Adopting A Dog: Questions You Need To Answer
So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and adopt a dog?
May I start by asking “why”?
Don’t get me wrong; it’s a fantastic, worthwhile and benevolent thing to do and, as we all know, dogs are said to be great company!
Here are some of the reasons you may have for taking this decision:
1. “The kids have been on to us”…………Beware!
Make sure the kids know that their new dog will be a big commitment for all the family, not just for the grown-ups! Sure, it will enjoy the love and play which they can offer but, on a practical note, will also need exercise and help with feeding, grooming and occasional trips to the vets.
Make sure the children know that this is a live animal with needs of its own and will need patience and commitment from them, to help it to settle and become part of the family
2)” It’ll make a great Christmas present for granny”…….
Yes, it would but, for similar reasons to above, it is not a soft toy but a living, breathing and “needy” animal! However small, a dog will still require a fair bit of attention, as in regular exercise, and you need to make sure for both granny’s and the dog’s sakes that she is up to the job! Is she fit, steady on her feet and able to remember to feed him (and shut the door so he doesn’t run off?!)
3) “We’re only out of the house when we’re at work, so it can guard the property”……..
maybe an uncommon reason for having a dog, depending on where you live but do remember that dogs generally don’t like being left alone, so make sure you will only be leaving it for a few hours at a time; no good for the “9 to 5” brigade of workers!
Having taken all this into consideration and you’ve also budgeted for its food and care, then you’re ready to check out some of the reliable, professional and ethical places to go to find your new canine friend!:
Dog rehoming centres and shelters:
Of course, if you have a particular breed in mind, of which there are so many up for adoption, you could contact the following:
(not that I’m biased, are anything!!)
Take your time searching their websites and go with your instinct as to which breed you like and will suit your lifestyle.
Once you’ve taken this important (indeed, life-changing!) decision to adopt a dog, wouldn’t it be nice to hear about someone’s own personal experience of doing just that?
Well, you’re in luck; here is our personal story of the process involved………
“My husband and I had both always wanted to have a dog from as long as we can remember but, for one reason or another, our families had a succession of cats, ducks etc.. not quite the same thing!
So, once we got married, we took the decision to adopt and, my husband having always had a soft spot for greyhounds, we decided to invite “greyhound rescue” (www.greyhoundrescue.org.uk) into our small rural home to do the necessary checks of suitability for our new canine friend!
What do these checks involve? Here are some of the things they will ask you to consider:
1) Are you out of the house for long periods at a time?
If so, then perhaps adopting a dog is not for you. Dogs love the company and it is unfair to leave them alone – what would be the point of having a dog if you’re not at home to enjoy its company and nurture it?
2) Are there small children, cats or other dogs in the house?
Greyhounds, in particular, are very gentle creatures and usually perfectly behaved around young children. However, they may be “spooked” if the children get over-excited, scream and shout around them, so you need to ensure the children treat the animal with respect.
As for our feline friends, there are some greyhounds which will be cat-friendly but you would need to check the history with the adoption centre (i.e. Have they ever come into contact – successfully! – with any cats?)
Lastly, dogs will be dogs, so it depends entirely on the breed you have as to whether your new, adopted dog will get on with any you may already have at home. Best way – take yours with you to meet the adoptive dog at its centre, so they can get used to the idea of being together!
3) Do you have an enclosed space where the dog can be let out, for toileting and exercise?
You don’t need to have an acre of land but it is important that you can let the dog outside and know that it is a secure space (even a patio).
You may live near a park or field that is fully enclosed but you must always be mindful of other dogs off the lead, as it is your responsibility at all times to keep your dog under control (i.e. don’t let it off the lead until you know it can behave itself around other dogs and/or won’t end up in the next town or village!)
4) An obvious point but, have you consider you have enough left over in your monthly budget for food, *pet insurance* and any trips to the vets (annual booster jab etc) and *kennel stays*?
Fortunately, in our experience, greyhounds, in particular, seem to be a very healthy breed; they have a good diet of dry crunch (NEVER OVERFEED ANY DOG!) and are pedigrees, which have been bred (rightly or wrongly) for efficiency, top speeds on the race track and agility.
That said, we have to allow about £40 per month for a large bag of dry dog food and also pet insurance. For any trips to the vets, we have paid about £60- 100 for annual boosters and then there are kennel fees if you fancy a weekend away on holiday without your dog. We always visit the local kennels first to check they are suitable and they charge about £15 per day/nightly stay.
*More on pet insurance/ kennels later!!*
You may be wondering if it is possible to adopt, or rehome a dog for free? It is advisable to consider the life-long cost of owning a dog, so it is a really false economy and unrealistic to receive a dog for free into your home and then be faced with the cost of looking after your pet for the rest of its lifetime!
Better to give a small contribution to the rehoming or adoption centre, to help with its ongoing costs and the worthy work it does.
Furthermore, they will often give you a starter pack of a lead, inoculations and a clean bill of health from the vet – surely all of that is worth the small contribution they will ask?!
Of course, a sad time may come when, for whatever reason, you may have to consider rehoming your own dog.
This may be due to a change in your circumstances, such as moving home, financial constraints or your own health issues. It is very important that you offer your dog to a reputable organization which will give you peace of mind in giving your dog a good home:
are just a few of the UK based charities to help in this instance.
Should you be considering taking on a puppy, the following website offers some key tips and advice before embarking on such a challenge!
It is best to contact one of the aforementioned agencies** to rehome an unwanted puppy, as they will go through the necessary checks of both the pet and your own suitability to rehome the animal. This can guarantee a more successful outcome than to contact a puppy breeder.
I know we have been talking dogs, however, here are some other reputable organizations to check out if you want to rehome or adopt a pet:
Pet adoption/rehoming websites:
Home of 280,383 adoptable pets from 11,311 adoption groups.
A non-profit animal rescue sanctuary, based in Los Angeles