It might come as a surprise to the general dog owning public that a creature as wonderful as a Newfoundland should ever need 'rescuing' or rehoming. 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 its life. This is where the Newfoundland Club Welfare scheme comes in.
Giving up a dog
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.. If 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 and will NOT be passed on to the new owners.
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.
Taking on a dog
Some 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 stock 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 - you are looking in the wrong place! 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 is usually expected in 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.
If you are interested in adopting a Newfoundland, the normal procedure is as follows:
- Your details will be recorded by the coordinator. This will include names of all residents at your address (and ages of children), whether or not there are elderly or frail people living with you or visiting regularly, what pets live with you at present and whether you have owned a Newfoundland before. We also want to know the work hours of the residents and how long your house is left unattended on a daily basis (we are not keen to home dogs where they will be left alone all day). We also note your preference for a male or female dog and what age range you will consider.
- Please note that puppies are VERY RARELY available and they are nearly always ones with a medical condition.
- We also need to know how far you are prepared to travel to see a dog with a view to taking it on (bear in mind that all your children and present dog/s will need to go as well).
- The next step is for the coordinator to pass your contact details on to the Home Vetter in your area. They arrange to come out to see you (bringing one of their own dogs with them if possible), check your garden is adequately fenced and try to get an awareness for the kind of dog that would fit in with your family and your lifestyle. At the end of the visit (during which the Vetter will have filled in a detailed document), and assuming that you are suitable and still want to go ahead, you will be placed on the waiting list. This is because not every dog we get in for rehoming is suitable for every home.
- If you do adopt a Newfoundland from the Club, you are the legal owner and are responsible for all the dog's care, veterinary treatment and training. However, if you have made a mistake and do not want to keep the dog you MUST return it to the Newfoundland Club for further rehoming. This will also be included in your adoption document when you take the dog home.
- Those who adopt a dog are asked to make a monetary donation to Newfoundland Club Welfare so that we can continue to care for and treat the sick dogs that we have to take in.
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.
The Newfoundand Club Welfare and Rescue is independent of and is not affiliated to any other Newfoundland welfare and rescue organisations.