Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How To Choose A Dog From A Rescue Centre

I have a guest blogger with me today from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a UK charity promoting the care and welfare of animals.

If you’ve decided to welcome a dog into your family and have also decided to choose one who is currently residing in a rescue centre then first of all – congratulations!  You’ve made a good choice – choosing one of the many rescue dogs for adoption is the right thing to do.  There are more dogs in the UK (and US) than there are responsible owners and whenever people choose to buy dogs from specialist breeders the problem will continue to increase.

"Two Puppies"
But how do you choose from the many dogs housed in rescue centres?  The average person looking for a rescue dog for adoption will be a family member looking for a dog who will fit into their lives and home.  There are many dogs awaiting adoption who simply won’t fit that mould – they need extra time, special attention and training to be cared for properly.

The important thing to remember is that you have to go to the rescue centre with a pretty good idea of what sort of dog you want before you get there.  It’s just too easy to see all the dogs and fall for their sad little faces and big puppy eyes and then end up with a dog whose temperament or behaviour just doesn’t fit with your family or home situation. 

You can search online for specific breeds that crop up in rescue centres quite frequently – you don’t have to choose a mongrel or mixed-breed dog just because you’re choosing one from a shelter or animal charity.  You can also phone round the local rescue centres and ask about specific breeds (or particular sizes or temperaments) and ask for your name and number to be taken in case a suitable dog becomes available. 

Check the rescue centre’s ‘return policy’ – a reputable rescue centre will accept the return of a dog at any time during its life for any reason.  You shouldn’t expect to get any money back, but it is a good indication of a reputable shelter that they should be willing to accept long-term responsibility for the dogs that they arrange to be re-homed.

As part of the adoption process, you should be able to see the dog you are considering adopting away from the shelter’s enclosures.  Dogs can behave very differently inside enclosed spaces than they do outside and with several people present and it’s important that you choose a dog that you know will suit the life you have planned for them.

Check whether the dogs at the rescue centre are tested for temperament and behaviour and whether a history is available for the dog you are interested in (why was the dog taken into the rescue centre?  Is there a history of biting?  Has the dog lived with children previously and, if so, of what age were those children?). 

If you don’t have a particular breed in mind, then at least have a type of behavior in mind – do you want an energetic dog, a lap dog, a dog that will enjoy playing with the family?  Trust your instincts that are based on clear research and consideration and enjoy the benefits of giving a rescue dog a home for life.

You may want to look into pet insurancequotes (RSPCA Pet Insurance) to make sure that you are covered in case of illness with your dog.  The RSPCA is a UK charity promoting the care and welfare of animals. RSPCA pet insurance will look after your dog in the case of an accident, and 20% of the policy premium goes straight back into the charity.

No comments: