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Pre-Adoption: Are you ready to adopt a rescue dog?

Dog with family ready for adoption advice © Shutterstock

Before you even go visit a shelter, sit down with your family and ask yourselves a few questions to figure out whether you are ready to adopt. 

By Justine Seraphin

And yes, this concerns every single family member, as everyone will be involved in the dog’s day-to-day life, routine, training, and so on. It is important everyone is on the same page. Too often, dogs return to shelters after having been adopted for some time. The reasons for this vary, but if your dog is truly considered as a member of the family, then there is no reason this should ever happen. Regardless, let’s weed out any possibility your rescue dog could only be a temporary part of the picture:

Do I have time for a dog?

Whether you’re getting a puppy or a dog, a purebred registered to the Kennel Club or a rescue dog from the shelter, your four-legged friend will be time-consuming.

Dogs need to be taken out at least twice a day to do their business. You must ask yourself if you are ready to devote that time, every morning, and every evening, rain or shine, to walk them outside. This, of course, is the bare minimum. Some dogs will require copious amounts of exercise, and you will need to set aside even more time for them to stretch their legs.

Dogs are also truly dependant on their owners. They love to spend time with you and hate to spend time alone. If you are away all day at work, and no-one else is home to keep your dog company, you may have to reconsider your choice of pet.

Some dogs are also a handful when it comes to grooming. Letting a dog’s coat mat can cause serious health issues for the animal. If you adopt a fluffy rescue dog, you will need to devote time every day to combing out the noughts.

Will I care for this dog through thick and thin?

Dogs are a commitment that will last anywhere from 10-15 years, and particularly so if you’re adopting a young dog. Circumstances in your life are likely to change during that period of time, and you must ask yourself whether this would alter your ability or desire to care for your pet. Will you keep your dog even if you have a child? If you move? If you meet someone who doesn’t like dogs? If your dog gets old and sick?

Am I ready to commit to training this dog?

No dog should be left untrained. Untrained dogs can be major handfuls, and can even be dangerous, if they’re particularly big. Rescue dogs may take longer to trust you than your average dog, and if they were previously neglected, or even a stray, they may need extra training and an expert hand. Patience is key, but depending on the individual, you may also need to get help from a professional. If you are not willing to take the time to train your dog, or pay a professional to help you, you may want to look at a different type of pet.

Do I have the funds for a dog?

Dogs are a huge financial commitment. Getting a dog from a shelter will only incur a small cost, but throughout the dog’s life, costs will add up! Vet bills can be extremely expensive, and although vaccinations and worming only occur a couple of times a year, you never know what kind of trouble your pup could get into! One rough fight at the dog park and you may be paying hundreds of pounds towards an operation and/or medication. And don’t forget your dog will need food, a bed, a collar/harness, a leash, bowls, and toys to name a few. You will have to pay a kennel or dog-sitter to keep him when you go away on holiday, and a dog-walker to walk him during the day if you’re busy or otherwise unable to do it yourself. Throughout its lifetime, a dog will cost you on average £21,000. You can’t adopt a dog if you’re low on cash – that’s for sure.

Will my rescue dog be part of my family?

Finally, none of the above questions will put a single doubt in your mind if your dog will truly be considered part of your family. You wouldn’t put your kid in a shelter if you were moving right? Therefore, you must ask yourself if you are prepared to love and care for your dog the way you would any other family member.

If you answered yes to all the above questions, then you may be ready to adopt a rescue dog from a shelter!

If you are wondering where you can go to adopt a dog and how to go about it, then check out our article : Adoption: everything you need to know.