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Old 10.08.2021, 09:40
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Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

Hi there,

My husband and I recently moved to Zurich and would like to adopt a rescue. We have both had rescue dogs in the past and we are rather opposed to buying a dog from a breeder.

However, we are running into a problem with all of the stray dog adoption agencies we have contacted thus far: none of them seem to be willing to place dogs with people who live in the city. While I understand that certain dogs are best suited for the countryside, it seems strange to me that many of these organizations would unilaterally write-off would-be dog owners who live in an urban environment. Moreover, we have been rejected by a few since we both work 100%, even though I clearly stated that my husband will be taking the dog to work daily.

Does anyone have suggestions for organizations that will adopt to city-dwellers? We are looking for a medium-sized, active dog. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 10.08.2021, 10:34
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

Please try City Dogs 4 Street dogs (the owner Noelle lives in the city with her rescue dogs) https://www.facebook.com/citydogs4streetdogs or SOS Dog Sicily https://www.facebook.com/SosDogSicily/ .
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Old 10.08.2021, 10:38
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

We adopted a french bulldog from bulldog attitude .. They are lazy dogs and well suited to a more sedate lifestyle ..
The association is smaller than some of these big shelters and so pretty personal, actually came with a dog to visit and discuss things.

We're not city dwellers so that was never an issue .. but they may be worth a look.
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Old 10.08.2021, 17:32
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

Smanohar, as you may have noticed in your search, or read in several recent threads, at the moment there are actually few dogs in need of new homes in Switzerland.

The 'pandemic puppy/rescue dog' phenomenon happened here, too.*

In fact, most of the rescues I work with are still getting many inquiries for each available dog, especially those that are small to medium sized, younger than 5, fluffy/long haired, not a molosser or other breed subject to BSL, few medical or behavioral issues, and any color other than black.**

The competition for dogs fitting the above is still strong*** - so a potential adopter needs to put together a good dossier in the very first inquiry to the rescue. I cannot stress this enough. When the phones are ringing off the hook, anyone who does not present him or herself well in the first inquiry will not get far in the assessment process.

I tell all potential adopters to approach this the same way you would a job interview. Do your research on the rescue, expectations in Switzerland, the dog's breed (or mix) in general, and be sure to address every point in the individual dog's dossier. Make sure you have already researched vets and training schools, the mandatory federal registration process, your responsibilities under cantonal dog law, and holiday care options.

So think about how you are approaching rescues. Perhaps we can help tweak your approach.

---

I'll issue my usual warning:

Because there are more people wanting to adopt dogs than dogs in need in Switzerland, many adopt from abroad. This is a perfectly fine thing to do... as long as you have done your research as to the origins of the dog, the people behind him, and the process of bringing him here.


First, one has to research how to import a dog into Switzerland. There are many threads on this topic so I won't repeat that info here. But suffice it to say, Switzerland takes a very hard line on importation rules. Failure to do it right may result in seizure, often with a euthanasia order at the end. Too many innocent dogs have payed the price for people's inability to spend few minutes to learn what is required.

Secondly - there are too many Bad Actors out there. We have a real problem in the rescue world right now - the battery producers have learned that they can make as much money, if not more, pretending to be rescues. Especially in Switzerland where rescue fees are quite high and too many people are too naive, or unwilling, to look behind the curtain into this awful trade. The Dark Side, pretending to be a rescue organizations, are shipping dogs who are ill or have other serious challenges into Switzerland, under the cover of a good sob story.

Circling back to the point above, many of these dogs are smuggled in or incorrectly imported - which comes to light as soon as the dogs are registered in the mandatory database. And so many of those poor dogs must be euthanized.

The only way to stop this despicable trade is to refuse to buy ( "adopt") from these evil barstwards.

---

When adopting from abroad, my preference is always to travel to the country where the dog is, spend time getting to know him and the rescue, and then import the dog after I have definitively adopted him.

The group I work with will not allow a cross border adoption unless the adopter travels to the dog for assessment - but I realize that some rescues do. If you go that route, and believe that the dog coming to you before you meet him is do-able, do make sure you understand what level of back-up, if any, the rescue can give.

There are many good rescues outside Switzerland, and even some who partner with Swiss groups. Most of my Muttley Crew came from other countries. But if you go that route, do make sure you understand how to do it right.

---

So... what I am getting at is that you likely will need to keep your expectations realistic, both as to the time it might take to find your pup, and to the hoops you will need to jump through.

---

* Re: pandemic puppy phenom: The entire rescue world is holding our collective breath, waiting for the flood of post-pandemic no-longer-have-time-for my-pandemic-comfort-puppy returns to the shelter. So far it has not happened in large numbers in Switzerland. Thank doG. Knock wood. But I'm not breathing out just yet.

** One of the saddest things every rescue worker the world over knows: too often people ignore black dogs, often from inability to read their eyes as easily lighter dogs, or simply because most do not photograph well and so don't catch your eye/tug at your heartstrings from the rescue's web pages. It's ridiculous, but it's something we deal with all the time. There is even a German rehoming site devoted to giving black dogs a boost, collating from other rescues:
https://www.schwarze-hunde.de

***Of course one way to find a four footed friend more quickly is to be open to adopting a dog that falls outside of what everyone else is looking for. If you are qualified to adopt a BSL dog, a dog with medical or behavioral needs, a big dog, an old dog, or are open to a black dog, you will have less competition.



---


Anyway, just a heads-up as to why the search might be turning out to be more difficult than you had expected.

But hang in there! Your pup is out there, somewhere...


Wishing you and your future furry friend all the very best.
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Old 10.08.2021, 17:45
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

Many thanks! This is helpful and good to know. I did not realize black dogs presented such a problem-- very strange, as I think they are often some of the more adorable dogs. I'll keep this in mind. I actually have a soft spot for "weird looking" dogs, so hopefully that will work to my benefit!

Would you be able to share the name of the organization you mention working with?

Much appreaciated!
- S
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Old 11.08.2021, 09:17
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

We adopted our furry friend from Zurcher Tierschutz nr the Zoo (link below) appprox 6.5 years ago when she was 9 and she's still going strong. She's also a black dog and in the 6 months she was in the shelter she only had one visitor before we came along.

At the time we lived in the city nr ETH. They did come and check our flat to ensure it was spacious enough for the dog and wanted to confirm the dog would not be left alone for more than 2 hours at a time. They also came back one year later to interview us and to ensure everything was ok and the dog was being well looked after. Thankfully the Verwaltung at the time had no problem with pets in the apartment.

We found our furry friend via 'online dating' - not sure if you've come across this website which lists a lot of the animals in Switzerland needing a forever home:

https://www.tieronline.ch

Here's the link to the shelter we found our dog at. Be prepared to be interviewed before you meet the dog to determine your suitability! Don't know if she is still there but there was a lovely lady called Andrea who spoke English and tolerated our dodgy German who helped smooth the process.

https://www.zuerchertierschutz.ch/en/home.html

Good luck in your search!
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Old 11.08.2021, 10:46
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

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We adopted our furry friend from Zurcher Tierschutz nr the Zoo (link below) appprox 6.5 years ago when she was 9 and she's still going strong. She's also a black dog and in the 6 months she was in the shelter she only had one visitor before we came along.


https://www.zuerchertierschutz.ch/en/home.html

Good luck in your search!
yep, my sister-in-law is one of the directors of the NGO. I would recommend you go first and volunteer to walk some of the dogs - it will help you know the dogs, and them to know you. The association, I mean, not the dogs ;-) that facilitates a lot the things
best of luck!
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Old 11.08.2021, 10:48
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

Just as an FYI, here are the kinds of things I usually include in my first mail to a rescue when I am interested in adopting one of the dogs in their care. First impressions count.

I include a very brief description of the following:

My experience with, and commitment to, rescue.

My family. If there are children, include the ages of the children - and their ‘dog savvy-ness’.

I include that I am a foreigner, how long I have lived here and my permit type. I include this largely to head-off any concerns about stability.

My housing, being sure to mention the size of garden and security of the fence.

Describe the area - quiet, busy, city, rural, etc. - highlighting ‘dog friendliness’.

My current pets and how the dog you are interested in would fit in with them. If you don’t have pets at the moment, perhaps give a brief description of those you had in the past.

My experience with medical or behavioral special needs. If the dog you are interested in falls in this category, talk about how your experience will benefit this dog.

A brief comment on my ideas on training. Include Hundeschule, Hundesport ,or Hundeverein activities. (As canton ZH has mandatory training for dogs over 15kg/45cm and will soon expand the mandate to all dogs, mention that you have researched certified trainers.)

Any points in the dossier of the dog you are interested not addressed in the above.

I state that I will provide details for my vet, trainer, behaviorist, dogsitter. etc. if requested.

If you rent, include proof of permission to keep the dog from the landlord.

---


If there is anything about your family that might even at a stretch be a concern, try to address that upfront.

For instance, you mention that the dog will go to work with your husband. I’d make sure to expand on that, addressing upfront typical concerns a rescue might have with that arrangement.

I’ll admit I would be hesitant to place many dogs to such a situation, as many of the dogs we work with are nervous or have other behavior needs. Others would be bored silly. And of course, no puppies in an office. For those dogs a typical office would not be an appropriate environment. You want to show that you have thought about this and propose it only for dogs whose character and needs would be amenable to this solution.

Also, all it takes is for one employee to object to the presence of a dog for permission to bring him to work to be recinded. Believe me, rescues have seen this before.

So try to head off those concerns upfront. Briefly mention what your dog’s day would be like at your husband’s work. Where would he stay, what would he be doing for 8-10 hours per day, typical interaction with people or other animals. How would going to work with your husband benefit the dog? And most importantly, what is your Plan B if you find you can no longer bring the dog to the office? Research doggy day care options in your area.

As you both work, talk about taking holidays to cover the time needed for the dog to acclimate to you.



Keep your initial contact mail brief - a couple of paragraphs maybe, but sufficient to show how you, your family, and your lifestyle would suit the individual dog you are interested in. Show that you have thought through most of the potential issues.


Again, wishing you all the very best.
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Old 11.08.2021, 12:38
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

It took us quite a few months and many visits to shelters and rejections before we got our rescue.

Some rejection reasons:

We are too old,
We are too young,
We work too much,
We don't work enough (won't be able to afford dog),
Not Swiss enough,


In the end, many Rescue centers are worried about spontaneous dog adoptions, so they play the game of "when will the person say something/anything which we can reject them for".

Keep at it and have patience, we are super happy with our new family member!
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Old 11.08.2021, 17:08
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

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yep, my sister-in-law is one of the directors of the NGO. I would recommend you go first and volunteer to walk some of the dogs - it will help you know the dogs, and them to know you. The association, I mean, not the dogs ;-) that facilitates a lot the things
best of luck!
Funny story. Just after we had adopted our furry friend we were looking for a bigger car. At the garage where we did some test drives the guy recognised our dog - he had photos on his phone of him & his wife/daughter walking our new 4 legged friend of the family as a volunteer at the same association
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Old 11.08.2021, 19:35
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

My neighbour recently lost her old dog, so got a rescue but from Germany.
Dog originated from Hungary.
Said it was no issue at all. Had the dog for a 2 week trial, and decided to keep her. Cost @ 600

Apparently the dog shelters are already seeing an uptick from all the COVid dogs.
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Old 11.08.2021, 19:49
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

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My neighbour recently lost her old dog, so got a rescue but from Germany.
Dog originated from Hungary.
Said it was no issue at all. Had the dog for a 2 week trial, and decided to keep her. Cost @ 600

Apparently the dog shelters are already seeing an uptick from all the COVid dogs.
This is a good idea-- do you happen to know the name of the shelter she used? Thanks!
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Old 11.08.2021, 19:54
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

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This is a good idea-- do you happen to know the name of the shelter she used? Thanks!
I shall ask but our paths wont cross until the weekend.
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Old 12.08.2021, 12:20
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

For anyone considering importing a dog, please be aware that Switzerland has strict requirements about this. They are to do with the health of the dog, and the proper import procedures and costs.

There are many threads about his, on the forum:
https://www.google.com/search?q=engl...hrome&ie=UTF-8
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Old 12.08.2021, 12:33
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

Over the years, there's been a backwardsing and forwardsing, cantonally and nationally, about whether or not courses for dog-owners should be mandatory. In any event, they're a very good idea, so that those who are serious about dogs and concerned that ill-informed people may get a dog and then not understand what it needs, or may not be able to provide for the dog properly (specifically according to what's needed in Switzerland) hope that the courses will become national and obligatory.

For a first-time dog owner, or one who hasn't had a dog live with them for many years, they help one to focus on the needs of the dog (and the humans).

Even for an experienced dog-owner planning to get their first dog in Switzerland, such a course can be an excellent introduction to the Swiss rules and attitudes about dogs. As meloncollie (this forum's dog expert) tirelessly points out, the expectations on dogs and their owners, in one country, can be very different from another, so it is well worth understanding the way things are done here, so as not to risk getting one's dog (or you as an owner) into trouble for something that might not be considered an issue wherever you have lived before.

Here's one I saw, in English. This is a theory course, attended without the dog, so ideal before one actually gets the dog. Disclaimer: I don't know anything about this school; just found the link online.
https://www.amicanis.ch/english/theo...se-dog-update/

There are many other schools which offer such courses, some of them along the lines of the NHB (in German: Nationales Hundehaltebrevet), which is a kind of certificate showing that the [potential] dog owner has learnt the necessary theory.
https://www.google.com/search?q=NHB+...hrome&ie=UTF-8

Perhaps others will add their own personal recommendations.

Please, to anyone considering getting a dog for the first time, or anyone considering getting a dog in Switzerland for the first time, be sure to attend such a course. Thank you.
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Old 12.08.2021, 12:50
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

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My neighbour recently lost her old dog, so got a rescue but from Germany.
Dog originated from Hungary.
Said it was no issue at all. Had the dog for a 2 week trial, and decided to keep her. Cost @ 600

Apparently the dog shelters are already seeing an uptick from all the COVid dogs.
If it was an adult dog, cool, sounds like they are doing good work. If it was a very young dog or even a puppy, I'm a tad skeptical. Unfortunately, I've noticed quite a few posts on Facebook where it is evident that it's a puppy mill mascarading as a shelter. They have cottoned on to the fact that people lack the required level of cynicism vis--vis the fact that a 10 week old perfect (on the outside) Pomeranian is being advertised as a rescue dog.

I mean, obviously every dog deserves a good home, especially the seniors who get dumped when they become more work or more expensive due to health issues and also those poor puppies who didn't ask to be created to feed the needs of cheapskate status hunters. However, the level of callousness that some people display by producing additional dogs to put into the already over-stretched and often overcrowded rescue system is just...
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Old 12.08.2021, 13:17
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

Question .. Why are the shelters so super cautious about adopting out their dogs?

- Generally they have a contract which states you must bring it back if there's a problem, your not allowed to euthanise it etc.
- The animals are micro chipped and you must take over on that register.
- You're not allowed to resell it and generally they are sterilised so you can't breed them.
- The shelter must be pretty grim for the dog and costly for the people running it

Would it not make sense to be a bit more easy going, take a bit of risk? Do a trial period? Check up on the new keepers after a few months?
Rather having the animal sit in a shelter for weeks/months/years? Is that really better than trying out a new home?

Surely worst case (generally speaking) is that the person would bring it back and say it's not working.

Is there some science that says it's better to sit in the shelter?
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Old 12.08.2021, 13:37
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

I have never had a pedigree dog in the past, we always got a rescue or knew of someone having mixed breed pups when in the U.K. But we found it was just to difficult in Switzerland to do this, so we ended up getting a dog from a breeder.
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Old 12.08.2021, 13:39
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

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If it was an adult dog, cool, sounds like they are doing good work.
Adult dog with full life history. Was not stray but was handed over to the shelter for whatever reason by the owner.
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Old 12.08.2021, 14:48
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Re: Adopting a rescue dog in Zurich

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My neighbour recently lost her old dog, so got a rescue but from Germany.
Dog originated from Hungary.
Said it was no issue at all. Had the dog for a 2 week trial, and decided to keep her. Cost @ €600

Apparently the dog shelters are already seeing an uptick from all the COVid dogs.
I'm sorry to hear of your neighbor's loss, and happy to hear that she found another companion. I firmly believe that the greatest tribute we can pay to the beloved friends we have lost is to share that love with another soul in need.

A point, however, about cross-border adoptions 'on trial'. Much of the time this works well, as with your neighbor's, and we all live happily ever after.

However, for the OP's benefit, as she is new to the world of Swiss/European rescue: It is important to think carefully about the 'what ifs' if it does not work out - and to ask what procedures the rescue has in place to safeguard the dog in that case. What happens to the dog if the adopter decides he or she cannot keep him? Where does he go? What about messy issues of international law?

(Plan B should not be 'send the animal back to the country of origin', nor should it be 'dump him in a Swiss Tierheim.')

Some rescues abroad partner with groups in Switzerland, and the Swiss group takes oversight of a cross border adoption once the animal is in Switzerland. Hopefully there would be a foster home to step in asap - but not all groups have those resources.

If the rescue abroad does not have representation in Switzerland with a clear Plan B if the adoption does not work out - I honestly would not adopt until I had done sufficient assessment myself, knew that this dog was mine come what may, that I could roll with the punches.

This is why my preference is to travel to the country where the dog is, spend time with the rescue getting to know the dog. Maybe a couple of days is enough, maybe quite a bit longer is needed, maybe multiple trips are needed. It is well worth taking whatever time is necessary, this animal will be your companion for years to come. Adopt once you are certain, and then import yourself as a private person.

---

There are many ways to adopt, either in Switzerland or abroad - but whatever route you choose, do make sure that you understand all aspects of the process and that the welfare of the animal is everyone's primary concern, every step of the way.

---

Schoggiweggli, I wish your neighbor and her new dog every happiness.
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