Rescue dogs bring joy to childhoods
Your children can learn valuable life-lessons from owning a rescue dog

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 well.)  

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 pure-bred.

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, 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


I believe 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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