There are many important things to consider before you start looking to bring home a new dog, but one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is where to get your new pet. We spoke to a happy owner who made the leap and look at the different options available.
‘Rescue dogs know we’ve saved them’
Beth Ponsford, from Somerset, tells us about her crossbreed rescue dog Snoop.
‘When I first saw my four-month-old dog, he was cowering in the corner of his kennel with his head bowed. I’d gone to an animal shelter looking for a Border Collie, but my heart swelled with love for this little creature.
‘As he was so nervous, there were several visits to the shelter before I could bring him home, but I was confident I could win him over and give him the love and attention he obviously needed.
‘The charity supported me and suggested slowly coaxing him with toys and treats, but all he would do is hide under furniture, trembling. When I tried walking him, he dived into hedges when he saw passers-by or other animals. It was frustrating but also heart breaking.
‘I began to wonder if I’d made a big mistake adopting him, but then I told myself I’d made a promise to look after him and I wasn’t going back on that. So, through a friend, I found an animal behaviourist. When she met Snoop, she told me he was one of the worst cases she’d ever come across.
‘We began taking him on walks, shielding him when he got worried and rewarding him with treats when he made the slightest bit of progress.
‘It took about a year until we saw some positive changes. He started lifting his head when we were out, wiggling his body and pricking up his ears – it was wonderful to see.
‘Snoop has never barked but he loves to run, play with his ball and I’ve even trained him to be my assistance dog. I have hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and he puts his paw on me when he knows I need some glucose. He’s a clever, happy dog – and my best friend. After a bad start in life, he just needed time to heal and relearn and now he’s helping me. I think rescue dogs know we’ve saved them and they appreciate it.’
Different ways of getting a pet
If you’re inspired by Beth and Snoop’s story, here is some helpful information as you consider rehoming:
- There are thousands of rescue dogs for adoption across the UK who are looking for homes, many of them still under two years old. While animal charities offer puppies and dogs of all ages, there are also rescue organisations that specialise in particular dog breeds.
- Rehoming a rescue dog is hugely rewarding and you’ll be given advice and support to ensure you take home exactly the right pet for you.
- Fees are usually reasonable, and animals will have been examined and possibly treated by a vet with a tailor-made training plan, depending on their needs.
- That’s not to say rehoming a dog, or any other pet, is problem-free. Due to their history of neglect or abuse, some animals may struggle to adapt to a new life and may need plenty of patience and care, but a shelter will offer ongoing advice when you need some support.
- Shelters work hard to rehome dogs to families with children of all ages, with cats and other pets, and to people without gardens if the pet and the family are the right match.
What’s more, rescuing a pet and supporting a worthy cause is certain to increase your feel-good factor!
Petplan partners who can help you include Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust and Blue Cross – and see our 'How to adopt a rescue dog' guide for tips.