Adopting a dog: From Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to tails.com office dog

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Our office dogs are a huge part of our work life here at tails.com. They provide entertainment, cuddles when you need them and are also dedicated treat samplers.

Miss Biggie Smalls, a small but bossy Yorkshire Terrier, is a recent addition to our office dog team. She can often be seen whizzing around the office looking for other office dogs to play with. Her owner, Kat, adopted Biggie from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. We asked her to tell us about the adoption process and the things to prepare for ahead of making the adoption decision.miss-biggie-smalls

Have you always wanted a dog?

I’d wanted a dog for a few years but I was scared by the responsibility that I knew it would bring. I’d never had any pets growing up so it was quite a big deal to have one of my own. When I started working at tails.com it was a no-brainer. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to finally adopt, what with the added support in the office from professional vets, trainers and people who really knew their stuff about dogs. I myself was on a steep learning curve on the subject of dogs and the fact that I’d be able to take a dog into the office with me every day was definitely a key factor.

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Why did you decide to adopt, not buy?

There were a mixture of reasons actually. Partly, there were the ethics of wanting to re-home a dog that needed a home. In addition to that, I was worried about looking after a brand new puppy and thought that we’d do better with a slightly older dog who’d already learned some of the ways of the world. It’s also a good opportunity to meet with dogs before adoption and see their temperament.

How did you choose a breed?

I actually began my dog search looking for a Cavalier King Charles. I hardly knew anything about Yorkies before meeting Biggie. I’d been a ‘borrower’ on borrowmydoggy.com for a couple of years before deciding to adopt my own dog, which was such great practise. I’d ‘borrowed’ a Cavalier King Charles called Lily and my partner and I definitely fell in love with her. Biggie managed to convert us to Yorkies in the end though!

What were the changes to your daily life?

She’s just over a year old now, but she’s still very puppy-like so she provides lots of entertainment. The most noticeable change to my life is just how many people stop to talk to me when we’re out and about. It’s not even just other dog walkers in the park. Biggie and I make friends on the bus to work almost every day. She’s even been passed around the laps of other commuters on more than one occasion!

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What preparations did you have to make before adopting a dog?

There are some basics that you really need to have ready at home before you can bring a dog back with you. If you know the size of dog you’re likely to adopt, you can have a bed ready, bowls, food, a lead and collar and maybe even a couple of toys. Some shelters, like Battersea, prepare a lot of this for you. When we brought Biggie home, she came with a collar and lead as well as a newly engraved name tag with my number on, which was a brilliant touch from them. It feels like there’s a lot to organise when you first get a new dog, so this sort of support is so reassuring.

Some shelters insist on sending someone round to assess the suitability of your home for dog adoption. We had someone come round to check our house and garden and it was super helpful. The representative spotted a couple of potential escape routes in our garden that a small dog could get through which we hadn’t spotted ourselves. Biggie’s an escape artist so it was a good job we’d had this checked!

img_8483-1The representative also gave valuable tips on things like which windows we shouldn’t open upstairs, since it would have been possible for an inquisitive dog to climb onto nearby furniture and jump out of them. Examples like this could be blockers that stop you being able to adopt a dog, so getting them fixed first will save time.

Why did you adopt from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home?

We were registered with several rescue centres. Battersea was the most well-known and they did such a great job of calling me when new dogs came in, rather than me having to chase them up like I had to with some of the other shelters.

Biggie had obviously been very loved prior to her being at Battersea. She was (and still is) such a friendly little dog, even to strangers. Her first family had gone travelling and couldn’t take her with them. They must only have had her for about 6 months before giving her up. It was crazy really, we were very lucky to find her.

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Do you have any advice for those looking to adopt?

I learned that adopting a dog takes a lot longer than expected. We applied for 10 dogs, from various shelters, before we got Biggie. We were never turned down – we just got pipped to the post by someone else each time. We could have adopted a dog sooner if we’d had fewer criteria for our first dog, but it’s so important to get the right dog for you and your lifestyle, and to make sure that you’re right for them too.  

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home care for over 8,000 dogs and cats each year and never turn away a dog or cat in need of help. If you’re thinking of adopting a dog or cat, or if you’d like to find out more about the fantastic work that they do visit: https://www.battersea.org.uk/

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