Almost all breeds now have organizations dedicated to finding homes for dogs of their breed. English Bulldogs lose their homes for various reasons. Perhaps a person bought a Bulldog puppy without first researching the breed and realized later that this was not a good match for their lifestyle. A English Bulldog’s owner may have passed away, or perhaps a couple divorced and neither wanted or could take the dog. Sometimes a Bulldog ends up in rescue because the owner didn’t train their dog, socialize her, or teach her any household manners and now the dog has some problems.
Rescue groups evaluate the dogs coming into their program and then try to match them with new owners. They will ask you to fill out an application and supply a few references, just as breeders do. Although the rescue group may not be able to tell you much about the dog’s genetic background, the evaluation process is usually pretty thorough, and they should be able to tell you whether the dog is housetrained, has any behavior problems, or is good with kids.
Adopting a dog from rescue is the choice for many people because not every-one wants a puppy. Lots of people also like the idea of saving a dog in need. By taking a dog who needs a home, they get a new family member and provide a needy dog with a secure, safe place to live.
Dogs end up in shelters for many of the same reasons they end up in rescue programs. The primary difference between getting a dog from a rescue program and a shelter is that the people who work in a Bulldog rescue program know the breed and can evaluate the dog thoroughly. Shelters take in dogs of all breeds and mixes and of all ages, and are focused on getting those dogs adopted. They often cannot evaluate a dog as thoroughly as a rescue group can, and because the dogs live in runs rather than homes, their behavior is often unknown.
Shelters are also as good or as bad as the community that supports them. Some are wonderful, with caring employees and volunteers who keep the runs clean and give the animals as much attention as they can. Other shelters are horrible.
Ideally, a dog adopted from a shelter will be evaluated behaviorally, spayed or neutered, microchipped for identification, and up to date on all vaccinations.
Free to Good Home English Bulldogs
Have you heard the saying, “If you get something for free, that’s exactly what it’s worth”? Why on earth would someone give away a Bulldog? Especially a English Bulldog puppy? When females have small litters and need surgical help to give birth, puppies are too valuable to give away!
Any English Bulldog offered for free should be viewed with skepticism. That cute puppy may be a Bulldog, but more likely she is a Bulldog mix. It’s unlikely the puppy had any vaccinations or was given a health check before appearing in the cardboard box outside the grocery store. The half-grown puppy advertised in the classified ads for free was probably ignored in the backyard and so is not house-trained, is a rowdy teenager, and has no social skills.
A English Bulldog offered for free is rarely a bargain. Dealing with already established behavior problems can be tough, plus the lack of history about the dog can make living with her difficult. The lack of any health information is also hard: Does she need vaccinations or not? Has she been spayed? Does she have any inherited health problems?
If you wish to save a Bulldog in need, especially one who might be facing death, that’s fine. Just make sure you understand all the potential problems before you do so.