Rescuing a dog is such a rewarding and wonderful experience. You’ve been chosen to welcome a dog into your home to give it the best life possible, when usually they have had a rubbish start in life. But it’s not always as easy as it looks…
In the last few years there has been so much pressure on dog owners to ‘Adopt don’t shop’ and often you can get negative comments when welcoming a new puppy into your house rather than a rescue dog. Having both a pedigree and ‘designer crossbreed’ as some people call them I have had all sorts of comments and remarks towards my dogs, despite the fact I foster and regularly work with rescues.
But what those people don’t really think about is everyones individual situations. Rescue organisations can make it very hard for you to adopt if you work full time, despite you showing suitable dog walkers and daycare. It’s even harder to pass their applications if you have children as they believe it’s simply too dangerous to have a rescue dog with children in the home. But this simply isn’t true; most of us have to work, and if your children understand how to behave appropriately around dogs then there’s absolutely no reason why they should grow up sharing their childhood with the best four legged friend you could find. [Smaller breed specific charities are so much better at rehoming to ‘normal’ life families. They understand work and children etc and help find a suitable dog for you. If you’re struggling finding a rescue that allows this then just get in contact with me and I’d be happy to help]. It is often easier to train a dog if you’ve had them from a pup, but that doesn’t mean a rescue dog can’t be the best trained dog you’ve ever owned. Plus dogs of all ages need homes; puppies, adults and older dogs, there’s really a dog out there for everyone
So where can you start looking? Big charities I’d recommend are the Dogs Trust or Battersea Cats and Dogs Home. But personally I’d always go to a smaller or breed specific charity. They are able to be a lot more hands on and can give you support along the way, and your help means so much more to them. Even if you can’t rescue a dog you can fundraise & spread the word, everything goes so much further for them. For me I choose Spaniel charities such as Spaniel Assist Rescue and Rehoming, or Spaniel Aid Uk. However there are charities out there for every breed, or some specialise in bringing stray dogs over from abroad for a better life in the U.K.
You should look into fostering if you want to adopt or can just care for an extra dog temporarily. If you foster you have the option to decide if you’d like to adopt them, if you don’t want to or they just aren’t right for you they then go up for adoption and you’ve helped them on their way, so i’d always advise fostering first.
How does fostering work? This will vary across charities but here are the basics:
- The organisation will be told about a dog, this may be from seeing them advertised on a dodgy website where they’ve been used for breeding or living in horrible conditions. Or they could be a sad rehoming like a death in the family or a situation that’s changed and they just can’t give them all the love they need.
- The charity will secure this dog and reach out to everyone who’s registered with them to foster. They’ll have very vague details like the sex, age & if they’re neutered. They’re unlikely to but may sometimes know their behaviour and if they’re ok with children & cats etc.
- Hopefully they’ll then have lots of offers of people wanting to help, and they’ll choose the best home. You then meet whoever to pick up the dog, or people may take turns in transporting the dog across the country to you. [I drove 5 hours to collect Dottie].
- Generally you keep the dog for 4 weeks. They need time to settle in and come out of their shell. People often give up to easily in the first couple of weeks because the dog hasn’t arrived perfectly trained and well behaved but with any rescue dog you have to be patient. After those 4 weeks you can decide if you’d like to adopt the dog, if not you fill in their assessment form and say what they’re like and what sort of home you think would be best for them. [For Dottie I specified a family with children and another dog would be ideal as she would thrive off all the love and energy].
- Whilst fostering you welcome a dog into your home which is likely to come with nothing. The charity will pay for any vet bills, as well as the dog to be neutered whilst in your care. Other than that, most can’t support you in any other financial way. Spare beds, leads, toys etc are good to save up and use for your fosters, dog food is also usually paid for by yourself.
- Another rule is that whilst fostering you must never let the dog off lead. This dog is owned by the charity, so is not yours to risk loosing off lead. Most will have no obedience [Like Dottie] so another reason to absolutely not let them off, however long lines let them feel free whilst you can build up their recall.
Dottie has gone off to the most wonderful home, and unlike my past fosters she is staying local so I’ll be able to see her again in the future. I’ve had such kind messages and responses to her staying over the last month so thank you to you all! If you’ve any questions or queries about fostering or adopting a dog feel free to send me a message.
Thanks for reading,
Megan, Woody & Wilma
What a great blog, I will certainly consider fostering in the future once Lucia is a bit older. So glad you found Dottie a lovely home, she’s such a beauty – as are your two of course. x
Great blog and covers lots of points about fostering/rescuing a dog. ‘Adopt don’t shop’ whilst a great movement, doesn’t and can’t apply to everyone, as you rightly say.
We had a really bad experience with buying a puppy through a registered breeder, it was really sick, it nearly put us off but we now have 2 adopted dogs one from RSPCA and one from Dogs Trust. Both ours were adopted as puppy’s through the younger was 6 months old. They both have challenges and some behavior issues possibly due to their experiences before we adopted, but you can get problems with any dog, they are very rewarding and keep us fitter. We did learn that each center works differently especially with the RSPCA .