A NATIONAL dog charity jointly run by a Stoke woman is launching a ‘Rescue Ready’ campaign after a number of animals had been returned by their new owners for reasons ‘so daft’ you could not make them up.
Finding Furever Homes, which rescues and rehomes dogs throughout England, Wales and Scotland, is launching the campaign in time for New Year in order to encourage people to give serious thought to taking on a rescue dog and to not give up on them at the first opportunity.
Stoke On Trent woman, Lindsey Dale, who is a trustee for registered charity Finding Furever Homes (FFH), which uses kennels in Shropshire and Liverpool and places dogs in foster homes throughout England and Wales said the charity already has a comprehensive screening process for people to go through prior to being allowed to adopt a dog.
But in recent months they have noticed people have been returning animals very quickly and for trivial reasons and they are concerned the problem will get worse as many people’s New Year resolutions include a life change such as exercising more or taking on a pet which often leads to dog ownership.
In the last six months alone, dogs have been returned to the charity under the following circumstances:
* A dog was returned to kennels after being driven just 15 miles en route to its new home, as it wouldn’t sit nicely in the boot of the car
* A dog was returned to kennels after a couple of days as his new owners said he was boring
* A lurcher was adopted midday one Saturday and returned 9am Sunday, as their existing dog didn’t like playing with him
* A boxer cross lurcher was returned to kennels after 8 weeks because she jumped up at (but not over or damaged) the garden fence twice in that period
* A German shepherd was driven five hours from kennels to its new home in Scotland. The resident dog, which it had been introduced to and got on well with at kennels, didn’t seem to want him in the house so Finding Furever Homes was expected to go and pick him up
* Dog adopted and returned a few days later as he would not go straight to sleep after walks.
* A dog was returned to kennels because after smelling freshly baked pie and finding it was just within reach he helped himself uninvited
In addition to the dogs that were actually returned, other instances highlight how quickly some people seem happy to give up on a pet they were adamant they were committed to owning.
Lindsey, who as a trustee, runs the charity on a voluntary basis, said:
“In other instances one new dog owner had phoned to say she would be returning her new pet the next day as it had fleas.
“But with our encouragement, she took the dog to the vet and these fleas turned out to just be fibres from the new dog bed which the lady had bought for the dog and nothing was wrong at all.”
As well as highlighting some of the more ridiculous incidences which the charity has witnessed, now FFH is asking all would-be dog owners looking to adopt from any charity to ask themselves the question ‘Am I #RescueReady?’
“Over the years we have seen dogs come and go and occasionally go out and come back again and it really isn’t fair on them. Ninety nine per cent of the time dogs are returned as the new family were not “Rescue Ready” – it had nothing to do with the dog.
“Like all reputable dog rescue charities we have a comprehensive adoption process and for us this includes a home visit before potential adopters are even invited to kennels to meet a dog (or dogs). But it is always difficult as people sometimes let their hearts rule their heads and despite what they tell us they are not always practical and then panic and just think oh give it back.”
Now the charity is asking everyone who gets in touch to make a pledge that they and any other relevant family or household members are indeed ‘Rescue Ready’.”
“From now on we are going to be asking everyone who gets in touch to make a pledge to being Rescue Ready. That means not only making sure they are ready before they get the dog but that they are prepared to put in the hard work to help the animal settle into its new home and that doesn’t happen overnight.”
Lindsey believes for many people, despite being fully informed by the rescue, just don’t take in the fact an animal will need time to adjust to a new home.
“The first few days are critical in the rehoming process and it is time people realised the story from the dog’s perspective. Please do not think about trying to adopt if you are not prepared to go out of your way to make it work. The dogs don’t need letting down more than they already have been. Sometimes dogs are returned to rescue through perceived behavioural issues. These can be brought about by either unrealistic expectations or lack of understanding or a combination of both.”
Finding Furever Homes believes being Rescue Ready is an issue which is relevant to all animal rescue charities and it is encouraging individuals and other charities and organisations to support the campaign during January 2016 on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #RescueReady.
The charity is also keen to acknowledge those people who love dogs but are sensible enough to recognise they are not in a position to take one on for whatever reason and may never be.
“As a charity, we do as much as we can to find appropriate adopters and offer them ongoing support, but at the end of the day people also need to be prepared to make smart decisions and put in the hard work for themselves.
“For many people that smart decision may mean accepting that as much as they love or want a dog they are really not Rescue Ready and may never be in a position to take on a dog, so we would ask them to help in another way, such as sharing our campaign via social media, making a donation or even considering volunteering in some way.”
To support the campaign during Rescue Ready month please it via Twitter using #RescueReady and consider making a donation by texting FFHX50 and the amount in pounds you wish to donate to 70070
“This campaign is vital as we may live in a society where we are free to change our hair colour or our new mobile phone at the drop of a hat and where we can customise everything from our car to our contact lenses but a dog is not an object that will instantly behave as you want it to and slot straight in. They cannot be picked up and dropped at will.
“It is vital people understand that and they are sure they really are Rescue Ready, as owning a dog is a privilege, not a right and it is not for everybody.”
For further information about Finding Furever Homes and to offer a dog a home please visit http://www.findingfureverhomes.org.uk/