ARE YOU READY FOR A RESCUE DOG? Read this first
By Fiona Sandiford
You’ve spotted a rescue dog whose sad story and even sadder puppy-dog eyes have melted your heart. You seriously want to adopt it. Should you apply?
Here’s the thing: they’ve all got puppy-dog eyes. Before you decide whether to offer a doggo a forever home, take a look at our seven-point checklist.
- Your home life. Are you single, living with a partner, or part of a bigger family? This is a factor in deciding what kind of dog would be a good fit. Also the size of your house, the garden (if you have one) and the fencing. If you’re renting, has your landlord given you permission to have a pet? We know practicalities can seem boring, but these things all matter.
- Your work status. Are you working full-time, part-time, in a workplace, fully remote or hybrid? Do you travel overseas a lot? Unless you’re Lady Gaga, your doggo won’t be flying with you, so you’ll need to decide who will look after it when you’re away from home.
- Your energy levels Do you think you’d be better off with a spring-loaded spaniel type or more of a lounging lurcher? Dogs come in everything from teeny-tiny to massive, but energy level is just as relevant as size. While puppies are full of beans, older dogs tend to be more chilled (though not always!) Consider adolescent and mature dogs if you’d prefer a less boisterous buddy who has just as much love to give.
- Your time. For any dog, and especially a dog who’s had a tough life until now, it’s only fair that it gets to explore its new world. You need to be able to dedicate at least an hour a day for walkies (or arrange for someone to do it for you), come rain, sleet or shine. Oh, and that’s for potentially the next 15 years…
- Your other pets. Will Miss FrouFrou get her whiskers in a twist if you bring a new dog into the home? What about Gary the guinea pig? Some dogs thrive in the company of a canine companion, others are hard-wired to chase small furries and others still are better off as the only pet. Bottom line is that if you have pets already, they’ll have to get along with any new dog you introduce. The good news is that if you’re interested in a Saving Souls dog who is already being fostered in the UK, you should be able to arrange a trial meeting.
- Your finances. Can you afford a(nother) dog? Adopting is definitely cheaper than buying from a breeder, but rescue dogs still need food, trips to the vet and pet insurance, just like any other pooch. As a guide, the PDSA estimates you’ll spend anywhere between £4,600 – £30,000 on a dog over its lifetime, depending on its size and lifespan. Think about whether you can take that on board. Saving Souls’ adoption fees are outlined here.
- Your commitment. Have you got the time to invest in training? To work on any behavioural issues such as separation anxiety? As well as settling the dog in initially, it’s likely you’ll need to help it adjust to its new life over time. This is something that applies to any dog, whether it’s a rescue or a puppy from a breeder. However, it’s easy to lose sight of this when you fall in love with that wet nose and waggy tail. When the reality hits home, some people find they can’t commit. So if you’re about to move house, start a new job, have a baby or take a field trip to the Antarctic, hit the pause button. It’s only fair on the dog to take it on if you are available and can dedicate the necessary time and energy.
Now you’ve read that, do you still think you’re ready for a rescue dog? If so, check out the puppy-dog eyes on some of the fabulous Saving Souls pooches looking for new homes.