We can’t promise your rescue dog will turn into an Oscar winning performer like Uggie from acclaimed silent film The Artist, but then every canine or feline is an A-list star in the eyes of their owner.
Last year the RSPCA rehomed 53,263 animals, including 10,028 dogs and 30,100 cats and the charity currently has more than 500 dogs and 1,300 cats looking for a new owner.
“There are so many advantages to rehoming a pet rather than buying one and they are by no means a second choice option, in fact it’s a really sensible choice,” says Samantha Gaines, head of the Companion Animals department at the RSPCA.
“Getting any pet is a big commitment with which comes a lot of responsibility. It is not something to do on impulse.”
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Get to know the animal
If you’re thinking of rehoming a dog, the RSPCA will bring them out of the kennels to meet you. This offers the chance to get to know them a bit better and see their behaviour away from the kennel environment.
If you have another dog, they may ask you to bring them along to see how they get on with your prospective new pal.
Other charities such as Battersea Dogs & Cats Home have a ‘matching’ process, which means they’ll find the best possible dog or cat to suit a person’s lifestyle and home environment.
“One dog might be relaxed about being left alone, for example, and can be left by itself for three to four hours, whereas another can't be left alone at all as it gets anxious or destructive,” says Carly Whyborn, head of Operations at Battersea. “An adult cat might need a home without children, whilst another could go to a home with kids.”
Each animal is carefully matched at the interview stage with the most suitable owner, which helps prevent animals coming back to the charity, meaning they can stay in loving new homes.
Check their health
Often these animals have had an unsettled time and giving them a safe environment is really important. Battersea sees many different breeds come through - from Chihuahuas to Great Danes, Moggies to Maine Coons – they rehome animals of all shapes and sizes.
If you decide to adopt an animal from them, you’re entitled to three month’s out-patient veterinary care for any condition relating to your pet’s stay in the Home, and while Battersea does not have the facilities to offer services like neutering, many organisations do.
At the RSPCA, all dogs and cats come with six weeks free insurance; all pets are microchipped, wormed and vaccinated; dogs and cats are neutered and they offer aftercare support to help your new pet settle in, if needed.
How much does it cost to rehome?
Depending on the age of the stray that’s caught your eye and captured your heart, the Battersea rehoming fee is £135 for dogs (over 6 months) or £165 for puppies (under 6 months). Expect to pay £75 for cats (over 6 months), £85 for kittens (under 6 months), or £130 for a pair of kittens.
Elsewhere, RSPCA centres and branches can charge different adoption fees but on average, potential adopters can expect to pay £70 for cat and £135 for a dog.
A breed above the rest
Charities see large numbers of different breeds and in the nineties the German Shepherd was very popular at Battersea, but now the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the most common breed they see coming through the doors.
They’re working hard to raise awareness of the Staffies’ plight, and their campaign has encouraged more people to understand their soft nature, as well as how wooftastic they are.
Many of the animals arrive through no fault of their own and giving a rescue dog or cat a second chance is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have – paw prints on the Hollywood Walk of Fame or not!