Adopting a Romanian Dog
Having adopted a Romanian rescue dog last year, I thought it would be good to share the information I’ve learned during my dog-adoption journey. If you want a dog, then adopting one is the best way to go, and if you’re wondering what it is like to adopt a dog from Romania, then please carry on reading.
Why Adopt a Dog?
If you’re thinking about getting a dog, you’ll realise that there are many options. Do you want a big dog or a small dog? Do you want a puppy or an older dog? Do you want an energetic dog who can keep up with you on 10-mile walks or do you want a dog who prefers to spend the day on the sofa? There may be certain breeds which take your fancy, or you might not have any preferences at all. Once you’ve decided what sort of dog would best fit your lifestyle, you’ll then start the process of trying to find the perfect one.
The most important thing to bear in mind, is that this is a process which should not be rushed. You might see an advert on Gumtree for a beautiful little puppy, and the sellers might say that they are moving home or having a baby or some other excuse as to why they are selling it. If you’re desperate for a dog, then the prospect of being able to go and get this one right away might be tempting, but sometimes not everything is as it seems. If it seems too good to be true it probably is. You have to be incredibly careful to make sure that you don’t accidentally buy a dog from a puppy farm, as this is an awful industry which you do not want to support. If you do want a specific breed of dog, then make sure you get it from a certified breeder, you can see more about that here.
However, the best option is to get a rescue dog! Some people have misconceptions about rescue dogs, they think that the dog is damaged goods, and won’t be as good as getting a dog from a breeder. I can tell you that there is no better feeling in the world then adopting a rescue dog, and knowing that you’ve been able to provide them with the love that they have so desperately wanted their whole life.
Why a Romanian Rescue Dog?
If you’ve decided that you’re going to adopt a dog, then hurrah! That’s brilliant, and this will be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made! Now, there are plenty of options for adopting a dog in the UK, and of course all of them are brilliant. You’ve got the main places such as Dogs Trust and the RSPCA, and then the smaller local dog rescue centres. When I was in the process of adopting a dog, I spent hours browsing all of these sites, but it seems the dogs most common in UK rehoming centres are medium-large size dogs. If you are able to adopt one of these dogs then that is great, however if a smaller dog is going to suit your lifestyle better then you may struggle to find one, as it seems they are the most popular.
Romanian street dogs, however, come in all shapes, ages and sizes and there are plenty of beautiful small Romanian rescue dogs, just waiting for a home. In Romania, there are thousands of stray dogs living on the streets or in filthy inhumane conditions in the public shelters. As I write this, with my little Romanian rescue dog curled up by my feet, it breaks my heart just thinking of the endless suffering all these dogs are having to endure. On a more positive note, there are many wonderful caring people who have devoted their lives to rehoming these dogs by setting up charities which bring them over to the UK where they can be looked after and cared for by us dog-loving Brits!
There are so many brilliant reasons to choose a Romanian rescue, and one of the things I love the most is how unusual they all are. People are always asking me what breed Fifi is, but when it comes to Romanian dog breeds, there isn’t really a specific breed. They are all a mixture, which means you will have a totally unique dog, and also mongrels tend to be much healthier and live longer. Purebred dogs often have health problems, and you won’t have that problem with your Romanian dog. In fact, Romanian dogs have to undergo a variety of health checks and have to have proof of vaccinations to get into the country, so you know your dog will be healthy.
Romanian Dog Adoption Process
Just a simple Google search will provide you with an abundance of Romanian dog rescue charities. Some of the charities upload pictures and videos of the dogs in Romania to their Facebook page and website, and prospective owners choose their dog this way. Some other charities have already brought some of the dogs over to the UK and they are living with foster families, so you can go and meet them.
I got Fifi from a Yorkshire based charity called Rags to Riches and it is super. They bring over Romanian dogs to the UK and look after them in their own homes until they are socialised and ready for adoption. You can read more about their brilliant work here.
Rags to Riches organised for the home checker to come and make sure that my home was safe and secure, and she was happy that it was. Then I went to meet Fifi, and it was love at first site! She is such a sweet, beautiful, gentle and loving dog. I couldn’t wait to get her home with me! I booked the Friday off work, (I called it my pup-ternity leave) so I could go and pick her up Friday morning and spend plenty of time with her before going back to work on Monday. On the first day she was understandably a bit all over the place, and wouldn’t really settle. But it didn’t take long at all for her to get used to the routine, and now, having had her for almost 6 months, I can’t imagine my life without her.
Preparation for Getting a Dog
Being prepared for the arrival of your new four-legged friend is important, especially if you haven’t owned a dog before. Here are some things you can get hold of in preparation;
- Food and water bowls – if you’re getting a large dog then getting elevated bowls is better for them, but if you’re getting a small dog then bowls on the floor are fine. If you want to protect your carpet or stop the bowls sliding around then getting a mat to go underneath is a good idea.
- Dog harness/collar and lead – unless you have access to a very safe enclosed space, letting your new dog off the lead is not advised, so he/she will be spending a lot of time on the lead. If they like to pull then getting a harness will prevent them from hurting their neck. Retractable leads are great, and I prefer the tape ones to the really thin ones.
- Name tag – Get a name tag engraved with your phone number just in case the worst should happen you’ll stand more chance of being reunited.
- Poo bags
- Dog food – There is such a variety of choices now, from raw food to kibble and everything in between. Find out what the dog currently eats, and keep feeding it the same thing for the first couple of weeks while it settles in.
- Treats – Perfect for training and rewarding.
- Dog trainer – Research local dog trainers who you can get in touch with if you need any help. I took Fifi to training classes with The Fairy Dogmother which was fun and really useful!
- Crate – If the dog is used to sleeping in a crate, then getting one and filling it with nice bedding and toys is a great way to create a safe space for the dog to sleep and relax. These can be a bit pricey, so keep an eye out on Facebook buy and sell groups. You might also want an extra crate for when you’re transporting the dog in the car.
There is plenty of information here about what to do over the first few days whilst your new dog is settling into their new life. Make sure you get your dog registered at the vet, and if you take your dog’s passport with you then they can put into the system when the dog will need it’s next set of injections. (Another great thing about getting a Romanian dog is that they come with a passport, so they’re ready to go on holiday with you).
These are some factors which should be discussed in your home check before you are allowed to get the dog anyway, but it is just some things worth considering.
- Are you legally allowed a dog? Have you checked in your contract to see if pets are allowed? If you’re renting a property your landlord may forbid pets and even if you own a leasehold property you may still have to get consent before getting the dog, and have to obey certain rules.
- Have you got any holidays coming up? You need to make sure that the dog gets settled and in a routine so it can start to feel relaxed and at home. If you suddenly have to take him/her to a kennel it’s not going to help with building trust.
- Where will the dog go during the day? If you work during the day, make sure you have a plan for where the dog can go. Dog adoption agencies are less likely to let you have a dog if you work long hours and the dog would have to be alone all day.
- Have you got the time & patience? Your new dog will quickly learn what is expected of it and will aim to please you, but of course, everything is new for them, so they might not understand what they are supposed to do. Make sure you reward good behaviour and don’t get angry if they wee indoors or do something they shouldn’t, it isn’t their fault.
- Can you afford it? Dog food, pet insurance etc, it isn’t a massive amount, but it does all add up.
As long as you know you are ready for a dog, then your new little Romanian friend will bring a lifetime supply of love and happiness to you.
Above is a photo of Fifi now that she has been adopted and living with me, below is a photo of when she was in the rescue shelter in Romania. If the volunteers in Romania hadn’t rescued her, she wouldn’t be with us today, so this photo is a reminder of just how important it is that we support this amazing charity, and others like it.
You will not regret adopting a Romanian dog, and it won’t be long before your new four-legged friend is a cherished member of your family. You can see 11 things that happen when you become a dog-owner here.
If you have any questions about adopting a dog, or if you want to chat with my about my experience, please do feel free to comment below, or like the Izzy Dabbles Facebook Page to keep up to date with our adventures.
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