Adopt don’t shop: Advice for fostering rescue dogs

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Whether you’re rehoming a dog from a dog pound or buying a puppy from a responsible breeder, adopting a dog is a big commitment. If you are considering rehoming a dog from a local dog shelter, don’t forget to think about the following questions before making a decision.

What time and resources are required for rehoming a dog? Dogs naturally cost money to feed and house, but you will also need to be able to provide them with veterinary care if they need it, as well as flea and worming prevention, vaccinations, bedding, a collar, a lead and harness, toys, grooming… the list goes on.

Will rehoming a dog fit my lifestyle?

If you work 10-hour days and live in a flat then rehoming a dog that is highly active and large may not be the best idea. Dogs need your attention daily to play, exercise and interact with you, keeping them happy and mentally stimulated as well as taking them on daily walks. If you like to travel a lot, you might need to consider a pet passport, a dog sitting/dog boarding, or trying some dog-friendly hotels so you can take them with you!

Is my home suitable for a rescue dog?

Do you have a garden available for a dog to play in? Is it secure so that the dog can’t escape and run off? Even if this is a no, some people may live a short walk away from a dog park or field where their dog can exercise and let off steam.

Am I prepared for a rescue dog that might have special requirements?

Many rescue dogs for adoption come with baggage, be that physical or emotional. Many have been abandoned, some mistreated and an enormous amount end up at animal shelters and rescue centres through no fault of their own. However, this can leave them with issues such as separation anxiety or hostility towards other dogs/cats/children. It may be a good idea to swat up on how to introduce pets to one another.

Am I willing to put in the hours to train a rescue dog?

As with any pet, you may need to dedicate some of your time to training your dog or puppy. Some rescue dogs come house trained but may lack in the recall department, whilst others may have never received any basic command training or socialisation opportunities. Your job is to patiently guide your dog through these abilities. Please be aware that some rescue dogs may have experienced situations that mean they may have ongoing issues, which you will have to prepare for.

Am I prepared for dog adoption centre checks?

Many rescue centres, such as Dogs Trust, want to ensure that all of their dogs are going to suitable homes. Expect the centre to want to know about you and your family, your occupation and lifestyle and, in some cases, inspect your home for suitability.

Ultimately, dog rehoming can be highly rewarding and you end up with a faithful companion – be that through dachshund rescue, staffy rescue, or Newfoundland rescue. Do be prepared to put in the work to help them with their training, confidence and development to bring out the best in them. As always, taking on any dog is a lifelong commitment, both financially and in terms of time. Be aware that some rescue dogs may have a past, but in many cases ended up at a rescue centre through no fault of their own.

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