When it comes to choosing a breed many people have a desire for a certain breed – a Labrador, German shepherd, Spaniel or whatever. But when it comes down to brass tacks, the economics of the situation, we can not always afford the price of a purebred puppy. Life and family get in the way, competing for the finances. This is where Dog Rescues can step into the breach and fill a need.
Dog Rescues are run by people who care deeply about dogs that have been mistreated, abandoned or given up on by their previous owners. The whole aim of these organizations is to find a new home with caring parents so these unfortunate dogs can live the rest of their lives in a secure and loving environment.
Dog rescues normally cater for a particular breed of dog. This makes life easy as once you’ve found one for the breed you are interested in then it’s simply a case of registering and waiting for the right dog to come in. Usually they will have a contact list which will keep you informed when new dogs come in.
Finding a dog rescue can be as simple as looking in your yellow pages or searching on the internet. Doing a regional search by putting your city in the search terms will produce the nearest results to you.
One thing you must be prepared for with a Dog Rescue is the third-degree investigation into your suitability as a potential adoptive parent. Don’t worry – they stop short of the bright lights and the coshes.
Be prepared to give them details on previous dog ownership, your family, your house and yard and where you plan on keeping the dog. They will also want to know about your experience training dogs and how you discipline your dog. And they will also spend time talking with you, trying to assess your character and how it will fit in with the particular dog you are thinking of adopting.
Be patient – there’s a good reason for this. All they are trying to do is make sure that you and the dog are a perfect fit. The last thing they want is for the dog to return to them at some time in the future. These dogs have already lost out once. Often they have suffered abuse and neglect and have fears and neuroses. The whole aim of the Dog Rescue is to avoid that happening again and give the dog a good chance of living a happy life for the rest of its days.
So, having said all this, what can you expect from a rescue dog? The obvious difference will be the price you will pay. Expect to pay a couple of hundred dollars as opposed to the $1000+ for a purebred puppy.
Why so much for a rescue dog? You’ve got to remember that these dogs have often been abused or neglected and arrive at the Dog Rescue in a poor state. They often have ticks, fleas, skin problems, worms and poor or no vaccination records.
All of these things have to be treated before the dog can be considered ready for re-adoption. So the couple of hundred dollars is easily swallowed up by vet bills, feed bills etc.
Which brings up another issue. Due to his previous ownership and possible abuse and neglect, be prepared to accept that the dog you adopt may have need for further treatment to repair the damage done by previous owners. So there may be an ongoing cost for further treatment. Over time your rescue dog may cost you more.
You can also expect your rescue dog to be older. Adolescent and older dogs are more liable to be rescued than puppies. There’s an upside to this as older dogs have developed their personality so it’s easier to get an idea of the dogs’ temperament and match it to your needs.
This matching of dog and adoptive parent goes both ways. You have to ask yourself if you are right for a rescue dog.
Leaving aside the cost factors, there are a number of things you have to ask yourself:
- Is my life and household stable enough for such a dog. Due to the previous abuse, such dogs need a stable loving environment to repair the mental damage they have suffered.
- Can I, or my family, provide the daily care, grooming and medical care that may be required?
- Can I provide the training, or re-training, that may be required? Abused dogs often have incontinence problems that can take a long time to cure. Some dogs also need house training again. Can you face that?
- What age and sex dog do I want? Is an older dog better suited to your household? Many Dog Rescues have problems finding homes for males dogs for some reason. Could you be an exception and provide a home for a male dog?
For obvious reasons many of the best prospective parents for such dogs are older couples. Usually their children have grown and flown the nest and they have the time on their hands to give the dog the care and attention it needs for full recovery from both the physical and mental stress it has suffered.
There is one other advantage to a rescue dog over a purebred puppy. Once your rescue dog has recovered from the poor treatment of his previous owners, then you will have a dog that appreciates exactly what you’ve done for him. He’s experienced the bad and knows he’s now got it good. The result is a friendly, loyal companion for life.