Overlooked Dogs In Rescue
I haven’t written about dog rescue for a while and as it’s a subject close to my heart. I wanted to highlight the overlooked dogs in rescue shelters and share a poem I wrote about it.
All dogs in rescue deserve a good home. However, some dogs get overlooked due to their age, breed, medical condition, behaviour or even colour.
Adopting A Senior Dog
There are many benefits of adopting a senior dog. They are usually house trained, neutered and have a more sedate attitude to life than a bouncy, overexcited puppy.
I fostered a lovely Yorkshire Terrier who went on to be adopted by a retired couple. Mickey went on to be the centre of their world. He lived a long, happy life and was given so much love. In exchange, the couple who adopted him became more active, they met lots of people when they were out walking and their mental health improved too.
Here in the UK, our rescue centres have a much higher proportion of one breed of dog. This is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Unfortunately, there has been some tragic newspaper articles about this breed. My heart goes out to anyone who has ever suffered an attack by any dog. However, if this breed is trained correctly they are incredibly loyal and loving pets.
Here is an article called Staffordshire Bull Terriers- Myths and Misconceptions which shows that the ‘Staffy’ is often misunderstood.
Other breeds which are notoriously overlooked in rescue
Here is the poem called ‘The Kennels Were Quiet’
It features the plight of overlooked dogs in rescue.
The kennels were quiet
Now the gates were closed
The puppies had left
For forever homes
Old Patch and Old Billie
remained in their pen
Not surprised to be
Their eyes were cloudy
Their muzzles grey
The people would stop
then just walk away
For Old Patch and Old Billy
there was no surprise
they didn’t want oldies
loyal and wise
They wanted the young ones
eager and small
But the years weren’t always
kind to them all
So, next time you visit
with a new home in sight
Consider the oldies
and their sorry plight
For Old Patch and Old Billie
deserve a break
Their eyesight is failing
Their muscles ache
Next time you visit
there is your match
look no further
Than Old Bill and Old Patch.
Some dogs are handed to rescue when they develop health conditions. I once fostered a dog who developed epilepsy and another with heart disease. Once these dogs had been diagnosed, given the right medication and the correct dosage, they went on to live really happy lives. There is, of course, a monthly medication bill and regular vet checks which makes adopting a dog with a chronic illness expensive. However, if you are in a position to make this financial commitment, please consider a dog with medical needs. The change that is made to a dog’s life is unbelievable and deeply fulfilling for the new owner.
There is an actual name for this called ‘Black Dog Syndrome’
Now I didn’t realise that this discrimination existed until recently. The main reason is that rehoming centres have difficulty photographing black dogs to look their best. Unbelievably to me, black dogs are perceived to be more aggressive than lighter coloured dogs and there are even people who consider black dogs evil or unlucky.
Cats are also subject to this ridiculous stigma. They are linked to superstition and the connection to witchcraft makes black cats less appealing to potential adopters.
I will refrain from commenting but I will show you a picture of my rescue dog Mr Darcy.
I think he is beautiful !
Dogs Known To Have Behavioural Problems
If a dog is has behavioural problems ie aggression, separation anxiety, resource guarding or other anxiety symptoms they are so hard to rehome. If you have children (or visiting children) I would advise against this. However, a patient person with a good understanding of dog training can rehabilitate a dog and completely change his life.You need to have the time to find out how the behavioural problems materialised and the patience to help the dog overcome them. Most problems come about because the dog is fearful, so a strong bond with a human they can trust will help the dog relax.
Large breeds are overlooked rescue dogs because they need a reasonably large garden or someone who can provide several walks per day. If you have the space for a large dog, give these gentle giants a chance.
Trendy Dog Breeds
There always seems to be a dog breed which is considered ‘fashionable’ to own. TV advertisements and films are partially responsible for this or a celebrity may be photographed with a certain breed. As a result, everyone goes out and buys one without researching the breed. We have seen a rise in the figures of pug, dachshunds, and chihuahuas in rescue due to this. These breeds are difficult to train and an inexperienced owner is overwhelmed and underprepared. These breeds end up in rescue when they go out of fashion or the owners cannot cope.
Additional Reading About Dog Rescue
This is a letter I wrote to my rescue dog, Darcy. It shows how he came to live with us and is brutally honest about some of the struggles we have had. However, it also shows how much this little dog means to me.
The weather is getting much colder and perhaps you would like to help by supporting and fundraising for a dog rescue. It shows how really small gestures of kindness can make a massive difference to the dogs who are sadly in kennels at the coldest time of the year.
Anyone in a position to foster or adopt a dog will find the following articles interesting.
The following are reputable UK rehoming centres. However, don’t forget to check out your local dog rescue associations too.
Thank you for reading
Please let me know if you have a rescue dog who makes you happy, regardless of breed, age, health or colour. I would love to hear your stories.
Thank you for reading.