Before you adopt…

Use your brain, not just your heart.419

It’s better not to adopt a dog if you later change your mind because you ‘haven’t thought it through’. Rejection hurts. Dogs feel pain, just like people, both the physical and the emotional kind.

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Think about the size of the dog you can cope with, the coat, the breed (or rather breed type), the age, the level of energy to suit your lifestyle. Find out as much as you can about the dog’s history, character and health issues. Watch the dog before you decide to adopt, interact if possible. If it’s your first dog or if you have doubts: please seek professional advice, ask a reliable trainer/behaviourist to help you choose, they can interpret dogs’ body language better.

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Ask yourself if you’re ready to put some work into it, if you can handle a challenge, if you are determined to succeed and willing to seek help if necessary. Your decision to take him back to the shelter may ruin the dog’s chances to find a home, so take responsibility for it.

All my dogs have been ‘hard work’. Each for a different reason. But I always make a conscious decision to adopt a dog that wouldn’t find a home otherwise. They are time consuming, expensive, emotionally exhausting, they make you learn all the time just to unlearn everything you know and start again. I organise my life around my dogs, not the other way round. They are my life and I have never for a second regretted having any of my dogs. But it’s not for everyone, so please think before you damage beyond repair what’s already broken.

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29 thoughts on “Before you adopt…

  1. I agree totally. I am currently trying to decide if I want to take in a second dog – one that the current owners have had for about 6 months and have decided they really didn’t want a dog/puppy. They’re cat people and didn’t realize how big of a difference there is in having a puppy versus having a kitten.

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  2. I think a lot of people get a dog thinking it’s going to be like having a cat; feed it, clean up after it, give it love, and that’s it. So many people don’t realize that dogs need exercise, they need to be trained, and did I mention they are crazy if they don’t get enough exercise?
    A great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another thing to consider is cost. One of my rescue dogs has Addison’s disease and needs a shot every 4 weeks to stay alive. I always have my dogs first in my budget but people should allow for the unexpected! Thanks for this thoughtful post.

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  4. I have to admit that my second one, Graham, an impulse rescue, felt like a mistake in the first few months. He was much more needy and high strung than Hershey ever was. We made it work though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Adopters can have the best of intentions and I believe it also takes courage for them to admit they have taken on more than they can handle. There are many different approaches to deal with this. An animal shelter I used to volunteer with would keep the kennel space open for two days in case an adopter changed his or her mind. They preferred to have the dog returned sooner than later to minimise attachment to the adopters and upset for the dog. They believed that honesty was always the best policy and would not judge people who returned animals to them. There are rehoming charities with discussion forums where adopters who return a dog are called a lot of colourful names. This has driven some adopters to advertise the rescue dog on gum tree and similar websites rather than return it to the charity, which is potentially a lot more dangerous and harmful to the dog. The best rehoming charities will take time to get to get to know potential adopters through home visits/checks and open conversations with knowledgeable staff and volunteers. They know they sometimes get it wrong too and prefer to have the dog returned when it does not work out. Ultimately, everyone wants what is best for the dog.

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    1. Most shelters I know have really good procedures in place, so it’s much easier to find a suitable home for each dog. And I couldn’t agree more: shaming people who simply can’t cope does more harm than good. Still, I wish people were more aware that a dog, especially a rescue dog is a huge responsibility and requires work, time and patience.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wish so too. All we can do is raise awareness. Rescue dogs are a huge responsibility and many come with health and/or behavioral issues. Those of us lucky enough to persevere know how rewarding it can be and how difficult it can be. You are doing a fabulous job and Lily and Ardbeg are so lucky to have you. We send you so much love.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, we’re sending our love to you, too 🙂 I wish there more people like you -both of you, not sure who’s commenting 😉 I’m so happy today because one of ‘my’ dogs (I help dogs that have issues, usually because they’d been abused) got adopted and so far it seems everything is perfect! Life can be good!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post. I’m much the same. My holidays have always involved staying home with the dogs. Now there’s only one dog left, it’s easier to get around and go further afield. I wouldn’t change a single thing about my time with them…priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I travel with my dogs, though the destination is always determined by what is good for them 🙂 There are more and more dog-friendly hotels and B&Bs. They both have passports, Ardbeg has explored quite a bit of Europe 🙂 Lily loves travelling, she will definitely see more of the world 🙂 And I totally agree with you: I wouldn’t change anything about my life with them, they give me love in the purest form 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is wonderful news. My bestie is about to embark on travels with her Chihuahua…many happy times ahead for both of them. At least you can pop a small dog into places that three otherwise huge and hairy hounds, could not fit.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t travel with the three dogs…with two having Inflammatory Bowel Disease, it was a recipe for disaster. Too much vomit and diarrhoea to deal with in an enclosed space or someone else’s space. Now with just one, it’s easier and bearable and possible. That’s not to say it’s impossible, of course not.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think it’s a responsible decision not to travel if it puts a dog on risk, either physical or emotional, so I believe you’re doing the right thing 🙂 I wish more people thought about what’s suitable for their dog! I’d never travel with my dogs if they didn’t love it. And we only travel by car, with frequent stops and all that.

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  7. One important thing to think about before you adopt it whether you cn deal wiht a puppy. People adopt puppies because they’re so cute but them want to send them back the first time they chew comething up.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this post. I couldn’t agree with you more. We had a horrible experience with our first adopted dog. We did not do our homework and adopted a very ill dog that died after being with us for 1 day. The saving grace in this situation was that she didn’t spend her last day in a horrible place. I don’t regret giving her a comfortable, quiet, safe place to die, but the pain it caused my son is something I will never forget. We couldn’t have been more prepared for our Vivi. In some ways she is the easiest dog in the world, but i think that’s because she fits our family. We put her first. She has major separation anxiety from something that happened in her past and she scares very easily. She and her comfort are our top priority. Some people don’t understand that, but that’s ok, because I don’t understand how they can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The last sentence of your comment sums me up perfectly 🙂 I’m really sorry about your first rescue, situations like that should never happen. You deserve even more respect for leaving it behind and deciding to try again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was absolutely devastating. But it all led to us finding Vivi. We have learned so much since all that happened. We were really angry at first but looking back it was just a terrible situation all around.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. The universe directed my daughter to our current dog!

    She felt strongly to stop in at a gas station she normally never stops at, so she followed her gut feeling… There was a 4 month old puppy abandoned outside in the cold night air in the winter after Thanksgiving (US, not Canadian!)

    He had worms but apart from that he’s in good health! He’s a bigger fellow now and fitting in nicely!

    Peace,
    Tamara

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many years ago I found my first stray dog in a horrible state (took her to vet thinking he’d just put her down to end her suffering, but she survived). She changed my life. And all my dogs have been rescues since 🙂

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  10. We just lost a dog. Inu was a good boy. We never took care of him enough. My husband I have decided to do our best and influence the rest of the household (we live with relatives) not to take in dogs or any kind of pet anymore because we have a really bad history of only taking care of them as puppies / while they’re young. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry to hear that. And it’s good that you want to make a responsible decision not to have a pet. If you like them and would miss them, there’s definitely a way to spend some time with them (dog-sitting and so on) without commitment.

      Liked by 1 person

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