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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We've had my sisters ancient springer spaniel Lady here (she's like 16 or 17 years old) for another week while they went on vacation. Watching Gandalf interact with her has really made me realize how much he loves other dogs. Old lady still has some spunk in her and Gandalf will play bow and entice her to chase him around the yard, it's adorable. Yet he is gentle enough that he doesn't bump in to her at all, he seems to realize how fragile she is and watches over her. In the morning when we wake up the first thing he can't wait to do is rush out our bedroom door to go see his Lady lol! Lady is so old that she really isn't much work anymore, I enjoy that about old dogs. She's a great companion for Gandalf without too much extra effort on my part. I feel like it would be a win win situation to adopt an older shepherd from the shelter in the future perhaps? We are no where near right now being financially ready to take on another dog so we would have to wait at least a year or two because of Gandalfs medical issues. I'd like to see him 100% healthy first, and it would be fantastic if we could find a cheaper food that still works for him. It's a work in progress. Because of this I worry about taking on an older shelter dog naturally of course for the medical problems and costs... do rescues help you with those costs at all? Would it be better to just get another puppy in a few years? I really don't like going through the crazy landsharking and the adolescence lol! What kind of dog would you expect to get from a rescue? Are any of them normal without OCD type behaviors, and house trained? I've never adopted a shelter dog before so I'm not sure what to expect. I'd love to hear your stories!
Thanks!
 

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I've always had rescues before my current puppy, but asking what they're like is not an answerable question! Each one is an individual, with all the complexity that suggests LOL.

Puppies are awesome, but they too are individuals, and each one has her or his own issues that you have to work through.

From my perspective, an older rescue is SOO much easier than a puppy, no matter what the background. There's no potty training, no landsharking, and usually little or no destructive chewing.

That being said, it's a bit tougher when you already have a dog and a cat, so if you're inclined to go with a rescue, be selective.
 

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If you adopt straight from a shelter (like a city pound), the quality of pre-adoption vetting is pretty variable. Some of them do nothing at all. Some give it basic shots, an exam, and speuter. Once in a while a shelter does full vetting, treats everything they find, and doesn't release the dog til it's 100%. It depends how well funded animal services are in the community.


Some shelters aren't very good at temperament testing this breed -- it depends on who they have one staff. One of the advantages of breed rescue is they have more experience reading GSDs and their quirks. If you adopt a dog that's been fostered for a few weeks, a lot more will be known about its personality.



Rescues should disclose any chronic conditions that would need managing. If they've fostered the dog, they've had time to do a complete vet work-up. Most reputable rescues try to treat whatever health issues they know about prior to adoption. Some put a complete copy of their patient chart, any lab work, CD of any digital imaging (like x-rays), etc. in the adoption packet. Others allow you to request those records to be sent to your vet clinic. Given your concerns, I recommend asking them to go over the vetting records at the adoption, prior to signing the contract. You are then taking responsibility from there.



Some rescues and shelters have "fospice" programs for dogs that may not be adoptable for health reasons. You don't own the dog, but you foster it for the rest of its life while the rescue covers vet care (possibly at a vet that they've pre-selected -- not necessarily your vet). I've usually seen this for senior dogs. They typically provide food, HW/flea prevention, etc. as part of this deal too.



Otherwise you might just consider fostering for a good rescue. Most rescues cover 100% of vet care while fostered, provide monthly prevention, and food upon request. Some have access to free training classes for fosters too, thanks to donated classes. Let the rescue handle the bills, then send the dog off to its happily-ever-after when the right home comes along. You can always "foster-fail" and adopt when there's a magic and you find a "keeper." Gandalf's personality might be a real advantage for fostering, as he'd likely help other dogs feel at ease -- one of my dogs is my "rehabiitator in chief" because she's so gentle and good at reading other dogs.



Please keep in mind that some of these dogs ended up in rescue through no fault of their own -- families moved or were evicted, owners died, etc. Others were recently puppies purchased by inexperienced people who got in over their heads and offered no leadership to a growing adolescent -- they're normal youngsters that just need some structure and training. Some are already house trained if they've previously lived in a house -- my male walked in and plopped on the couch as though he expected that to be his spot, because it had been in his former home. He also used the dog door instantly because he'd known one before. Others need to be house and crate trained, but that takes just a few days if you do it right.
 

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One thing I thought I would mention is that, while Gandalf seems to enjoy having a dog around temporarily, it might be different if another dog comes into his space permanently. I'm sure that you guys would be able to work it out over time, but you should be prepared in case it isn't an instant hit.

Maybe you could look into a trial run if you get a rescue dog. Like you bring the dog home for a week and see how everyone does? Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the great info y'all!!! I really like the idea of fostering, I hadn't even thought of that! It would be great to help multiple dogs and see them go to loving homes, im sure Gandalf would enjoy meeting them all too. Guess the downside would be not falling in love with them all lol. I'm not sure if it's just the perfect personality combination of these two or what but the transition to her living with us for a week was super smooth, no issues at all. Lady is also partially deaf and I've noticed when I call her in from the yard and she can't hear Gandalf will sort of corral her to the front door!
 

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One thing I thought I would mention is that, while Gandalf seems to enjoy having a dog around temporarily, it might be different if another dog comes into his space permanently. I'm sure that you guys would be able to work it out over time, but you should be prepared in case it isn't an instant hit.
That happened here so I started with a pup to avoid this. Consider a female and one foster dog at a time. Have fun planning.:smile2:
I kept my last foster and had to promise/compromise that it was the end of fostering. (I did)
 
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