I thought I would write a column about the steps involved in adopting a dog and to maybe, just maybe, bust a few rescue myths. People often ask me where the dogs come from, where to find a rescue dog and how to go about adopting one.
One of the biggest myths I hear about in rescue is that we are against breeders. This could not be further from the truth. We support and even recommend certain breeders to the public. We may also even turn to a great breeder for advice about a specific dog breed if we are not familiar with the breed.
We do not support breeders who breed unhealthy dogs and knowingly continue to breed them. These pups can develop hip dysplasia, be incontinent, develop many other issues or even be stillborn.
The second myth is dogs waiting in rescue must be bad dogs. This is absolutely not true. Many of these dogs come from a home environment and while some of the homes have been loving, others have been inadequate. Dogs arrive in rescue for many different and varied reasons. An owner can develop allergies and can no longer live with the pet. Families may find themselves moving far away or a family may be encountering financial hardship. Sadly, pet owners can become gravely ill or may have passed away.
Dogs found wandering without collars or microchips can also land in rescue. If no one steps up to claim the dog, the pooch can be put up for adoption. Animal control, shelters and rescues do everything possible to find the original owner and, if they can’t be located, volunteers will work hard to find a forever home for the dog.
Rescues often do not have a shelter to house the dogs until they are adopted. These rescues depend on dedicated foster families opening their doors and taking in a dog until they are adopted. These families love, feed and keep the dogs safe. Foster families often have input as to who would be a strong candidate to adopt. They have lived with the dog, so they know his or her personality very well. Frequently, foster families fall in love with the dog and they will decide to adopt him. We lovingly call these foster fails.
To adopt a rescue dog, you must fill out an application that can seem daunting, but please remember that we want the dog to go to a forever home. We do not want the dog to be failed a second time. Once your application is submitted, we check your references, your current or past veterinarian and we will then book a home inspection. The home inspection is the last step in the process. We are only checking to make sure the dog is going to a safe environment.
My favourite part of rescue is delivering the dog to his or her new home. Ultimately, that is the goal for rescue: finding permanent, loving homes. If you have any questions about the adoption process, please feel free to contact me.
Please be kind to animals.
Tracy Jessiman is a pet portrait artist who lives in Halifax with her husband and their three pets. She is a volunteer with Animal Rescue Coalitions of Nova Scotia. She has been rescuing animals most of her life, but more intimately, animals rescued her.