For this blog we decided to look in to the process of adopting a dog and the frequently asked questions surrounding that. We reached out to various dog rehoming centres for key advice they would give someone looking to adopt, as well as suggestions on what areas to cover. We also posted about this on our Facebook page to gather the thoughts of our followers and experienced opinions of those who have previously adopted dogs. Hopefully this helps answer any concerns or pre-conceived notions you have regarding dog rehoming.
How Does the Adoption Process Normally Work?
‘Many Tears Animal Rescue’ says: “Adopting a dog is the same as getting married”.
First things first, it’s vital that you have a detailed chat with your local rescue centre to be sure that you are making the right decision for you and the dog.
Most of the time, it is customary for the person considering adopting a dog to go and visit the home directly and have a good look for themselves. Sometimes that person may have already chosen a specific breed or even a particular dog which they will have seen via a ‘Rehoming’ section on the website.
If an individual finds their perfect pooch and wishes to adopt, they are required to complete a number of application forms that usually cover personal details, dog ownership experience, life & work situation, home settings and your dog preferences - i.e. - level of behaviour training, health, sociability and comfortability around other pets.
It’s imperative that everyone in the household meets the dog at the rescue centre. This helps rule out allergies or pre-existing concerns that people may have. It’s normal to pay at least two or more trips before a home visit is sanctioned.
By welcoming the dog into your home for the first time, you are allowing it to experience its new surroundings and smells. Doing this in small stages helps ease them in and de-stress any nerves.
Once the dog is accustomed enough to your home, and the paperwork is approved and the adoption fees are met (typically £135 for adults and £200 for puppies under 6 months old according to the ‘RSPCA’ website), then the dog can be collected from the centre and move in permanently to start a new chapter of their life.
What Do I need to Think About Beforehand?
One key thing to do your research on, is to ensure that you adopt from a certified rescue centre and not from an “unknown breeder” who is untrustworthy or lacks profile.
Sadly, there are quite a few fake and dodgy rescue sites online which makes it all the more important to do background checks. You can use www.RescueReview.com to clarify this.
Adoption is a big responsibility. After all, you’re adding a new addition to your family and that means thinking carefully about whether adopting in this instance is in the interest of both parties. That’s why compatibility is crucial.
Do your research on the breed prior to enquiring .This saves so many pups from finding homes only to be taken back to the shelters because it wasn’t the right fit.
There are big practical considerations such as: Who will feed it, walk it and be responsible for medical care.
‘Bristol Animal Rescue Centre’ stresses new owners must consider “how having a dog will affect their lifestyle” as a family and what “changes they need to make to accommodate the dog’s needs”.
Most importantly, is the dog’s mental wellbeing. They also highlighted that “Finding a breed that is compatible with your lifestyle is important”, this is to ensure that you can give them all the "exercise and attention" they duly need.
How Important is Pet Insurance & What Does it Normally Cover?
Pet insurance helps contribute towards standard veterinary care, as well as treatment and operations your dog may urgently require. It effectively reimburses the cost for certain medical expenses.
Cheltenham Animal Shelter were keen to point out that new owners should “always take out the best insurance you can afford". This way you are guaranteed to have regular medical checks and procedures covered. "Major operations, investigations and CT scans can cost several thousand pounds".
‘Many Tears Animal Rescue’ gave us some brilliant insight in to what an insurance plan may look like.
They provide a 4-week insurance through “PetPlan” which covers dogs "immediately after adoption". Unfortunately, "pre-existing conditions are not coverable" so it is a priority for new owners to be "aware of any medical history" prior to the adoption.
This means thinking about how those things might affect the dog’s needs and requirements but also help you to decide whether to go forwards with the adoption.
All trusted dog’s homes will provide this information before the final decision is made.
How Can I Help My Dog Settle in Quickly?
The approach you take with your new dog can define the quality of life they have in your home. There are plenty of behavioural and human qualities that are essential in answering the question - “How can I help my dog to settle?”.
It’s all about creating and maintaining an affinity between owner and dog, but you can’t expect too much too soon. It can take several months to see your dog’s true behaviours and for them to feel fully settled.
Cheltenham Animal Shelter had some key pieces of advice regarding home comfort. “Try and learn their language. Take time to understand what they are telling us and remember their behaviour is caused by an emotion. We can’t ‘fix’ a behaviour without looking at the emotion first”.
They also suggested providing “a good and complete diet. Nutrition plays a big role in determining a dog’s behaviour and medical wellness”.
Dog toys are also an obvious must have and you can never have too many!
Ultimately, it’s all about building trust through care and affection. Why get a dog if you aren’t going to treat it as an equal?
What Are the Positives of Adopting From A Dog's Home?
Making the decision to adopt from a rehoming centre is incredibly worthwhile if you can get the balance right. By providing that dog a home you are giving them a better life which benefits them both mentally and physically. For many it offers the chance to develop a new sacred bond as well as a friendship.
The Dogs Trust offers some wise words of encouragement. "Dogs are social animals who generally enjoy spending time with their humans. The benefits go both ways".
Having a dog can have such a positive impact on a person's mental health which has been invaluable over the last couple of years.
It is seen by many as a great life challenge and the adaptation process certainly makes it worth the wait. Your patience and understanding will be rewarded for the rest of your dog’s life.
We would like to offer our sincere gratitude to Bristol Animal Rescue Centre, Cheltenham Animal Shelter, Dogs Trust and Many Tears Animal Rescue for their help and advice as well as our wonderful Facebook followers for their pawsome suggestions on this topic.
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