There are 110,000 (you read that right, ONE HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND) abandoned or stray dogs in the UK at any one time. Add to this Battersea Dogs and Cats Home’s announcement that they received an increase in 204% of dog abandonment this summer, it proves that this problem is still rife and it’s an issue on the increase.
So, if you’ve decided you’re ready (mentally and financially) to become the parent of a beautiful four-legged little creature, but confused where to get a pup from, then we always recommend you save a rescue dog. Here’s why:
1. You’ll be saving two lives.
That’s right, not only will you be changing the world for your rescue dog, you’ll also be freeing up shelter space for another stray pup. Shelters are so overcrowded that they often have to turn dogs away, meaning that they go to the Local Authority, whereby they have seven days to claim or put down.
2. You’ll be bringing down puppy mills and irresponsible breeding.
Unless you choose a breeder very carefully, you can fall into the trap of buying a dog from a puppy farm or an irresponsible breeder, without even knowing. Millions of puppies are bred each year with no care for the dog’s welfare. Meanwhile, their parents spend their whole lives cramped in small, unsanitary cages; birthing litter after litter. By adopting a rescue dog, you won’t be paying into this awful business. Find out more about TV Vet Marc Abraham’s quest to stop puppy farming here.
3. You’ll help fight the myths surrounding shelter dogs.
It’s a common misconception (usually as a result of ill-informed media coverage) rescue dogs are “broken”,”troublesome”, have health or behavioural issues and are much harder to handle. This is absolutely not true. In fact, the vast majority of dogs are given up because of problems their owners face. Like moving, having a baby, divorce, no time… it’s rarely because of the dog’s behaviour or health. Most shelter dogs are perfectly well behaved and healthy.
4. The dog of your dreams is just around the corner.
Shelter dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Puppies, adults, seniors, mixed breeds, pure breeds… the list is endless!
If you’ve always had a specific breed or type of dog in mind, then with patience and research, you’ll eventually find the dog of your dreams in a shelter. You might also end up adopting a dog that is completely different to what you wanted, because you felt a special connection. And that is what’s most important.
5. It’s cheaper.
Money saving shouldn’t be a decisive factor when getting a dog. But, as it turns out, adopting a dog from a shelter is much cheaper than buying from a breeder or pet store (don’t even go there). The adoption fee also covers for your dog’s vaccines, microchipping, and spaying or neutering. It usually doesn’t even represent a third of the price you would pay to just purchase a puppy, without medical care included. It’s always a nice gesture to make a donation to the shelter in addition to the adoption fee to help other dogs in need.
6. Adult dogs are awesome.
Puppies are cute, but they are quite a handful and aren’t always the right choice (especially if you are a first time dog owner). Plus, they don’t stay puppies forever. In just a few months they’ll be grown pups. By adopting an educated adult dog, you won’t have to worry about time consuming issues such as potty training, leash training, or destructive puppy behaviour. You’ll also greatly lower the risk that your recently adopted dog will fall ill, as puppy immune system’s are much more fragile. You can still teach your adult dogs tricks and desired behaviours to bond with them!
7. Your shelter will always be there for you.
A reputable dog shelter will always be happy to help and guide you once you have adopted your dog. Many even ask you to sign papers saying that you authorise them to visit your dog in a few months to see how he’s adjusting. It’s incredibly reassuring to know that someone who knows your dog well is there to help you, should you need them.
8. Your health will thank you for it.
Dogs are proven to reduce blood pressure levels, stress and they give you a reason to get out and exercise. Imagine the rush of endorphins as a result of these health benefits, in addition to knowing you’ve saved a life in the process.
9. Your dog will be forever grateful.
Shelter dogs quickly forget about their previous life once they’re comfortable and happy in their forever home. The gratitude towards the people who saved them and took them in always remains. Anyone who has ever adopted a dog will tell you that the bond with a rescue dog is strong and sincere. They are so thankful, and it shows in everything they do.
10. You’ll have a beautiful story to tell.
Shelters can usually provide you with your new dog’s past, or at least tell you how they came to them and in what condition they were found. Every rescue dog’s story is unique and really shapes who they are. It makes for a very moving story to tell your friends, family and fellow dog owners down the park. Hopefully you’ll persuade them to give a new life to another shelter dog.