I’m a strong believer that there is a happy home waiting for the majority of dogs out there so am therefore flabbergasted by the amount of dogs available for adoption in our RSPCA, Blue Cross and Dogs Trust shelters, not to mention smaller, local organisations.
After discussing the pros and cons of rehoming with the boyfriend, we took to the internet to find a match for us. The doggy personality descriptions on most rehoming websites are a helpful way to gauge how appropriate a dog would be to your lifestyle, and most importantly for us, if they were suitable to live with our non-rent-paying roomie Mojo the cat!
Don’t be fooled by his beautiful soft looks. He’s part-cat part-devil.
I contacted several of the larger charitable centres regarding dogs that I felt may be suitable for us, only to be met with trepidation and ultimately rejection. The main reason for this was our full time working hours. However when we had mentioned that we would look into hiring a dog Walker or sending said pup to doggy day care, one particular rehoming centre said this would be too traumatic for their dogs and actually made me feel as if I shouldn’t even be considering welcoming a dog into our lives.
The larger centres ask you to complete an application form, usually online, stating things like working hours, age, existing pets etc. But what they don’t do is TALK to you – get a feel for your personality. I’m sure there are many people who would look more suitable than me on paper, but in reality may not suit being a dog owner at all!
This left us in quite a predicament; we wanted to give a dog a secure home where we could love, care and give him or her the best possible life only to be told No! From a veterinary point of view, you see many owners who cannot afford the routine care a dog requires, however via rehoming standards, you’re not eligible for a canine companion unless you are at home with them, and therefore not at work….this did open my eyes to a possible reason as to why there are so many dogs living in rescue centres within the UK.
Rather upsettingly I suspect that the only members of society eligible to own a dog from these centres are stay-at-home parents, who may already be rather busy with caring for children, the elderly, who may be unable to handle larger or more energetic breeds, or the jobless who may struggle to afford effective de-flea, de-worming treatments and vets bills. So where did we fit in here, apparently at the bottom of the list or not on the list at all!
Do not dispair there is a glimmer of hope at the end of this rather dark, dank, green slime lined tunnel of rejection. We found that smaller, local rehoming shelters such as ARC in Ottery St Mary much more realistic and accommodating. Their staff took time to meet us and talk with us about what we wanted from our new furry friend. We got to meet a lovely lurcher and even took her for a walk around our local park. The team appeared as if they wanted to give these dogs a home and were very honest about why certain dogs weren’t suitable for us.
Rehoming – Not always a smooth ride
One of the Cons on our rehoming list was not knowing the history of our potential dog, and being aware that dogs behave very differently in a shelter situation to a home situation, it is possible the shelter may not even know of less desirable traits. We found it important to have a priorities list of things that are a must. For us it was cat friendly and dog friendly as my Dad has a rather large leonberger and it’s important for us to be able to socialise the two.
Things like house training, re-call and coat shedding came further down on our list but might be higher up on other people’s.
Unfortunately the aforementioned lurcher showed some pretty constant fear aggression towards other dogs on our local walk, which just so happens to be in a popular dog walking park. Understanding that this would cause not only stress to us, but more importantly stress to the dog as well, we agreed she would be better suited to a home where she would not come into contact with quite so many strange dogs, and returned rather unwittingly to the rehoming centre.
At this point, we decided to look at puppy pages. Due to work constraints we were only able to get time off at the end of May to settle in a new dog, and we were beginning to run out of time. In an ideal world we would have sat and waited for our doggy match to come along (as I’m sure one exists), but unfortunately life doesn’t always work that way and we had to make a choice to branch out into puppy territory. Luckily for us we stumbled across Buck’s litter via the Pets4Homes website and the rest as they say, is history.
The moral of this rather rambling post is that somewhere down the dog purchasing line, the rules need a shake up. It took me two days to arrange a viewing and place a deposit on an 8 week old, dependant, impressionable puppy when rehoming centres deemed me ineligible to own a dog. I could have been Cruella de Vil and I would have been able to acquire a Dalmatian or two. Even 6 months down the line I’m still shocked and a little concerned about how easy it is to buy a puppy, and how ANYONE is eligible.
Perhaps we need to make rehoming a little fairer, and buying a puppy a little more controlled, and we may have more dogs in cosy homes and out of the shelters.
Local dog rehoming centres
ARC Rescue – Ottery St Mary, Devon
Fearne Animal Sanctuary– Chard, Somerset
Gables Farm – Plymouth, Devon
Dartmoor View Dog Rescue – Okehampton, Devon
Animals in Distress – Newton Abbott, Devon
Margaret Green Animal Rescue – Heathfield, Devon