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Archie, the Jack Russell who is a rescue dog

Adopt, don’t shop: dog rescue near you

28 October 2022

Are you thinking of adding a dog to your family? Have you considered adopting one from a dog rescue? 14% of new UK dog owners in 2022 have found their furry best friend at a local dog rescue centre, and there are thousands more dogs in rescue centres all over the UK and Ireland who are looking for their pawfect furever home.

This guide will tell you more about dog rescue in your local area, including how to find adoptable dogs and what kind of vetting process you may go through in finding your pawfect pooch. And if you want to make sure that getting a dog (from a breeder or a rescue centre) is the right choice for you right now, have a read over our guide on choosing a dog!

Overview of article:

Dog rescue centres

How to adopt a rescue dog

Not 100% sure a rescue dog will fit in with your life?

Useful rescue dog guides

How to find a local dog rescue centre

BorrowMyDoggy rescue dog stories

Map of local dog rescue centres

Dog rescue centres: what are they?

There are many different charities and different types of dog rescues in the UK and Ireland, each with their own mission and approach to helping dogs in need.

Perhaps the most well-known type is an animal rescue centre, which is usually run by a charity or rescue group. These centres house and care for stray or abandoned dogs until they can be adopted by new pawrents.

There are also foster programs, which place homeless dogs with trained volunteers until they can find their furever home. Sometimes charities and rehoming centres also provide long-term foster programmes for dog owners, where a pooch moves in with a new family as their forever home, but the charity will support the costs of existing health conditions in the rehomed pooch.

Bella, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, who is now happy at home
Bella, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier

There are many smaller rescue groups that specialise in specific breeds or in dogs with special needs, for example blind or partially sighted dogs.

How to find a local dog rescue centre

When it comes to rehoming dogs, there are loads of resources and centres that can help you find the pawfect pooch for your home and situation. Whether you are searching for a puppy, or an adult dog, there is absowoofly something out there for everyone.

  • One of the best places to start your search is by sniffing out rescue groups in your area. Many of these groups are run by volunteers who are dedicated to helping dogs in need, and can offer valuable support throughout the rehoming process. A simple google search can help you find groups in your area, as can a chat with your local vet practice.
  • Check out our map above which lists some of the UK’s many dog rescue centres to help you find your local centre.
  • Another great way of finding a dog rescue centre is through social media. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram often have dedicated pages for local rescue groups where you can learn more about their mission and find helpful tips on adoption and fostering.
  • There are unfortunately, like anything else, fraudulent rescue groups and “charities” about, so if you’re not sure about a group, ask your vet or check them out yourself. If an organisation claims to be a charity it should have a registered charity number and you can check them out on the government’s charity register in the UK

Nisa, the Cross Breed in front of her crate
Nisa, the Cross Breed

How to adopt a rescue dog?

There are a number of impawtant steps that need to be taken before you can rehome a rescue dog.

  1. Most important of all, ask yourself whether you are ready to own and care for a dog. Whether you’re considering getting a puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this guide should help you to make an informed decision.
  2. Digging around online can be a good start to finding a dog that would suit your lifestyle and experience. Once you think you have found the pawfect dog, contact the organisation they are staying with.
  3. Once you are sure you are ready and have discussed with the rescue centre, filling out an application form with them is often the first step to show your interest in adding a new furry companion to your family.
  4. You will usually also need to provide information about your living situation, including how many people live in your household and whether or not you already have any existing pets.
  5. Some rescue centres will then want to ask you further questions and make a home visit to make sure your home environment suits the dog. It’s really important to rescue centres and dog charities that every doggy they rehome is going to the right people and will be safe and happy, so they want to make sure that you and your potential new dog are the right match.
  6. Some rescue centres advise people who are looking to adopt, to attend training sessions, where they can learn more about what type of care is necessary for happy and healthy dogs.
  7. Once the application has been approved and all the other requirements have been met, you can get prepared for welcoming your new best friend into your home.

Although there can be a few more steps to rehoming a rescue dog than buying a puppy from a breeder, taking on a rescue can be a really rewarding experience, and can pawsitively change the life of a homeless pooch.

Phoebe, the Shih Tzu, looking at the camera
Phoebe, the Shih Tzu

Not 100% sure a rescue dog will fit in with your life?

If you’re considering adopting a dog in the UK or Ireland, joining BorrowMyDoggy is a great first step to better understand the responsibilities involved in owning a dog full time.

Joining BorrowMyDoggy lets you:

  • Get to know what kind of emotional, financial and time commitment is needed in caring for your own dog
  • Understand different breeds’ unique behaviours and needs

If you’re thinking about rehoming a rescue dog here are some top tips on getting a rescue dog before you take on a new family member!

Create a free profile now to discover dogs near you!

Kinder, the Podenco Canario lying on a soft blanket with his cuddly toy
Kinder, the Podenco Canario

BorrowMyDoggy rescue dog stories

I tried over six months to adopt a dog from several rescue organisations only to be refused as my garden doesn’t have a six foot fence all the way round. I saw a link to BorrowMyDoggy and was delighted to find ‘Crispy’ a nine month old Border Collie. Crispy needs a lot of exercise and stimulation which his owner is unable to provide.
I have been walking Crispy for six weeks and have made a delightful friend and companion who gets me out of the house and gives both him and myself good daily exercise. A win,win,win situation. I have made new friends, lost weight, helping both Crispy and his owner. THANK YOU BORROWMYDOGGY.

Crispy's borrower, Ralph from Norwich

I joined BorrowMyDoggy during lockdown as a way to get some much needed dog love into my life during the uncertain times. My family have been struggling to find a rescue dog that would suit us so I had to fill that gap in the meantime. I’m now walking 3 different dogs every week and I love their little personalities. I look forward to it every week- it’s been hugely beneficial for my fitness and mental health too!

Borrower, Olive

Cosmo the rescue dog suffers from separation anxiety, so owners Lucy and Euan signed him up “to find someone that was spending time with a dog because they love dogs, rather than paying for a service.” Their match, Ross, “is now part of the family and Cosmo loves him so much.”

For freelancer Ross, extra time and the longing for company when he’s working from home prompted him to join BorrowMyDoggy. After three days he matched with Cosmo and Lucy, and as he shares, “I would never walk without a dog for two hours - the time just vanishes when I’m with Cosmo.”

Useful rehoming advice

Local dog rescue centres

Alternative to rehoming your dog

Rescue dog tips

The cost of dog ownership

Could a mixed breed or rescue dog be for you?


Tips for choosing a dog

Useful rescue dog guides

Understanding dog ownership before adopting a dog

Could a rescue dog be a good match for you?

Dog adoption tips

How to socialise a rescue dog

How to make your dog happier and healthier

Guide on how to prepare your home for a new dog

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