The puppy you wanted has now grown up, but you wanted a puppy.
Why did I adopt an adult Romanian Rescue and not a puppy ?
Now that the ban on bringing Romanian dogs is over, people may not realise that actually a lot of dog's have been caught up in the ban.
So many people wanted desperately to adopt a puppy (4 months is the earliest age for travel)
These dogs are now teenagers, and sadly to say, a lot of adopters pulled out as they really wanted a 4 month old pup.
Yes I understand why, maybe they thought a puppy would find it easier to adjust, or they would not have as many issues as an older dog.
I would just like to put a shout out to adopting an adult Overseas rescue.
A bit of a back story might help you understand my reasons.
Like many of you, I saw a picture on social media and wanted to know more.
I fell in love with that dog instantly. Wanted to make her life happy, safe and never for her to be shut behind bars in a dark dreary shelter ever again. I didn’t even think about puppies, she just shouted out to me.
I adopted Roma, nearly 10 yrs ago. She was fully grown and had been a shelter dog, no history at all.She was possibly 2yrs old.
From my perspective I was starting from the day she came home. I learned about her fears and anxieties, and knew that she probably had some trauma in her history. Afterall she was in a shelter, and the dog catchers were not the nicest of people.
Roma was amazing, she learned where to toilet, we had that cracked within a few days.
No puppy chewing, none of the other behaviours that all puppies go through. No adolescent stage, no up through the night like you need to with a puppy.
She had some fears about white vans (dog catcher vans), men, loud noises and sudden movement.
At home she took a few days to be brave enough to explore the rest of the house..
I gave her 2 weeks for her to get to know me and trust me before we ventured out on our first walk.
We played in the garden, Worked on recall. Everything was fun.
Together we learned and I took everything at her pace. I helped her learn just the same as I would help a young pup.
Everything was so new to her, every experience, every interaction was new.
This was all new to me too, yes I was highly experienced with dogs, but quickly realised Overseas rescue dogs are wired differently from our UK dogs. These dogs are wired for survival, everything is scary until they know differently. If you think about it, puppies too need to learn that things are safe.
My expectations, well to be honest, I didn’t have any. Well maybe one or two. I just wanted her to feel safe and trust me, to know that I had her back always, and I still do all these years later. I had a notion of doing agility or some form of sport with her.
Roma wasn’t happy in training classes, we tried, but nope she didn’t cope well. So Life was her training class.
Roma has welcomed 4 more Rommies into our family, and her calm nature honestly has helped everyone of them.
Roma to me is my heart dog, and always will be.
Then along came my next adult shelter dog, Barry.
Barry came from the same shelter as Roma. He too was possibly 2 yrs old, (It is very difficult to age these dog's, due to poor teeth etc).
Barry fitted right in, after a few barks from Roma which he replied by doing a play bow, and come chase me, they were soon friends.
Again a couple of days and the toileting was cracked. Another 2 weeks and we went out and about.
Those 2 weeks were again all about building a bond and a relationship. Learning about wearing a harness, and not to be scared of being on a lead.
Barry’s personality was so different to Roma..
Roma is a thinker, Barry is a doer. He is a clown.
Barry still had some fears, but was quick to overcome them. Plus he had Roma to give him confidence.
I knew he would love classes. So once a week we attended class, even completed the Kennel Club Good citizen Gold.
He completed his Kennel club Gold Good Citizens and even entered Scruffs :) Again no toileting problems, no chewing, no puppy stuff.
When I ran my own puppy classes, Barry came along, he would demonstrate all the exercises and quite happily lay on his mat when I was busy with other pups.
He was a star and an amazing example for all the new learners there.
How did I help my adult Rescue dogs adjust to their new life?
Firstly gave them time,
How long was that?
How long is a piece of string ?
Every dog will go at their own pace, they set the pace and we go with it.
Go too fast and you can break that trust.
Once that was in place,It was time to start learning.
These dog's need to feel safe before they learn.
I don’t know what it is about these dogs, I wish I could bottle it. They are so special.
Yes they may have some struggles but with support and understanding many of these can be overcome.
Do your research, only adopted from an established charity. Ensure there is Full Rescue Back Up. Check them out. They must have a home check policy, and they must ask YOU lots of questions.
Something to think about
Even 4 month old puppies can have baggage, they may have picked up on their mothers fears. They are not always a clean slate.
But again, every dog is different, every puppy is different and everyone of these dogs are special. I know because I have adopted 2 adult and 3 puppies over the years. All different, all with some issues, but all special.