Firstly, here is a brief history...
In 1996 it was agreed that the BDC should operate its own rescue/welfare service and a sub committee was set up to define the criteria and form objectives. It soon became obvious that it would be beneficial to register the Dalmatian Welfare as a recognised Charity. The Charity held its inaugural meeting in 2002 and the constitution was formally adopted in 2003. The Charity is a separate entity to the BDC but still has very close links with the Club.
Since then the Dalmatian Welfare Fund has gone from strength to strength. All BDC members are members of the Fund (unless they have elected otherwise), and also we have a “Friends of Welfare” scheme whereby Dalmatian owners – usually adopters of a Welfare dog can receive the Welfare Matters newsletter at regular intervals.
We have a Welfare coordinator who is responsible for all enquiries. The coordinator can be contacted on the dedicated Welfare mobile number or the Dalmatian web site link.
All initial enquiries are dealt with one an individual basis. We get people wanting advice on numerous matters such as health, behaviour etc. and inevitably requests from people wanting us to find their Dalmatian a new home. Fortunately there are lots of offers come our way of potential homes.
It is explained to all enquirers how we operate. We ask a local member to assess the dog before it is accepted on the register. This is to enable the coordinator to place the dog in the right home. Some dogs are used to living with other dogs/ cats etc. Some are used to a lively home with children, others prefer quieter surroundings. Any medical history is taken into account which we can then relay to the potential new owner.
We try, as much as is humanely possible, not to place dogs in kennels while they wait for the right home to come along. This means less stress for the dog but unfortunately sometimes we have no alternative.
All homes offered are checked out by a member living locally to the potential adopter. This is again to ensure that we can accurately match home to dog. A benefit of this system is that the new owners have somebody local who they can contact during the settling in period.
We ask for a sensible donation from the new home and request that their new dog is neutered as soon as possible (if it hasn't already been done). We reimburse a substantial portion of the vet's bill for this on receipt of a paid invoice.
There is no contact between old home and new owners except by using the coordinator as an intermediary. A good reason for this is that we have had instances of the old owners wanting their dog back after it is happily settled in its new home.
If, as can rarely happen, the dog will not settle with its new owners we will step in and find another home.
Many hours are spent on the telephone dealing with queries about Dalmatians. It is gratifying when we can offer practical help and advice to enable the dog to remain with its owners.
A list of Dalmatians needing new homes can be found on the welare services own website on the following link www.dalmatianwelfare.co.uk.