Preloved dogs from the RSPCA

Preloved Dogs | Pre-loved RSPCA Dogs

October 1, 2014

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Every year, thousands of dogs in Australia are given up or simply abandoned. These pets often end up with the RSPCA for adoption as “preloved dogs” or “rescued dogs”. There are many reasons why a family or person gives up or abandons a pet:

  • A sickness or disability where the owner cannot provide for the dog’s needs
  • A relocation interstate or overseas
  • The end of a relationship
  • A landlord does not allow any pets
  • Working away, or spending too much time away from home
  • The demands of a growing family
  • Issues with a dogs behavioural

Many dogs that are given up are usually handed directly to shelters run by the RSPCA or arrive there via a vet clinic. Shelters are staffed with dedicated people, some paid and some volunteers. These people are all committed to saving the lives of these rescued or preloved dogs and work hard to have them fostered or adopted quickly.

The workers at dog shelters are dedicated to matching the dogs with good, compatible families and homes. They also try to deliver programs to help reduce stress and to make the animals feel at home. This hopefully helps the dogs adjust quickly to the shelters environment.

Fostering preloved dogs

Most shelters will have a fostering program where preloved dogs are provided with caring homes and stress-free environments, until they are well-adjusted enough to be offered for adoption and re-homing.

Fostering is often used when a dog is not coping with the shelter environment, or where training or behaviour needs to be addressed. Puppies are also fostered as they need a home environment prior to being ready for adoption. It is not uncommon for a mother and litter of puppies to be fostered together.

Adopting preloved dogs

Adopting preloved dogs from a refuge is usually a very structured process. You will be required to prove that they can provide a safe and happy home for your dog.

The process usually goes like this:

  1. Selecting your ideal dog

Starts with a walk through the kennels, stopping and chatting to various preloved dogs, seeing how their temperament would fit into your home. It is important to put looks aside during this process and to choose your new dog on its temperament, not just how it looks. Many of the new preloved dogs may not be at their best as they have been neglected.

  1. Completing a dog adoption questionnaire

A refuge will need to ensure that the new owner’s lifestyle and home is compatible with their chosen dog. So most refuges will run a check to ensure that the owner and the dog will be suited.

A questionnaire is completed with a member of the refuge’s team. Sometimes unsuitable matches are made and the new parents can usually return an animal if a good reason can be provided. The aim of most refuges is simple – to match the right dog with the right family.

  1. The “meet and greet”

To ensure that the whole “family”, including children and any existing pets, gets along, the adoption team will usually arrange a meeting. This is where the whole family will be introduced to their new member. This is the final step before adoption and is usually conducted in a quiet area away from any distractions.

With many thousands of abandoned or preloved dogs desperate for a second chance at a happy life, you should always consider visiting a pet refuge or dog shelter before going to a pet shop or a breeder.

A warning about “puppy farms”

Some puppy farms, (also known as puppy factories or puppy mills) are operated by owners or breeders whose motivation is money, not the welfare of the animals in their “care”. Many of these fail to meet a dog’s basic needs, with the result that many of the puppies bred there can suffer from chronic conditions and diseases and may also develop behavioural problems that are hard to correct.

The RSPCA has information and a warning about buying a rescued dog from a puppy farm.

Below are links to information and some animal welfare organisations, shelters and refuges around Australia. These can help you with rescued or preloved dogs:

National Organisations for rescued or preloved dogs


Animal Welfare League Australia

Pet Rescue


New South Wales

RSPCA New South Wales

Animal Welfare League New South Wales

Doggie Rescue

PAWS – Sydney



RSPCA Victoria

Melbourne Animal Rescue

Victorian Dog Rescue

Lort Smith Animal Hospital


Western Australia


Saving Animals From Euthanasia (SAFE)

Dogs’ Refuge Home



RSPCA Queensland

Animal Welfare League Queensland

Animal Rescue Queensland


South Australia


Animal Welfare League South Australia



RSPCA Tasmania

Dogs Homes of Tasmania

Smithfield Dog Rescue

Animal Welfare League Tasmania

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