Rehome a Rescue Dog This Christmas
Could you give a rescue dog a loving forever home? If you are thinking of getting a dog this Christmas, spare a thought for all those dogs who have been abandoned and could be a real joy to own. Most people want puppies which does have lots of plus factors, but whilst looking cute and cuddly, puppies are a lot of hard work which can be overlooked. Taking in a rescue dog would also be hard work depending on its background, but so very rewarding and these dogs really do appreciate your love.
The Dogs Trust have reported that in 2015/2016 there was a slight decline of 21% in the handling of stray dogs by the local authorities. This is good news, but during this period 81,050 strays were picked up by the local authorities, which is still shocking. From this figure 37,000 dogs were unclaimed and in kennels. It is very worrying to know that 1 in 8 of these dogs, facing the threat of being put to sleep, could have been reunited with their families if their microchip details had been kept up to date!
Microchipping your dog became compulsory in April 2016, so we are hoping there will be a significant downward trend now. However, it is imperative that dog owners remember to keep the details up to date on the pet log. Its very easy to do online, so when your address or telephone number changes, always remember to update your dog’s chip details. Penalties do apply if this is overlooked and your dog is taken in local authority care. Your local vet can check the microchip and always help if you experience a problem with the updating.
The RSPCA report that on average every 30 seconds someone in England and Wales calls their 24-hour cruelty line for help. In 2016 they received 1,153,744 phone calls.
In addition to The Dogs Trust, RSPCA and Blue Cross, there are now many dog rescue centres around the UK. Many of these rescue and rehome dogs from abroad. Whilst it is said there are many dogs waiting to be rehomed in the UK, the dogs that are rescued from countries such as Cyprus, Romania, the Balkans and other European countries do come from disgusting living conditions. Most have never experienced a loving home or a roof to sleep under and will undoubtedly have experienced neglect and abuse and some have lived constantly chained up. Many are rescued from kill shelters, often with hours to spare. The majority of imported rescues are street dogs so are likely to be used to the presence of humans and traffic and often may be friendly and happy to be approached. However, some rescues are feral dogs and will be very unfamiliar with having contact with people and will need a lot of socialisation and time spending with them before being offered for rehoming.
All rescues coming to the UK from abroad will be neutered, chipped and vaccinated and the requested adoption fees for rehoming only cover the costs of vet fees and kennelling unlike The Dogs Trust and RSPCA which are businesses and have salaries to pay. The majority of rescue centres will offer backup help so you can be sure there is always someone to give advice and help if you need it. The Dogs Trust now has Dog School and offers a full range of training at all its centres. Most rescues will have a dog behaviourist who can help with any developing behavioural problems.
Some people just want to foster a dog and these people are invaluable in bridging the gap between a dog coming out of kennels and going to its forever home. Fostering helps to settle and socialise the dog and help it adapt to living in a home.
All rescue centres will require a home check before rehoming a dog and this entails a quick visit from a representative of the rescue to visit the potential adopter or foster family to make sure the home is the right one for each specific dog. Getting the right fit for the family and the dog is very important as the last thing wanted is for the dog to be returned to the rescue for the process to be repeated which is the worst thing to happen for the dog and can cause major anxiety.
The first few days for a newly adopted dog in its new home must be taken carefully. The dog will be confused and anxious and not sure what to expect from you. Setting boundaries and clear structure from day one will help. Training your new dog will start from day one so make sure everyone in the family uses the same command words and routine which will help the dog learn quickly.
Moving into your home will be stressful so give your new dog time to acclimatise and do not over fuss him. Let him make the decision to approach. As time goes on, he will need time to play but also some periods of solitary confinement. Don’t be tempted to give a lot of attention if he seems unsettled and whining. Always give attention for good behaviour and ignore the bad.
Foreign rescue dogs will not be used to having a collar and lead and may find a harness, which avoids pressure on the neck, more comfortable to accept. The dog can sleep in the harness initially to get him used to wearing it, occasionally taking if off and putting it back on, to get him used to the process.
Many street dogs will be comfortable around other friendly dogs and a confident resident dog could boost a new dog’s confidence and help him settle quicker into the family, so don’t be put off if you already have a dog.
The culture shock of being in your home will be huge as his other life will have been spent searching for food, roaming and finding a safe place to sleep with his other street dog companions. Give your new dog a dog bed or dog mattress in a space he can call his own, with cosy blankets for warmth. Be patient and mindful that all the household items and noises that you and your other pets are used to, will take time for him to adjust to. He will be completely dependent on you for everything so take it slowly – no raised voice or hand, keep treats with you at all times so you can reward good behaviour and you will have a loyal friend for life.
Not all rescues are street dogs though, and there are many in the UK that have just been given up for rehoming for many different reasons. So spare a thought for all homeless dogs before you go looking for a puppy.
Paws Plus One Supports The Animal Team which is a registered charity and provides an essential link between Rescues, Rescue People and Volunteers. Their homecheck and transport groups not only provide Rescues with the ability to expand their rehoming areas, but the promptness in getting checks and runs covered also mean a quicker turnover of Rescue spaces, this in turn enables more animals to be saved.
Your support helps us support dog charities like the Animal Team and other great dog causes, if you would like to know more please do not hesitate to contact us