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Adopting a Dog from a Rescue


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If the dog were in foster care, I would ask the keeper to give the an honest appraisal of the dog's strengths AND weaknesses. if they have lived with the dog for some time, they will have some idea. ask the natural stuff-does the dog get along with other dogs, cats, men, children? how is he at the vet? park? agility trial (loud, crazy place)? thunderphobic? noises? vacuum cleaners? is he treat motivated? toy motivated? crate trained? potty trained? couch potato or training partner? chewer? digger?

just try to remember that no matter what, when the dog comes to your home, things will change. his true personality needs time to come out. I remember something about 3's. the dog you have at 3 days, will not be the dog you have at 3 weeks or 3 months.

good luck and thanks for rescuing.

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If I wanted to adopt a rescue dog what questions should I ask? And what would be the pros/cons of adopting a dog that is about a year old when I have a dog of the same age?

 

Are you prepared to have two old dogs at the same time?

 

What are your hopes and expectations of a dog? Is your current dog there yet? If not it will be more difficult to put the work into him with the demands of a new dog.

 

Why do you want another dog so soon?

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Yeah, while it is a loooong way off, two seniors can be tough. It is nice in some ways, but then it is difficult in a lot of other ways.

 

You may lose them close together, or you might not and the one who is left might seriously miss the dog that he has spent his entire life with. And it's sad to see that.

 

The young and prime years can be a lot of fun with two who are close in age, but you are likely to end up with two seniors together in the end.

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I've had a lot of rescues over the years. Now the most important thing to me is that the new dog fits into the household well. Some of the rescues I had were a real mess and I was OK with that at the time. But now I don't want to have to deal with severe fear problems or bitch on bitch aggression.

 

My rescue Zeke is the same age as Tommy. And I would rather they had been farther apart but Zeke needed a home and he is so good in the house and with the other 2 dogs that I just didn't worry about that very much.

 

I always feel that if it's a nice dog and it needs a home then I don't ask many questions. I just make it fit.

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Having done some fostering myself I know that any good foster person will tell you the truth about their foster dog because the most important thing is to find the right fit. So ask any questions you want to and be completely honest about yourself, your activity level, your current dog, your lifestyle and what you want in a dog. Take your dog with you to meet the potential adoptees.

 

I will second what others say about having two senior dogs at the same time. I do. Jes is 14 and Kit will turn 14 in December of this year. I adore them both, and am glad to have them but when I adopted Kit the only thing I regretted was that she was not several years younger, because I knew that one day I would have two aging dogs, and that I would lose them close together. I took her anyway because I loved her at first sight and she needed a place to go, and so that is what I have, and they are very good buddies. However, unless you fall irrevocably in love with a dog the same age as yours I would suggest you avoid that situation. Wait a while to get a second dog or else adopt an older dog. JMO.

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If my first dog is a bitch, I would be extremely leery of adding a second bitch to the household, especially if dog is the same age. My experience -- worth all of 0.02 dollars -- is that BC males tend to be pretty peace-loving, but not all BC females share that characteristic. My strong preference is avoid inter-bitch aggression at all costs.

I think the other questions posed are enormously important -- 2 old dogs equals 2x the monthly expenses for geriatric vet and other care. Having one dog that is done with adolescence means you have a stable adult to help you teach or re-teach manners to a youngster/undersocialized (?) rescue dog. Having 2 adolescent ijots at the same time is a lot of work.

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Have you thought about a 4-5 y/o instead of a youngster?

I would think about this, we lost our first 2 dogs 18 months apart and it was very hard to deal with. Jester was also really miserable without Bandit, we were sad but watching her made it so much worse.

A 4-5 year old will be fun for youngster to play with but you get a nice age separation and maturity level.

I have fostered and was always really honest with people about the dogs, my own dogs we just sort of fell in love or they sorted ended up with us and we made it work.

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And, really, a big age difference doesn't mean they won't play nicely together. Dean is 9 and (our) Bandit is 1 and the two of them play as if they were the same age now that Bandit has reached young adulthood. I wouldn't necessarily recommend that much of an age difference, but if you get a dog 3 - 4 years older than your youngster, they can still have a nice rapport and play really well together.

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I got Hank through a shelter so knew nothing about him. Personally, I just went for it... my questions were 1) Do I like the dog? 2) Does he like toys? 3) Does he like food? 4) Does he seem confident? 5) Does he seem to like people? 6) Does he seem to like other dogs?

 

But keep in mind you don't ever know for sure what you're getting. For me he is much of what I thought he'd be. It's been great.

 

When I was looking originally I wanted a BC but realized I was ok expanding to other breeds. If you're searching petfinder anyways you may want to look at various breeds of dogs... I find a lot of dogs that appealed to me were labeled as breeds I wouldn't have looked for. And many dogs in shelters and rescues may be a BC or an aussie or a heeler (or mix), etc and they may fit you best. Also from working a shelter breed guesses are just guesses. A BC or BC mix could be labeled as many things by a shelter. Or a dog could be labeled as a BC and not have any BC in it. For me going by individual vs breed was the right choice. I would not have chosen a terrier mix but Hank is undoubtedly part terrier and he's perfect for me.

 

As far as age, we've always had dogs close together. We've had a couple pairs/trios that are 3 months - 1 year apart in age. One year we lost 3 dogs that year and it is awful. I much prefer having 3-5 years between dogs. Vet costs are one thing when they get older. Another potential issue is that if you like to do a lot of things with your dogs then with two close in age you could end up with two dogs that really can't do the things you want to and leave a pretty big hole in your life. Of course anything can happen- right now my first two dogs are 5 years apart and both aging at similar paces because of the younger's health problems. But you can stack odds by spacing dogs out in age.

 

I have to keep reminding myself of that because I very much want another dog sometimes. I almost got a year old BC rehome a few weeks ago but then remember she and Hank would be < 5 months apart and got my head glued on straight again. I am planning on re-evaluating next fall/winter and maybe starting to look for a pup. That would put 2-3 years between Hank and a pup and that's the minimal age difference I'd have.

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I'm for the space-them-a-few-years-apart choices. We lost 5 pets in a few months under 3 years, and the youngest went first. I know there are no guarantees, but if I do multiple pets again there will be at least 3 years between them in ages.

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs

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Thank you to everyone, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. My problem is that I love my little BC so much and I know I should wait a while to get another dog but I made the mistake of going on Petfinder and there was a really adorable BC mix. My biggest concern is just what many of you have voiced. Having two dogs close in age will most likely give me two dogs that are at the end of their lives at the same time.

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On the positive of two dogs the same age they are also grand company for eachother. My pets are all within 3 years of eachother. The cats are 6 months apart and are almost 3, my dogs are 6 months apart as well at just over a year, then the chinchillas are brother and sister at 5 years old (chinchillas can live 15-20 years easily). I am going to be in for a rough few years, but I can't imagine not having pets so close in age. I feel that helps them stay around the same energy level.

 

However, once I retire both of my dogs from agility I will probably get a puppy to train before they pass away.

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If I were going to only have 2 dogs, I would probably want 4-5 years of difference in age.


Since I have 5 I'm really quite happy that 2 are 8 and the other 3 will be 3, 2.5, and 1 at the end of May. The older ones are mellower and happy to keep each other company and I still have active dogs to do my dog stuff with. By the time youngsters are older, I'll be ready to bring in new dogs again.


That's just kind of the cycle we've kept forever, except a brief period with no dogs. It works for us but yes, it does get expensive as heck. And sometimes really heartbreaking.

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In some ways two seniors can be all right- if walks get slowed down for both of them, they're less likely to strain themselves trying to keep up. Vet bills are a bitch, though, and it's a little disheartening seeing both of them get older suddenly.

 

Not that they do, but that it hits you suddenly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A friend of mine has a 2 yr old dog she adopted, and within about six months of getting him, she, against my suggestion, moved in with her then-boyfriend, who also just got a new puppy. Both owners are very busy with their own lives and can only spare the dogs so much time- they're not bad owners but I don't think they play with their dogs or really interact with them more than just "you're my dog and I love you." It's hard to explain, but there are people who live with dogs and there are people who just own them. These two are the latter.

 

Thankfully, the two dogs get along very well and play a lot. Unfortunately, that's all they do. I saw them awhile ago, and her dog, who was starting to learn manners thanks to her dog walker, has turned into a monster. Both of these dogs will not listen to either of their owners. Why? Because they have no connection to them. They are much more in tune with each other, and anything said by their owners go in one ear and out the other.

 

In the end, it's your choice to adopt a second dog or not. However, if your current pup is your first dog, I highly recommend you don't so you can learn what it's like to bond with a dog. More than just feeding him and walking him, but also sharing triumphs and mistakes. With a second dog, especially the same age, be honest and ask yourself whether you can bond with both of them equally so you don't have a problem like my friend. A dog who is barely one is so much work as is- at 1, I feel like you are just barely touching the surface of what his personality really is like.

 

Have you met with this rescue dog yet? Contacted the rescue? If you haven't and are just going by a picture alone, then let me assure you there will never be a shortage of dogs to fall in love with again. The exterior of a house may look nice, but what's most important is that you like the foundation and can live in it the rest of your life.

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You've gotten lots of good feedback to mull over.

 

If you go into this with your eyes wide open, knowing what you're getting into, and are prepared to put the time into making sure you work extensively with the dogs individually so they bond with you (or would be OK with it if they bond with each other instead), and for the eventuality that you'll have two old dogs at the same time and all that entails then there's really no reason why you shouldn't do it. Things like this are personal choices and as long as you're OK with the choice and its consequences, it's your decision to make and whatever you decide should be fine.

 

Sometimes you've just gotta follow your heart. ;)

 

I don't have any experience with the original whippets. But I have a friend who has 3 long haired whippets, a different, new breed that had some Sheltie mixed in to get the gene for long hair. I'm not sure how they compare to the old whippets, though I doubt they're all that different. They're amazingly sweet dogs and I've thought more than once that I wouldn't mind having one, though I doubt I'll ever do it. They're very sensitive, possibly even more so than border collies. I'd say their personalities and intelligence are less complex than border collies'. They're pretty docile, yet they have a sense of humor and are very endearing.

 

If regular whippets' personalities are anything like the long haired variety, I'd think it could be a very nice mix.

 

OTOH, I have a lurcher (which is what a border collie x whippet would be) of unknown parentage. Most people's guess is border collie X either whippet or Saluki. I'm more inclined to think the latter, since she's a rough coat the sighthound must've been a coated variety. I do see some behavioral traits in Tansy that remind me of the long haired whippets, especially the one who's a more than a bit of a brat. :rolleyes: Tansy is an independent dog and doesn't have the border collie biddability that I value. Her attitude's more "what's in it for me?" or "I'm only doing this because I have to" than I like, and it's made her very challenging to train and sometimes to live with. Although she absolutely knows what I'm asking her to do, I often really have to insist that she comply. My friend's dogs are very well mannered and obedient, but I know she trains with a heavy hand and I think their docility just leads them to acquiesce whereas Tansy's intelligence always has her trying to see what she can get away with.

 

Oh, and Tansy has an incredibly strong prey and chase drive. Definitely something to consider. I know I wouldn't be able to call her off of something she was chasing. And the reason people breed lurchers is to increase endurance beyond what the sighthounds tend to have, who are sprinters rather than distance runners.

 

Very best wishes with whatever you decide.

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I haven't contacted the rescue. I want to make sure that if I do contact them and they accept my application and we both agree that the dog would work for our family that I am ready to adopt. I don't want to waste anyone's time.

 

When I decided to get Nattie I wanted a puppy because I was getting her for my daughter and I wanted my kid to experience picking out a puppy and working with that puppy from the beginning. I was also worried about my cats. I have two indoor cats and a dog must get along with them. It occurred to me later that many foster homes would include cats.

 

Nattie is my 5th dog and all my dogs I have picked out as puppies. I would really like to have my next dog be a rescue. If the cute, little dog I have been looking at is not the dog for our family I will keep looking. It may be a couple of years but I do want to bring a rescue dog into our family.

 

Thank you for taking the time to respond. When I take a pet into our family it is for the life of the pet. I appreciate everyone's perspective even if it isn't positive.

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