Dog shelters come in a shapes and sizes. Some shelters take dogs in from the streets, some only rescue dogs that are abused or neglected, some shelters take in limited numbers of dogs but never put a dog down, some take in many, so have to euthanize some due to limited space, all these lovely dogs with no home! All shelters try to find homes for the dogs, but so many dogs and so few homes. Some shelters are so stringent with their adoption procedures that very few dogs get re homed. In this day and age, most people have to work, but if you are working full time many shelters will not allow you to get a dog. Take note though, if you go armed with a dog walkers details and plans to have them walked mid-day whilst at work, many will allow this. Unfortunately due to the difficulty in rescuing a dog, some really good homes do not rescue and instead buy a puppy from a breeder.
There are shelters that the dog wardens take the dogs to, this is not the RSPCA as is often mistakenly thought, but usually a small kennels that take in dogs, keep them for a week for their owners to be found; if no luck, they then have a week to be re homed; if still no luck, they are put down, the end of a life! One of my dogs came in this way, mistakenly I said ”oh what a beautiful dog” and the reply was ”she’s on her way to be put to sleep!” so I came home with her! Due to this quick turnover, huge volume of unwanted dogs and ultimately not wanting them put to sleep,
these places tend to be very easy to get a dog from, but they will not generally be vaccinated, neutered and often have kennel cough, the dogs also do not come with a personality guide unlike many of the shelters that do not put dogs to sleep, so not a good idea for a novice dog handler.
Please try and support your local small rescue centres who are run on a shoestring budget by volunteers instead of the large multinationals.
Many rescues will try to match the dog with their new family. They may know if a dog is good with other dogs, children, cats, any issues it may have, things it likes, things it doesn’t, so be prepared for many questions as how can they make a good match without asking many questions, such as:-
Do you have children? How old are they?
Do you have any other pets?
Do you work? If so, how long, if not, are you trying to get a job, and when you do, what are your plans for your dog?
What training will you do?
Why do you want a puppy? (Believe me an older rescue is MUCH easier, if they tick all the boxes you have a good idea that they are great, puppies can be destructive, need a lot of attention, noisy, messy etc.)
How often will you visit the vets?
There are many things to consider when rescuing a dog:-
Do you already have dogs? Introducing a new dog should be done with care.
Type of dog to consider
If you have a young family and want a dog to be social and cuddly, a Bull Dog or a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are great dogs.
If you have allergy sufferers in your family, low shedding types such as a Poodle or Schnauzer are often the go to dogs
If you are a runner, a carriage dog such as Dalmatian can run with you all day.
If you are a walker who will play with your dog, Springer Spaniels are full of fun and energy but generally like to be with you.
If you have limited abilities to walk but can be with the dog, a pug or a greyhound may just be the dog for you.
A great dog for a companion dog is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, they are usually great with people and often very good with cats, wanting loving and not liking going out in the rain, just beware they may not be so keen on other dogs.
A good all round house dog, German Shepherds have to be the one for me.
The Adoption Process
There are hundreds of adoption centres all around the country, some have very strict rules, house visits and follow-ups, some are just happy they can get the dog a home instead of having to Euthanize it.
If you are new to keeping a dog, you would be better going to a centre that knows about the dogs they have in and can give you direction and support in choosing the right dog for you, if you are more knowledgeable, one of the centres that have a fast turnover of dogs may be the one for you. If you already have pets, they may like to meet them, and all the family.You should be able to visit and interact with your dog before you make your final choice.
Some centres do an elderly dog scheme where you get support if you get an elderly dog (sometimes this is as young as 8 years young), and elderly dogs are often much easier than younger counterparts.
Most centres charge an adoption fee, this varies from place to place. Some will send you home with a fully vaccinated, neutered dog.There is no law saying they should be spayed, but many do this to prevent further pregnancies,but do check what you get for your money.
The whole process usually takes around a week.