Rescuing has become increasingly popular in the UK. It is amazing to offer a dog or cat a second chance at life in a loving home. Of course, we all want your new member of the family to fit in and feel at home for a successful adoption. With that in mind, here are some things to think about when starting the search for your new pet.
Number one tip – research your rescuer! Unfortunately, rescue centres for animals are unregulated (by a governing body) meaning there is no badge to look out for to know the centre is legitimate. Speak to your local vets, research online, read reviews, get in touch with the centre staff and go for a visit. Ask to see where the animals live and make sure they are clean and happy. You will soon get a good idea of the place and their values.
Of course if you are rescuing from abroad you may not be able to do this. However many rescues do import the animals to be rescued to their UK centre, so you can visit them there. Another thing to be mindful of is that there are a number of potentially deadly diseases that are much more common in Europe compared to here in the UK. This is due to the spread of disease by the large number of stray dogs in countries such as Spain, Romania and Cyprus. Before you agree to adopt a dog from abroad, make sure that they have had a full vet check to rule out these harmful diseases. But please don’t be scared to adopt dogs from these countries – many of them were born on the street and have never known a home, and they have so much love to give.
Consider how your new friends will fit into your lifestyle. This is particularly important for dogs but goes for cats too. Do you work away from home for long hours of the day? Does your dog have any behavioural issues such as separation anxiety that would be a problem here? Do you have a flat? Is there a secure garden? Is your dog a large breed that would need more space than this? Do you have other pets or children? How would they get on with your new pet? It is clear that there are lots of factors to consider if your adoption is to be a success.
Make sure you discuss with the rescue centre any conditions or behavioural issues your pet may have. No question is a silly question! You should also arrange a vet check with the rescue centre. The ideal situation is to foster your new pet for a couple of weeks first, so you can see how they behave in your home. This also gives your new pet a chance to see if they like living with you and would be happy there. If fostering is not an option, visit the centre multiple times. If there are behavioural issues that require training or medical conditions that require ongoing treatment, consider the costs of these. Are they affordable? Be aware that insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions (anything your pet has seen a vet for before you insured them).
With all this in mind, rescuing is still a fantastic and rewarding thing to do and can bring a lot of happiness to both you and your new furry friend! And remember we are always here if you need some friendly advice.