A rescue dog isn’t for every family.
Animal welfare lies at the root of most vegan lifestyles. And for many vegans, myself included, animal rescue is a way of incorporating our core beliefs into our daily lifestyle. Is is estimated that roughly 7.9 million companion animals enter animal shelters in the US each year. In Canada in 2016, it was estimated about 2 million dogs were in need of permanent homes. And with dogs being imported for adoption from other countries to help with overpopulation problems, it is clear that this is becoming a global issue. If you’re thinking about bringing a dog into your family, a rescue dog might be a good choice for you! However, rescue dogs are a unique experience and aren’t necessarily a good fit for every family.
Reasons to adopt a rescue dog.
There is no such thing as a bad dog; there are only dogs that have been let down by humans. The idea that a rescue dog will be more work than a puppy isn’t true, the work is simply different. Some of the many benefits of a rescue dog are:
- What you see is what you get. There will be no concern over how big your dog might get, or what health problems may occur as a result of genetics or breeding issues. You will be able to know many of these things when you adopt your dog.
- For the most part, adopted dogs come housetrained! You may have a couple of accidents the first few weeks but otherwise, you can almost be certain your dog will know to do his business outside.
- Spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped is the standard for dog adoption so these aren’t expenses you’ll have to think about.
- There is a dog for every personality! I remember always hearing about the “blank slate” myth of puppies. And it truly is a myth because much like you can’t parent a personality into your children, you can’t train a personality into a dog. However, with a rescue dog you can get a decent look at a dogs personality before you bring him home. Shelter dogs also typically go through temperament testing so finding a dog that fits your lifestyle can be easy.
- Surprisingly large breed selection. Many people associate rescues with “mutts”, “common breeds” like labs and retrievers, or large breeds but the truth is rescues have so much more. Especially with private rescues bringing in dogs from other countries, if you like unique dogs, a rescue is the way to go. For example, our dog Gigi, was adopted in Canada but originally came from Tel-Aviv, Israel.
Important questions to consider before adopting a dog.
I am 100% “adopt don’t shop”, but it’s important to recognize that a rescue dog will have some “baggage”. As altruistic as your intentions may be, a rescue dog may not be the right fit for every family. Below is a list of things to consider before bringing a rescue dog into your home.
- Will you need a dog that is good with children? A lot of people incorrectly assume that rescue dogs and children don’t mix. The truth is lots of rescue dogs are wonderful with children, big and small! The shelter you are working with will have a good idea (thanks to temperament testing) whether a dog is suitable for children. If the dog has not been at the shelter long, make sure you do a “kid test” with your children and the dog under the controlled environment of the shelter.
- Do you have a quiet and predictable routine? With any luck, you may know why the dog was surrendered to the shelter but most times, the dogs history will be mostly a mystery. Regardless, a dog that is at a shelter will have a degree of trauma and anxiety. Because of this, it is important that they are brought into a home where their routine is predictable, easy to adjust too and most importantly, calm and quiet. If you have a really busy and unpredictable schedule then a rescue dog might not be for you.
- Do you have the patience to work with potential behaviour problems? While a shelter will do their best to identify problems, there are some that may only be identifiable once home. Abused dogs can have a wide range of fears, and while it is incredibly rewarding to help them overcome these fears, it can take a very long time. Commons issues include fear of men, separation anxiety, issues with other dogs and fear of being touched.
- Can you handle potential special needs? This can include breeder issues, latent illnesses (for example our Gigi has Canine Ehrlichiosis), or disability, to name a few. Again, extremely rewarding but can require extra time and money.
- Can you keep the promise of adoption? Adopting a dog is a promise to the dog that they will get the second chance at life they deserve. By adopting a rescue dog, you are committing to the fact that nothing short of death will separate your dog from you and their new life. That means regardless of financial situation, living location, allergies etc, you will find a way to make your dog’s life with you work.
If you answered yes to these questions than a rescue dog could be a great choice for your family! Not only does animal adoption save a life, but it is also incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Read here for tips to get your home ready for your rescue. Have a question about adopting a rescue dog? Ask me in the comments!