Our work in dog rescue means we have all sorts of interesting conversations, both with those who advocate for rescue dogs wholly and would only ever welcome a dog into the family through a rescue charity, and those who would not consider rescue because a purebreed is preferred and surely rescue means ‘you just don’t know what you’re getting’?
They come in all shapes and sizes (including purebred)!
When you hear the phrase ‘rescue dog’, what springs to mind visually? For many, it’s a dog of multiple breeds and, for the most part, this is absolutely correct. Personally, we think this is great! Why have one breed when you can have many, making one totally unique pup?!
This isn’t always the case though, a rescue pup really does come in many forms. Take a look at the photo on this page. Four beautiful dogs who we recently welcomed into the DogsnHomes family, all about to head off to their forever homes (L-R: Andre, Duncan, Bugsy and Pammy). Can you pick out any distinct breeds? No prizes for guessing that Bugsy is a German Shepherd, Andre a gorgeous terrier-type, Duncan is certainly more of a mixture, and then there’s adorable Pammy who is definitely giving off Dachshund vibes!
It is also of course possible that dogs are surrendered to us that have originally come from a breeder. We are sometimes contacted by people who have bought dogs and then decided it’s not going to work for them, most often because of underestimating the time, effort and training they will need to invest in the dog. When a dog is surrendered, it’s typically because of a change in the owner’s circumstances, not through any fault of the dog. Breeders do not always offer assistance in this situation and individuals then turn to the rescue sector to help find a new home. In this case, the rescue dog may well be a pure breed or designer crossbreed.
So whether an adopter is looking for a specific type of dog, or is searching for a truly unique looking canine companion, rescue will almost always be a great option.
Temperaments and behaviours vary, just like any dog, rescue or not!
For those not familiar with rescue, we often hear ‘I like the idea, but you don’t know what you’re getting’.
A dog’s personality and behaviours are heavily shaped by what they learn from their surroundings and how they are brought up. For a dog that finds him / herself in a rescued scenario, whilst they may have experienced some hardship, they have also had to be resourceful and think independently, which we often find results in a standout personality and big character!
Of course, a dog that has suffered at the hands of humans may be more wary and need more TLC and time spent to teach them we’re not all bad! That’s the truly magical thing about dogs though, their capacity to forgive their past experiences is incredible; with the right care and training, rescue dogs can become happy, content and wonderful additions to the family.
This is especially true of the puppies. At DogsnHomes, we work incredibly hard to ensure the pups we bring over are happy, well-balanced and sociable, able to fit into a blissful life in the UK. You may notice the majority we re-home are between the ages of 4- 8 months as this is an age when a pup is still in the earlier stages of learning and whose experience of life so far has been relatively stable; many DogsnHomes pups are born in foster after their pregnant Mother has been rescued, so have had no negative experiences. Once in our care, the dogs receive all of the time, love, medical care and fuss they can handle (!) as they are prepared to journey to the UK. They will be socialised and introduced wherever possible to cats, children, cafes, towns, people etc. which gives them a huge advantage as they learn to live in a UK home, they have already experienced so many of the sights, smells and sounds we will expect them to become familiar with.
A common misconception is that a dog bought from a breeder is guaranteed to act in a certain way, whereas a rescue dog will require more ‘work’. As stated, a dog’s character is heavily influenced by how he or she is brought up and trained, each dog (whether rescue or not, purebred or mega-mutt) is an individual with different likes, dislikes and personality traits. Over the years we have encountered dogs from all backgrounds and life experiences, they never cease to amaze us with their resilience, capacity to learn and ability to adapt to our human requirements!
A rescue dog can be a (very!) healthy dog
Having often had a trickier start to / period of life, it is true that a rescue dog that has been abandoned, for example, will not have received the level of care they deserved at all times. Whilst this hand they’ve been dealt is not fair, it is something that is addressed as soon as they come into our care; we have a wonderful team of rescuers and veterinary backup and we ensure every dog is brought up to speed with decent meals, health checks, blood tests, vaccinations, worming, flea / tick treatments (the list goes on!), to ensure they arrive in the UK fit and healthy.
What’s more, many veterinary professionals agree that a mixed breed dog, which is characteristic of many rescue dogs, tend to be hardier and less prone to genetic disease – this makes sense as there can be quite the genetic diversity! They can therefore experience greater longevity than some purebred dogs and require less veterinary intervention during their lives.
Whilst any dog has the possibility of becoming ill and experiencing injury during their lifetimes, the rescue dog is a great candidate for a long, happy and healthy life.
So there we have it, a couple of key insights about the wonderful rescue dog, based on our experience over many years of rescue. We hope you enjoyed the read, learned a few new things and found it useful. For us, the overriding advantage of welcoming a rescue dog into your family (through DogsnHomes!) is knowing that you have saved them from a potential life of suffering, created space in foster to help another dog, and contributed towards tackling the issue of unwanted litters, as DogsnHomes pays towards spaying / neutering operations for every dog we adopt. In answer to the question ‘what is a rescue dog like?’ we think ‘grateful’ sums it up best.