One of my clients has been looking for a dog. Her needs were fairly specific as she is an active 78 year old and her husband 84. They have had dogs all their lives up to now and miss having a dog around so would love to give a dog a home. But she was very clear in terms of her requirements:
- She didn’t want a puppy and would rather have an adult dog.
- The dog needed to be one who was looking for a new home, either because the owners couldn’t keep him any longer, for whatever reason, or because he was a Rescue.
- He needed to have good manners around people as my client’s husband is frail and would not be able to handle a lively, excitable dog.
- He needed to be cat friendly.
- He needed to be calm around her grandchildren.
- As she loved walking, he would need to be able to walk with her without pulling.
- She would love a Labrador Retriever as they had had this breed in the past.
Ah, you might say, that is a tall order, and I would agree with you as the first two dogs we looked at were dogs that had been relinquished to two separate rescue organisations and were, for two very different reasons, totally unsuitable. They had very little self control, very poor manners around people, and had had no basic good manners training. Their connection with people also left a lot to be desired. They were very typical of dogs that had been acquired as puppies, given attention when they were cute and cuddly and as they got older and more boisterous, were banished to a life out of doors with minimal contact with their humans.
Sadly these dogs were just not right for my client, and after looking at many dogs that needed a home, we eventually found a dog who looked as though he was the right dog. He was calm and friendly when we arrived to meet him. Although he had very little formal training he was very much part of the family with his owner taking him out for regular walks, spending time playing fetch games (at which the dog excelled). He was very good with children although as they didn’t have a cat we couldn’t assess his behaviour around cats. I felt that this was a problem that could be addressed because of his generally calm behaviour. With this dog the characteristic that impressed me the most was the connection he had with his humans.
This connection can only be achieved if the owner spends some time bonding with the dog in terms of activities that they do together. This dog is one that would fit in with my clients.
Now, after many months, Monty has found a wonderful home with a family that love him, take him for walks and spend quality time with him, and would never give him up.
Circumstances change and I hesitate to judge people who need to re-home a dog because of this. There are often things going on in their lives that we know nothing about. But if these same people had taken the trouble to make sure their dog was socialized, had some basic training and had a connection with humans, then this would be their gift to their dog. If you apply yourself it really does not take much time to teach your dog a few basic skills and to enjoy being around humans, and just in case you find yourself in the unenviable position of having to put your dog up for adoption at least by doing this you will be ensuring that his future is secure.