It often comes as a great surprise to the general dog owning public that a creature as wonderful as a Newfoundland should ever need 'rescuing' or rehoming. And, in an ideal world, they would be right! A reputable breeder WANTS to remain responsible for each one of their 'puppies' for the rest of their lives - irrespective of whether that 'puppy' is by then 7 or 9 or 11 years old! Many breeders have a contract with their puppy purchasers to reinforce this responsibility. So, when a dog needs a new home, the owner contacts the breeder (with whom they will probably have had years of contact via emails, letters, photos and phone calls) and the rehoming of that dog is dealt with by the person who brought that dog into the world. Unfortunately, not all breeders are reputable and, where the breeding venture is a purely commercial one, will not offer any help to a distraught owner who wants to be assured that their dog will be given a good home for the rest of his life. This is where the Newfoundland Club Welfare scheme comes into being.
People who are giving up their dogs can contact the Club Coordinator. Their
and the dog's details will be recorded and they will be given a choice as to
how to proceed. Ideally, it is valuable for a local assessor to visit the
owner to note various aspects of the dog. This will involve watching the owner
handle the dog (examine ears, feeding, a token grooming etc), taking the dog
for one of his usual walks while the assessor follows from a distance of about
25 metres to observe the dog's behaviour. The assessor will also complete a
form with important background details about the dog. At that point, the owner
will be given a choice as whether the club takes ownership and custody of the
dog the same day or whether they would prefer to keep the dog for a further 10
days or so until we have matched a home to the dog, the owners must sign a
'Release Form' relinquishing ownership to the Newfoundland Club. It is then
too late for a change of mind. The dog is then taken to a temporary foster home
for about 2 weeks while an experienced person assesses his character.
The dog is then introduced to the new owners and, if all goes well, is taken into his new home soon after that. The old owner may have also handed over the dog's registration forms, vaccination card, toys and dog beds etc. Sometimes the dog has been microchipped. The coordinator will arrange transfer of ownership with the microchip company. While the toys and blankets will stay with the dog, the registration and any identifying documents will remain in the dog's records with the coordinator. New and old owners are not put in contact with each other but the old owner can contact the club occasionally if they are concerned about the dog's progress. Although the new custodian will then be the legal owner of the dog, there will be a contract stating that if they, for any reason, cannot keep the dog he MUST be returned to the Newfoundland Club for further rehoming.
Many people want to take on a rehomed Newfoundland because they believe it is a cheaper option than buying a puppy! They appear convinced that the Club has a warehouse full of well behaved, housetrained, well groomed 6 month old Newfoundlands waiting for a home (usually the same day as the people ring up!). If you are one of these people - stop reading now! Newfoundlands who need new homes can often be difficult, untrained and in need of bathing and grooming. They frequently come from unsuitable circumstances and may not have the 'eternal baby-sitter' character that the general public expect from a Newfoundland. Even well brought up Newfoundlands may have habits that were not a problem to the original owner (begging from the table, sleeping on the sofa etc) but may not be acceptable to a new owner. Some are not suitable for homes where there are children, other dogs, cats, livestock or near neighbours. However, with careful matching of dog and owner, rehomed dogs can become a dear family member.
Anyone with a 'rehomed' Newfoundland is encouraged to join the Newfoundland Club and also to stay in touch with either the coordinators or the Home Vetter so that we know that all is going well or to address problems as they happen.
Unfortunately, there will always be dogs in need of new homes and if you feel able to cope with the challenges of a rehomed dog, we will always be pleased to hear from you.Marion & Chris Wilks,
The Newfoundand Club Welfare and Rescue is independent of and not affiliated to any other Newfoundland welfare and rescue organisation. If you wish to contact us to either rehome your dog or to adopt a dog please contact Marion and Chris Wilks on 01886 833711.