Thinking of a rescue dog? When Tania Pradnum finally gave in and rescued a puppy she realized her life was never to be the same again.
So, my kids had been asking for a dog for a while. Actually, that’s an understatement.
They have been BEGGING for a dog since they could say ‘dog’ which, as many of you parents would know, is a very easy, early word to master. So, for basically as long as I’ve been a mum, I’ve been refusing to add a furry addition to the family.
But last year, I succumbed.
I’d like to say that it was a well-planned decision based on a well-thought out list of pros and cons. I’d like to say that we thoroughly researched the best choice of dog for our family and that we were totally prepared for what becoming pet owners would entail. But the truth is I buckled under the weight of constant nagging and I didn’t know what else to get the kids for Christmas.
So, I did the most thorough research a time-poor parent can manage these days and asked the Facebook Brains Trust. Well, that opened a can of freaking worms, didn’t it?? Everyone’s got an opinion on the best dog to get. It was one of the most engaged-with posts I’ve ever written. Note to self: Must find new Facebook friends. There were hundreds of suggestions and dozens of breeder recommendations and I promptly ignored them all.
Instead, I contacted a few local rescue places and placed my order. A female puppy, medium sized, mild temperament and available for Christmas.
One place had something they thought ‘might be suitable’ and this is where our pet-owning journey began. Only I wish it never did, because, now we are a family of four + one and our lives will never be the same again.
Four things you need to know about getting a rescue dog.
1. You can’t really order a breed
The puppy we brought home is a mixed breed of who knows what. Often dogs arrive at their foster homes or rescue places without any real information. The vet seems to think she’s a terrier cross but what type of terrier and crossed with what are two of many mysteries which may never be solved. It suits this multicultural family though. When nosy curious people I ask her specifications, I like to say she’s a mongrel… just like my sons. Bitzers for the win.
2. You can’t really buy one
Nope. Rescue dogs aren’t ‘sold’. They’re adopted out. Adopting an animal means you’re making them part of your family. Apparently, they aren’t a cute possession that you play with when you want and then totally ignore and leave outside when you can no longer be bothered. What!? Would have been good to know that a bit sooner. There are adoption fees. What you typically are paying for is microchipping, vaccinations, flea and worming, up to date vet checks and as required – desexing. All of which is a load cheaper than buying a pedigree or designer dog.
3. You don’t really get a choice
Here’s where the trouble began for us. We were of the grave misconception that we were choosing the dog. WRONG. When we fronted up to the rescue foster home there were three sibling pups on offer. One of them made it very clear that we were her humans and once she decided, well we had no choice. Did you hear me? NO. CHOICE. The dog chose us. From here we were forced to comply to her hairy wishes.
4. Nothing will ever really be the same again
This is not an understatement. That puppy becoming part of our household, of our FAMILY, has literally changed #everything. We have things strewn through all through our house. Tennis balls and squeaky toys, bits of food and chewed up cardboard. There are interrupted nights of sleep for visits to the toilet, whining when she’s hungry and barking for no apparent reason at all. She needs to be fed and walked. She gets car sick (and vomits!) so she must sit on someone’s lap in the car so she can look out the window. She licks what should be her private lady parts all the time and in front of company no matter how many times I tell her it’s inappropriate. She poohs all over the lawn except for the patches that have died from the toxic poison of her puppy wee. There’s socialization training, lead training, manners training, obedience training and toilet training. We have even had her puppy-sat when we’ve had to be out of the house for too long. It’s like a return to the nightmare blessing of full blown toddler-dom all over again. It’s bloody exhausting. But honestly, nothing ever properly prepared me for falling in love with a bloody dog. Giddy, head over heels with our third and final baby.
That furry, smelly, whiny, barky, pissy pain in the arse is now one of mine. She got sick the other day when she managed to find a packet of Schmackos and hide them under the cupboard and then eat the WHOLE packet one day while I was neglecting her. I was BESIDE myself. My husband even slept in the lounge to watch her overnight. He didn’t even do that with our sons.
So, if you’re in two minds about adding a fur baby to your family, my advice to you is to avoid doing so for as long as you can properly resist. They will ruin everything you have worked so hard to maintain… and you will spend the rest of their life cuddling them for it. Your lives will be changed forever and you won’t even be able to be angry about it. Getting a rescue dog is clearly the best and worst thing we ever did.