Just a few words about adopting a dog and what it means.
Adopting a dog is not something to be decided upon on a whim. Your life will change. You will have another being who will rely on you for everything; food, love, exercise, security, etc. It is not fair to adopt a dog to see if you like it and change your mind a few days or weeks later. The initial period after adoption can bring difficulties, which may require patience. If you are not prepared for a few teething troubles, it is best not to start.
Refuge dogs are not always difficult. I have four myself, and all are now a delight, after a couple of small problems at the start. In general the younger and less traumatised the dog, the quicker he will settle. Time spent in the refuge is not always an indication of how long a dog will take to adapt to his new life.
Here are a few pointers. I am sorry if these appear obvious, but recent events have shown that people are not always honest with me or themselves when taking on a dog. I do not wish to see dogs up for rehoming as a result of people’s not considering these matters. No dog deserves to be cast aside like a toy that has been outgrown. Of course sometimes there are unexpected events in all our lives, and if this happens then “The Network” will rush round and try to help. However if your problem could have been foreseen by you prior to adoption, you will not be as well received when you come crying for help. The dog must come first.
- With a young puppy you can expect up to 6 months of toilet training. If you are not prepared for this, DO NOT TAKE ON A YOUNG PUPPY.
- If you are becoming old and infirm, DO NOT TAKE ON A YOUNG OR STRONG DOG. Remember you will not get any younger.
- Do not take on a young dog if you are not likely to outlive it, unless you have a definite home for the dog after your death. If this is in the UK, then begin passporting the dog immediately. In general small dogs have a longer lifespan than larger dogs.
- If you do not have an enclosed garden do not adopt a dog that is a known “runner”.
- Do not necessarily try to replace the dog you have lost. You may have had German Shepherds all your life, but perhaps if you getting a bit frail, perhaps this is no longer the right breed for you. All breeds have their advantages and you may fall in love with a type of dog you have never known before. Or if you are set on a certain breed, why not take on an older dog who is calm and in need of less exercise?
- In general dogs that have come from refuges have no problems being placed in commercial kennels for short periods when you are away, but if you are a regular traveller please consider passporting your dog and taking him with you.
I do not want to put anyone off, I just want the right dog to go to the right people so that you and your new companion can start a new and happy life together.
Many towns in France have a Club Canin, where you can attend dog training or agility classes. I attend these with one of my dogs and it is a great way to meet other dog lovers and can create a very strong bond between dog and owner, as well as being good for dog behavior and social skills, if these are lacking. My dog is now very well-adjusted, but she adores her evenings out with her mum (me!) and we continue to go for sheer enjoyment.
Also there is always “The Network”, where advice can be sought for any teething troubles. You will not have a problem that has not been encountered before, so do not despair. Help will be at hand.
Dogs are fabulous animals, they are often mistreated and abused, yet the bond between dog and man remains unbreakable. Rescue dogs can be all the more rewarding because often, despite their previous experiences, they are still able to love unconditionally and trust absolutely. By adopting the RIGHT dog for you, you can enrich your life enormously, as well as giving a lovely home to a deserving animal.
PLEASE CONSIDER ALL OF THE ABOVE BEFORE EMBARKING ON THE ADOPTION PROCESS