Can we take a second to talk candidly about the reality of adopting a dog from abroad?
I have just had a phone call about yet another rescue from abroad that is on his way to be put to sleep. Why? Because his temperament doesn't fit our lifestyles. Thats it. He is healthy, clever, loving to those he knows, but he has to have his life ended because he can't conform.
Is this fair?
I work with many many rescues from abroad, and don't get me wrong, a lot of them are GORGEOUS pets. They are sociable, adaptable and learn the ways of our lifestyles.
But the truth is, it's pot luck. I also work with MANY dogs that are brought over, sold as 'good family pets' to first time dog owners who don't deserve the emotional roller-coaster they are about to embark on. I see first-hand the reality bringing a dog from the streets to live as a family pet has on the dog, the family and the public. And it's not right!
Dogs that thrive on the streets have a different set of temperamental characteristics than our purpose bred family dogs. These dogs have to be ruthless, think for themselves, brave and not willing to back down from an altercation. They HAVE to stand up for themselves. They have to learn quickly to avoid trouble and remain safe. This is the reality of a dog thriving on the streets of a different country. Those that thrive are more likely to reproduce, meaning those cute puppies that are found on the streets are also likely to have these temperamental characteristics.
Do you think these characteristics make good pets? Do you think these dogs are better off living in a world of rules, restrictions and social expectations? Some are. Many aren't.
Now, many rescue organisations take all this into consideration. They are very careful when assessing the temperament and behaviour of dogs to ensure they are well matched to their new homes. Not all are this conscientious however. And it SUCKS!
At the end of it all, healthy dogs are loosing their lives, families are being put through emotional hell and having to make decisions that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
Think LONG AND HARD before taking on a dog from the streets of a different country. Ask those questions. Has the dog been behaviourally and temperamentally assessed? Has it lived in a home before, and if so, why is it now looking for a new one? Speak to different members of staff about the dogs behaviour and be wary of anyone saying the dog is very calm and quiet! THESE ARE NOT GOOD SIGNS!
I think all dogs deserve a chance for a happy, fulfilled life, but that DOESN'T always mean as pets. Many dogs thrive in feral environments. Lets leave those there!!
To those families who have had to navigate owning a rescue from abroad with these tribulations, I hear you, and I'm sorry.
To those dogs who have lost their lives, run free.
If this rings true for you, feel free to drop me a message to chat through anything, or just to have an ear to listen to you!