Pre-Adoption Information

At PAWS Darwin, we aim to find the best matched home for our pets the first time around.

PAWS Darwin encourages a healthy, happy and balanced relationship between a family and their pet. To achieve this, prior to an adoption of a PAWS pet we have all adopters complete an adoption interview with a PAWS staff member or volunteer.

 These sessions are aimed at educating our adoptive families on a wide range of aspects that they may encounter when adopting a shelter pet into their lives.

PAWS Darwin discourages the impulse purchasing of domestic pets, and through our pre-adoption interviews we are educating people and helping them to think their decision and choices through before committing to a pet that may not be the best match, or a pet that they may not be ready for.

Below is some general information you need to be aware of before undertaking an adoption.

General age and breed Questions:

As an organisation we label dogs age and breed by our best guess, with out DNA testing we are unable to guarantee the exact breed of mix breed dogs. While we do get some purebred dogs, they are unlikely to have "papers" Age is determined by the dogs teeth, there are many factors which can alter the ageing of teeth, Allergies, poor diet, great diet, so although we can "guess" age can not be exactly determined.

Behaviour/temperament assessments:

If you want to know whether the dog you are choosing is suitable to you and your environment, then we have some easy assessments that will quickly help you to determine this. Remember, not every dog is the right dog for you and the best dog for you will be the right dog, not the emotional choice. We can tell by your interaction with the dog how well it's going to fit into your home life. Phone: 8947 1272 for more information.

Being the pack leader

This is really important for the health of all animals; someone has to be in charge. Dogs maintain approximately 70% of their wild behaviours and in the wild, they live in a well-managed pack which is necessary for their survival. If you don’t take leadership, your dog will. You can assert you leadership role by attending training classes, always making sure that your dog is the last one in the house to eat, avoid allowing your dog to sleep in your room or on your bed, keeping the dog off the furniture, or making it move off its seat when you sit down, enforcing discipline upon the dog by only issuing commands once and then making sure you follow through.

Establish a plan for the behaviours you will and won’t accept before even bringing the dog home. Ensure that everyone in the household agrees to the rules and then follow through; there are no excuses for behaviour outside of what you want from your dog, so don’t give it an excuse. Remember the adage: "If it is not cute when the dog is 12 months old then it’s not cute now!”

Meet And Greets

Turning up to the shelter location does not guarantee that you will be able to meet the pet of your choice. Most of our pets are kept in foster homes, this helps us and you to know exactly how they respond in a home environment, the foster carers are asked to share everything they know with you as a potential owner. To meet an animal please Facebook us, email us or call us so that we can put you in touch with their carers.

Classes

All our re-homed dogs are eligible for four, free behaviour classes. These classes will help you to set the rules straight right from the beginning. Where possible, we encourage you to attend a class before you take your new dog home. Please check our times and locations for these classes on our behaviour and socialisation page, watch our "Train at PAWS Darwin" Facebook page for up to date information.

Separation Anxiety

"More dogs are re-homed or euthanised because of separation anxiety than any other reason."

Separation anxiety is the anxiety a dog gets within 30 minutes of the leaving of the dogs person, it can occur even when there are other people present. It is a visible stress and may include symptoms such as whining, scratching, pacing, barking, soiling in the house, destructive behaviour, dominant behaviour, escaping and not eating.

A simple action such as you going outside to say goodbye to guests can bring on an attack. You may come back into the house to find urine or faeces through the house or on the furniture and in some cases, even shredded furniture. Separation anxiety is, however, preventable and treatable.

Dogs are social animals and they like to be around you. If they have recently moved houses, lost a friend or lost their humans, they are vulnerable to separation anxiety. The signs of separation anxiety vary; the dog may follow you from room to room if he knows that you are going somewhere, he may pace, salivate excessively, vomit, bark, howl or whine. When you are absent the dog may destroy things, like doors and windows when he’s trying to escape, or she may aim more at personal destruction and destroy your shoes, clothes, or pillows. They may even toilet in side when they wouldn’t normally do so.

Things you can do to help stop or prevent separation anxiety include having a good household structure, obedience training, crate training, separation time while you are at home, avoiding prolonged greetings and farewells, medication, behaviour management and establishing your position as the pack leader.

Keep your arrivals and departures as quiet as possible, don’t indulge in long goodbyes; walk out the gate with confidence and the same on your return home. Don’t act like you’re doing wrong. Avoid staying at home for a week to settle in a new dog; all it will learn is that your always there and when it comes time to go back to work, you will have contributed to separation anxiety.

By acting as the pack leader and being confident in that role in your household, you give the dog the assurance that it needs that you are in control and that it does not need to worry about you in your absence. Avoid strict departure routines which signal to the dog that it’s time to get stressed such as feeding them or locking them outside. When you are rushing around the house and the dog looks concerned, DO NOT comfort or reassure the dog, rather put it away or on a mat and continue what you are doing without the dog under your feet, especially in stormy weather. Avoid giving treats when you arrive home.

In extreme cases you may need to talk to the Vet about medication, but medications only work with behaviour modification.

Veterinary Procedures

We make every effort to ensure any pet rehomed is healthy however our resources are limited and you may be asked to follow up necessary treatments (with provided vouchers)Dental and other minor procedures are outside our resources at this time; however our vets will give you the opportunity to have minor surgical procedures or dentals done at the same time as desexing at your own cost. Please note that animals requiring extra attention will be not be re-homed without the informed consent of possible new owners. 

Desex:

At this time we are unable to desex some of our pets before they leave the shelter. A voucher will be given to you to attend our vet,  at your convenience. The voucher covers all costs associated with straight forward desexing; additional pain relief, head collars, procedures etc are available to you, but you will need to discuss this with the veterinarian at your own cost. You may choose to use your own vet but this is also at your own cost and we are unable to refund or contribute to this cost in any way.

Vaccinations

Your pet may need a vaccination upon adoption. This is an opportunity to have a complete health check and to talk to the veterinarian about any questions you may have.  If at this time your pet needs medication or extra treatment, ie something present that was missed at the shelter, then you will be asked to pay the cost of the medications or treatments required. Alternatively, you can return the animal to the shelter and we will offer you another animal, a credit note or where possible a refund. We encourage you to make good use of this visit and ask the vet about vaccinations, worming, fleas and ticks

What you get:

Your adoption fee includes first vaccination, microchip and desexings and you will be given vouchers for all services provided for by PAWS Darwin. We can also provide higher levels of vaccination through our vet, however, this is at your own cost. Vaccinations are required annually once they are up to date. You can also purchase engraved dog tags through the shelter.