- The dog is sold. It may indeed go to a loving home but in my opinion if you really cared about your dog you wouldn't want any money as animals should not be treated as objects. Furthermore, even people who pay hundreds of pounds for a dog can still abandon it, so asking for money to secure a good home is not a guarantee that the animal will be looked after.
- The dog is offered free to a good home. Sounds better than selling a dog after my above statement, but this option can be dangerous. Animals offered free to good homes are often picked up by people who promise to care for them but use them for dog fighting, bait, snake food etc. The solution? If you really must rehome your dog, try to do it through a local rescue organisation. If this is not possible, you should carry out thorough checks of the potential new owner and their home, and ask for references.
- The dog is abandoned. Some are left outside rescue centres where they may be rehomed, but are often euthanized, and others are left to fend for themselves on the streets, such as Ruby.
|Ruby when she first arrived at the rescue|
Ruby is my boyfriend's parents' dog. She was found wandering round the streets in Wales. She was transported down to Cornwall to New Life Dog Rescue, which was set up by Nannette, a woman I met at college, after she found out about the terrible pound situation. Ruby was very small and underweight. My boyfriend's mum, who has had Yorkshire Terriers in the past, fell in love with her and contacted Nannette. The rehoming procedure, which is a requirement of all rescues, was carried out: her home and garden were assessed to check that they were a safe environment, checks were made to ensure that someone would be home most of the time to look after the dog, and, once it was decided that Ruby could live with her, an adoption fee was paid to cover veterinary costs and neutering (to prevent further overbreeding), and a contract signed so that should a situation ever arise, Ruby would be returned to the rescue safely.
Ruby has been with my boyfriend's parents for over a year now and she has settled in extremely well. She put on weight and has learned to play, and she and Jack are the best of friends.
Adopt, don't buy!If you are serious about getting a dog, please consider rescuing one instead of buying from a breeder. The pounds are overcrowded and the dogs are euthanized if not rescued. Some people have excuses as to why they think they cannot rescue a dog, such as:
- If we stopped breeding, there would be no more dogs. Firstly, I think it is highly unlikely that every single person is going to cease breeding animals. But if we can stop the majority, then that will make a huge difference. Secondly, we are only breeding animals so they exist for our benefit; with all the animal cruelty that goes on in the world, I feel that it would perhaps be kinder for them if they did not exist.
- I want a specific breed. If you really have your mind made up that you want a particular breed, ask your local rescues to notify you when one should come in. You can also search for breed-specific rescues; even if they are in a different part of the country, dogs are often transported around if you are serious about rehoming them.
- I really want a puppy. Puppies are cute, I agree. We got Jack as a puppy, but that was just before we were made aware of the pound situation, and I immediately had him neutered and vowed never to buy an animal again, although I wouldn't change him for the world. But there are hundreds of adult dogs that need homes, so please consider them. Rescues sadly get some puppies and pregnant bitches in, so ask to be notified if you won't change your mind.
- I'm not allowed to rescue a dog as I am not at home most of the time. I am sure a lot of people will disagree with me here, but in my opinion if you do not have the time to dedicate to a dog, then you should not get one. Dogs get extremely bored and lonely when they are left on their own for long periods of time and it is not fair to let them feel this way. Lack of time is one of the main reasons for rehoming a dog.
So how can you help?Rescue organisations work tremendously hard to save as many dogs from shelters as they can and find them new homes. They often struggle financially, and would really appreciate your help.
- Make a donation. Times are financially hard for everyone, but if loads of people donated as little as £1, a lot could be raised for rescues!
- Donate unwanted items. If you really cannot afford a monetary donation, why not give that pile of books or bag of clothes you've been meaning to get rid of to your local rescue? They can go on to sell items at car boot sales and auctions to raise money.
- Donate your skills. Next weekend I am due to take part in a charity day for New Life Dog Rescue by carrying out taster sessions of complementary therapies. If you can bake, knit or paint etc, help out where you can for events and auctions.
- Donate your time. If you love dogs but are unable to have your own, helping out your local rescue is perfect. With so much to do, rescuers would really appreciate your help, be it walking their dogs, organising fundraising events or even fostering a dog until a new home is found for them.