With dog ownership in decline across the UK the challenge of finding homes for rescued dogs has never been greater. Modern economic pressures have played a large part in reducing the number of families who can now afford to have a pet. Add to this an increase in people renting from private landlords who won’t allow pets, and it’s the perfect storm for a ‘homing crisis’ in rescue organisations across the country.
Which has made it all the more important that anyone thinking of getting a pet seriously considers offering a home to a rescue dog. With dogs of all breeds, ages, sizes and types currently in rescue centres, there really is very little reason to look elsewhere for a pet.
Rescue organisations are keen to point out the benefits of homing a rescued dog. Forever Hounds Trust rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes greyhounds and lurchers. Head of Homing, Kennelling and Welfare for the charity, Dr Fiona Cooke, says: “If you take greyhounds and lurchers as an example, just within this type of breed there is a dog for almost everyone. Greyhounds are often very laid back dogs. We like to call them our ‘40mph couch potatoes’ as many are happy with just one or two short walks a day and enjoy spending the rest of the day snoozing on the sofa. They are often relatively calm too and a greyhound that has retired from the racing industry would often make a great pet for an older person.
“A lurcher is any dog that has been crossed with a sighthound. This means that they come in all shapes, sizes and personality types. We have lurchers that are active and keen to learn and engage with all sorts of activities. They can make great companions for those wanting to do sports such as canicross, bikejor or agility with their pet. Others make excellent family pets, happy to go on long walks, play in the garden or snooze in front of the fire.”
With rescue dogs of all ages available, it is possible for those wanting a puppy to find their ideal pet. However, there are some real advantages to adopting an older dog. Some will already be housetrained, may have experience of living in a home already and depending on age already be neutered. More will be known about them too. Dr Cooke explains: “Everyone adopting a greyhound or lurcher from Forever Hounds Trust knows as much as possible about their new dog. The dog will have had a veterinary assessment and any medical care needed as well as vaccinations, flea and worm treatment, microchips and have been neutered. The dog will also have been behaviourally assessed and Forever Hounds Trust’s experience in matching homes and hounds means that they can help you find the right dog for your lifestyle.
“We also have a free post homing support service with an expert team available to support new owners with advice on any aspect of looking after their dog. This support is ongoing for the life of the dog, so you always have someone to ask.”
Homing a rescued dog also allows you the comfort of knowing you really were there when your dog needed you. Rosie, a lurcher rescued by Forever Hounds Trust last year, found her forever home with Gill and Dave, who are delighted that she is part of their family. Gill says: “Rosie settled into our home so quickly and immediately made herself at home on the sofa!” In fact, Rosie has made herself such a huge part of their lives that the couple can’t imagine life without her now. Gill adds: “I can honestly say that we have not looked back since adopting Rosie and she has changed our lives for the better.”
“That’s the thing about dogs isn’t it?” concludes Dr Cooke. “They become such huge parts of our lives and bring us joy and comfort in a way that is truly unique to them. We dedicate ourselves to rescuing dogs, but sometimes when I see one of our dogs heading off to their new home with their owner, I do wonder who is rescuing whom.”
Our featured image is of Maia, a little lurcher who is currently in need of a forever home. For more information about Maia, or any of the other dogs we have currently looking for a home, please call 03000 111 100, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.foreverhoundstrust.org/dogs.