الاثنين، 20 سبتمبر 2010

Should You Get A Rescue Dog?

I have had a dog in my life for as long as I can remember, some good, some bad, and some indifferent!
As a child, we always had our dogs from puppies, always really cute and in a way, you can determine their personality to a certain extent. It is easier to train a puppy, start the training early and you have a faithful, well-behaved companion for life.
Dogs are fantastic company, my husband goes away on business quite a lot, and it is nice to come home to a soppy pet who is always pleased to see you and will listen to you no matter what rubbish you are talking about (I swear my dogs understand every word I am saying)!
It wasn't until I left home I really thought about getting a rescue dog. I had been begging my husband for ages for a pet, first we had snakes, not quite as cuddly, but fun to watch.
Eventually, he gave in, and agreed to get a dog on the condition we go to the rescue centre and see what they had. At the time, we were living and working in a pub, so we agreed on a small dog with not too much hair so we didn't spend all our time vacuuming!
So we set off to the RSPCA in Bath. Now, every time I go to one of these places, I become a snivelling wreck; I want to take every dog home! It is so sad to see all the little faces looking at you, pleading with you to give them a second chance. When you read some of the information on each dog, it is enough to tear your heart out!
I know that the rescue centres do an amazing job and all the animals are happy and well cared for. The staff are great and everyone is an animal lover.
The dog that we first enquired about had just been offered a new home and they were just waiting for the home visit to be done, so we had the heart breaking task of looking round again.
We then saw a lovely looking boy, approximately 18 months old, name of Buster. Of course, he did not fit any of the 'small dog, no hair' requirements, but he just looked gorgeous. In fact, he was a big Rottweiler cross Alsatian with lots of hair!
He had come into the centre with another dog because their owner could not look after them anymore. Unfortunately, we were not in the position to take on two dogs.
We took Buster for a walk in the fields and I think he pulled both of my arms out of their sockets! Too late, we were in love! We took him back and told the staff we would like to take him. The paper work was filled in and a home visit arranged.
Waiting for the home visit was nerve wracking, if I had to do it over again, I would get the home visit done first to check you pass before picking a dog. Anyway, we did pass, just had to make a few alterations to the fencing in the garden.
So we picked Buster up and bought him to his new home. And he was an angel! We were very lucky, we had no problems with him at all, his previous owner had obviously trained him well and it has been a privilege to own him. He does sit on the sofa, and he does get on the bed when we are asleep, but he keeps you warm in the cold weather!
I would recommend getting a rescue dog.
A few points to think about if you decide to go ahead:
1. A pet is NOT a toy, they will need daily care for the rest of their lives, if a child wants a dog, get them a hamster first!
2. Don't 'over dog' yourself! If you haven't had a dog before, take the advise from the staff, they will be able to find a dog to suit your family.
3. Read all the information there is available on the dog. If the info says the dog can't be left on its own, it says so for a reason!
4. Think about how much time you will have to exercise your dog, don't get a spaniel if you only intend to walk for 10 minutes a day. There are lots of dogs, including greyhounds, that don't need a lot of exercise.
5. Your garden will never be the same, if you want your grass to be a fantastic manicured lawn, get a budgie.
6. Many rescue dogs have been mistreated. They will need time and patience to settle down and become part of the family. There is nothing more rewarding than bringing a nervous, shy dog out of its shell.
7. Introduce your dog slowly to new things, we had a rescue greyhound who didn't know how to walk up stairs and had never seen a TV before!
Since the arrival of Buster, we have also gained three cats and another rescue dog, a lurcher called Maisie. Not as easy as Buster was, but we are hoping she will get better with age, like a fine wine! Having said that, we've had her for two years now and progress is slow! But we love her just the same.
Finally, I really think our dogs appreciate the second chance they have been given, and I feel honoured that they have taken to us as much as we have taken to them!

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