Adopting a Dog.
I'm not an expert on dog adoption but having gone through the process maybe I can shine a light on some of the pros and cons of owning a rescue dog.
My husband and two small girls (at the time!) and I were all keen for a dog to join our household. We already had four chickens, two guinea pigs, several fish and a hedgehog! We felt we were at the right stage in our lives to welcome a dog and we absolutely wanted to give a rescue dog a second chance.
It just so happened, that soon after that conversation, on a trip to the pet shop, we spotted an ad that had been pinned up by the local pet rescue centre with a photo of a rather shell shocked, scruffy looking dog!
Dog and Human meeting
We all went to meet her - her name was Tilly, she was almost a year old and she was beautiful. She was a deerhound greyhound cross. All gangly legs and fur! She tolerated us but wouldn't really look at any of us properly. We walked with her and her keeper and found out a little more info about her past.
When you take on a rescue dog, you never fully know their history and maybe what they have been through. You may be lucky and the dog you take on can be perfectly well adjusted. Many though need lots of time, patience and understanding.
We all fell in love with Tilly and ended up bringing her home once we had been through all the usual checks - we had a home visit, Tilly came and visited twice and we visited her several times. We had to sign a contract that we would have her sterilised - quite a common policy we discovered.
Day 1 - Tilly came home with us!
Tilly was impeccably behaved for about 2 days when she came to live with us and then she started to steal food from the kitchen counter and even off our plates! Apart from that she was perfect and we couldn't believe our luck.
Then she got ill. Very ill. We still don't know what was wrong with her - I think she was hugely stressed from going to 3 different homes and being taken back to the rescue before coming home with us. Naively we hadn't got round to organising pet insurance and in the first month of having her we had to pay out almost £2000. So my advice is...take out pet insurance as soon as you can!
She got better - this isn't a sad story! We were just so happy that she was ok.
One of my favourite memories of the early days with Tilly was taking her down to Saunton Sands in Devon where she discovered the beach for the first time. There was so much joy in that dog on that day! I've never seen a dog run and zoom so hard and for so long!
Tilly is still a nervous girl and she is only truly happy when she is with myself or my husband. She hates to be alone and we try to avoid that happening. Luckily we work from home so she is spoiled by the fact there is usually either one of us with her. If she is left alone she will always make a protest of some sort - usually nicking food from somewhere; the teenagers bedrooms or the recycling bin. She's never grown out of that and we always forget!
Fast forwarding on - 10 years later! Tilly is still one of the best things that has ever happened to our family. She has brought us so much happiness and fun. I hope we have returned the favour. Over the years there have been vet visits and expenses but having her in our lives outweigh any of the worries and issues we have had along the way.
Our once small girls, are now young women beginning lives of their own. All the pets from the early days have long since gone and it is now just Tilly and the two of us. She is a lot slower now, shorter daily walks and more napping but that kind of suits us all.
She is one of the names behind our dog themed clothing business
My business partner and I run Jess & Tilly together - it is our celebration of dogs and our love for them which was inspired by Jess the cockapoo and my Tilly. A love of dogs is something we share with all our customers. It is a bond like no other - dog lovers just understand.
So if you are considering adoption, my personal view is there is nothing as rewarding or as joyful as sharing your life with a rescue dog. Do your research thoroughly and I would also say make sure you have the time and the patience to give your dog the life it deserves. It will need a forever home, its not always easy but the best thing you can do!