For many, the idea of adopting or ‘rescuing’ a dog carries with it a certain image. Some people mistakenly look at dog adoption as if it’s buying cheap, discounted or broken goods but nothing could be further from the truth. As more and more dogs find themselves, through no fault of their own, inside the British dog shelter system, the image of the ‘rescue dog’ is in need of an update.
No longer are shelters the preserve of the ‘problem dog’, but they are packed with dogs of all types, from all manner of backgrounds. Here’s the third in our ten part series guiding you through everything you need to know. You’re now no doubt getting excited and counting down the days before you meet the dog’s you’ve selected as potentially your ideal canine companion, so what should you do next and how do you prepare for meeting them and who should be there?
Bring along as many members of your household as possible. Singles need not worry, but if you have family members or roommates who will be living with a new dog, they should also be involved in meeting the dogs. That might seem ridiculously obvious, but we’ve known many, many people who have adopted dogs and then returned them because "the kids didn’t get along with her" or "she didn’t like my in-laws."
You shouldn’t necessarily let children, especially young ones, influence your decision too much, but you at least need to be sure that they’ll get along with the dog you choose. The family dynamic is influenced greatly by the presence of the dog.
When a dog enters a new home, the first thing that they want to do is find their place in the pack. Good, consistent training is enough for the dog to learn very quickly their role in the family but this transition is made all the easier if introductions to the rest of the family are done as soon as possible. The one thing a dog craves is stability, especially if he or she has been in and out of the welfare system. Meeting all of the family at once is a great way of gradually getting the dog accustomed to its new environment.
Spend time getting to know the dog with the family present, but also take care not to overload the dog’s senses with a whole gang of you at the same time. Let the dog approach you and be warm and welcoming when he or she does. Keep introduction sessions brief so that the dog doesn’t begin to feel pressured or anxious, it can be an odd experience for a dog that is used to solitude to suddenly become overwhelmed with human contact from new people, but its something they’ll happily get used to over the next exciting few weeks as you get to know each other.
Don’t be surprised if the rescue ask you to meet the dog more than once, this is something some rescues do as a matter of process so that the dogs are able to build up a relationship with you before they come home. There are an estimated 100k dogs in adoption centres around Britain.
Sometimes dogs arrive in rescue centres through natural causes such as owners passing away. Very often though dogs are simply abandoned for no other reason that poor decisions on behalf of hasty owners. Please, please, please take on board all of the information about what it takes to maintain a dog in a happy home. Dogs really are a lifelong commitment and they deserve the security of a stable home environment. You CAN get a superb, lifelong companion from a rescue…but be absolutely certain you are ready for the challenge. If you are, you will enjoy a relationship like no other!