When it's time to bring an animal into your family, you may start to think about whether to go to a breeder, or to a rescue centre. Adopting a rescue animal is one of the most rewarding things you can do - there's nothing like giving an animal a second chance at happiness. However, sometimes people do shy away from adopting for one reason or another. Perhaps you're considering adding a pet to your family but you think a rescue animal isn't the one for you? Here we answer a few common misconceptions that may help to change your mind:
We often get told that people cannot afford the initial expense of a rescue animal, however the amount of money saved in comparison to buying an animal is very apparent. For example, we currently charge £95 to adopt a cat, which includes: neutering, vaccinations, microchipping, flea and worm treatment, vet check, 4 weeks' free pet insurance and a cat starter pack (litter tray and scoop, scratch post and toys).
Compare that to receiving a cat for free. An initial consultation at the vets, during which you pay for vaccinations and flea and worm treatment can cost around £90 depending on which vets you use. Neutering usually costs upwards of £40, depending on the gender of cat and the vets you use. Microchipping will cost between £10-20 and the cat starter pack would set you back around £20-30, depending where you shop. Therefore, even assuming the lower end of those estimations, you are looking at anywhere from £140 upwards. All of these things are essential for responsible pet ownership.
The savings on a dog adoption are even more apparent as neutering can be costly, particularly for a large breed of dog - a spay (female neuter) can cost up to around £200, which is more than we charge for everything!
"Rescue animals have problems"
Many rescue animals come to us through changes in their owner's circumstances, rather than due to anything they have done. This could be due to their owner passing away or moving house, or due to lack of funds or a new baby. Whilst they are with us we help with their training to get them ready for a new home.
Some of our animals do have scars, both physical and mental, but that does not mean that they will not make wonderful, well-adjusted pets. Some animals take a more work than others, but this just means they are more rewarding! If you come to our Centre the staff can talk to you about your circumstances and help you to decide which animal will fit in well with your family. Every animal requires work, time and commitment, whether they come from a breeder or a rescue centre, and if you're not willing or able to put that effort in at the moment then it may not be the right time for you to have an animal.
"You won't have the breed of dog I'm interested in"
Firstly - you'd be surprised! All sizes and breeds of dogs come through our doors for one reason or another so it's always worth coming and seeing us. Secondly, please try to look past the breed of the dog and instead focus on the temperament. It may be that the cross-breed that you didn't really think to look at is actually the perfect dog for your family and lifestyle. A great example of this comes from Edna. Edna and her husband had always owned Collies and when their last Collie passed away they came to our Centre to look for an older dog to suit them. We introduced them to Jade the Staffy cross. They had never owned a bull breed before but they fell head-over-heels in love with Jade as soon as they met her. They told us afterwards that she was the perfect dog for them and she gave them several years of joy and love before she sadly passed away. They have since gone on to adopt another older Staffy.
If it really is a specific breed that you're looking for, and we don't have the breed in our Centre, then please check around. Pedigree dogs regularly enter rescue centres as well, it's just a case of finding the one you're looking for. Also, some breeds have specific rescues e.g. German Shepherd Rescue, Saluki Rescue and Dogue de Bordeaux Rescue who just care for just those breeds. Have a look around to see which ones are based in your area.
"Well I want to rehome a small animal, and you just have to go to pet shops for those, right?"
We rehome everything from dogs to hamsters to birds at our Centre! It may be surprising to hear but there are usually always animals like degus, mice and guinea pigs looking for homes. The only animals we don't rehome are exotic animals and farmyard animals, but there are plenty of rescues around the country who do. Larger RSPCA Branches rehome horses and even pigs! If you have a look on the RSPCA Find a Pet there's further information there.
"I've heard that the guidelines to adopt a rescue pet are very strict so I don't think I'd be allowed to adopt one"
We assess every animal that comes into our Centre and create an idea of the type of home that individual animal needs. Yes, if you work full time we would not allow you to adopt a Husky from us, but equally you should not go and buy a Husky from a breeder if you work full time as you won't be able to fully cater to the dog's needs. Usually we will have an animal that will be right for you! We do perform home visits but they're not scary inspections at all, it's just an opportunity for our home visitors to come and have a chat with you, ensure that the animal is right for you, and ensure that the environment in the home is right for that animal. If you've got any questions about the process, just come and ask us! A rescue centre is the perfect place to find out which animal or breed is right for you as the staff are very experienced and can offer advice if you're unsure.
"I specifically want a kitten or a puppy and I've heard that all rescue animals are adults"
Young animals need rescuing too! We often have young animals in the Centre if an Inspector has brought them from a home, or if they arrive as strays, which is generally true of cats. We usually have kittens available for adoption, sometimes with the exception of the winter months, and regularly have puppies arrive at our Centre. Pop in and fill in a form to leave your details and we can contact you with news on their arrival!
It can be tempting to go straight to a breeder when looking for puppies and kittens but you must always be aware that not all breeders are reputable. If you are going to a breeder you must ensure you see the mother of the animal you are buying, view where the animal is living and talk to the breeder about veterinary checks. If you adopt a puppy or kitten from us, they always receive a full veterinary check before being adopted and, as with an adult animal, we vaccinate, flea-treat, worm, microchip and, when they're old enough, neuter them.
If there are any other concerns you have about adopting an animal, please do come and talk to us. We're always happy to help and while ever there are needy animals looking for homes, we'll be here to help them find them a new family.