Rescue Questions(14 Posts)
We lost our elderly dog a few months ago and we are missing him badly. We have started to think about our next dog and although we are in no rush, it will be wonderful to have one in the family again.
We had our previous dog from a puppy, and this time, for a number of reasons, we would like to rescue.
I would be grateful to hear from others their experiences of getting a rescue dog. I think it is likely that we will go for an adult as opposed to a puppy. It would be good to hear the positives and the negatives, your experience in settling a rescue dog, teething problems, what the support from the rescue was like, what should you expect in that regard, what makes a good rescue centre etc etc.
I follow a couple of the local branches of the 'big' rescues on FB and it seems there is often, for example, behaviourists attached to them who could maybe help if you had problems after rescuing- is this usually the case? I also know someone who adopted a dog from a much smaller , local rescue, and there was no real way to access longer-term support.
I know of course that everyone will have an individual experience and an individual dog, but in the same way that there is a 'right' way to go about buying a puppy, I want to make sure we are looking out for the right sort of rescue place and have a realistic idea of what to expect.
I don't have time right now to post much, but the most important piece of advice would be to visit the rescue centre several times before you make your decision. It took me/us months and months to find the perfect rescue dog for us and we walked a few before making a decision. It's important that both you and your dog 'like' each other! All the dogs we walked were lovely in their own way, but some had issues that I didn't feel our situation could 'fix'. We now have the most perfect girl - she's been easy and has adapted really well, but I'm with her almost 24/7. Apart from her constant barking at the sheep across the road, there's nothing to complain about. When I do leave her for an hour or two (maybe once a fortnight), she just goes to bed (I think) relieved to have some time out from me!
And I can't resist the opportunity to show her off
We got my boy from dogs trust but we didnt really need further support. They do a talk with you before you get your dog which is good. We were told he hated feet and hoovers and sometimes peed indoors when he was left in bathroom of previous owner. Were told he was 4 to 6 years but ive always thought he was at younger end.
Hes a staffy so is like our shadow. He likes to be close to us so we ended up moving his bed in our room which isnt a big deal. He was toilet trained and has never had any acidents in the house. It became apparent that he needed a while to trust us and would shake with raised voices on tv. Made me feel he was abused before. It took time and lots of praise and reassurance but now he is such a confident secure boy. He runs around with a pack of various breeds and is so well mannered compared to other dogs. I wouldnt be without him.
Just be prepared to put time in and you will be rewarded.
The only thing we didnt factor in was he has a sesnsitive tummy and so dog food costs more but its not an issue really. Just cost we didnt anticipate.
Our gorgeous girl, staffie/boxer X, came from Rescue Remedies. They have all breeds as well as staffies, American Bulldogs and terriers. They were excellent and offer back up for ever. They are based near Guildford, but rehome all over the country.
Lara dog settled so well ( we have always had dogs) but I think it has taken almost a year for her to really feel that she is staying forever and totally relax. She has never given us a moments concern or trouble (unless you count snaffling a loaf of bread trouble! ), it's just a feeling I get now I know her really well.
The rescue brought her to meet us because DH is disabled and we had a trial adoption of two weeks to make sure she wasn't too bouncy for him. I think you're usually expected to go to the rescue so I was impressed that they went that extra mile for their dogs.
She doesn't really like other dogs so I have had to change where we walk( our old dog walking areas were too busy with off lead dogs) and we walk very early, but I did that anyway. You have to be flexible and do what's best for your dog. I'm following CARE training with her - she's better with dogs already, but a long way off playing with them. The biggest plus is she is a people dog - just loves us and anyone who visits. We adopted her very soon after our beloved 11 year old lab X died and she has been perfect in helping us get over that loss as well as being a perfect companion dog for DH while I'm at work.
We have a black lab crossed with something! She was 18 months when we got her. We visited just me and Dh, then took each of the children to meet her on their own, took her out for a walk and spent time with her before agreeing to take her home. We got her from a small local rescue here in NE Scotland; they did a home check before we got her. They were then in touch every few weeks for a while and still get in touch every now and again to ask how things are.
She has been lovely, the children adore her, she is happy because she now gets all the exercise and company she needs. All is well! Good luck with finding a new dog
Thank you all.
Tatty- she is gorgeous!
It is interesting to hear different experiences and sounds like taking your time (both in waiting for the right dog and also in getting to know them ) is very important.
We got our rescue from Romania. He was found at a train station when he was about 6 months' old.
We did everything you shouldn't do, in that we saw his photo on Facebook and committed to having him without having met him.
The charity we got him from do insist that you have to return their dogs to them if you don't want to keep them, and they do offer support.
When I got him at age roughly 8 months I deliberately took things very slowly and spent almost 2 weeks in the house with him just letting him get used to us. I then took things very slowly, introducing new things one day at a time. I think it paid enormously. I did also consult a dog trainer both before we got him and once he was here. He did also go on puppy classes.
From the very beginning he was an absolute star, and it's been nearly a year now.
He is the perfect dog. He gets on with all dogs and people, including small children. He assumes that everyone will be kind to him and is such a positive dog. His recall is spot on as I spent ages with this, and he is an absolute delight. He is by far the best decision we ever made and we adore him.
I appreciate that he is very unusual and I'm not saying that adopting him based on a photo was a good idea, but I do feel like it was fate.
His is currently sat on my daughter's lap having a cuddle and his eyes are half-closed as he is in heaven.
There's enormous variations (as you've already discovered) between rescues - it's a completely unregulated sector and anyone can set themselves up as a rescue.
Larger, national rescues such as Dogs Trust, Blue Cross will have minimum standards and DT definitely have post adoption support available from their behavioural team. Larger independents and the big chains will be members of the ACDH - this is a useful benchmark as it shows they are committed to benchmarking, continuing learning and at least learning about best practice.
What you'll tend to find is that the bigger rescues will have slightly more inflexible rules and often a slightly less personal service - smaller rescues will often be willing to be more flexible and treat each adoption as a one off.
If you have a particular breed in mind, it's worth getting to know the specific breed rescues - depending on the rarity of the dog, they might be local or regional or even national. Start following them on FB, and swot up on their adoption processes. Sometimes you can get homechecked before a suitable dog comes up. If it's a local rescue, then I'd strongly advise getting to know them and possibly doing things like attending their events, offering to walk kennel dogs, volunteer at an event etc. All this will give you a much better idea of how the rescue runs and you'll get to know their dogs too.
As a minimum, the rescue should do a thorough homecheck before you adopt - expect detailed questions about your family circumstances, a good look at your garden and your expectations of pet ownership. Many rescues WILL adopt to people who work but they will want to see evidence that you can afford doggy day care or a dog walker, for instance and that you've thought about your arrangements.
They should also be able/willing to talk you through the adoption process and explain how the adoption will be supported on an ongoing basis.
If you are interested in a particular dog, the gold standard is for the dog to have been in a foster home (this is particularly important if you have DC, and the foster home has DC). If this is the case, the dog will have been assessed very thoroughly.
The rescue will be able to tell you something about your dog's history (but don't be surprised if this is sometimes a bit scanty) and the dog should have had a thorough health assessment so you should be made aware of any known issues. They should be able to give you a behavioural assessment - common questions would be if the dog is cat friendly, child friendly and dog friendly. Other useful things to know are whether they travel well, can be left alone or prefer to be with other dogs, what if any training they've had, what they eat, any habits or preferences etc.
Most rescues insist on their dogs being spayed/neutered before adoption (unless a puppy in which case they'll expect you to arrange this once the dog is older), the dog will be chipped, and have had flea/worm/tick treatment plus usual vaccinations. They will usually insist the dog is kept in the house, not in an outside kennel, and will also insist the dog is a pet and is not to go to a working home. They will ask about your plans for the dog e.g.activities or sports - for some breeds this will be very important so be clear about this and the time commitment involved if you are going for something like a border collie.
Hope this helps!
We got a middle aged mid sized dog from the dogs trust and she's been the best decision we have ever made. She's mad, a complete cuddle bug, too smart for her own good and extremely dog reactive but she's perfect.
We got her from one of the large rescues (the yellow one) and can't fault any of the process
And yes DT offer support for the lifetime of the dog. We have had 1:1 help for our girl
Oh and they are extremely flexible. Some dogs say 14+ children in the home only but make a judgement call based on the dog and the children. You need to go into the centre and talk to the staff. Personally I'd go for a 2-5yo mutt - there are plenty of them
As said, smaller rescues often more flexible re younger children etc. Another plus is that they often have dogs in foster as they have no big kennel facilities. This means that the dog has been living in a home environment, often with other dogs, children, cats etc. Drawbacks are that they don't always have the funds to give you on call behaviourist backup, but many do, so it's worth checking.
I would recommend following any rescues near you via their FB groups. Much more up to date than their websites, more popular, family friendly dogs will often not even reach the website as they're rehomed quickly. Posting your interest on the FB groups will often get a response which a phone call or email won't - just due to lack of manpower/resources, not lack of interest!
Ask about fostering or a trial adoption as well.
We have a DT dog he is like an onion lots of layers<sigh> he is a collie and highlystrung. We have had him 5ish years he was 7 months old our support has beengreat
Our lovely rescue from DT. They were great when we needed a bit of extra support on how to deal with destructive behaviours. We got 1:1 on scent work training which worked a treat. We have had her for four years now and apart from the destructive behaviour in the early months, she's been a perfect wee dog.
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