Rescuing a dog is a kind and meaningful thing to do. It’s giving a beautiful soul a second chance in life – a chance to move past their suffering and sadness, get back on their paws and start enjoying life again in a comfortable home surrounded by loving and caring people.
In spite of this, many people still choose to buy their new dog from a breeder instead of adopting. Why is that?
There are many misconceptions about rescue dogs and the adoption process. For some would-be dog owners, these myths are enough to prevent them from considering rescue.
Do you have any fears or concerns about rescuing a dog? If you do, you’re certainly not alone, but we guess you’d like some clarity! That’s why we’ve put together this helpful list of the top misconceptions about rescue dogs. If your concern isn’t listed below, get in touch with us or your local rescue centre to ask for more information.
I won’t be able to rescue a puppy
Puppies are a popular choice for people looking to get a dog, and it’s not just because they’re cute. Some people just prefer the idea of being in a dog’s life from their very first months. Many would-be dog owners who want a puppy turn to a breeder because they think you can only adopt older dogs – but this simply isn’t true.
Many dog rescue centres have puppies waiting to be adopted. Some are rescued from cruel breeders and puppy farms, and others have actually been born in the shelter. Sadly, many expectant mothers are abandoned because their owners cannot or don’t want to deal with the puppies, and so shelters often have litters of puppies available for adoption.
I’m inexperienced so I won’t be allowed to rescue
First-time dog owners can definitely adopt a rescue dog! If you’re eager to get a bundle of fluff, don’t turn to a breeder just because you’re inexperienced. No two rescue dogs are the same, but neither are rescuers!
Unless they were born at the centre, rescue dogs waiting to be rehomed have experienced another life, and some of their stories are tales of neglect, cruelty and great sadness. Understandably, some rescue dogs have unique challenges to overcome. In these cases, rescue centre staff might decide that the dog should only be rehomed by someone who is experienced. However, this isn’t to say that first-time dog owners can’t make wonderful rescuers!
Some dogs have ended up in a shelter simply because their owner could no longer care for them, or sadly passed away. In these cases, as with puppies, dogs just want a loving and committed family. You could be the perfect match! Just because you don’t have experience doesn’t mean the rescue centre won’t consider you. They will work with you to find your ideal canine companion, one that fits with your experience, circumstances, home and lifestyle.
Remember, if you’re not ready for a dog (regardless of your experience), you shouldn’t adopt or buy from a breeder. Find out if you’re ready to get a dog with these 6 questions!
I can’t rescue as I don’t have a garden
Again, don’t let this put you off enquiring at a dog rescue centre. Some dogs really need outdoor space, while others will be perfectly happy without a garden – as long as they have somewhere outdoors to exercise, explore and go to the toilet. This space doesn’t have to be a private garden. For example, you might live in a flat right next to a park!
Remember, a rescue centre won’t allow you to adopt a dog that will be unhappy in your home; but with so many dogs up for adoption, you’ll be sure to find the perfect match!
If I rescue, I won’t get the breed I want
Rescue dogs come in all shapes, sizes, ages and breeds. If you have your heart set on a particular breed, there may be a rescue centre near you that specialises in that breed. Rescue centres that are not breed-specific have a range of different purebred and crossbred dogs available for adoption.
Some people assume that all rescue dogs are mixed-breeds, but that isn’t the case. Sadly, many purebred dogs are abandoned – that’s despite their owner having paid a lot of money to buy them from a breeder!
Remember that finding the right rescue dog for you isn’t just about breed and appearance. Cross and mixed-breed dogs make wonderful pets as their behaviour tends to be more mellow, while purebreds have very defined and deep-rooted behavioural traits. Have you done research to find out whether your desired breed is a good fit for you, your household and your lifestyle? Choose the right dog for you!
A rescue dog will be a danger to my kids
This misconception feeds off the belief that all rescue dogs are aggressive or have behavioural challenges, which is untrue. Remember that some rescue dogs have experienced living in a family home with kids, so they’ll be quite happy to make some new young friends.
A rescue centre will never let you adopt a dog that poses a danger to you, your children or your other pets – similarly, they won’t let you adopt a dog that will be unhappy in your care! If it’s not a good fit, it won’t happen. Instead, rescue centre staff will introduce you to dogs that would make the perfect addition to your family.
Keep in mind that no matter which dog you bring into your home, adopted or not, you will need to show your children how to interact safely with their new sibling. Even the most placid dog can harm a child if provoked.
A rescue dog will be stuck in its ways
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. This is untrue, but for many, it’s a barrier to adopting a dog.
It’s possible to train a rescue dog of any age, but some rescues do require a bit more patience and perseverance than others. Some rescue dogs need to be adopted by someone with lots of training experience and limitless time to help them adapt to their new life and overcome challenges. If that’s not you, don’t worry! A rescue centre would never (or should not) pair you up with a dog you were unsuited to.
Besides, many adult rescue dogs have already been trained in their previous home, so you may find welcoming them into yours quite an easy process. If they do need to brush up on their skills or learn new things, it will give you the perfect opportunity to bond.
There’s no need to rescue dogs in the UK
It’s easy to assume that abandoned, maltreated, neglected and abused dogs only exist in other, less developed countries. After all, the UK has the fifth-largest economy in the world and has various laws in place that protect animal welfare, alongside hundreds, if not thousands of animal welfare organisations. However, there is still a lot of improvements to be made. The assumption that there’s no need to rescue dogs in the UK is completely false.
There are hundreds of thousands of abandoned dogs waiting for forever homes in the UK, and each time someone goes to a breeder instead of adopting, a desperate pup loses out on a chance of happiness.
According to recent research by Direct Line Pet Insurance and dogsblog.com, one in four dog rescue centres in the UK are struggling to find room for all the abandoned dogs. Considering there are over 800 dog rescue centres in the UK, that says something about the skyrocketing number of dogs looking for new homes! Meanwhile, centres have lost vital income due to the pandemic, with charity shops having to close, cancelled fundraising events, and reduced donations.
This devastating combination of factors has worsened the dog welfare crisis in the UK, with thousands of dogs being abandoned and in need of new homes.
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