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Animal Lifeline’s re-homing policy is deliberately different from that of most other rescue centres and sanctuaries, and uses a variety of criteria. Most people find our system straightforward and that helps explain why we have successfully re-homed many thousands of dogs. We only re-home dogs in North Staffordshire and South Cheshire.
Lifeline is one of the few rescues which when it takes in a dog, commits to it for life. It’s no-destruction policy means it inevitably gets a higher number of dogs, some of which many other rescues would have had put down. Some dogs which may have behavioural or social difficulties and are unsuitable for re-homing are normally given sanctuary status and are kept by us for life, cared for and loved by our staff and our team of volunteers with whom the dogs are familiar and at ease. These are normally not available for re-homing.
Most rescues centres take in many dogs that are strays, and nothing is usually known about them. Animal Lifeline is different – it gets most of its dogs from the previous owners, whose circumstances have changed (bereavement, illness, emigrating, moving into smaller accommodation etc) so we usually know a lot about the background of our dogs. This can include general temperament, whether they mix well with children, cats or other dogs, for example. Our objective is not just to re-home the dog, but to re-home it into circumstances that will suit the animal best – and indirectly, suit the new owner too, minimising any potential problems which might arise.
This method, used for thousands of homings over the past 40 years, normally means it is rare for us to have to take back a dog because it isn’t suitable. Some other re-homing agencies cannot operate this way because many of their dogs are unknown factors, found straying and unclaimed. They have no idea what sort of background the dog has. Therefore, they have little option but to operate a different system, which essentially may mean that you visit the kennels, see a dog you like, and pay a price for it. It’s quick, simple – but can often be a bit of a leap into the unknown.
Now if you want this kind of system, that’s fine – but it means you are probably best NOT having a dog from Animal Lifeline. Other agencies will be able to meet your requirements. But if you want the maximise your chances of having a dog for life, a dog that will probably fit into your lifestyle very well, then Animal Lifeline will do its best to meet that need. We will spend time chatting with you about your exact requirements, your past experience with dogs, and offer advice on which range of dogs we have that are likely to dovetail with what you want. And like all responsible dog rescues, we will need to make a home visit to check you have a secure rear garden. All this can take a little more time, but it heightens the chances of a successful re-homing for both dog and new owner.
Not everyone appreciates our system, nor understands that our duty of care is find the most suitable new home for a dog, not just any home. Anyone can re-home dogs by getting them in and out of kennels fast – but we are dealing with little lives, not a commodity. So we take more care when it comes to re-homing, always endeavouring to get the right kind of dog into the right situation, which is the best outcome for both and owner.
This policy also means that now and then we have to refuse an application for a particular dog and occasionally someone will take umbrage at this, thinking that it means we feel they are not suitable to have a rescue dog. This is quite wrong. Refusal is not a personal judgement, is more likely to be because we don’t feel the dog selected is suitable for certain situations.
If this happens, we hope the people concerned will see the bigger picture, and understand. For example, we don’t have an upper age restriction and have homed dogs to many people aged over 70, even over 80. But if, for instance, you are 80, have a walking difficulty and want a young hyper-active dog, don’t be surprised if we say no!
We also prefer to re-home to people who own their own house, but it is not an absolute rule – we will assess each case on its merits. But many landlords won’t allow pets, or if they do, can change their minds very quickly if the dog causes damage, or a neighbour complains about noise or nuisance. Indeed, we have to take in many dogs from rented accommodation, so we are understandably cautious about placing dogs in similar circumstances.
These are some of the factors we need to evaluate when re-homing to try to ensure a happy long-term situation for dog and new owner. We regard it as best-practice. You are of course entitled to disagree. But if you do, then Animal Lifeline isn’t the dog-rescue agency for you and you would be better seeking a dog from another source which will have different criteria.
But if you like the care and attention we endeavour to provide to help you get a dog that will become a loved and valued member of your family, then please get in touch with us by phone or email.
You’ll be joining more than 11,000 happy dog owners who have tried and liked the Animal Lifeline re-homing experience!