Frequently Asked Questions- Adoption
How do I adopt a Balkan Underdog?
To adopt one of our dogs you need to complete our application form after choosing your preferred dog. Check out our page on the adoption process for a detailed breakdown of what's involved from choosing your dog, through to their arrival at your home. We do ask that potential adopters have considered their reasons for applying to adopt a foreign rescue, have undertaken research, and are prepared for the level of commitment required to settle in a foreign rescue. You can find out more about the rewarding experiences and realities of adopting a foreign rescue here.
How much does it cost to adopt a Balkan Underdog?
Our adoption fee is £100 for a dog or cat. This is payable on successful home check and is non-refundable unless otherwise agreed or unless we cancel the adoption. We also kindly ask for a suggested donation of £300 for a dog and £75 for a cat towards the charity’s costs. Please note that NO wages or expenses for trustees or admin are taken from the Charity. Our costs are significant for medical, spay and neuter, food, shelter and other animal welfare costs. You can request the actual costs of getting a dog and cat from its initial rescue to home, we are more than happy to provide that. To enable us to remain responsive, this donation is gratefully received and can be made at your leisure any time up to one month before transport to the UK of your chosen dog or cat.
For dogs in Uk foster we ask for an adoption fee of £400. This is because we fundraise for the cost of travel for our Uk fosters and this fee allows us to top up our foster fund for the next lucky dog or cat to travel. Some of our Uk fosters are RBU (Rescue Back up Cases) and the adoption fee for these dogs can be lower, we are much more concerned with finding the right home, our team are happy to discuss the adoption fees for Uk fosters and RBU dogs, just drop us a message via our contact form
I have young children, can I still adopt?
The short answer is yes. We will need to assess your application in terms of suitability and this is done on a case by case basis to ensure a good match. Many of our dogs are fine with children and go on to make great playtime companions as children grow up. Of course, coming from the streets there will be some dogs that need more space and consideration that would be unsuitable for a family home. If you are at all unsure, please get in touch and one of the team will discuss your requirements and dogs that would be suitable
I work full time, can I adopt?
We will need to discuss provisions made for the dog but we will of course consider your application. We realise that people need to work and this shouldn't be a barrier to ownership - we just need to ensure that adequate arrangements are in place so the dog isn't left alone for long periods of time and that they will receive a good amount of exercise around your work.
My home is safe, is the home check really necessary?
Yes. The home check is a mandatory part of the adoption process but you will only need it done once. In addition to making sure your home is safe, this is also an opportunity to discuss the realities of owning a rescue dog and ensure all aspects have been considered. You will be asked to produce ID and vets details in order to complete the check. The homecheck can even be about the little things like crate training or plants in the garden that might be toxic. We expect homes to have a secure garden, with a minimum fence/wall height of 4ft. if the type of property means it cannot be properly secured, such as a rural home with fields, then we do require you to provide proof of a secure area for the dog to play and go to the toilet. We are happy to re-home the right dogs to people in flats, but shared gardens are a concern and they must be willing to take the necessary advice and precautions from the adoption team and home checker, and ensure neighbours who share the outdoor spaces have been consulted first.
Where do you re-home to?
We re-home dogs all over the UK! The dogs land in the UK at predetermined sites from which they can be collected. In exceptional cases, we can arrange transport for you.
What if we change our mind?
We ask that you give your dog a chance to settle in before making the decision that it isn't working, and in some cases you may need to consult the advice of a behaviourist (as with any dog). Please bear in mind that our dogs have had to travel a long way, and have had their lives completely uprooted. They might have come almost directly off the streets, out of a loving foster home, or out of one of our kennels before making the epic journey from the Balkans to the UK. They then have to stay in a strange new place before moving again - this time to your home! Each dogs adjustment time varies depending on the dog and how you handle the situation, but it can take from a matter of days to a 12 months. Our team is always on hand to provide advice, and you are welcome in the Adopted Balkan Underdogs Facebook group which is an active online community made up of volunteers and adopters. Here you will find a great deal of community support and a wealth of good advice. If the dog is still not settling after a suitable amount of time of at least 6 weeks, then we may ask you to consult with a vet or an appropriately trained behaviourist to assist you. We will take the dog back into our care and find it a foster placement if we feel this is in the dogs best interests. New owners must be aware that they are legally obliged to abide by the contract that you will sign. This states that Balkan Underdogs reserves the right to take a cat or dog back if we believe this is in the pets best interests. You are not permitted to sell or give away the adopted, or have it put to sleep, unless agreed otherwise in writing.
What support do you provide?
Here at BU, we want you to feel confident and comfortable when adopting your new family member. This means giving you as much support as is required. We are advocates of responsible rescue and re homing and so offer rescue back up for life - if there is a change of plans that means your new family member will be in difficulty, we are here to help. We are always willing to chat by email or telephone and and have a very active online community of adopters and volunteers on our closed Facebook group 'Adopted Balkan Underdogs.' In this group people share their experiences, ask for and provide advice and share their annual update (or monthly for some members!). You can be as involved as you like in this group and several members have been active for many years! We are also able to provide behavioural guidance (from experience) and help you to find a suitable behaviourist should the need arise.
What breed are the dogs?
Most of our dogs are cross breeds with a lot of variety in their DNA. This is because so many dogs breed on the streets before being rescued. This is one of the reasons for our spay and neuter campaign. As a result of the harsh conditions over in the Balkans, generally speaking, the dogs are exceptionally healthy! Take a look at our dogs and see if you can find one you like the look of.
Can you tell me about the dog's history?
For most of our dogs, we don't have any record of their life before rescue. Most are found wandering the streets, abandoned in government pounds, dumped out on waste land or born in areas like this…all dumped like rubbish. Many are malnourished, injured or have been subjected to government pounds. We describe them as accurately as we can in their online descriptions along with as many photographs and videos as we have but we are often unable to tell you any more than we (or their rescuers) can observe.
Are the dogs house trained?
As with almost any rescue dog, our dogs will require some additional help learning where they are allowed to go to the toilet. Having spent time on the streets and in kennels, for most dogs a 'home' is a new concept. Most take to it quickly despite this!
Do the dogs need to go through quarantine?
There is no quarantine any more although for the first 48 hours the adopter will need to make sure the dog is not kept anywhere other than the home they are sent to. DEFRA will make random spot checks on the dogs to check on paperwork, they will contact adopter direct and arrange that at the adopters convenience. All dogs are vaccinated for rabies at least 21 days prior to entry to the UK, are microchipped, vaccinated, wormed and have a valid European pet passport. Dogs travelling from outside the European Union are subject to titre testing, as this requires a wait period of just over three months and a negative test result before travel this may mean a wait for your chosen dog. Our admin team will be able to advise you on this at the application stage and our rescuers will keep you updated with pictures and video to ease the wait!
What guarantee of the dog's health is there?
All of our dogs are sent to their new homes in good health, having been checked over by a vet. Some of our dogs may have had veterinary treatment or surgery and you will be provided with x[rays or further information in these cases.They will have been vaccinated, treated for worms, fleas & ticks, and may have been neutered if of a suitable age. We advise that you purchase lifetime insurance prior to their arrival in the UK to be certain that they are covered for any conditions or accidental injury that may occur after leaving our care (most policies require 30 days no claim). Our dogs are no more likely to be injured or unwell than any other dog.
Are the dogs vaccinated and neutered?
All of animals are vaccinated up to date and neutered prior to travel, unless (rarely) there is a medical reason that prevents this, which will be communicated to the potential adopter. In any case such as this, new owners are contractually forbidden to breed from adoptees. Prior to travel, all of our dogs are tested for the following illnesses, Heartworm, Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Erlichia. Cats can also be tested for FIV and FELV and other possible diseases on request, prior to adoption.
How do I find out more about settling in a foreign rescue??
All dogs have their own personality quirks, confidences, and anxieties. However it is important to remember that many of the dogs we rescue from overseas have lived very sad lives, and they may have experienced neglect, or spent time living on the streets. This doesn't make them hard to care for, but it can take some time and patience to help them build loving confidence. We suggest you read through this blog written by Nick Benger, which is essential to understanding what to expect from an overseas rescue. Please do ask us any questions about our dogs, as each dog will have its own personality traits. Take a look at Nick's blog here.