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Is it worth adopting a pet from a rescue centre?

With a growing understanding of the massive welfare impact that comes from puppy-farming, a lot of people are turning to rescuing, rehoming, or adopting a pet. However, if you’re not familiar with it, this can feel like a real minefield - so in this blog, we’re going to look at some of the common pitfalls…

Decide why you’re doing it!

If you’re looking to adopt a pet just to save money, that isn’t necessarily a bad reason - but it isn’t enough on its own. Sometimes, rescued and adopted dogs and cats take a long time to come to trust their new owner, and you need to be able to put the time, care and love in to make sure they can blossom.

Equally, however, if you’re just doing it to save a dog or cat without thinking about how it will impact on you, this can lead to problems. Well done for the compassionate impulse, but remember, a dog might live another 10 or 15 years, and a cat 15 or even 20 - will you still be able to be there for them that far down the line?

The ideal reason is that you want a pet anyway, and ALSO want to rescue one of the waifs and strays.

Make sure the rescue centre is reputable

Most are, some are dodgy, and some are downright dangerous. If possible, try to find a centre that is run by, or at the least affiliated with, one of the big charities - Blue Cross, Dogs Trust or Cats Protection. If they claim to be linked with a charity, double check that with the charity themselves! 

Just because they aren’t associated with a big charitydoes notmean that they aren’t good and reputable - there are lots of small rescue centres that do excellent work. However, you will have to be a little more careful and do more checking to make sure all is in order.

Find out what their policy on adoptive homes is

Some charities and rescue centres have very, very strict rules and criteria - there are, for example, some that won’t rehome any animals to a household where people are working, or that doesn’t have its own garden. While having a garden and someone around all the time are beneficial, they aren’t necessarily absolute requirements to be a good home, though, so it may be worth looking around to find out what different centres in the area say. The Blue Cross, in particular, tends to be quite flexible on the requirements as long as they’re happy that you’ll provide a loving and stable home.

Of course, if a centre doesn’t do any checks or have any criteria, you’re probably best avoiding them!

Check what sort of pet would suit you, your family and your lifestyle

This is really important, in terms of breed and even species. For example, a young gundog or collie needs serious amounts of exercise, whereas a retired greyhound might need only a 30 minute blast once a day, and a middle-aged cat just needs letting out in the night to hunt. 

Likewise, if you have young children, a younger dog or cat might prove more adaptable and more willing to play with them than a grumpy senior who wants his sleep, thank-you-very-much; but if you’re at home a lot with limited mobility, for example, the elderly cat who’s happy to snooze on your lap all day might suit you better. 

It all depends on your situation, so think in advance and ask the centre for help, if needed. You can also contact us - our nurses will be more than happy to help you find your perfect companion!

Investigate the history of the pet you’d like to adopt

In terms of medical history and behaviour - you need to be prepared to deal with any problems that you’re adopting. Remember too that you’ll usually be responsible for any medical treatment - so make sure you know what you’re getting into.

While a good rescue centre will never rehome a dangerous dog or vicious cat, accidents do happen, and you can inform yourself by reading the animal’s history and notes. If they aren’t made available to you, be very, very cautious.

Adopting a dog or cat is an incredible gift, giving that animal a new lease of life and a new and hopefully better home. It’s something we strongly recommend - but it’s always better to go in with your eyes open!