British Chihuahua Club Rescue
Rescue - What's It All About?
When someone needs us to rehome their Chihuahua or decides to give a 'Rescue' a home - what do we do, when we get that call?
Our purpose is to rehome Chihuahuas when the owners cannot look after them because of their owner's ill health or a change of circumstances, and sometimes on the death of the dog's owner. Unlike some pet rescues we don't have kennels, so we can't always take a dog in immediately unless we can find someone to foster it.
We have a list of people who have registered with us because they would like to give a new home to a rescued Chihuahua. Some people want a young one, an old one, a male, a female, a longcoat or a smoothcoat, and if they already have other dogs, they need one that gets on with their dogs. Thankfully there are also kind people are willing to take on the anxious dogs, grouchy ones, timid or anti-social ones. The last category is naturally the most difficult to place and it takes time to find the right home for them. We had one come in that had to wear padded pants, because he was incontinent. He was rehomed along with a continuous supply of pads. Thank goodness for kind and patient dog lovers! Quite often we have two dogs that the previous owner wants to be rehomed together. We do manage this - it just takes a bit longer and more phone calls.
When a dog needs to be rehomed, the first thing that has to be done is that the owner 'relinquishes' the dog to the BCCRA. From the time the relinquishment form is received, then we start looking for a new home. Throughout the year we send out Adoption Registration forms in response to emails or phone calls, and that provides a register of potential new owners. Their form tells us where they live, their family and pet makeup, their past experience with dogs, and finally their accommodation. Sometimes it seems that we have plenty of homes to choose from, however these potential homes are located throughout England and Wales, and dogs to be rehomed are equally spread out, so they do not match up always with supply and demand. We try to rehome as close to where they are as possible, and from old owner direct to new owner. To move them a long distance is expensive, as we may have to pay petrol costs to volunteers who would do this transportation. Apart from that, the poor dog or dogs are upset by losing their home and owner, without being further traumatised by being passed like a parcel across the country.
Very often the people who want to part with their Chis, perhaps can't afford them any more, do not have transportation, are too old or infirm to look after them, or the family are left with them when parents have died. They just want the dogs taken away, and so are not always in the position to help in the rehoming. We do ask for an admin charge of £25.00 from the owner. This is to cover phone calls, paperwork, postage etc.
The rehoming process involves many phone calls. The first instance is in getting a Home Check done at the prospective owner's property. We make sure that the dog cannot be sold or passed on, and the home that it is going to is a safe environment - so a home check is important. As you can imagine - to get to a new home can be difficult for us. We depend on British Chihuahua Club members to do home checks for us as they know what would be the correct safe environment for a Chihuahua.
When we find a new home for a Rescue and the home check is completed, we then have to make arrangements to transfer the dog. To get the dog from one place to another can be easy or difficult, and is dependant on individual circumstances. It's not always possible for a dog to go straight from one home to the next and it may have to spend some time, days, weeks or sometimes months, in foster care at the home of our Coordinator or one of our members.the dogs have to spend some time being fostered first. All these arrangements take time and many phone calls to organise.
Our policy is that the Chihuahua will be neutered and microchipped when they are rehomed. Very often a dog's teeth need attention and are also worked on while the dog is under the anaesthetic. This can be done while in foster care or when they reach their new home. Veterinary care is our largest cost when we rehome any dog. We are a charity, and vets' bills are high, but we abide by our policy. We don't charge new owners for their dog, but ask if they can give a donation to cover some or all of our costs - all we ask is that donation is given, whether large or small is dependent on the new owners' own circumstances.
When a dog is rehomed, we keep in touch, especially in the first few weeks, to make sure that all is well. We may also pass on that information to the previous owner, if they are concerned that their dog has settled and is happy in its new home. What we don't encourage is contact between the old and new owners. This is to stop such contact being too intrusive, so we suggest that contact is always through the Coordinator.
What happens if it does not work out? In a typical year, we rehomed 84 dogs - we had three back because it did not work out. In these circumstances we did not get the match right, for whatever reason, so they came back to us for rehoming - because at the end of the day, they are still our responsibility.
One final word - to rehome a rescue takes a bit of time. Please do not wait till the last moment to ask for help. One year, on a Wednesday, we had a lady who wanted us to rehome her Chihuahua. She was going on a course on the Friday for 4 days and couldn't leave the dog with her husband as he had the children to look after! That is not what Rescue is about - so we couldn't help her! If you know you have to move house in two weeks time - that does not give us enough time. Let's face it - you would have had 4 week's notice at least.
Please plan ahead and give us enough time to find a good home for your precious pet. Emergency situations do happen and we respond as quickly as we can and do whatever we can. As Chihuahua owners ourselves - our concern will always be the little dogs who depend on us for everything, and in return give us such pleasure, love and loyalty.