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A rescued puppy, or an adult dog who needs me more? What would you do?

(14 Posts)
UnGoogleable Sat 27-May-17 09:21:30

I lost my beloved boy last year, and I'm finally ready to open my heart up to another dog. I have registered with a breed specialist rescue, all home checked and ready to go.

I've told them I want a dog as young as possible. This isn't because I have anything against older dogs, but I just want to enjoy as much of the dog's life as possible. I'm also keen to have a dog that is young and fit enough to lead an active life, as I spent the last 3 years watching my boy deteriorate through CDRM to the point that I nursed him through paralysis to the inevitable end. While I'm fully prepared to do that again as the dog ages, I would love to enjoy some good active years with it before that.

The rescue has taken in a pregnant bitch, rescued from a shitty situation. She was a pup herself, too young to be bred, so she's landed on her paws. She has a new home lined up for her once she's had her pups so she can enjoy being a young dog again. We don't know how many pups will survive, but there's a chance I could have one if I want it. I am beyond excited about this.

BUT, I'm torn. I had fully committed myself to rescuing a dog who really needs it. I was looking forward to training a dog who might have issues, who had been given up on. I think it would be hugely rewarding to watch a dog flourish this way.

So, is getting a puppy a 'cop out' - despite the fact that it will be coming from a rescue?

My lifestyle is also a factor - I work, so the dog will have to come to work with me and be in a cage for some days. It might be easier to do this with a pup who will just learn and adapt to our routine, but then an older dog might also be used to chilling out in a cage.

DH thinks we should take a dog that's harder to rehome, because a pup will be snapped up quickly with no problem. But the selfish part of me says why can't I be the lucky one to get a pup rather than leave it to someone else?! I would also be ensuring that the pup has a wonderful home for its entire life..... but then rescuing an older one would be wonderful too..

What to do? What would you do???

UnGoogleable Sat 27-May-17 09:28:15

I should add, I had my previous dog from a pup, so I know exactly what is involved in raising a little one.

Thewolfsjustapuppy Sat 27-May-17 09:34:25

Could you do both? You could take a puppy now and then in a year or so time take an older dog so that they would both have company. Or the other way round. This is what I'm doing. I currently have my dream puppy, I love her and she is perfect in every way but she does/will need company so I have been keeping my eyes open on several rescues also (it's a bit soon for pup yet but there is no harm in looking grin)

UnGoogleable Sat 27-May-17 09:39:11

I could potentially do both. We currently have an older dog, so I wouldn't do it yet - 3 dogs would be too much. But when our old girl goes (and i'm not wishing her away, we love her to bits), we might consider rescuing another one. We've always been a 2-3 dog family.

So I guess we could do both in the long term. My heart could burst when I look at some of the rescue websites... I want them all.

HerOtherHalf Sat 27-May-17 09:40:55

Be selfish. You're still giving a currently unwanted dog a forever home.

HoneyDragon Sat 27-May-17 09:45:01

My lab is a rescue pup from the circumstances you describe .... the rescuer suspected the pups might be "interesting*" so would only rehome to folk with breed experience. So you're still doing a good thing.

*batshit

creepysleepy Sat 27-May-17 09:46:18

I'd always choose an adult dog now. Not for any other reason than they tend to be easier!

Puppies are just so damn hard!

We have a 2yo cross bred rescue and a 6yo collie rescue. Both came housetrained, chipped, spayed etc. We've had them from early years, so we have 2 very healthy low maintenance dogs.

The thought of puppies conjures up memories of night wakings etc.

I'm ignoring your ethical dilemma though! If you want one of the pups go for it! You're not scouring scumtree looking for the perfect cocka:jack a whatever poo cross.

UnGoogleable Sat 27-May-17 10:04:48

I'm not fazed by the difficulty of raising a pup. I absolutely loved it before, but yes I can see how a ready-trained dog would be lovely too!

It's the question of whether i could help more by taking a difficult one rather than an easy pup which is bothering me. But you're all helping to persuade me that taking a rescued pup and saving it from being sold on Gumtree (where its mother was advertised) is a good thing.

creepysleepy Sat 27-May-17 12:39:14

Oh god yes - for sure. It makes sense.

Then post photos immediately!

Blackfellpony Sat 27-May-17 14:07:03

What breed?
Don't assume the puppy will be a 'blank canvas' I rescued a puppy and he has been the hardest to work with and genetically is an awful person. He was literally born that way despite me doing everything textbook from day one confused

My rescue dog on the other hand is the sweetest dog on earth despite awful treatment by everyone who touched him up until 10 months.

So I suppose there's lots of factors to a dog than experiences or training alone and next time I may be tempted to go for an older dog just so I can see it in all it's glory before I commit.

Saying that, go with whoever steals your heart first! grin

CMOTDibbler Sat 27-May-17 14:14:11

We weren't going to have a puppy as our second dog, we wanted a 6m+ rescue like our first one. Then the rescue had 21 puppies born in 2 weeks, and like you, I went through 'ooh, but they'll rehome them really easily'... 10 weeks later DH had rung up and arranged for us to go and see what was then ddog2 grin
Now I foster puppies for the rescue, and tbh there isn't a great deal of difference in the interest in under 1's and under 3's.
So if you are mad enough to want a puppy (stern glance at current pup), go for it smile

Blackbutler86 Sat 27-May-17 14:25:43

I have 4 dogs, 2 I bought as puppies from good breeders where I met parents, knew history etc and 2 that were rescue. I have fostered over 50 dogs in 6 years and the 2 I adopted were originally my fosters (not at the same time). One was a 6 at the time and the other a puppy from an awful breeder. The pup was 8 weeks old and very ill so needed a lot of care, I fell in love with him and kept him. I brought him up just like my other dogs who are fab and no trouble, he was well socialised and I took him training etc.

However I have had a lot of behavioural trouble with him, he is a bossy dog and despite being the youngest he is the top dog out of them, this is fine as in a pack there will always be one but it was difficult when he bit my other dogs and caused a lot of upset in the group. He is also very protective of me and growls at unknown men, he has also bitten someone once though really that was their fault as they leant into his face whilst he was sleeping. There is much more I could go on with but the point of this is just because you rescue a puppy it doesn't mean they will turn out exactly as you want when you don't know proper history. I'm not trying to put you off at all just share my experience. I wouldn't change him for the world but he has been a handful and caused me some stress, he's 5 now and has calmed down considerably. The adult dog I adopted has been wonderful, she fitted in perfectly with no issues and is just great overall. When the dogs come to me for foster I asses them and can tell prospective owners more about them, many don't have issues they just need a new home and any with issues are carefully placed. Well done on deciding to adopt and there isn't a wrong choice, do what makes you happiest smile

CornflakeHomunculus Sat 27-May-17 14:37:33

I was reading this thread thinking along the same lines as Blackfellpony, that a puppy isn't necessarily going to be easy and issue free.

Temperament has a very large genetic component (excellent article on the subject by a veterinary behaviourist here) and if the bitch has come from somewhere that's allowed her to become pregnant too young it's unlikely much consideration has been given to the parents' health or temperament. Health is actually another thing you might want to consider, particularly as you've lost a dog to something inherited. Is the breed particularly prone to any health issues?

I've adopted both an adult dog with very severe issues and a puppy. Out of the two DDog1 (adopted as an adult) actually had the better temperament despite being very, very damaged by his life experiences. DDog2 (the puppy) is a lovely girl but she's completely batshit and is still quite hard work. She did come to us far too young so some of her quirks can be attributed to that but even so, although she's absolutely lovely with people (and other dogs) she certainly couldn't be said to have an easy temperament. She's also had inherited and conformation related health issues. She needed corrective surgery for hereditary cataracts when she was younger and she's since developed mild IVDD which is highly likely to be related to her very poor conformation.

Either way, you'll be giving a home to a dog that needs it and it's perfectly ok to consider what's best for you as well.

UnGoogleable Sat 27-May-17 15:00:30

It's a GSD. So yes, hereditary disease is a major factor, and not knowing the parent's history, there could be problems stored up there.

So I can see that adopting an older dog is in some ways an advantage, given that some issues may already be clear. But my beautiful boy's CDRM didn't develop until he was 9 years old, so there would have been no way of knowing what was in store for him. I think with GSDs, you can pretty much assume that the hind legs will become a problem at some point.

And yes, hereditary behavioural issues could be a factor too.

I guess I'll have to leave it to fate in some way, and see what state the pups are in when they arrive, and whether it's the right thing for me then....

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