Planning your Dog Rescue

Before you start, its important to plan a few things up front in order to be sure you make the right decisions.

Why Rescue a Dog?

According to the RSPCA, over 150, 000* pets are rehomed every year in the UK by 5 leading charities.
And if you include the numerous smaller independent sanctuaries spread across the UK, that figure would be much higher. In 2008, the RSPCA alone dealt with 11,586** dumped animals – an average of 30 a day.

While the majority of unwanted animals are successfully rehomed, tragically some are left unadopted and end up being put down.
Charities constantly need loving responsible owners to offer a new home to these unwanted animals. Adopting an animal that had a difficult start to life can be incredibly rewarding for both the adopter and adoptee.

Planning Your Adoption

First of all – be honest with yourself about what you can offer. Dogs do take up your time, energy and money and you need to make sure you are able to make the commitment that adopting a dog involves.

Check Your Budget

The typical annual cost of owning a dog might be higher than you’d imagine and can easily add up to £800 or more for larger dogs. Most charities charge a one off adoption fee of between £100-150  and then there are ongoing costs. Unexpected vets bills if your dog is ill or has an accident can run into hundreds or thousands of pounds so it’s strongly advisable to buy pet insurance for your dog.

Here’s an example of how you might budget for a medium sized dog:

Item

Unit Cost

Annual Cost

Adoption Fee

£150 (one off )

Food

£5 a week

£260

Annual Vet Check Up

£100 annual

£100

Pet Insurance

£120 annual

£120

Treats & Equipment

£10 a month

£120

Kennels, Dogwalking etc

£5 a week

£260

Total

£860

Time and Energy

Your adoptee dog will want to spend plenty of time in your company and, very importantly, to have daily exercise to meet his needs fully. He’ll also need enough space to run about in and good access to an open area.

If you are at home all day with free time that’s not a problem. But if you have to go to work, you need to think about what dog care arrangements you can make with local family, friends, or professional dog sitters or walkers to ensure your dogs needs are met. 

Exercise is really important for dogs, they are used to continuously roaming large areas for food. Most dogs need a minimum of 45 minutes to 1 hour a day of walking, ideally more.

Popular working breeds such as Collies, Labradors and Retrievers in particular all have high energy levels and can become anxious or disruptive if their needs for stimulation and exercise aren’t met. Another popular misconception is that little dogs don’t need much exercise because they’re small.
The good news is that there are options if you are a little short on time for exercise. There are breeds that do need less exercise, retired Greyhounds for example, make great adoptive pets as they are bred for long periods of inactivity broken up by short bursts of very intense exercise.

Rescue Centre Essentials

Most Dog  Rescue Centres will need to know a number of things about you to be happy you are a good match for your pet and will be a responsible owner

  • Vetting – this could be a visit to your home or interview
  • Proof of a suitable home environment
  • A Garden that’s fully enclosed
  • Details of the people and other pets living with you – some dogs are less suited to living with cats or young children for example
  • Information about your routine and how much time you’ll spend with your pet
  • A contribution towards rehoming costs – an indication you are committed

Alternatives to Adopting

If you have read all this through and on reflection feel that adopting a dog is not for you – then well done! It’s not easy to make the difficult decision that the circumstances aren’t right for you to adopt right now.

Don’t be disheartened. There are plenty of other ways to get involved with helping abandoned animals:

  • Consider adopting a different animal that requires less commitment/time/space – there are lots of unwanted cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters looking for caring homes too!
  • Become a member and supporter of an animal welfare organisation
  • Volunteer as a dog walker at your local sanctuary
  • Help look after a friend or relative’s pet for them
  • Sponsor an animal with a dog charity scheme
  • Become a professional dog sitter or dog walker if you have suitable experience

Notes
* Source: RSPCA Animal Welfare report 2007
** Source: RSPCA Press Release 27, April 2009 – Abandoned Animals Soar Amidst Credit Crunch

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