Adopting a Rescue Dog

Why do dogs end up at rescue?

Well there are several reasons that a dog may end up in rescue, unintentional neglect, death of the owner, abuse, training (or lack of issues) and what I call Christmas purchases (but in reality these could be any kind of spur of the moment purchase).   Whilst you might think that dogs abandoned and handed to charities are kept until new homes are found, with the exception of a few, many just dont have the room to keep every dog and will have a policy of putting those to sleep who have been at the shelter too long or have proved impossible to home.   In 2016 over 20,000 dogs were destroyed, many would have just been somebodys pet and perfectly healthy apart from the fact they were unwanted.

Unscrupulous breeders who turn out thousands of dogs for profit with little care to where they end up have a big part to play in causing this problem and whilst there is now additional legislation limiting breeders, its still a massive issue that means prospective buyers should definitely pay extra care when looking at buying a dog to make sure they are making the right choice for their family.

Unintentional Neglect?

Some people just dont realise that their pet is sick or has a problem that a vet needs to investigate – a bad worm infestation, lice, fleas that go untreated – even overfeeding can be a serious issue for a dog.   Often in these cases Charities will seek to help the owner to correct the underlying problem and imrpove the knowledge of the dogs owner, but where an owner is unwilling or objectionable to change the charity may remove the dog.


This is one I personally hate to see, I always feel that where a dog is being abused the owner is just one step away from doing the same to a human and that this particular circumstance should involve a serious look at the perpetrator.   The problem here is that an abused dog can turn one way or another – fearful or aggressive – either way for the dog the outlook isn’t good – a dog with issues is unlikely to be ab easy candidate for adoption.

Such dogs need an experienced home, where time and patience can help them recover and these are not so easy to come by.

Death of an owner?

In such cases where the owner has died you might find a perfectly behaved dog thats maybe a little older yet many years of life yet, they will likely be house trained and present very few issues for a new owner.

Christmas Purchase?

Puppies are cute?  Of course when they are a little ball of fluff they may seem like a great gift, but puppies grow up, they chew things, and if not housetrained they will use your house like the garden litter tray!   For non doggie families this can be the last straw and through no fault of their own a perfectly wonderful dog can end up at a shelter – and since most only have limited space – can leave these dogs on death row.

Such dogs generally just need training and time to become your perfect pet.

What can you expect when you rescue a dog?

Depending on the circumstances the dog ended up at the shelter, you can expect your new dog to fit in pretty much straight away, to a little bit of toilet and manners training, to a serious need for time, patience and consistent training to help your dog recover from emotional or physical trauma.

Therefore you need to appreciate that all the questions the shelter ask about you, your family and your situation are necessary to ensure that once the dog leaves the shelter it is going into the right environment and home.   Answer anything asked honestly and as fully as possible, as much as you may want a particular dog, be guided by the rescue – they see the dogs every day and will know small details that will be noted as to the dogs suitability.

When you get your rescue dog home, give them time to adjust, love care, walks and a good diet and the right dog will reward you with loyalty and love in return.

Happy Dog Days!

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