9 reasons you definitely shouldn’t adopt a rescue dog

July 04, 2018

All rescue dogs are poorly behaved, elderly or have major behavioural issues, right? Actually, that couldn’t be more wrong!

We’ve put together a handy list of nine common misconceptions about rescue dogs, along with stories of nine adorable RSPCA South Australia rescue pups who prove that exactly the opposite is true.

1. All rescue dogs are mutts.

Or are they? RSPCA South Australia actually cares for a huge range of breeds, both purebred and mixed. Each year, we take in everything from staffies and kelpies to labradors and cocker spaniels. The beauty of adoption is that you’ll never know what you might get!

Take Buster the greyhound, for example. He was surrendered into RSPCA South Australia’s care in October 2017 after his former owner could no longer afford to look after him. This gorgeous purebred greyhound found his forever home with fur-mum Michelle and is now living his best life.

Rescue greyhound Buster smiling for the camera. Read his story here.

2. Animal shelters only ever have staffies for adoption. 

Many people believe animal shelters are full of staffies, a breed unfairly categorised as aggressive and dangerous. But this couldn’t be more untrue. Staffies are known for their gentle temperament and sweet disposition – they truly make great pets.

Along with staffies, RSPCA South Australia cares for a wide range of breeds and animals, all of whom need love, care and attention. Like Sadie, a Border collie-cross who was born in RSPCA care in 2014 after her pregnant mum was surrendered to us. Sadie now lives a sweet life scoring unconditional love from her fur-mum Clara.

The possibilities are endless with adoption and you could end up taking home a breed you didn’t know you could love so much – staffies included!

Rescue Border collie-cross Sadie livin’ the dream. You can read her story here.

3. Rescue dogs don’t get on with other animals.

Guilty of thinking that rescue dogs have to be only children? Think again. A lot of our doggos are just looking for love, whether it be from a furry friend or a caring human. Some of our animals form such strong bonds with each other while in our care that we end up adopting them out together.

Sweet little Pablo spent nearly a year at RSPCA Lonsdale before Steve, Stephanie and their dog Loki stumbled across his profile. Pablo now spends his days eating, playing, sleeping and farting with his best friend Loki – what a life, right?!

Loki (left) and Pablo (right) hogging the couch.

4. Rescue dogs are always old.

While older dogs make for sweet pets and are just looking for a loving home to live out their golden years,  RSPCA South Australia also cares for and rehomes a huge number of puppies and young dogs each year.

Billy was just six weeks old when he was adopted from our Lonsdale shelter by one of our very own: RSPCA Chief Veterinarian Brad Ward. Billy was so small when he came into our care that he had to be fostered before going to his new home – proof that not all rescue dogs are old and grey, although Billy is pretty close to it now!

Then and now: Billy as a young pup and now an old, happy man with his owner, RSPCA Chief Veterinarian Brad Ward.

That said, adopting an old dog is a great act of kindness. Older dogs often get overlooked at our shelters, but they have just as much love to give and are often calmer, quieter and more likely to fit right into your family without a hitch.

5. Rescue dogs come with baggage.

Those who have never adopted a rescue dog before might not understand the deep love and affection owners have for their fur-babies, regardless of their background or life before adoption. The truth is, rescue animals who have gone through trauma or abuse can make wonderful, low-maintenance pets.

Crank the dog was discovered abandoned, alone and with serious injuries to his skull and leg. After six months of veterinary care and rehabilitation at RSPCA Lonsdale, Crank was happily adopted out by new mum Carol and her family.

Despite his extensive medical history and unimaginable childhood, Crank has made his new family whole, with his playful, sweet nature and easy-going personality. All Crank ever needed was somebody to love, adore and let him be the best fur-baby he can!

6. Rescue dogs can’t be taught new tricks.

Many believe rescue dogs are old, stuck in their ways and will have a hard time adapting to a new lifestyle or family. This is simply untrue! Rescue dogs make the best pets, often with a deeper appreciation for a loving owner and a huge willingness to learn.

This was certainly the case for Indy the German Shepherd-cross. She was bought to RSPCA South Australia as a stray in 2015, before being adopted by fur-mum Kiara. Soon after bringing Indy home, Kiara enrolled her new pup in force-free training classes, where Indy absolutely thrived.

You might not be able to teach an old human new tricks, but as Indy has shown, you sure can teach an old dog!

Clever rescue dog Indy posing up a storm. Find her on Instagram or read her story here.

7. Rescue dogs aren’t loyal to their new owners.

Dogs are known for their undying loyalty and endless love, and rescue hounds are no exception. Regardless of their upbringing, many just want a patient and loving human to gain their trust and love them as they deserve.

Sahara is one such serial monogamist. Severely neglected as a young dog, Sahara was seized by our inspectors with an injury to her lip. She spent 105 days at RSPCA Lonsdale looking for an owner to love her before being spotted by her new dad, Sam.

Sahara now spends her days loving on her new owner as much as possible. The 35kg dog loves sitting on her dad’s lap, taking full control of the remote and demanding cuddles.

Rescue doggo Sahara couldn’t love her new fur-dad more. Read her full story here, or scroll through her equally adorable Instagram here.

8. Rescue dogs have health issues.

Actually, many rescue puppers are perfectly healthy, with loads of fit and happy dogs surrendered into RSPCA care each year due to financial hardship or unavoidable lifestyle changes. If a dog does present with health issues, our veterinary team works hard to rehabilitate them before adoption.

Morgan was a skinny stray with hair so thin and matted that his back was almost bald. After recovering in RSCPA care, he found new parents, Ash and Will. Morgan’s now thriving in his new home with a luscious coat of hair – proof that sick puppies can and do turn into healthy dogs.

If an RSPCA rescue dog does have an ongoing medical condition, we ensure potential fur-parents are given all the necessary information well before finalising their adoption.

Morgan’s incredible before and after, read more here.

9. Rescue dogs have behavioural problems.

Are you guilty of assuming all rescue dogs end up in our care because they have behavioural issues? Let us change your mind. Animals coming into our care for a huge range of reasons, including being surrendered for financial reasons, seized by RSPCA inspectors after surviving abuse or poor living conditions, or being saved by our our rescue officers.

Most dogs can be happily rehomed to families with the right lifestyle, home and understanding of the dog’s needs.

Some even go on to be superstars! Astro was adopted out of RSPCA Port Lincoln after coming into our care as a stray. A year after his fur-papa Martin welcomed little Astro into the family fold, he began training in the canine sport of Flyball, which requires discipline, concentration and intelligence – all qualities Astro possessed. Astro now competes in Flyball comps all around Australia. Behavioural issues? Astro doesn’t think so.

Adoption truly is a wonderful, affordable option for potential fur-parents looking to make a difference – and who knows, you might save a dog only to have them save you, too.

If you’re considering opening your heart and home to a rescued dog or puppy, head over here to see all our animals currently available for adoption.

  • Was this article helpful?
  • YesNo
Share this story:

29 thoughts on “9 reasons you definitely shouldn’t adopt a rescue dog”

  1. Janice Gilliver

    Amy our rescue dog 3 years old with some bestie and .maybe Maltese in her. She’s friendly with everyone and never barks .Well behaved and well loved she reads us like a book. She is now 9 years old . Best thing we ever did was to adopt her

  2. Tina Wheeler

    Well done a great review on adopting pets. Like humans we all have a story but doesn’t mean we are not worthy of loving and to be loved. I’m waiting for a fur baby to come along that I can nurture and be nurtured. I’m not in a hurry and want the best for both of us.

  3. Pat Easom

    When I retire I plan to adopt an elderly dog to join the two wonderful cats I adopted from RSPCA several years ago. I’ll be going to RSPCA when I decide to take this step.

  4. Paul

    We adopted Chloe from the RSPCA 2 years ago and she’s the loveliest dog you could ever want. And yeah she’s a staffy cross, but she’s gentle and affectionate and the only things she ever wants are pats and someone to through her a ball. The RSPCA will definitely be my first stop if I’m looking for a dog in the future

  5. Alison ,

    Great article – but please, change the headline! I understand you are being ironical – but most people will only see that headline – and will be convinced the RSPCA advises against adoption. I only saw the article by accident – and only read it because the headline horrified me. I was all ready to argue against the RSPCA. You’re really not improving the lot of rescue dogs with that headline – and have probably already cost a few dogs potential homes 😕

    1. Hi Alison, thanks for reading. You’re right in that we chose that exact headline to grab people’s attention. And it it’s definitely working – this is one of our highest read blog posts of all time. We couldn’t think of a better way to show people the awesome benefits of adoption. We’re had lots of people respond positively and we believe it’s having a positive impact. 😊

  6. Lori Jacquier

    I also read this article due to its headline, but if its getting the message out, great!
    We adopted our boy back in July. He is a staffy x.
    I’d heard all the chatter around his breed and to avoid staffies, especially having children. He was not the only breed available for adoption, however when i looked at him i knew he was home.
    So we adopted him in July and guess what? He does have some behavioural issues, he digs, pulls up plants and chews my garden hoses… but after many conversations with the vet, and his trainers at dog school, weve concluded these are mostly due to abandonment issues. This boy had been left behind so many times that when we went out, he didnt know if we would come back and didnt know what else to do. As adoptive fur parents, it is our job to do everything we can to support, nurture and teach these rescue babies the way of the world. We sign up for that responsibility when we decide to take on a rescue dog.
    So 5 months in now and guess what? My hose is in tact, my plants stay in their pots and the holes in my lawn are few and far between… why? Because slowly but surely he is realising that we will always come back for him. Weve given him the confidence, our time and above all, love. That was all he ever needed.
    This stereotype of staffies is a total crock! His love is the gift that keeps on giving. My 11yr old daughter is his best friend, they are inseperable and do everything together. He attends dog school every week and he tries so hard. If another dog growls, he stands infront of me, ready to protect me. He now waits patiently for us to return home, because he knows we will.
    Getting a rescue dog, and one who is a staffy, has been one of the most rewarding things i have ever done. Even with the hoses, and the plants i have lost along the way, ive gained a great deal more from what my rescue dog has in his heart.
    So, to anyone considering getting a rescue dog, my advice, do it. Youll never regret your decision.

  7. kay hamilton

    Do you have any Labrador dog’s please or labrador cross dogs

  8. Abbie

    My dog is a rescue, he was 2 when we got him, he loves my grandmas dog they’re best friends. I’ve taught him 3 new tricks along with the other things we’ve taught him!

  9. Spencer Davidson

    Looking for a small non shedding young dog for adoption for twin boys(7) yo who have allergies but love animals

  10. Mish farrell

    Hi look for a adoption dogs black border collie or maltese black and white puppy

  11. Donna

    I’m now the proud mum of my 3rd rescue dog. My first was in 1996. My second was in 2005 after I lost my first. My second has now passed and I didn’t hesitate in picking another rescue. The rewards are amazing as you watch these babies transform from being rejected to being loved.

  12. Sienna

    Love what you guys do but this can get difficult. Mum and I went to adopt a dog from one in Qld mid-winter and took our dog like the website said. She wanted to show me a dog but there was nowhere for us to put our dog and we couldn’t take her through. We ended up going to a different rescue that had pens with a bed and water bowls to put dogs in. Also, couldn’t meet the dog at the RSPCA because the handler wasn’t there which I understand.

    1. Hi Sienna, we’re sorry you weren’t able to meet the dog you wanted to at your RSPCA QLD shelter. At RSPCA South Australia, meet and greets with dogs and their potential adopters/fur siblings are very important to us to ensure dogs end up in a home well suited to them 🙂

  13. Maria

    What a load of rubbish. I have a Maltese cross and she was found on the street dirty and dishevelled,the vets words, they put her age at 5yrs. She’s now 13 and the most friendly, loyal dog I’ve ever had. She loves everyone and has lots of Doggy friends. I live in a retirement village and quite a few people have got their dogs from an RSPCA centre and they are all very friendly

    1. Sounds like your little dog has a fabulous life! We totally agree that rescue dogs are the best – you’ll notice the article is actually advocating for people to adopt 🙂

  14. Krista

    Good luck trying to adopt a dog if you already own a cat. Even if you are the perfect pet parent you will be rejected by the shelter. No wonder people go to breeders. Owning a home, having a reliable job and conservation land behind your house isn’t enough.

    1. Hi Krista, with slow and careful introductions, it’s definitely possible for a rescue dog and resident cat to get along, as long as the dog has not previously displayed issues with cats. However, different rescue dogs come from different backgrounds, and for the safety of the dog as well as potential owners and their pets, we will always specify where a particular dog is not suited to a home with a cat. Thank you.

  15. K Mason

    What happens when you adopt a dog and less than 24 hrs later you’re at the vet with a very sick dog and now you’re paying loads of money to save it? Do you have some sort of help for this?

    1. Hi Kate, if you have adopted your dog from RSPCA South Australia, please call our shelter on 1300 477 722, explain your issue and someone from the dog care team will be in touch with you. Thank you.

  16. Calida Taylor

    Best dog I have ever owned was an RSPCA special. He was timid, had been abused and he was terrified of men. ‘Jack’s age was listed as 18months and they told me he would be hard to train as an Akita x.
    One year later he was my closest friend, sitting on my dad’s lap, and topping his obedience class. Seventeen years later I said goodbye to my best friend, confidante, security system, teddy bear and workout partner.
    Even when a dog has issues, they can be retrained and it is definitely worth the effort. I want my next dog to be a rescue, but I’m going to struggle to get anything as loyal as Houston. Still keeping an eye out for spitz crosses on your adopt a pet pages!

  17. Sandra Stevens

    Hi thank you for your article.i recently adopted a minipincher mix after my 14 year old daushund died. Best thing I ever could have done. He literally saved my life .

    1. Hi Sandra, that’s so wonderful to hear. Thank you for choosing the adoption option – there really is no better feeling than giving a homeless animal a second chance 🙂

  18. Pam Mitschke

    I’m in the U.S., my rescue, Suki was badly abused, scared, nobody wanted a terrified dog so she got put on the euthanasia list. I talked my husband into getting her to be with a dog we already had. She was so terrified of men she peed on him when he picked her up! 1 yr later they were inseparable, 5 yrs later my husband passed away & she still shows signs of missing him but she’s getting better every day!😊😊 she was 2 when we got her, she’s 9 now & slowing down but doing great, even with a bad heart murmur. Rescue is the way to go!😊

    1. What a lovely story, Pam. Thank you for sharing and thank you so much for choosing the adoption option 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to news archive