Many of our dogs have traumatic histories and need a loving home, where they can feel safe and will be properly cared for, sometimes for the first time in their lives. So it is important that each animal is adopted into a home that is suitable for its needs. But it’s also important that pity for animals in rescue shouldn’t take over from common sense and everybody contemplating taking in a rescued animal needs to consider certain points to make sure they can offer the right home for the right animal. Below are a few pointers that should be considered before adopting.
Are we suitable for each other?
- Do I have a garden and is it secure? If you don’t have a garden, you will need to be prepared to take your dog out very regularly. If you do have one, is it big enough for a dog to let off steam in and is it safe for him? Some dogs are escape artists and will do so once your back is turned. Also, if you pride yourself on the perfection of your lawn, would you be happy to have it ruined by your dog? If not, perhaps you’d be better with a budgie!
- Do I have the time for a dog? Unless you adopt an old dog, your dog will need plenty of exercise and time to play. Will you be willing, and have the time, to go out whatever the weather to exercise it and to play with it? If not, a hamster perhaps?
- Do you have the energy for the size dog you’ve chosen? Larger dogs won’t be easily satisfied with a quick spin round the block – they’d rather have a hike in the woods or a run on the beach. Do you have what it takes to do that on a regular basis? If not, rabbits don’t need much exercise!
- Can you afford a dog? Unfortunately, getting a dog doesn’t just mean buying a lead, a bed and a food bowl, plus a few tins of dogfood each time you go to the supermarket. There will be vet’s bills from time to time, yearly vaccinations, regular flea treatments, kennels when you go on holiday, possibly insurance, fur-clipping for some breeds, and so it goes on…. A goldfish would be cheaper!
- Consider other family members too. Do you have children, particularly small ones, or ones who visit you regularly? Not all dogs like or tolerate children, so make sure you choose one that is good with them. Introduce them to each other under close supervision and watch how they react. If you’re unsure, don’t risk it. The same goes for other family pets. Some dogs get on well with other dogs,cats, etc, others hate them. Introduce them before making the final decision. Make sure your existing pet(s) is happy to accept a new dog into your home, otherwise it won’t be just the kids who are always fighting.
- And last, but not least, remember that all our animals have had a life before they come to the Ark, and for many that life has been difficult, if not one of cruelty. Even if they’ve had a good home, but had to be given up due to the ill-health or death of their owner, they arrive frightened and confused, not understanding what is going on. So they all come with a certain amount of baggage, which will require lots of love, understanding and time to resolve. The worst thing you can do to an animal is take it without adequate consideration, only to have to return it because you can’t cope or it doesn’t come up to expectations.