If you and your family have decided that you’d like to add
another member to your home, you’ve probably thought through the ins and outs
of owning a dog. (If you haven’t, please take time to really consider whether
or not your family is really ready for the responsibility of owning a dog and avoid
having to find another home for it if you later feel that it’s not working out
If you’ve done your research and considered all the factors,
you’ll know that bringing a dog into your children’s lives can bring a
great amount of joy and positive change to your home environment.
The next decision to make is where you’ll get your new
family member from a breeder or a shelter. Some people prefer a specific breed
of dog and want it to enter your family’s lives as a puppy, but there are
various other factors to consider when deciding between a rescue dog and a
Your children can learn valuable life-lessons from owning a
rescue dog. Apart from the general responsibility of feeding, walking, washing
and caring for a rescue dog, it also teaches a child about second chances.
According to a study by Petpickings.com, current media
reports indicate that over 10 000 dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters
across South Africa each week. By adopting
a rescue dog, you’re also saving the life of the next dog that takes its place
in the shelter.
Rescue dogs are generally known for having had a bad history
of previous ownership, and usually come from abusive, unhappy living
conditions, so they require a lot of love. Teaching a child to understand this
can lend hand to compassion and empathy and your rescue dog will be forever
grateful to you and your children for saving its life.
When my siblings and I were younger my Dad adopted a Labrador
from the SPCA that was going to be put down for being a ‘nuisance-dog’. We named
him Bravo after my dad had him fixed. Bravo had grown up in one of the
townships near Plettenberg Bay by a family who neglected him, abused him and
left him to roam around the town. When Bravo first came into our lives, he became our best friend, companion and never a nuisance. He was soon a big part of our lives and was
there to witness many important events of our childhood. He showed us that
everyone deserves a second-chance and he taught us to love.
Bravo, the Labrador who protected, loved and grew up with our family
Here are some more stories about rescue dogs from other families
" We found our rescue dog online amongst thousands of other dogs that needed rescuing. I have never been shy to voice my
opinion of breeders and my mind boggles at the thought of selecting a 'child'
based on pedigree. My dog would always be a rescue, whether abused or abandoned our couch would be his new home, and we would do everything
to protect, love and care for him. He would be part of our family. Turns out he felt that way about us too. Bodhi
didn’t have a Mom so he never learnt that nipping is a no-go – I find myself
biting his ears to remind him sometimes. And he didn’t suckle for long enough,
so he wakes you up with soft suckling noises in his sleep. Recently I took our rescue dog to meet my
favourite little three year old, Mila. She is very close to us, and my boyfriend and I
were aware of the fact that we needed to keep an eye and make sure the
introduction went as smoothly as it did with the cats. Bodhi is only 4 months
old, but he knew immediately that his cuddling had to be gentler, the nipping needed
to be replaced with licking and the suckling noises – well, those could stay.
They became instant friends. Mila took Bodhi for walks around the park, they
sat quietly together and contemplated this thing that we call life. And at one
point when Bodhi cried a bit – Mila said “Bee, I think it’s because he misses
his Dad”. And I bet that she was right!" Bernice
that a rescue dog can teach all of us that no matter how broken we were/are, a
change in your circumstances can lead you to a positive and happy life.” Taryn.
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