As the adoption coordinator for a local rescue organization, I have had many conversations about adopting a rescue dog.
Adopting a rescue dog is different from buying a dog. Most dogs that are purchased are puppies and come from breeders or people who have to give them up. A rescue dog can be from anywhere and may have gone through more things in life than you or I.
I have found that some rescue dogs have issues, but nothing that they are not willing to work on to please you. Both of my pets are rescue dogs, and they both look at me with appreciation. They seem to be saying thank you sometimes.
However, adopting a rescue dog is not for everyone. Some rescue dogs have been chained outside, kept in a kennel, dumped on the side of the road or just neglected. Some have been physically beaten and end up with a fear of humans. In these cases, a human has to earn the trust of the dog.
Rescues Come With Question Marks
It takes a special type of person to adopt a rescue dog. The new owner has to understand that there might be housebreaking issues, trust issues, chewing issues, dietary issues and just overall trouble learning a new way to live.
I have had many people ask me questions including: Is the dog housebroken? Does the dog like children? Does the dog get in the trash? The rescue organization does not know the history of the dog and many times cannot give exact information. We can only supply what we know.
Rescue dogs take a lot of extra care. Not every dog is going to trust someone right away, or they may come in and never want to leave your side. Kaiah, my black Lab mix, is a great dog. I socialized her and taught her things, but at 4 years old, she still has separation anxiety.
Dogs, Owners Both Must Learn New Behavior
My good friend tells me that I am an enabler for Kaiah because my dogs feed off my energy. I am working on it, and I'm lucky she pointed it out.
Dogs take cues from their owners. If you are upset, they are upset; if you are a laid-back and relaxed person, so are your dogs. Just like with a baby, if you are stressed, they feel the stress and tend to show it.
Someone who is ready for a rescue dog should be ready to take on some issues that the dog might exhibit and treat it as a family member, not just a dog.
The old saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is not exactly accurate. I have watched older rescue dogs want to please someone so much that they learn all kinds of new things. However, the new parent needs to be patient and willing to work with the dog.
You don’t always get a perfect dog, and in all honesty, I wouldn’t want a perfect dog. All dogs have a personality, and just like us, some of it comes from how we were treated, how we grew up and how we handled things. They would not be our babies if they didn’t come with some special qualities.
If you are looking for a dog and choose to adopt, please remember: Rescue dogs are not perfect, but they will love you no matter what.
Ready to adopt? Here are some rescue organizations in and around Clearwater: