Adopting A Rescue Dog

by Nancy Boland

Thinking of getting a dog? Don’t rush to a breeder and pay for a pedigree. Consider giving a loving home to a dog in need. Here is all you need to know about adopting a rescue dog.

adopt a rescue dog

Before you consider re-homing a dog, it’s important to make sure it’s the right thing for you and your family. Becoming a dog owner is a life time commitment and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are some helpful tips to help you make the right decision:

Are you ready for the responsibility?

Owning a dog means being on-call 24/7. Some dogs will be fine left for a few hours, others will howl all day. If you have a demanding schedule, you travel a lot or you already have your plate full, owning a dog probably isn’t the right decision for you. There are daily walks to consider, kennels to organise if you go on holiday and lie-ins potentially sabotaged by that boisterous pup waiting for his walk!

Can you afford it?

Paying for your pooch goes far beyond weekly food and treats, so getting a realistic estimate of how much it will cost to take care of your new dog is very important. Take into consideration any holiday plans, and how much it will cost to pay a dog-sitter or boarding kennels. Regular vet’s bills include booster jabs, worm tablets plus any extra problems they might have at any time.

Visiting the animal centre

Meeting abandoned dogs can be very overwhelming, especially when they have sad stories. Staff will talk to you in-depth about what kind of dog you would like to re-home so it’s important to understand what it is you’re looking for. If you’re a laid back couple looking for a calm dog, then don’t choose a young and boisterous terrier breed that needs an active lifestyle. It’s important you understand your own criteria so the staff at the centre can help match you to the perfect dog.

Ask plenty of questions

If you think you’ve found a potential dog, don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions.

– Is their background known? What was it like?
– What sort of owner and home would suit them best?
– What’s their temperament like – any behavioural problems?
– Are they OK to be left alone in the house? If not, how long for?
– Are they house trained?
– How much exercise do they need?
– Any special dietary requirements?
– Have they had any previous medical problems?
– Are they OK with children?
-Will they need additional training/socialising?

Many rescue shelters will also let you introduce your potential new dog to family members/friends/other pets before you re-home them so that they can ‘’meet’’ their new member of the family, and vice versa! A volunteer from the centre will likely come to visit you in your home environment to assess whether you are a good match.

Are there any fees?

Most animal charities will ask for a small fee or donation towards the cost of the costs of vaccination, neutering and microchipping.


Settling in

It is understandable for your dog to be unsettled or stressed during the first few weeks of settling in. Even if your dog is house trained, there may be a few accidents at first. It’s a good idea to give them your full attention and praise during this time to help get them used to their new lifestyle. Being consistent with their new routine will also help build their confidence in their new environment.

Any issues?

Keep in touch with the re-homing shelter or charity that your dog came from. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice at any time should you have any problems or questions. It’s not unusual for a dog to react negatively to a new situation, especially when it has had a bad experience in the past. The re-homing process can be confusing for dogs that are sensitive to change. Staff at the centre can help you deal with any behavioural issues should they arise.

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