Is Rescue for You?

July 28, 2014 at 12:48 am
Laura is currently fostering a deaf dog called Kayla. Laura fondly refers to her as Lady as she is such a well mannered and polite family member.

With hundreds of thousands of dogs surrendered in shelters and pounds each year, it seems logical to assume that there are too many dogs and not enough people able to commit to their care. Why then do we continue to buy puppies when there are already thousands of dogs in desperate need of a second or third chance at love? After speaking with many dog owners over the years, I found that the main reason so many prefer a puppy is because a “puppy comes with less baggage”.

To say that a puppy comes with less baggage is like saying a baby is easier to care for than a five year old. Successfully caring for a dog depends much more on the person than it does on the dog.  Whether an eight-week puppy or five-year-old shelter dog, the outcome of their behaviour will be dependent on the person’s level of sacrifice, commitment and responsibility.

I would love to see more people adopting shelter dogs because I believe taking on that role makes us better people. Taking that baggage into our homes can be a great challenge. We get to know a strange dog who cannot tell us their history or why they were surrendered. So, we need to learn to see things from their point of view and make good judgments. We need to show empathy and compassion, but also leadership; that includes consistency, patience and daily routine. Providing leadership to a rescue dog can be one of the most rewarding challenges imaginable. Not only can we improve a dog’s life, but they can improve ours. I often hear people say that they didn’t save their dog, their dog saved them. If you are interested in rescuing a dog no matter what age, please note the following important rules:

Rules

  1. Choose a dog who suits your lifestyle!
  2. Commit to daily exercise – an amount that your dog needs, rather than the amount you want.
  3. Don’t feel sorry for your dog. Showering them with pity and affection can be detrimental to their confidence and trust in you as a leader
  4. Apply dog CPR – be Consistent, Patient and create a Routine for each day
  5. Reward only the behaviours you want. For example:

-       Calm

-       Compliant

-       Making good choices

-       Controlling impulses

Even though a rescue dog may have had a difficult past, it is up to the owner to provide a bright future. This is done through leadership. The above rules create a leader who a dog can trust and respect. Once the owner’s leadership is established, that baggage they were originally worried about disappears.

Laura is currently fostering a deaf dog called Kayla. Laura fondly refers to her as Lady as she is such a well mannered and polite family member.