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Adopting with pets

20 replies

Runner31 · 04/04/2019 19:01

Can anyone give me any advice on how adoption is viewed when you have pets. We have 2 dogs and 2 cats (dogs are a German Shepherd and a collie) and we wouldn't be considering adoption if we were concerned about them and children but how is that viewed by SW? Do they consider things on a family by family basis or are pets frowned upon.

Any and all advice is greatly accepted. X

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Hoplittlebunnies · 04/04/2019 19:36

Pets are great as long as you are prepared to rehome them if issues arise.

We said we would, knowing it would never have to happen. My son came home a year and a half ago. My dog went to live with my MIL last week.

Moomooboo · 04/04/2019 19:48

I’m sure you would have no problems with pets, but I know at panel you will be asked would you consider re-homing them. If you say no, I doubt you would be approved to be adopters.

The likelihood of you having to rehome them is small but it’s something that I’ve seen on these boards a few times and the answer is always the same. I suppose if you had a birth child that turned out to be allergic, what would you do? Allergies don’t always present themselves immediately.

I would make it clear to the social workers that you would intend to be like a hawk around the dogs/cats and that whilst they’ve never displayed any behaviour to cause you any worry you understand that any dog can turn without the proper care... but I think dogs can make a home and think my childhood would have been totally different without dogs/cats.

Don’t think I’d ever have one though...! I prefer it when someone else has to look after them!!!

Runner31 · 04/04/2019 19:51

@Hoplittlebunnies what printed the dog to go MIL? At the moment we would agree to that. The German shepherd has been raised around kids and is fantastic. The collie hasn't so is a bit of an unknown but as much as I never thought I would say this our future family does come before the dog.

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Ted27 · 04/04/2019 20:03

Lots of people with pets adopt, pets can be very theraputic for adopted children. My son loves our moggy.

If there is a problem its often not the animal but the child. I personally know two families where the child has been incredibly cruel to cats, one pulled out whiskers, another kicked the cat so hard it had to be put to sleep. I know many more adopters with dogs, cats, chickens, geese, turkeys, horses, cows ( they are farmers!) and its all fine.
SWs just want to know that if push comes to shove the child comes first.
Cats are pretty good at escaping but if you don't already have it, I'd make sure that the dogs have a separate space which safe from children.

Lifeisnotsimple · 04/04/2019 20:05

We have 2 dogs, we said we would rehome if it was a problem but it would have had to be a major issue. As it was the foster carer had dogs. Our dogs have never been around children but our son has learnt how to behave around them and respect their space. They are fantastic with him but i was over cautious building up the relationship slowly. Now they love cuddles with their big bro, infact they love him more than us lol. We had no proper assessment for the dogs, sw just came and seen them, they are very excitable and barky dogs too.

Hoplittlebunnies · 04/04/2019 20:12

Runner and that is exactly what your SW will want to hear.

We had a little Yorkie and he was quite old. Always great with kids. But from day one he did not like my son, and I think it is because all of a sudden my son took all my attention. My little pooch was very high maintenance and needy, which is not something we had realised because we had never had a small person permanently at home to highlight just how much time my dog would spend on my lap!

He started showing signs of aggression recently and snapped at my son when my son did nothing but run past him (not even particularly close) so he is now with MIL, where he can have all of her attention and be doted on. I hadn't realised how much the dog had added to my anxiety levels but as much as I miss him, it is a more relaxed environment here now and he is being lovingly spoiled in his old age with someone devoted to him, where was can still see him all the time.

Runner31 · 04/04/2019 20:43

Thanks so much for your advice. I imagine it will be such a shock for the dogs. I know when my nephew visits the German shepherd just follows him around every where and is exhausted when he leaves so they have a separate room where they can go and we have child gates up so they can get peace. We haven't even started the process yet but I'm already thinking of how to get them used to the changes in the daily routine before any children arrive.

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Hoplittlebunnies · 04/04/2019 21:07

It is really great that you are putting so much thought into this! Honestly it will probably be fine, you just need to make it clear that you will always put a child before the dogs then that is all they want to know.

Autumnbloom · 04/04/2019 21:12

I adopted with 2 cats and a very noisy Beagle. So far so good. @Ted27 had it spot on, not a problem, but if push comes to shove...and you have to mean it. My littlest has asthma, not related to pets as far as we know, but precautions are still taken, pets not allowed upstairs, luckily we have all wood floors, floors regularly swept. We have strict rules around the pets...children are not allowed to chase pets, play with pet toys, touch pets if in their beds, touch their food bowls, feed pets. Pets not allowed near children when eating - we are able to section house off if needed. If children become a threat to pets, my mum would take the pets in a heartbeat. I love the pets and if they were under threat I would make them safe. As a parent (to pets and children) you need to keep everyone safe, so if push comes to shove...have a plan for the pets, SWs need to know that the kids will come first.

Runner31 · 04/04/2019 21:52

I am a bit worried that the sw will be put off by our barky German shepherd. Typical of the breed she lets every know when somebody's at the door but she settles quickly and loves visitors when they come in.

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stucknoue · 04/04/2019 21:59

Collies can be a bit grumpy in my experience, mine is very set in his ways. Certainly worth exposing them to kids before youngsters arrive in the house

Autumnbloom · 04/04/2019 22:51

My beagle would give your German shepherd a run for her money in the barking stakes I bet. We threw some biscuits down for her to sniff out. By the time approval and matching were over they knew what she was like anyway! Good luck!

itsallabouttobegin · 05/04/2019 09:49

We had to pay for an assessment by an independent 'dog expert' as part of stage 1. Our social worker was not a dog person but popped into the kitchen to say hello. The 'expert' was recommended by the council - a dog trainer/behaviourist but we could have sourced our own.

He came around for an hour and chatted to us about our labrador and his history whilst stroking him - he stroked him roughly, poked at him a bit, pulled at his hair/tail and pushed him away. Our dog was oblivious and just delighted to be getting a fuss. He gave us some advice on training him now to go to his bed and stay there and watched me walk him up the street. He passed with flying colours :)

Box ticked but we've also said we would re-home if there are any problems. My mum will take him if necessary. A couple in our prep group had the same process for 3 dogs.

Runner31 · 06/04/2019 22:50

I must admit that assessment surprises me a little. It sounds a lot like a therapy dog assessment one of my dogs had which sets the bar very high for the average family dog.

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Hoplittlebunnies · 07/04/2019 06:53

An assessment is whatever the LA makes of it. We had to fill in a questionnaire about our dog - the rest was all done by the Social Worker during her visits making a note that the dog was friendly. Which is surprising noting that he would bark like a mad man every time anyone knocked on the door, and would jump all over her every visit. It was all very informal.

Broken11Girl · 07/04/2019 07:15

No young child should ever be left unsupervised with any pet.
Cruelty to a pet needs to be disciplined.

Runner31 · 07/04/2019 07:35

Sounds a lot like ours @Hoplittlebunnies. Because German shepherds can look intimidating it can seem so much worse than it actually is. In reality she barks a lot less and is a lot better behaved than the Chihuahua and poodles I've come across.

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1099 · 07/04/2019 09:27

LAs seem to differ on this, ours wanted to know how we would try to resolve any issues and were keen that whilst rehoming had to be an option, it had to be the final one. I think the premise was that if an adopted child sees a pet rehomed it isn't a huge leap to seeing themselves rehomed as well. Don't be too keen to say you'd rehome if there was a problem, outline how you'd try to resolve the issues first, and make it clear that rehoming is the final step, but is one you'd be prepared to take.

Runner31 · 07/04/2019 10:37

That's a really good point, thanks @1099. A few of my friends are dog trainers so I will drop that in to the conversation as they would happily help if there was a problem.

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howmanyusernames · 08/04/2019 13:28

We had two dogs when our LO was placed with us (April last year), and the dog we thought would love him (terrier-mix) didn't, and the one we thought would hate him (chocolate Lab) loved him.
Unfortunately our choc Lab died in Sept (he was 14 years old) and the other a month ago (she was 12 years old). Sad

The dogs weren't the problem, it was the small grabby fingers of our LO we had to watch out for! If he did grab either then they would yelp but neither retaliated, but that is more what you need to watch out for. Our terrier-mix was also quite jealous of our LO, and would try and get between him and us.

One dog would bark if someone came to the house, but within a couple of minutes would be fine.
Our SW just observed them when he came to see us, and said they didn't need any additional assessments.

BUT, you will need to say you would re-home if necessary.

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