A rescue dog is certainly not an easy option: they require a lot of patience and understanding. Some of them can have behavioural difficulties such as separation anxiety, destructiveness or just odd behaviour that is hard to explain (if only they could tell us what has happened to them in the past! I am sure we would be shocked.)

In most cases, these problems can be worked out but it can take many months of hard work on your part. If you persevere, you'll be rewarded with one of the most loving and faithful dogs you can imagine.

No dog ever comes into your home with a guarantee of good behaviour - whether it's a puppy or an adult dog it still has to understand the difference between conduct you find acceptable, or less acceptable as an owner.

If you have children, we insist you bring them to meet the dog , to make sure both parties like each other - the same goes for any other dogs in the household.

The first stages of having a rescue dog can be compared to having a foster child - the dog feels insecure, in a strange environment, with strange people and neither of you know what to expect. Handled correctly though, you'll get lots of lovely surprises!

There's loads of sources of good advice and ideas - check out your local library, pet store or the internet, talk to other people who've taken on a rescue dog and consider some gentle training or obedience classes.

Above all enjoy your new found friend.

Cynthia Turvey