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Adopting a shelter/rescue dog
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#1 Kalota

Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:48 AM

DF and I love dogs, and both grew up with dogs all of our lives. However, since moving out of our family homes, then living with housemates or in rentals, we have not been able to have a canine companion for a while. We have finally moved into our own home (we bought it, not a rental) we think it is the right time to get a dog. We both really miss having a dog and are very much dog people! We go on lots of walks and spend a lot of time outdoors in our garden; I miss having a little friend with me! We have an large, fully-fenced low maintenance backyard, and just a couple of doors down is actually a dog park and dog obedience school! We think our place would be perfect for a dog. We are looking for a small to medium dog as we like to keep our pets inside with us a lot of time as well (a part of the family!) I am also on summer holidays at the moment so it would be a perfect time to help a new dog settle into a new environment.

Of course, we would like to adopt a homeless dog rather than buy from a pet shop or breeder. However, we are finding the whole process difficult. We have searched local pounds and shelters in our area, and there are no suitable dogs for us (mostly large/farm dogs). The shelters that DO have suitable dogs are in rural areas (over 3 hours drive away) and we don't know if that's the best thing to do (a long drive home in the car with a new pet!). So we've had a look at a few organisations and charities that save dogs from shelters and foster them until they find a forever home. However, the applications to adopt these foster dogs are extremely lengthy and require home visits/fence inspections, including references and interviews. I understand completely that the reason for this is that these organisations do not want to save dogs from pounds, only for them to just end up back abandoned again, but at the same time we are finding the applications very lengthy and not getting a lot, if any, call-backs sad.gif

So I just wanted to ask, if you adopted a shelter or rescue dog, what process/avenue did you go through and what did you find was the best way to adopt a dog in this kind of situation? Would be great to hear your experiences and opinions and how you went about this process. We are located in Eastern Melbourne for any reference original.gif

ETA: We know there are probably soooo many little shelter dogs needing a home, we just need the right avenues to find them. Thanks in advance so much for any help/websites/places to visit or contact!

Edited by Kalota, 05 January 2013 - 09:32 PM.


#2 ~Karla~

Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:16 PM

I found the best thing to do was to contact the rescue organizations and discuss exactly what I was looking for and why. I had a few that I trusted to screen potential dogs appropriately, but in the end, we got our pup through the one who spent the most time discussing things with me, who had experience in the specific area I was looking for (assistance dog) and who I got the best "gut feel" from. The lady i was communicating with suggested a few dogs, I requested more information about a few and I met a few dogs before we found "our" pup. It's funny, because I wasn't looking for a puppy but this one in particular had really caught my eye and I kept going back to her profile for weeks, not able to believe she hadn't sold. When I finally spoke to the woman in charge, she said they'd had a LOT of enquiries about that pup, but they just didn't feel any of the other people could offer her the right home - but that she felt she would be the perfect pup for what we wanted. And so we got our gorgeous little puppy. original.gif

So my advice is to spend a lot of time filling in the forms but also email the organizations with exactly what you are looking for and what you can offer a dog. I was upfront about my experience with dogs, my background working with animals, the training organization I am going to be working with, our yard size and fence heights, location, how often we plan to walk/swim the dog every day etc. They were all incredibly helpful because they could see how invested I was in finding the "right" dog, not just "a" dog IYKWIM. We were also prepared to wait for the right dog, rather than rush it.

Good luck!

#3 JKTMum

Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:32 PM

We adopted our first dog from here

Save a dog

At the moment they only have one small dog (those eyes just look so pleading) but a fair few medium to large dogs. They get new dogs in generally on Tuesdays and Thursdays so maybe keep checking the website for updates or go in and have a chat to the staff there about what you are looking for and see if they will call you if a suitable one comes in.

We also got our first dog at about this time of year two years ago, kids were on holidays so plenty of time to get her settled in before the routine all started again.

Our second dog we got from a rescue group, and yes it was a long, drawn out process of application, interviews and house inspection and took a good few months. With our first dog we saw her, spent some time with her (they were happy for us to take her for a walk in the park next door to see how she went, she was extremely shy to start, but then warmed up to us after awhile) and a bit over an hour later we'd filled out the paperwork and were on our way home with her (she has been a brilliant dog by the way).

#4 tickly_rain

Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

We adopted our current dog from Scallywags (Victoria), but found her on the Pet Rescue website.

We had to complete an online application and then were invited to go and meet her at the foster carer's home - it was part of the "interview" process really.  We were one of several families who went to meet her.  It was hard "waiting" for the others to meet her and find out whether we'd been successful!  We lived around 90 minutes from the carer.  

We also looked at another dog that was over 3 hours away.  He was gorgeous, but not great with the children when we met.  Our girl travels very well when we holiday, with regular stops along the way.

The website did mention home visits for fence inspection, etc but none of this happened in our situation.  I do, however, understand why they do it and would've been happy for it to have occurred.  

I agree with Karla about emailing specific rescue groups about what you're looking for.  The foster carer we adopted from even discussed this in case we were not successful.  We looked for around three months before we found the first one we thought could be a great part of our family, but around 4 months by the time we had our girl.

Good luck Kalota - I'm sure you'll find a beautiful companion!



#5 *Ker*

Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:10 PM

Ok, I'm a rescuer. Yes, I do fence inspections, unless I know the people very well (yes, you, Spikey), but I'm not checking your house. I'm checking your yard for poisonous plants. A lot of people don't even know they have them - I pointed nightshade out to one family and wandering jew (can cause skin allergies) to another. I also check the fences for any gaps. You'd be surprised what a fresh pair of eyes can find!

I pretty much have a three step process. I take the calls and ask general questions. Some use a questionnaire, but I have a good w*n*er radar and prefer to chat directly. Then it's an invite to meet the dog, where I will watch both you and the dog. Then I will sit and go over the applications I have.

When you are filling in applications, are you telling them all the information you wrote in this post? That someone is home most of the day, that you want an inside pet, that you have owned dogs before, but you waited until you got a place of your own, and that you now own, not rent? Those are all extremely good assets in my book for adopting a dog. You are exactly right in the reasons WHY rescue is so strict.

As for travel - dogs are FINE with travel. I've transported dogs by car from Wagga to Adelaide when I pulled them from the pound, my purebred comes from country 2 hours away and Spikey took Anja back on the plane to Canberra.

In Vic, try Victorian Dog Rescue or Rescued With Love RWL does all small dogs. I can find some more links if you want, but Pet Rescue is awesome! check on there.

I know you said small dogs, but what about a greyhound? They are so damn lazy! Real couch potatoes and there are a lot of them around. You could go out and leave it on the couch, be gone for an hour and get home finding dog exactly in the same spot and position! There are a lot of other larger breed dogs that think they're tiny lap dogs too. It's all in the temperament.

Lastly - THANK YOU for choosing a rescue. They really need people like you original.gif


#6 Kalota

Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:05 PM

Thank you all so much in your responses! You are all wonderful. Ker, thank you also for your response, it's great to have a perspective from an actual rescuer.

We have started including all that detailed information in our applications, and I've also started attaching photos of our backyard and indoor areas!

I think we've just gotta hang in there until we find the right dog for us, I understand that rescuers and organisations are just wanting to do the best for the dog and find the perfect home for them original.gif Ker, we've also started to look at a few greyhound rescue organisations as we've been told by many that they have a beautiful nature!

We've found a beautiful little dog at one of the organisations who sounds perfect for us, he's currently a little bit too shy of children and other dogs so they have suggested an adult-only home for him at this point in time (which ours is!) so we will submit an application and see how it goes.

Thanks so much everyone for all the suggestions - have taken them all on board!

#7 amberlee

Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:17 PM

It took us quite a few months of checking out the Pet Rescue sites- whenever we did find one that we liked the look of they were always gone ( we were after a small dog too, great with kids). And I was getting worn out by the whole adoption process too!  And I hadn't yet discovered the 'alert' function on the Pet Rescue site- where they will email you when a dog matching your criteria in you area is listed.

We ended up getting a 2yo poodle x maltese from the Animal Welfare League, and he's been fantastic!  My mum was also looking for the same criteria in a dog and I happened to get an alert from Pet Rescue at 9pm at night about a dog, I sent an SMS to see if it was too late to call to discuss the dog... 8 o'clock the next morning she met him and he's perfect for her... we weren't going to miss out on that one and get in quick!

Good luck, you new little friend is waiting for you out there!


#8 Jellyblush

Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:23 PM

Yes, stick with it. I took Roo home from the Lost Dog's Home in North Melbourne, the process was actually way too easy (no forms, no questions, just paid and was asked if I needed food and a bowl), I'd have probably preferred a few more questions.  It took about 15 minutes..

Finding her took months though, I just went every Saturday for a few months to the Lost Dog's Home and the RSPCA, I didn't just rely on the websites, because I think it isn't until you see a dog and observe their nature that you know if they are the one for you. At worst, you've spent Saturday morning giving some homeless dogs cuddles, at best, you chance upon your new best friend.

I agree that your home sounds perfect, and congratulations on looking for a dog, you must be really excited after waiting so long.

#9 Kalota

Posted 05 January 2013 - 07:33 PM

Thanks everyone! I just have one more question.

Do you think two dogs are better than one?

DF has been thinking about changing his hours for a while now, and if he does, that means there will be a 4-5 hour time period every day where our dog would potentially be alone sad.gif In this scenario, would it be better to adopt two dogs so that they can keep each other company when we are out?

I've heard lots of arguments for this, but I've also heard that of you take your dog for a long walk/have a play/exercise before you leave for work in the morning and then follow it up by giving them lots of attention when you get home, it should be OK. What do you think?

I HATE the thought of a dog being alone and miserable all day, but I'm worried that two dogs will be a lot more work than one (especially if we have kids in 5 - 10 years).

Thanks so much in advance for any help.

Edited by Kalota, 05 January 2013 - 07:34 PM.


#10 anasam

Posted 05 January 2013 - 08:01 PM

Don't be put off by the distance, our local rescue group Needy Paws send dogs all over Australia. Quite often they deliver the dogs themselves or arrange transport. Check the Pet Rescue Online webpage or Needy Paws webpage. All you need to do is pay the money and agree to the conditions of adopting a dog. Generally the dogs current carer will describe the dogs temperament so you have a bit of an idea what you are getting.
Just recently Missy Higgins drove the 500+km from Melbourne to pick up her new dog from Needy Paws.

#11 *Spikey*

Posted 05 January 2013 - 08:07 PM

Two dogs are more work than one.

I had Buttercup as an "only" for four years before we got the next dog. It meant that she got all of the training she needed (a lot), and we'd adjusted to being dog owners before we doubled our trouble. I guess it depends, two dogs can work out if you have experience with dogs (especially if they are 'rehome together' dogs).

#12 Kalota

Posted 05 January 2013 - 08:15 PM

QUOTE (*Spikey* @ 05/01/2013, 09:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Two dogs are more work than one.

I had Buttercup as an "only" for four years before we got the next dog. It meant that she got all of the training she needed (a lot), and we'd adjusted to being dog owners before we doubled our trouble. I guess it depends, two dogs can work out if you have experience with dogs (especially if they are 'rehome together' dogs).


Thanks for the insight, Spikey! We would ultimately prefer to just adopt one dog at this point in time, but we are worried about the periods he/she will be left alone.

Do you think 5 hours is too much to leave a dog home alone? I left my old dog alone for about that amount of time daily, but he was elderly so just slept. For a younger or middle aged dog (NOT a puppy) do you think 5 hours is too much to be home alone? We could walk the dog before we leave in the morning.

Edited by Kalota, 05 January 2013 - 08:17 PM.


#13 FiveAus

Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:06 PM

Young and middle aged dogs sleep all day too. Mine are frequently left alone for 8-10 hours, they range in age from 15 months to 7 years. And when I'm hone with them, they sleep all day. They get quite offended if I expect them to do something....like play!!! It's their sleep time. Apparently their play time is when I normally get home from work.

#14 Kalota

Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:30 PM

QUOTE (FiveAus @ 05/01/2013, 10:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Young and middle aged dogs sleep all day too. Mine are frequently left alone for 8-10 hours, they range in age from 15 months to 7 years. And when I'm hone with them, they sleep all day. They get quite offended if I expect them to do something....like play!!! It's their sleep time. Apparently their play time is when I normally get home from work.


Okay that's good to know that young and middle-aged dogs are just as happy sleeping during the day!

FiveAus, since you have more than one dog, do you think they keep each other company when you leave them alone for long periods during the day? Do you think just having one dog alone during the day, it would get lonely - or do you think it would be quite happy having a little sleep?

The dog that we found at Vic Dog Rescue says he is quite happy and independent when alone so I think he might be a good match?! But not all dogs we come across might not be that happy or independent when alone which is why I am a tad apprehensive about just getting ONE dog as opposed to two.

Thanks so much for all the responses, guys! Keep them coming! original.gif

#15 FiveAus

Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:36 PM

We have five dogs but one of them spends all day alone in the house because he climbs our fences and gets out. He is absolutely fine. And most dogs will be fine on their own if you spend plenty of time with them, and include them in your life when you're not working.
I think dogs like dog company but I don't think it's absolutely necessary for a happy dog. If I were you, I'd start with one, see how you go, see how the dog goes and in a year or so, assess the situation then.

#16 Kalota

Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:44 PM

QUOTE (FiveAus @ 05/01/2013, 10:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We have five dogs but one of them spends all day alone in the house because he climbs our fences and gets out. He is absolutely fine. And most dogs will be fine on their own if you spend plenty of time with them, and include them in your life when you're not working.
I think dogs like dog company but I don't think it's absolutely necessary for a happy dog. If I were you, I'd start with one, see how you go, see how the dog goes and in a year or so, assess the situation then.


Thanks for your response, FiveAus, I think that is what we are going to do. I've always only just had one dog at a time and they've been fine inside on their own, but I've always had senior dogs so they are quiet/placid and sleep a lot! But it seems that younger and more middle-aged dogs will be fine on their own as well. I think we'll just make an effort to walk/play with them in the morning and give them lots of attention when we get home, spend plenty of time with them and include them in our life when we're not working too!

If we find that the dog is not happy on their own or suffering from some sort of separation anxiety/loneliness, THEN we might adopt a second dog and see how it goes...




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