Are you thinking of adding a new member to your family? If so, one of the first questions you need to ask yourself is whether you would like to get a puppy, rehome an adult or rescue a dog.
First let me clarify, there is a difference between rehoming and rescuing. If you are buying or taking an adult dog off someone else as they no longer fit into their life, you are usually rehoming the dog. If you are getting a dog from a Rescue centre, then you are rescuing. For many, the idea of adopting or ‘rescuing’ a dog carries with it an image. Some people mistakenly look at dog adoption as if it’s buying cheap or broken goods, nothing could be further from the truth
As more and more dogs find themselves, through no fault of their own, inside the British dog rescue centre system, the representation of the ‘rescue dog’ is in need of modernisation.
Shelters are not the preserve of the ‘difficulty dog’, but they are crammed with dogs of all breeds and ages, from all types of backgrounds. Some are abandoned as their owner was unable to cope or afford them, in some cases because of a marriage breakup, death or for allergy or medical reasons. What really shocks and upsets me is how many dogs are bought as a fashion accessory and then dumped when they are no longer convenient or another trend has come along.
There is nothing quite as adorable as a puppy. They are cute and cuddly and need you 24/7. You will need to spend a lot of time with them during the first year of their life, helping to shape them into a beautiful teenager, but do not think the hard work ends there, expect to have upto four years of puppy like behavior. As they grow, you mould their behaviour.
If you adopt a dog, you may skip the destructive and difficult puppy stages and jump straight to the pleasure. You will need to spend the first few months helping them to feel safe and secure, remember, they have been left alone before.
The choice to take on any dog should never be taken lightly and the whole family must be supportive of the idea or there can be problems before the new family member arrives. I have had clients who have got a dog as the children wanted one but the parents clearly did not want, or love the dog and the dogs know they are unwanted and unloved and I have been called to assess why they are having problems!
Dogs are very perceptive and do suffer from loneliness, stress, anxiety and depression and also grieve from lost owners and friends. Owners often do not appreciate this total loyalty that dogs can offer and some take on dogs without understanding what a commitment taking on a dog really is.
If you have young children, it may be advisable to wait a while to get a dog as young children can accidentally hurt the dog and vice versa. If you do get a dog, a rescue that has a proven record with children may be a good idea.
Remember that, although the idea of a cute puppy is great, they need a lot of attention and grow very quickly into a destructive and defiant teenager. The cost of a puppy is generally much more than the cost of an adult and they will need all their jabs and spaying, but adults from a reputable rescue may already have had all this done. If you are away at work, you will need a dog walker, older dogs can hold themselves for longer but should never be left a whole day while you are at work. If you get an adult, you can test it with people, other dogs and cats etc. and see how it responds, but puppies can change greatly as they grow up. Do your homework on any breed you may want, do not get one because you think it looks nice, but because its energy levels and temperament are suitable for your family.