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Adopting a dog with the RSPCA

3 min read

You’ve decided to Adopt Don’t Shop and are looking for the perfect rescue dog for you. Here’s what you need to know about adopting from the RSPCA.

A Second Chance at Happiness

Giving a rescue dog a second chance at happiness is incredibly rewarding. They just need a forever home to give them the love they deserve. So, if you’re considering adopting a rescue dog, know that you’re changing a dog’s life for the better. It is important that you figure out which dog is going to be right for you, your family, and your lifestyle. When an animal comes into the charity’s care, our staff will look at their temperament, their reactions to people and other dogs, they will undergo vet checks, and they will be vaccinated, and micro-chipped where appropriate.

Be Prepared and Patient

We may never know the full history of a rescue dog, if little is known about where they came from, our staff will build a well-rounded picture of the kind of dog they are as individuals. They can then give you details on the dog’s background and personality to help you make a decision on whether they are the right fit for you and your circumstances.


Work with us, so we can help you

It’s important that you take time to explain your lifestyle, household features, experience, and expectations to staff so that they fully understand your commitments and what you are looking for. Taking into consideration the maintenance and dedication for any new pet is important, the RSPCA will work hard to ensure you find your perfect match. Think about what type of dog would best suit your family. For example, if you have more spare time on your hands to dedicate to training, then a young dog or puppy may be suited to you. Older dogs can also be wonderful companions - every dog is an individual and will bring something different to a family.

Rescue dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and come from different backgrounds. Some may have suffered neglect and cruelty, and need a little more patience and understanding than others to build their trust back again. Some may have been born in our care or come into kennels very young, and have only known kindness from staff or fosterers, but need a little extra help adjusting to life in a home, or some may be older dogs whose loving owner sadly passed away and they came into our care under the Home for Life scheme.


Myth Busting for Good

There is a common myth that rescue dogs are more difficult or challenging, but every dog is unique no matter what they have been through.


Each of the RSPCA’s national centres has its own Behaviour and Welfare Advisor post, and a team of accredited Clinical Animal Behaviourists who support the centre behaviourists. They work with their teams to ensure the dogs in their care have the correct management and training plans to make their stay as stress-free as possible. They also work to ensure they are correctly assessed and leave the centres with more training and skills than when they arrived, setting them up for happy and healthy lives with their new owners.

Due to the nature of the RSPCA’s work, many of the dogs which are rescued are often poorly socialised, abused and struggle with life, so the behaviourists support these dogs with in depth behaviour plans, time and dedication, and can also provide fosterers and adopters with advice.

Buster's New Beginning

The team at RSPCA Millbrook have been helping to train Buster after he came into our care in October last year due to welfare concerns. Buster was suffering from fleas and skin issues, but he was also struggling with some behavioural issues, and so the team spent a long time working with him to overcome this. He was very nervous when he first came into RSPCA care and would run away and growl at the staff, but over time, Buster has become more relaxed and much more confident.

So much so, he was rehomed in August this year. The three-year-old Collie and German Shepherd cross, and his new owners, were given an aftercare plan so that the behavioural team could check in and see how he was getting on, and provide advice and information to guide the owners through his new adoption. 

This vital support was made possible by the generous donation from Purina, to help pets settle into their new life. Many of our adopters stay in touch with the centres they adopt from and it is lovely to see the animals flourish, and their confidence grow, in their new homes.

Embrace the challenges, they will pass

Adopting a dog can be a very rewarding, but also challenging time, for new owner and dog. It takes a lot of time and patience, especially if the dog has trust or behavioural issues. RSPCA dog adoption is a process that gives its fosterers and adopters confidence and safety throughout the settling in period, and beyond, offering support and advice for any and all concerns. 

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.