Sticky dogs

New Romney, 10th April 2010

Every year the RSPCA and other Animal rescue shelters rescue thousands of dogs. While some of them are lucky enough to find new homes within a couple of months, others stay in kennels for longer periods,sometimes years, expecting someone to pick them up.

We refer to these long term residents as 'Sticky dogs' as they are more likely to stay in rescue kennels for a significant period of time before finding a good home.

So why are people reluctant to adopt them?

It can sometimes be the character of the dog. For instance, some dogs have had bad experiences with humans and subsequently, show excessive shyness around them. Others, have had bad experiences with other dogs and would be more suitable as only pet. It is only with time and patience from the dog owner can there be an overall change in the character of the dog. Rescue dogs who have suffered bad experiences with humans in the past will generally require more time to bond with their owners.

Unfortunately, mistreated dogs are more likely to suffer from behavioural issues and it is not unusual that some of them, who have been recently adopted, are brought back to the kennel.

Rescue shelters where dogs have been adopted and brought back, several times, attach a great importance in finding an environment befitting the dog. Generally owners with experience in the dog breed are preferred to look after these dogs.

Old dogs who end up in kennels are generally more difficult to re-home as they often require health treatments. One of the important factors that many potential dog owners take into consideration before adopting a dog is his age as well as other health issues. When adopting a dog, people are generally looking for a long time companion and, for this reason, are less likely to consider an older dog.

Animal rescue centres do their very best to give the best treatment to their residents, carrying regular health checks, interacting regularly with them, providing them with a shelter... but can it ever replace a good and welcoming home?

Stephen McAllister


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