Whether in the classifieds or in animal welfare: If you want to get a dog, you will inevitably come across dogs from abroad, some of which have been rescued from catastrophic circumstances, and are now waiting for a warm basket in a new home. When you see the terrible, inhumane conditions in many Eastern and Mediterranean countries, the desire to help the poor dogs is great. The sight of the loyal dog eyes does the rest and many a dog is allowed to move into a new, better home and is saved. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds – neither for the dog nor for the new owner.
Not a good place for dogs
In fact, dogs don’t have it as good everywhere as they do here. In many countries, street dogs are part of the typical cityscape – as is kicking them and scaring them away. Castrations and veterinary care are the exception and so the dogs multiply uncontrollably. The “surplus” is drowned, beaten to death, or, in the best case, abandoned or taken to one of the many overcrowded shelters or animal shelters, where often after just a few weeks without placement there is a risk of being killed. The same applies to those who cannot be used as hunting, guard or sporting dogs. This means that the future prospects for many dogs abroad are not necessarily bright.
For us, who live in a country where dogs are kept as family members, this is incomprehensible. The battered dog bodies and the sad but hopeful dog looks in the killing stations and in the shelters bring tears to the eyes of many animal-loving people – you want to help! But how? Some animal protection organizations have therefore made it their goal to take these dogs from the streets and rescue centers to more animal-friendly countries in order to give them the chance of a better, dog-friendly life. That’s why hundreds of dogs arrive in this country every day: from Greece, Malta, Romania, Bosnia and many other countries. The placement is often organized in advance, the adopters usually only have to pay the organizational costs for travel, vaccination and entry examination and they can then receive their new family member in a German nursing station – happiness with their own dog seems within their grasp .
Great frustration instead of great happiness?
People proudly receive their dogs, firmly believing that they have found a loyal companion for the rest of their lives – after all, they have been rescued, so one can expect eternal loyalty and gratitude. For the dogs, however, things are different: many have never seen anything other than the streets of their homeland in their lives, have sometimes been fed by people, sometimes kicked, and at some point caught, locked up and taken away. They are confused and frightened, torn away from their familiar environment – because even if they have had a bad life so far, it was THEIR life that they knew and in which they knew how to behave. Everything that comes after is new.
In the best case scenario, you get a dog that has once lived in a family and knows basic things like house training and contact with people. In the worst case scenario, you will get a fearful dog that is difficult to touch and has only had bad experiences with people in its life. Because even if the animal welfare association has promised you an absolutely lovely, grateful dog, you still have to keep in mind that German animal rights activists abroad often have very little time to judge a dog and that this judgment is therefore not very realistic rather optimistic – after all, it is assumed that good husbandry conditions bring out the best in the dog. No matter how positive the description from the animal protection organization is, it is still no guarantee that it will actually be possible to effortlessly integrate a foreign dog into the new family.
The problems are often small, but still stressful: many, especially older, foreign dogs are not house trained and, after spending time in dirty shelters, it takes a long time to understand that they should go outside to relieve themselves. Even small, unfamiliar noises, such as the microwave, telephones, vacuum cleaners and much more, can startle them and put them under stress. Maybe the dog has had bad experiences with men in black jackets and is now uncomfortable with them here on the streetbecomes hostile – even if he is otherwise “people-friendly”. Therefore, if you want to take in a dog from abroad, make one thing clear to yourself: you usually know nothing about its past and it may take a long time before you can really assess the dog correctly in all situations – sometimes even for a lifetime not.
The great happiness with the rescued dog is by no means a given. So that you don’t get too frustrated, you should consider a few points before purchasing a dog abroad.
What you should consider before buying a dog abroad
The decision to get a dog abroad will probably save their life. However, you should not act purely out of pity, but rather think carefully in advance about whether you are really up to the challenges that such a dog may bring with it. After all, the rescued dog should not end up in an animal shelter again.
Therefore, consider the following points before purchasing a dog abroad:
- House training: The dog may never have learned to be house trained. Do you have time and patience to teach him?
- Eating habits: Maybe the dog had to starve on the street or fight with other animals for food – can you deal appropriately with food envy and aggressive resource defense?
- Education and socialization: Although it is possible that the dog has already lived with a family, you may also have to start from scratch. Do you have the time and, if necessary, professional support to ensure that your new dog receives solid training and shows him everything that his new life entails?
- Places: Many dogs living abroad almost exclusively live outside; life in the house seems threatening at first. That’s why you should also have a piece of land that the dog can use. An “escape-proof” fence is also an advantage, after all, the aim is to prevent the still unsafe dog from running away in a panic situation and then possibly not finding its way. Can you offer the dog spaces that do not restrict him but still safely prevent him from “escape”?
Of course, it may also be the case that none of these points will ever cause you any problems: well-socialized, house-trained dogs also come to Germany from animal protection abroad, but they were simply no longer wanted by their owners abroad and therefore ended up in the shelter. Even puppies from abroad, some of which have already been raised in expert foster homes, can often develop into completely unproblematic dogs. But you shouldn’t rely on that.
Giving a chance means responsibility
Nevertheless, not only when looking at the sometimes terrible pictures from some foreign shelters, it quickly becomes clear that these animals cannot simply be left to their fate. However, you should by no means expect that foreign dogs are perfect family dogs per se and out of gratitude. Although there are such wonderful specimens that actually appear to be completely problem-free, this is not the rule. Therefore, never adopt a dog simply out of pity, but first familiarize yourself in detail with the responsibility that comes with it and also take into account the sometimes special requirements of dogs abroad. Then, however, nothing stands in the way of a successful adoption of a foreign dog.
However, if you come to the conclusion that keeping such a dog is too much for you, that is far from being a broken book. Ultimately, there is still a lot you can do to help the dogs in foreign animal shelters and shelters: donations in kind, such as food, bowls, beds and monetary donations, improve the situation on site, and sponsorships enable them to be accommodated in trained, private foster homes far away from public shelters. In order to help, you don’t have to take on complete responsibility for a dog’s life if you don’t feel up to it. After all, a dog that has already experienced a lot of bad things deserves a permanent home in which he can live happily and contentedly for the rest of his dog’s life.
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