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Thread: How to choose a rescue dog?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Default How to choose a rescue dog?

    I have 2 friends looking for a rescue dog at the moment. One is off to the local pound today to check out a lab/spaniel mix (I've met one before - weird looking dog but lovely). My other friend is just umming and arring, checking petrescue every 5 minutes and dreaming about dogs at night.

    She has a shortlist but says that none made her say: "Drop everything - this is the one".

    Now I'm a pretty pragmatic person and I chose my rescue based on pretty logical arguments. Her photo appealed to me, but in the end I chose compatibility and convenience. I got a dog that I could walk off leash the day I got her home (away from roads obviously) and was therefor easy to teach recall to - which is very important to me. She was awesome with other dogs so a breeze to walk. I also didn't have to worry about the rickety gate in my rental as she never tried to escape. And never had to deal with barking or similar bad habits. And that was good enough for me, even though she is not my soulmate, like my previous dog was.

    So I may not be a good person to advise my friend on this, I think. I can suggest to her which dogs to avoid because they sound like trouble (she definitely wants an easy dog too), but apart from that, I don't know.

    How do you pick a dog from a website? How do you decide which ones to go meet if they are 100s of kilometers away?

  2. #2

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    It certainly can be difficult.

    My best advise would be for her to call and speak to the foster carers (if the dog is in foster) that will give her a better idea about the dog then any website advertisement will.

  3. #3
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    We didn't choose very logically, we knew we wanted a dog and I wanted something big and my partner wanted something small and it was causing a lot of tension in our household so one day we decided to go and look at the local RSPCA just to get an idea of what we wanted. We were walking around and nothing stood out to us, even the ones we liked the photos/descriptions of online we didn't have that 'connection' with. Then we got to one of the last cages and spotted Meika, I remember just turning to my partner and saying "I would give up owning a big dog to take her home". There was just something about her that we fell in love with, and she's definitely my soul mate dog.

    Molly was a bit different, I was thinking about getting a second dog but wasn't sure if it was a good idea or not, and my partner didn't want one. One afternoon I was just dreaming and looking at all the dogs available, and saw Molly's photo, she just looked so sweet and so scared and it pulled at my heart strings, so I emailed the photo to my partner, it had the same effect on him so 8am the next morning we were out the front of the shelter waiting for it to open so we could go see her, we walked around twice and couldn't see her anywhere, went to the front counter and asked where she was and turns out she was in a cage with another dog, but was too scared to come out of her kennel and being black she blended in and we walked past her. The staff member had to practically drag her out of the kennel/cage so we could see her and as soon as a saw/felt how skinny she was I burst into tears (felt like a right idiot) so we took her home with us.

    Here is the photo we fell in love with online
    Molly Rescue.jpg

    And a photo of the two of them within 10 minutes of Molly being home with us. Meika was the best thing to ever happen to Molly, bought her out of her shell so much and they are still the best of friends
    MollyMeik.jpg

    I think you can search and search for as long as you like, but when you know, you know. It's hard to explain, but it's just such a special feeling

  4. #4
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    It's just hard to count on that feeling when you are looking at interstate dogs...

    My other friend - who is the undecided friend's mother actually - adopted that dog from the pound today! I'm extra chuffed because I spotted her. She's picking her up on Friday and I can't wait to meet her and introduce her to Banjo.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2011
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    se qld
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    bud pound3.jpg

    I took Buddy from a photo on facebook straight from the Muswellbrook pound.
    Maybe it was just luck but he was pretty much a failed foster from the word go.
    Brings to mind the "You had me at "Woof"..

    bud pound2.jpg
    Last edited by chubbsecurity; 11-06-2012 at 04:00 PM. Reason: add pics

  6. #6
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    The last time I got a rescue it was " you are the one" from the minute I laid eyes on her at the pound. When I got home and bathed her I was horrified at how skinny she was and very glad I had her. It wasn't til that evening it ocurred to me that with a 3 year old (at the time) I maybe should have asked at least a few questions. My husband looked at her and said "has she finished growing? " and I had no idea even how old she was ( didn't care) she was 18 months old roughly the vet said later. Anyway she was the most gentle obedient child friendly and endlessly grateful girl. She will always be in my memory a very special pup.We called her Perdi from the latin for lost.
    So no logic there. Just a heart and gut feeling.
    Last edited by farrview; 11-06-2012 at 02:30 PM. Reason: spelling

  7. #7

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    I've chosen all my dogs based on an immediate instinctual response I get from meeting them. This might not happen with other people but I always know which dog I want to keep from the first 5 seconds of meeting it, probably my reaction to an adventurous and extroverted temperament. Regardless I always hold off on making the decision to commit until I know the dog better, but my gut feeling hasn't been wrong yet.

    My advice is to take each dog for a walk and spend a bit of time with them before making a decision. A dog will usually show you the ups and downs of its personality if you spend a couple of hours with it. Make sure to introduce it to people and other dogs and test its response to sound, sudden movement, and other stimuli. A courageous and friendly dog is preferable to a fearful inhibited dog IMO.

  8. #8
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    Hi Beloz

    I like this advice. It boils down to "pick the friendly one" - which has certainly made life easy for me with Frosty - tho she's not as reliably friendly as she was before she turned 2 ish - and started standing up for herself and telling off rude dogs. But if a dog matches her friendly greeting and doesn't stomp on her - she's the best friend ever.

    GetDog

    I'd spent a lot of time with cattle dogs so I liked their temperment and figured they'd keep up with me better than some other dogs. I did look at the websites - but our local rescues/pounds are quite unreliable about keeping them up to date. I went out to the RSPCA a couple of times but they only had older terrier type dogs when I went there, and I wanted a farm dog under 12 months. Ideally a puppy. I guess I could have asked my country cousins to hook me up - that's how we got the previous ones.

    And I didn't know about petrescue or any shelters except AWL and RSPCA. Eventually I went out to AWL having talked to them on the phone about a red heeler female about 6 months old. 2 hours later when I finally got there all the way across town, that dog was not there. They said it went just before I got there - but it could have gone days ago for all I know - and it was a boy dog - which I didn't want. Bit rigid about that. No leg cocking in this house. And girls have more tummy to rub.

    Anyway they had two female 10 week old puppies left from a litter of cattle dog cross. So I took the pretty one to the "play pen" and tried to get her to engage but all she wanted to do was go back to her kennel. Erm. She would not engage with me at all. So after 10 or 15 minutes of that, I went and got the other one - who was into everything, wanted to say hello to everybody. In the pen she explored everything, played with me, played by herself... so even tho she wasn't as pretty as the other one, that was definitely the friendly one. I talked to one of the volunteers about her - and he said she had more personality than the other one, and her only flaw was she was very noisy at dinner time - there's something that hasn't changed much.

    So pick the friendly one. It would be wrong for the friendly well adjusted dog to get PTS because you took the shy timid troubled fearful one home thinking you could fix it.

    If the dog is with foster carers - or particular rescues interest you (or your friends) - make contact, send the list - be clear about what are deal breakers (eg for me: no boy dogs) and what are "nice to haves" but you're willing to compromise... and then keep in regular contact - make it easy for them to let you know when they have a suitable dog. The smaller rescues are more likely to do this. AWL and RSPCA tend to be overwhelmed and don't keep track of "requests" well.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Melbourne
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    We got Jack on saturday, we had been looking on the saveadog website and had made a list of what 'fitted' what we wanted. eg, not to big or small, and a bit ''mad max looking'' dont ask. I had phoned up the day before to check they were all there and they were.
    When we got there they only had 1 of the ones we wanted to look at left and when we saw him it broke my heart!! He looked so sad and I needed to make him happy.
    It's only been 3 days but it's been the best 3 days of my life

  10. #10
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    Sounds like she will just have to get the car fixed soon and go on a long road trip. It'll be a 1600km round trip if she wants to go see her favourites! I thought our 800kms was far...

    Canberra is pretty small and fortunately lots of people here adopt. But that means there is less choice in rescues than in other places. A good thing for the dogs, but it means it is sometimes better to travel to the big smoke to chose a dog.

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