Adopting a Dog Changed Our Lives

For many, the very words ‘rescue’, ‘shelters’, ‘adoption’ bring with them certain negative associations. For some reason, people will often view a ‘rescue’ dog as damaged goods, a dog to be pitied, a dog to be saved, a dog to be ‘rescued’. Nothing could be further from the truth. The genuine, practical advantages to adopting a dog are enormous.

Dogs in shelters arrive there for any number of reasons but most often through absolutely no fault of their own.

Listen to some of these stories from real people who adopted real dogs:

I’d just like to say that I feel horrible summing up the joy, laughter and love I get from Rani and Tegan on a daily basis by saying “they didn’t need to be toilet trained”.

I really do believe that they remember where they came from and somehow know that they’re with me forever. Every day they come over just for a hug, or for a 20 minute licking session, to say hi. They tell me when the pedestrian crossing has turned green if I have my headphones in and I can’t hear the beeps. They have helped me make friends. They have walked for miles and miles with me, just because I’ve felt like it, and when I’ve done that they’re delighted to turn around and walk miles and miles home again. They’ve ganged up to pin me on the sofa and lick me to death until I though I’d die laughing, and they’ve sat beside me and cuddled when I’ve been sad.

I feel that I haven’t so much adopted two dogs as a pair of the best friends I’ll ever have.

When Tegan went after a swan, and I was ready to jump in and fish her out if things got bad people told me that I was crazy for being ready to risk my life over “just a dog” and the only answer that I could give, the first thing I though of, was that she would do exactly the same for me, and she wouldn’t even think about it.

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I adopted a dog because I wanted know what the dogs temperment was. Thats the great thing about having a dog from rescue, they are proofed. I knew what Logan was like with other dogs, people, cyclists and his general behavour which was very important to us. At 8 months he was already housetrained, had basic training which we could build on etc. His personality had been observed in rescue which means we knew what to expect. And he is the most fabulous boy!

Another benefit from adopting a dog from rescue is that if anything happened to me my dog would be safe because he would go straight back to the rescue center to be cared for. I know of a man that had a dog from rescue. The man died, his family didnt want the dog any longer and was going to have him put to sleep, but the rescue was informed and they had a legal right to have the dog back. The dog was saved.

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Adopting my dog meant that I had little or no toilet training, and as an adult she was able to hold it through the night.

She was fully grown when I adopted her, so I knew how big she was going to get.

Although her background was unknown, it was fun for both of us to start again – occasionally her past showed through, but generally it was a fresh start for her.

The best part of adopting a dog, not that warm fuzzy feeling from taking on an unwanted animal, not the knowledge that her kennel space can now be used for another deserving dog, not even the knowledge that the money spent on her is a small token to how much money is invested in getting these dogs a new owner and fresh start in life.

It was learning about my dog, and her learning about me, getting to know each other and becoming best friends.

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Adopting older dogs meant that they had basic training before they came to me and have been clean indoors since day one, pretty much. Older dogs also catch onto new training more quickly than puppies enabling me to teach a pretty good “go to bed”, recall or LLW in a couple of weeks.

An older dog’s personality is already formed so I knew exactly what I was getting from even before I adopted them.

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Recently I have heard how rescues recommend you start the process of adopting a dog and I still find myself thankful at my luck in finding Pepper.

They say to take the dog out for a walk a few times before you decide – I took Pepper out once and I am beginning to think I had it all wrong, I fell in love with her and adopted her (ok had home check and then picked her up).

I had done all the research possible, talked breeds over with the vet and discussed health issues with certain breeds. I visited the rescue centers and had a list of criteria so I didn’t pick the first poor dog I saw and felt sorry for. I enrolled in training after adopting Pepper and found relatively few issues with her.

So I count my self lucky to have spotted her in the kennel with two other lurchers, I count myself fortunate to have been passed fit to have her and be able to get to know her, and I find myself richer than a millionaire for having been lucky to have had the sense to not give up on her when things got hard, I persevered with the bad times and enjoyed the bad times.

So thank you Pepper for being a lovely dog (OK I am tearing up now and she is fit and healthy), and being my companion for 8 years, and looking forward to many more.

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I have now had 3 adopted dogs, each one perfectly wonderful, I knew more or less the temperament I was going to get, all but one was house trained. The wonderful surprise of getting an adopted dog is the way they blossom in front of you. My last adoptee was approximately 2 months ago she is approx 6 years old and she still surprises me daily with new little things she has done and new things that come out as she grows in happiness and confidence.

I have had some problems too, please don’t get me wrong, but it is a great thing to give a dog another chance, put right the wrongs of previous ownership and take advantage of the training previous owners have put into the dog you now have. I would always have a rescue now as there are far too many dogs bred, sold for profit and then disregarded like last years toy craze, in my opinion. I got my last dog from a wonderful rescue shelter and she was chipped, spayed, clipped and bathed and they had done quite a few behavioral tests on her, so I knew more or less the kind of dog I would be getting. I say go for a rescue dog any day I would never be without one now!

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I grew up with a rescue dog, a jack russel sheltie cross called Cindy. She came to us already toilet trained and socialised, and fitted in well straight away. She used to chase rabbits in the park, not to hurt them, just to run alongside them once she caught up until they bolted down a hole. She’d go and fetch my mom when I started crying in my crib, running back and forth between my mom in the kitchen and me in my crib more and more urgently until mom stopped me crying. She felt it was her job to look after me. As I learned to walk I occasionally accidentally hurt her, but she would never have dreamed of hurting me. She was such an amazing dog my parents haven’t yet had another, they feel no other dog could compare to her, and yet she wasn’t the expensive dog from a breeder, she was the sad looking dog in the back of the cage at the dogs’ home with the big brown eyes, that someone hadn’t wanted.

My parents adopted Cindy thirty years ago, when procedures at dogs’ homes and rescue centres weren’t as good as today. Mom and dad weren’t even homechecked or vetted in any way, and Cindy wasn’t spayed. But she was still almost perfect, a match made in heaven. Her only vice was getting upset when we left her with my grandparents for a weekend. She was even fine being left while mom went to work part-time, just as long as she could climb on something to get to the window to see out. With all the improvements made in rescue centres over the past 30 years, I would expect even better matches than my family and Cindy to be made now.

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From low energy to high, from pupsters to wobbly old ‘uns, rescue shelters, unlike breeders or pet shops, offers the entire spectrum of canines. Trained or not quite, confident or retiring, purebred or mixed-breed. This, combined with the assessment that shelters offer, means that you can choose the perfect dog for almost every situation and circumstance. Whether you want a dog that will happily snooze under your desk while you work, or a one that will get you marching on the moors for hours and still ask for more, big or small, easy or challenging, the rescue system has your perfectly matched dog. Virtually bespoke… the ultimate designer dog.

I live with three.

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After having two adopted dogs, I probably wont go for a puppy again.

Both were toilet trained, knew basic commands, I knew their temperaments from day one.

In Kerrie’s case, she was vaccinated, wormed, flea’d, spayed, temperament tested etc and has proved to be the best dog i have ever had the pleasure of owning.

I know that she had a poor start, and by her being out of kennels, more dogs can be saved and matched to the right owners

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Getting Rosie was the only choice we had really, We weren’t in a position to be able to spend the time needed on toilet training and the fact that although she was still young she was old enough to have already had some training so made things much easier for us and me specifically being a worker 9 -5 and out of the house for longer with traveling.

By getting a rescue, the center had already been able to find out her temperment with children and were confident that My daughter would be safe to be on the floor at the same time as Rosie (they now adore each other).

So along with being able to have a dog that suited our needs at the time we have also help another dog out of the rescue system into a loving home.

We would definatly look at getting a rescue again, although we would also like to have a pup when circumstances permit. We need to wait until our bub is older first.

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I work full time and didn’t have the time to dedicate to a puppy during the day for toilet training/regular small meals etc as I am out and about, so I decided to get an older dog……..

I also needed a high energy dog to suit my lifestyle, a dog that could come on long walks for hours and spend a lot of time outdoors with me….Harry meets all those needs and we found him through a rescue!

I also wanted a playful and confident dog, Harry was neither at first, but with love and dedication he is a brill lad and to watch that come out was frustrating but amazing all at the same time! He is now desperate to meet and play with other dogs and has even learnt to play fetch!

I got a pedigree from a rescue, although his breed didn’t matter to me…….but if I’d have been specifically looking for a breed there are rescues out there that can provide this!

Harry is a character and I’m glad he’s with us, I’d recommend rescuing to friends and family over buying a pup any day as everyday he makes us smile and we feel a bit smug that we got him before anyone else could!

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