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. Additionally, there may be very legitimate reasons why a breeder is unable to help, for example they may be experiencing poor health and are unable to take a dog of their breeding back. 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 to discuss options. Their and the dog's details will be recorded and they will be given a choice as to how to proceed. If the owner reaches the conclusion to release the dog into the care of the Newfoundland Club the coordinator will agree how we take over the custody of the dog and the owner is asked to sign a 'Release Form' relinquishing ownership to the Newfoundland Club. Often the dog is placed with a foster home so that we can assess the kind of home the dog will ideally be suited to. Dogs are also assessed by a vet prior to going to a new home so that we are aware of any ongoing treatment that may be required.
Dogs are matched to a suitable home based on both the dog’s requirements and the circumstances and environment of prospective new owners.
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 previous owners are not put in contact with each other but the previous owner can contact the Welfare Coordinator 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 and option than buying a puppy! The Club DOES NOT HAVE a stock of well-behaved, housetrained, well-groomed 6 month old Newfoundlands waiting for a home. If this is what you are looking for then a Welfare Dog is probably not for you! 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 valued 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 Visitor 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 Visitor 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 stipluation 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 Visitor so that we know that all is going well or to address problems as they happen.