It’s estimated that 130,000 dogs end up at rehoming charities every single year. Battersea alone takes in an average of 13 every day while Dogs Trust cares for 15,000 each year. These are not small numbers, which is why these rescue services implore you to ‘adopt not shop.’
While giving a home to a dog in need is incredibly rewarding – there are a few things to consider before you do because of course, not all rescue dogs have had a difficult past, but many have.
So, what do you need to think about before you make this huge decision?
Do you have the time?
This is an important question to consider before getting any dog whether they are a rescue or not. But, it’s even more important with a rescue dog because they may have issues such as separation anxiety so you can’t just start to leave them alone for hours every day.
Likewise, they might require training for much longer than a puppy would and for issues that a puppy wouldn’t have – are you willing to spend time doing this?
Do you have the patience?
With those potential issues in mind, do you have the patience? Are you willing to help them overcome issues that may have built up over years of neglect?
Giving them a loving home isn’t an instant cure – it could take months, if not more. You need to ensure you’re prepared for this.
Adults aren’t easier than puppies…
As mentioned above, you need time and patience with a rescue dog whatever age they are.
If you are choosing a rescue because you think they will be easier than a puppy or expect them not to need toilet training or socializing, then you are wrong. Many will require this and it may be far harder – and take much longer – to overcome.
Can you commit long-term?
While you are doing a wonderful thing by giving a rescue dog a home, if you can’t cope and end up taking that dog back to the rescue center you got it from, then you might end up doing more harm than good.
Are you likely to give up if the issues your dog has can’t be resolved quickly? Are your circumstances likely to change?
Some rescue dogs have very specific requirements such as not being comfortable around young children – are you likely to be having a baby in a few years or do you have children that might have babies of their own soon?
You need to not only consider your circumstances right now but also in the long-term as well.
Can you afford it?
Can you afford the long-term commitment?
Rescue dogs might be older – which means insurance is more expensive and there is a chance they will develop health conditions that come with age – can you afford the potential vet bills?
That’s on top of everything else you need to buy from one-off purchases such as dog beds to ongoing expenses such as food.
What breed is right for you?
You may not have a preference on breed but before committing to a dog, make sure you research the breed and learn everything you need to know about it.
You might fall in love with the dog itself but is the breed the right fit for you? All breeds are different and some may be more compatible with your life than others.
Could you foster first?
Many rescue centers offer you the opportunity to foster their dogs. This might be a good place to start – that way you can see if it fits in with your life and is right for you – without making that long-term commitment.
It may be that you end up keeping the dog you foster because they are perfect for you but if not, you will still be giving them a home while they look for a permanent one.
If you have answered all the above and you feel that rehoming a rescue dog is right for you – great! You’ll give that dog a second chance at life and reap so many rewards from doing that yourself.
But, if you’re still not sure then don’t rush into anything, take a little more time to think about it because there is nothing more heartbreaking – for you and the dog – than having to take them back again.