For many, the idea of adopting or 'rescuing' a dog carries with it a certain image. Some people mistakenly look at dog adoption as if it's buying cheap, discounted or broken goods. But, according to an initiative between national dog adoption website and Butcher's Pet Care, a UK family company that prides itself in having fed generations of family dog, with tasty recipes that are free from any artificial colours flavours or preservatives; nothing could be further from the truth.

As more and more dogs find themselves, through no fault of their own, inside the British dog shelter system, the image of the 'rescue dog' is in need of an update.

No longer are shelters the preserve of the 'problem dog', but they are packed with dogs of all types, from all manner of backgrounds. Here's the fourth in our ten part series guiding you through everything you need to know.

As the big day approaches and you're appointment is booked, you've decided who's coming and no doubt have a car full of anticipation, what should you remember?

Well, it's not exactly something you can pack into your car, but it's certainly important. Leave yourself enough time – probably at least a couple hours – so that you won't feel hurried as you talk to shelter employees and get to know the dog you're meeting without rushing.

Time is probably the most important and valuable asset that you can give to a dog – and that counts just as much before you bring your new pal home. Take the time to speak to the people at the rescue centre or shelter, they're the ones that have spent the most time with the dog so far and they'll know all about his specific needs, habits and quirks. The last thing you want to feel is pressure when looking around for a new lifelong friend, so make sure you leave enough time to spend a meaningful period with the dog, as well as leaving time to ask questions to the staff.

It's important to get in to the habit of dedicating time to a dog before you become a dog owner. You'll need plenty of it, especially in the early stages of dog ownership. Training, housebreaking and general bonding are all essential and they all take up time. Accepting that your time will need to be dedicated to your dog now will help you prepare to become a responsible dog owner in future. That isn't to say that spending time with your new dog is a chore, far from it but don't underestimate the time you will need to dedicate to build that lifelong bond.

There are an estimated 100k dogs in adoption centres around Britain. Sometimes dogs arrive in rescue centres through natural causes such as owners passing away. Very often though dogs are simply abandoned for no other reason that poor decisions on behalf of hasty owners. Please, please, please take on board all of the information about what it takes to maintain a dog in a happy home. Dogs really are a lifelong commitment and they deserve the security of a stable home environment. You CAN get a superb, lifelong companion from a rescue…but be absolutely certain you are ready for the challenge. If you are, you will enjoy a relationship like no other!

National Dog Adoption Month is running this September, be part of something special – bring joy, adopt a dog. Visit to find the dog of your dreams.

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