If you are pondering over whether to adopt an AFOT dog but are fearful of what you might be letting yourself in for then this is a must read for you. Susie Tugwell from South West London explains here in her own words the whole process she went through leading up to choosing and rehoming a special AFOT fur baby. Here is what she said:

We adopted Molly, as we now call her, from AFOT in December 2019.

My husband and I had wanted to adopt a rescue dog for some time but it was really important that the dog was right for us. We didn’t really have any rigid requirements but we have visiting nieces and nephews so wanted one who would comfortable around them and also one who could be comfortable at doggy daycare as we have to work in the office a couple of days a week.

Also, we love going on long hikes so ideally wanted an active dog who could enjoy long walks with us. We had previously fostered ex-racing greyhounds so had some understanding of the challenges that a rescue dog faces.

We had some poor experiences with other rescue charities who offered us really unsuitable puppies and dogs without proper consideration about the right match, but we were determined that we wanted a dog and it being a rescue one was very important to us.

A friend first recommended AFOT having seen them online. We were initially nervous about adopting a dog from overseas who we couldn’t meet first and also one who we thought may never have lived in a hone before.

Susie with Molly, formerly known to us as Sky

However, through communication with Carol I was really reassured that AFOT dogs have all lived in a foster first which gives a real indication of their specific requirements and that they carefully consider adopter’s circumstances during the matching process.

It was clear to us that the welfare of the dogs was AFOT’s primary focus which meant that care was taken in matching the right dog with the right owner.

This was nailed on when we had a home check from a lady who has a number of rescue dogs herself and works for big UK rescue but with no affiliation with AFOT. She told us that from the questions being asked in the homing questionnaire that AFOT were clearly very thorough and in short, one of the “good ones” in terms of rescue charities.

We were also really glad to know that AFOT offer rescue back up for life. This is important as, whilst we had no intention of giving a dog away, it reassured us that AFOT were indeed a good charity who put the needs of the dog first.

It was clear to us that the welfare of the dogs was AFOT’s primary focus

Susie Tugwell from South West London

Once we were approved, the matching process was consultative and thorough.

We expressed an interest in two dogs with one being Molly, who was known as Sky then, and had a great conversation with Carol to determine if either were suitable.

We were told that the other dog suffered from separation anxiety and therefore was not appropriate. However, Carol felt that Sky could be right.

We were given the opportunity to ask Sky’s foster carer, a lovely lady called Yvonne, lots of questions before we committed. She gave us a warts and all account – the good (cuddly, affectionate, playful) and the bad (bossy and selective deafness) but we were comfortable that these were things we could deal with through training.

Once we formally applied for Sky, we were again contacted by Carol to emphasise what adopting Sky would mean for us, to ensure that our expectations were managed.

Carol outlined exactly what Sky would need in terms of care and training to ensure that she settled in. It was only after this conversation that the adoption was confirmed.

Things moved quite quickly after that – we were given around 6 weeks’ notice of Sky’s travel to the UK which was great because it gave us time to prepare everything for her.

Throughout this period Yvonne stayed in touch with us, sending updates and advice on diet, routine etc along with lots of photos so we really knew what to expect.

Sky travelled by road in a trip lasting 5 days. We fully expected to have to collect her from a UK port but the transport service was amazing – she was delivered direct to our door by the wonderful Katrina, a lady who clearly adores and understands dogs.

We got regular updates throughout the journey and Katrina gave us some great advice when she arrived.

Our slight apprehension over meeting her for the first time was quickly overcome when she barrelled through our front door and straight onto the sofa for a cuddle.

She has been with us for around 8 weeks now and we are so thankful. She is exactly as described by Carol and Yvonne so there have been no huge surprises and we feel that all of the conversations we had in advance with them really prepared us.

She is the most affectionate and cuddly dog we have met, loving nothing more than to snuggle up next to us on the sofa. There have been some tough times (she had severe diarrhoea for the first 5 days, probably caused by stress) and she needs some training to learn that she is not in charge! But overall she is a wonderful dog who has quickly settled into our family and home.

We can’t imagine not having her in our lives and would wholeheartedly recommend AFOT to anyone seriously looking to adopt a rescue dog for the right reasons.

The entire process is well considered and thought out to ensure that the dogs are homed with the right owners who will look after them for life.