​Choosing a Good Dog Rescue Centre

Whilst every rescue centre is set up with the best intentions and with a true desire to do good, they are not currently regulated in any way. This means that the animals will get varying standards of care and different rescues will have different policies and offer varying levels of support.

Here are some top tips to help you identify a good rescue centre. It doesn’t mean that others that don’t adopt these policies aren’t still able to offer you the right pet, but it helps you understand their limitations.

  1. Honest Dog Advert- A responsible rescue will provide a lot of detail and be very honest on all the behaviours as well as clear on what environment will suit the dog best. They will want to ensure that their dogs are well matched with potential homes with as much chance of success as possible. It is incredibly stressful for the dog [and for you] if they fail in their home and are returned to rescue
  2. Detailed Application Process- To achieve the above you should expect to go through a detailed application process. Any invitation to visit and “look at the dogs” should be accompanied with a request to get a lot of detailed information from you on what you are looking for, and the home you can offer. This is important for matching you to the right dog
  3. Fully Assessed Dogs – In order to find the right home for their dogs a rescue should first have assessed their dogs to understand them and their needs fully. If you are shown a dog that came off the boat from Romania last week and told “we know nothing about him” this is a recipe for disaster. The dog needs time to settle before a rescue can get to know them in order that they have the best chance of placing them in the most suitable environment for their wellbeing and happiness
  4. Multiple Visits Recommended- A rescue that is committed to the welfare of their dogs as well as creating the right match will ask you to come and visit on numerous occasions before taking them home. This will really help with reducing stress when the dog transitions to a new home as well as helping you with knowing and understanding the dog better
  5. No Aversive Training Recommendations- A rescue that is up to date with dog behaviour will not use choke chains, haltis or other aversive equipment. Instead, their dogs will be walked on harnesses, and you will be encouraged to offer your dog treats on your visits. You are unlikely to get good advice from a rescue that recommends aversive training techniques. See apbc.org.uk for positive reward and qualified training advice
  6. Home Visit/Vet History- A reputable rescue will insist on some sort of home visit before allowing you to take a dog from them and their dogs will be vaccinated and up to date with flea and worming and have some sort of plan in place for neutering depending on the individual dog


If you would like help sourcing a new rescue dog, we are working alongside a trusted partner and offer Pre Ownership [Dog] Consultations.

Please see the following link for more information on this service: https://blackwatervets.co.uk/services/pre-ownership-dog-consultations/

We are passionate about the bond between pets and people, and we feel strongly that matching the right pet with the right home is important.

We are happy to help and support so please contact us if we can help.

The Association of Dog and Cat Homes is also a good source of information on reputable homing centres;



2 Mill Road, West Mersea

Colchester, Essex



Opening Hours:

Mon-Fri:  8:30 - 19:00

Sat: 8:30 - 12:30

Tel: 01206 384999

 Sun & BH: closed

Out of Hours Tel : 01206 842224




Did you know? ..Blackwater Vets is one of only just a few veterinary practices in the Colchester region that hold cat friendly clinic status?