lounging on a sofa, so even if smaller, a dog that's busy & on go constantly is more noticeable.

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