Sadly, too many dogs end up in rescue centres and all too often although they are safe, it can be an extremely stressful time for them to have to cope. There are many, many reasons why these lovely canine characters end up there, sometimes it's because they've been abused, or maybe it's because their owner's circumstances changed so dramatically they could no longer keep them. A high percentage of older dogs whose owners have died find they are suddenly in amongst a lot of other dogs in a shelter which can be very hard on them.
It's really important to understand that not all dogs found in a rescue centre are "bad" and therefore then end up being dumped, abandoned or simply forgotten which see them being taken in by one of the many dog charities. Other misconceptions of why dogs end up in rescue centres include:
All dogs in shelters are there because there is something seriously wrong with them. A lot of people think these dogs are there because they are unruly, aggressive and that they have deeply embedded behavioural problems which would prove had to rectify. However, most of the time these lovely characters find themselves in rescue centres because an owner had to give them up and it had nothing to do with any behavioural issues at all. Sadly, many people have to give up their pets simply because they cannot afford to keep them anymore.
Many just grow too big and their owners never realised the cute little character they first bought home would end up being a large adult dog. Naturally, cute puppies get loads of attention and often they are given too much, which in itself can lead to them not understanding boundaries or rules. In the right environment most behavioural issues like this can be easily rectified with a little patience and understanding.
It's very true that you may never know a dog's full history or what they have been through, but this should not be perceived as such a problem because once a dog is taken into a loving and caring home where they know their place and respect their "pack leader", they soon turn into happier, well-balanced and more settled characters. It's important to appreciate that our canine friends don't really live in the "past", but rather the present, they live for the moment which is something potential owners should take on board when thinking about offering a pooch a second chance at happiness. Once a dog is settled in a happy home environment anything that happened in their past is forgotten and as long as nothing similar to any past nasty experiences happen again, they will be happy dogs!
Although conditions like kennel cough may take hold in a dog rescue centre, all the dogs that find their way to one are thoroughly checked over by qualified vets and if they are suffering from any sort of condition, this is noted in their files. A sick dog would never be offered for re-homing and a dog suffering from any long-term chronic condition would be provided for by the rescue centre should you wish to offer them a happy home where they could live out their lives in a loving environment. In short, most rescue centres ensure that all medicines and treatments are paid for and therefore new owners would not have to bear any sort of financial burden. All dogs are spayed and neutered, treated for worms and fleas as soon as they arrive at the centres and when they leave with their new owners, they have been given a clean bill of health.
This is not strictly true because many pure breeds end up in rescue centres too. In fact there are masses of breed specific shelters all over the country. This includes rescue centres that take in German Shepherds, others that take in breeds like Shih Tzus and it would be fair to say there are rescue centres for just about every breed on the planet here in the UK. With this said, mixed breed dogs have a lot going for them and they tend to be more robust health-wise with fewer of the hereditary diseases and conditions that often plague their pedigree cousins.
Many people like the idea of sharing their home with a cute puppy and are under the impression that rescue centres are only full of older more mature dogs that are set in their ways. However, many puppies and younger dogs find their way to shelters so if you have set your heart on offering a pup a second chance, with a little research you’ll soon know which shelter has puppies and which does not. With this said, you have to be prepared for all the effort it takes to raise a puppy to adulthood and not to focus on just the "cute" side of bringing home a puppy.
Raising a puppy is a long-term commitment that's not too dissimilar to raising a young child and for 18 months or so you have to be totally devoted to your new four-legged friend. You need to be prepared for things getting chewed and destroyed the home. You also need to be certain the 'cute" little character you bring home is not going to grow into a really big dog when you expected them to be smaller.
An older dog has seen it all, they've been house-trained and are familiar with all the "rules" and commands they've already been taught. Any behavioural problems can be fixed, even if it takes a little time. In short, even dogs over the age of 7 and older make wonderful canine companions. Dogs in their golden years are less energetic, but they are just as much pleasure to have around and they all they introduce into a home is immeasurable.