Rehoming in the UK

Why we bring animals to the UK

On 20 July 2018 we brought our first Russian rescue dog into the UK – a dog called Marsha. This event marked the beginning of a small but meaningful programme for us. It gives some rescued Russian dogs a chance of finding a happy forever home. A chance they would otherwise never have.

To date we have found loving homes for over 100 beautiful dogs and some cats.

Why do we do it?

Because they deserve it, because it is their only chance to have a good life and because these animals are the best ambassadors for our work. These dogs and cats prove better than any words can what wonderful companions, friends and family members they can be given the chance. And why it is our responsibility to help them.

  1. We work with a small number of partner shelters and rescue groups in Russia that we know well.
  2. We select dogs for rehoming only from them. This makes the process reliable and manageable which is important for our small charity.
  3. Sometimes we get involved in a dog’s life from the moment the dog is found and requires rescuing. Sometimes, we step in later when the dog has already been rescued.
  4. We select dogs who we believe would be relatively easy to rehome in the UK as we cannot afford for the dogs to “get stuck” here. This means that we usually select young and medium sized dogs with a clean bill of health.
  5. This does not mean that we do not help other dogs or cats. We do. Please see information on our programmes.
  6. All the dogs who might come to the UK go through medical checks and are assessed by us to ensure their temperament is suitable for adoption.
  7. If there are any known historic health issues (injuries, dietary issues etc), we obtain advice from our partner-vets in Russia and in the UK and decide on the dog’s chances of adoption in the UK. We fully inform prospective adopters of the dog’s situation.
  8. All the dogs coming to the UK are microchipped, fully vaccinated and neutered (if they are old enough for that).
  9. We try to arrange for the dogs to be placed in our partner foster homes in Russia for a minimum of 2 – 4 weeks before their travel to the UK to help them adapt to living in a home and socialise.
  10. Depending on the circumstances, the dogs travel either by road (with a fully licensed transporter) or by air. On average, we bring 15-20 dogs at a time once a month or once in two months.
  11. Please read our Adoption Procedure (below) to find out how our adoption process works.
  12. Once all or most of the dogs have been rehomed, we arrange for the transportation of the next group.

  1. These rules are written about dog rehoming but they equally apply to cat rehoming. We will be amending our rules shortly to reflect that we now rehome both dogs and cats, but please note that we bring very few cats into the UK for rehoming.
  2. We rehome our dogs in two ways. First, through public advertising on our social sites and on reputable advertising platforms for charities. Second, instead of advertising publicly we rehome through our contacts, such as to families who have previously adopted one of our dogs or someone referred to us by them, as well as recommended contacts of our fosterers. We are proud to say that we have a few repeat adoptions, ie this is when a family has adopted one dog from us and has subsequently come back to us to adopt another dog.
  3. We do not have a system where you can request to register your interest with us either generally or in relation to a specific dog before they have become available for adoption. We simply do not have resources to manage such requests.
  4. The decision on how to rehome a dog is entirely within our discretion. It is based on our extensive experience and our knowledge of our dogs as well our circumstances. Our main objective and duty is to find the best available home for our dogs and to do so efficiently.
  5. We only rehome those dogs who we have chosen to bring to the UK for adoption. So please do not send  enquiries/applications in respect of our dogs who are still in Russia, even if we publish stories about their rescue or treatment.
  6. Once a group of our dogs has arrived into the UK, we publish their photographs and basic information about them (their gender and age) on our website page “Our Dogs in UK/Recent Arrivals” – https://www.lapauk.org/our-dogs/ and we also announce their arrival on our social sites.
  7. Once the dogs have arrived in the UK, they go into our foster homes where they recover from the journey.
  8. Some dogs have been reserved in advance. We only do this in a limited number of cases, for people we know personally or those who are recommended by our close and trusted contacts.
  9. Some dogs are ready for adoption straight away, some need time to adapt and require basic training which may take one to several weeks. We assess our dogs’ individual needs while they are in Russia, then again on arrival and during their stay with us.
  10. When a dog is ready for adoption and we decide to rehome them through public advertising, we publish a rehoming advert on our social sites and/or other advertising platforms. You can only apply for adoption of those dogs who have been publicly advertised by us. We do not accept enquiries/applications in respect of our dogs who are not being publicly advertised for adoption. We also do not accept enquiries/applictaions in respect of those dogs who are marked on our website as “Not yet available for adoption”, “Reserved” or “Reserved in advance”.
  11. When an advert is published, it contains the dog’s profile including basic factual information about the dog as well as the type of home the dog needs. Please read both of these carefully. We will be providing further information about the dog, but only during interviews and viewings with the applicants we have short-listed. Other than that, we do not have resources to respond to individual queries for further information about the dog.
  12. Each advert includes the link to our online application form. If you are interested in a dog who has been advertised and you can provide the type of home that the dog needs, please check our Adoption Policy (below).
  13. If you believe you meet our requirements, please fill in our application form. You should receive an automatic confirmation of receipt.
  14. We typically process adoption applications within a week of receiving them.
  15. If we believe there is a realistic prospect of you being a good match for the dog, we will be in touch. The next steps usually involve a telephone conversation by an audio or video link and then, if all is well, a viewing.
  16. Depending on the dog’s needs, there may be more than one viewing.
  17. All adoptions are subject to a successful home check usually carried out in person or by way of a video-link/video materials. We require a detailed video of the whole perimeter of your garden showing its fencing and content. Any further videos of the house and the surrounding area are welcome too.
  18. Viewings take place at the relevant fosterer’s home or in their gardens or in a public place nearby (ie a quiet park etc), as appropriate. Our fosterers are located in Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and London.
  19. We usually receive a large number of applications for each dog. This means we usually short-list several people with whom we conduct interviews and/or viewings. We try to inform applicants whether or not there are other applicants for the dog, but even if we have not told you that, please assume that there are,
  20. If an earlier viewing went so well that we believe it would not be prudent/fair to conduct other interviews, or if the circumstances change, we may cancel your viewing.
  21. If you have not heard from us within a week of applying to us, then this means that we do not believe you are a suitable match for this dog. There may be a number of reasons for that.
  22. Sometimes, people just do not read our adoption policy and our adverts properly and apply for a dog who is not suitable for them. Sometimes, they may be a very strong candidate, but we have taken a view that another candidate would be better or another equally suitable candidate applied first. As much as we would like to provide updates and feedback to all applicants on their applications, unfortunately, we simply do not have the resources for this.
  23. To finalise the adoption, you will need you to complete a number of administrative steps including signing our adoption agreement, which we will provide when we get to this stage.
  24. We will provide advice on how to prepare for the arrival of your new pet.
  25. We also provide post-adoption support. One of our experienced team members will assist you with any issues concerning the dog’s transition into your home or ongoing training. This does not take away your responsibility as the primary carer to make the adoption work.
  26. If despite your efforts and our support you would like to return the dog, we will of course take the dog back. However, this may not be immediate.
  27. We ask you to make a voluntary adoption donation of £400 when you adopt a dog from us. The donation goes towards part-funding our costs in preparing and bringing the dogs to the UK. We simply will be unable to carry on with our Rehoming Programme without donations.
  28. Once you have taken the dog home, there is a trial period of 1 week. We request that you keep in touch with us during this week to let us know how the dog is getting on and whether there are any issues.
  29. If at the end of the trial period you confirm that you are willing to keep the dog, and ONLY if we confirm in writing (by email or WhatsApp) that we agree to you keeping the dog, the adoption process can be finalised. At that point you will be required to register your dog’s microchip on a DEFRA approved database in your name (we recommend Petlog and we will explain to you how to do it); and we will provide the dog’s vaccination and anti-parasite treatment records to you.
  30. If at the end of the trial period you confirm that you are willing to keep the dog, OR if we confirm in writing (by email or WhatsApp) that we DO NOT agree to you keeping the dog, you must return the dog to us immediately.
  31. Each dog’s status is marked and regularly updated on our website and, if appropriate, on our social sites.
  32. If you have been unsuccessful if your application for a dog, but you are subsequently interested in applying for another dog who we have publicly advertised, you do not need to fill in another application form. Just email us on adoptions@lapauk.org explaining which dog you are interested in and explaining how you can provide for the needs of the new dog. Some dogs’ profiles/needs are similar and some are very different, so we will be assessing you afresh as to whether or not you are potentially suitable for the new dog.

  1. Our policy refers to dogs only but it equally applies to our cat rehoming. We will be amending our rules shortly to reflect that we now rehome dogs and cats, but please note that we bring very few cats into the UK for rehoming.
  2. Our primary duty of care is to our dogs. We also have a responsibility to ensure that members of the public and other animals our dogs come across stay safe. Our adoption decisions are based on these two principles.
  3. We focus on finding a suitable match between the dog’s needs and people’s experiences, abilities and lifestyle expectations. Not every good family or home is a suitable home for the dog they are interested in.
  4. We obtain full information about the prospective owners through our adoption application form and pre-adoption interview. We also provide as much information as we can about the dog’s history.
  5. We do not rehome unneutered dogs unless it is a puppy and it is in the puppy’s interest to be neutered later.
  6. We do not rehome to people who have unneutered pets unless we are satisfied that there is a good medical reason for it.
  7. We usually rehome our dogs in South East counties only to homes no more than an hour’s drive from the dog’s foster home. We simply do not have resources to cover longer distances and comply with our adoption procedure.
  8. We do not rehome to families with children under the age of 6 unless there are exceptional circumstances. This is because there is a risk of a stressful situation for a dog resulting in your child or their friends being scratched, nipped or scared.
  9. We do rehome dogs to families with older children. However, not all our dogs are suitable for this. We assess what is appropriate on a case by case basis.
  10. We are prepared to consider applicants who rent rather than own their property. However, we need to ensure that the dog’s adoption is for the duration of their live, not for the duration of the lease.
  11. We do not rehome into homes where gardens are not secure. If a garden is not secure but can be made secure, we make recommendations on how it should be made secure before the dog can be rehomed.
  12. We do rehome our dogs as a second dog in the home, but only if we believe they would benefit from having a canine companion and it is a good match.
  13. We do rehome our dogs to homes with cats, but only if we believe they can get along.
  14. We will consider applicants who live in a flat, but a garden is essential, except in a case of a small and old dog, but we rarely bring dogs like that to the UK for adoption.
  15. We do not rehome to people who cannot afford the cost of looking after a dog (for example, making a garden secure, everyday care, a provision for holidays, insurance, emergencies). This is because we want to ensure that adoption is sustainable long-term.
  16. We do not rehome to a household where all adults work full-time UNLESS there are suitable and sustainable long-term arrangements made (for example, working from home or the adults work in shift patterns with little overlap etc). This is because most of our dogs require or would benefit from regular attention and might get unhappy, destructive if left alone for long.
  17. We try not to rehome during the firework season or during Christmas season (too much stress for the dogs).
  18. We do rehome to first-time dog owners, but only if the dog is relatively low-maintenance dogs in terms of their behavioural and other needs. The meaning “first-time dog owners” includes those who only had experience with dogs in their childhood and therefore were not their primary carers.

Why we need money

It costs £500 to prepare and bring 1 our rescued dog to the UK