Recently I have been helping out in an animal rescue charity and it breaks my heart when animals are handed in to the charity for rehoming because the dog was ‘not what they expected’ as happened recently. A young staffie was handed in by the owners and the list of things ‘wrong’ with the dog were endless. As an observer it was not my place to ‘splurt’ out chastising comments to the owners who clearly had not researched the needs of breeds before purchase.
Thankfully for this young dog, 9-months old, the outcome was good, she was rehomed with new owners who matched with the dogs needs perfectly and the story has a happy ending.
I appreciate, especially working at the charity, that sometimes circumstances are outside of our control that dictate that animals have to be rehomed. For example changes in family circumstances, loss of jobs, loss of homes, illness and death but I find it infuriating when animals are ‘disposed’ of when the owners haven’t done their best by the animals.
So, when choosing a dog what must we think of first? Should we start our search by how pretty that dog is? Boy there are some ‘corkers’ out there, fluffy, silky, cute faces, would they look great with our pram or in my new bag or in the front of my car driving around with me. NO, NO, NO, this is not the way to go, STOP right now…….
Start with the basics. How much time do I have available to provide a dog with cuddle time, exercise time, feeding time and training time. What is my living environment like, do I have a home with a garden or outdoor space suitable for play and exercise. Does the breed I like have any special needs, high energy, grooming, special diet or health challenges.
Of course one of the most important things to consider is can I afford to look after a dog including its vet care costs for at least the next 10 – 15 years or so.
I hear it many times when people decide they want a dog, they start with the ‘cuteness factor’ as top of their list. Please consider the needs of any dog seriously before deciding on the ideal dog for you and your circumstances.
On a final note I will finish by telling you one of the reasons that the young staffie pup was handed in for rehoming. The owner said the puppy would not sit still during TV time. Had she of spent time exercising with and playing with the dog she might well have settled down but this dogs needs were not put first and someone else had to take responsibility for rehoming their mistake. How many animal rescue homes are full of ‘mistakes’