Border Collie Rescue - On Line - Our Adoption Process
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A summary of our six stage adoption process

How to go about making an application to adopt a dog - and what happens next

If you have arrived here from our main adoption page you may want to read about the way we assess and categorise dogs for rehoming before you continue to read this page as the process will be easier to understand in context and make greater sense.

You can do so by selecting a category most suitable for your requirements from the sliding menue on the left.
By following through the pages of any category section you will return to this page in its correct position in sequence.

1 - Application - The first step is to telephone us.


Border Collie Rescue maintains just one office and one central contact point for the whole country.
The purpose of this call is to briefly discuss your requirements and circumstances to make sure we will be able to assist you.
If we think we can help find you a suitable dog we will send you an Adoption Application form for you to fill in and return to us.

This form is to enable you to register with us to adopt a dog and when filled in will provide us with some basic information about yourself, what sort of dog you are looking for and what you want it to be (or do) for you, plus details of the sort of home you are offering.
It is not complicated, a single page asking for the basics. When needed we can get more detailed information later in the process.
Simply fill in the form and send it back to the address provided.

The form has a covering letter enclosed that explains what happens next - to view this click here - opens in a new window.

To start the process please phone us between 2pm and 4pm weekdays on 0845 6044941

Please do not write to us or email us requesting an application form - we do need to speak to you directly
We will need to ask a few questions and in order to send out a form to know your full name, address and postcode.

2- Registration - When your form is returned to us we initially hold it for one month


This is to allow you time to contact us to confirm we have received it and register your interest - at which point we will give you your personal case reference and activate your application. We will also clarify any queries arising from the information on your form.
We suggest you leave three or four working days for the form to get back to us, then phone us to activate it.

Please activate your application within a month or we will assume you have found a dog elsewhere and void the application.

If you contact us after a month we may have to start the process again. We do not keep records of forms we send out, only those that are returned, so after the month is up we may have deleted the form and any record of your original contact.

One reason why we do this is because some people, often acting on impulse, fill in the form and send it back but get a dog somewhere else in the meantime. Once they have a dog they often forget about their application to us and it would be very time consuming to keep cross referencing applications from people who have already got their dog. This system means we do not rely on being informed.


The registration stage enables us to concentrate our efforts on applications from people who really are still interested.



We will only activate and register an application by phone.
Normally it is a quick and simple process but we may need to clarify information on the form and we would also need to check the identity of the person phoning to activate the form by asking them to verify some of the information given on the form.
On the form there is a space to give a second contact person and telephone number. This may be a partner or friend.
If their name and contact number is on the form you will have consented to us discussing your application with them and they can instruct us on your behalf, activate or close the application or make changes to the information you have provided..

3 - Matching - Once you have registered and activated your application

We look to see if your home is suitable for any of the dogs we have in our care.

Our process is to match homes to dogs based on their assessed needs so it is not a matter of being next in line for a dog, it is a matter of us having a suitable dog in our care when your application is activated - or if not, when a suitable dog comes in.
We start by looking at applications from the dogs point of view and if a home seems to offer what a dog needs we look to see if the dog fits into the criteria outlined on the applicant. It is an open ended process with no fixed timescale.
The two aspects need to match before we go onto the next stage.

We only work with applications that have been registered by the follow up call from the applicant.
If you have not made that call we will not be looking for a dog for you and after a month will void the form.
We will only contact you if we think we have a suitable candidate - based on what we know of the dog after assessments and what you have put on your application form. If we do not have a match, we will not call you until we do but you are welcome to phone for updates.
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If you find a dog elsewhere during this time, please phone us to let us know you are suited so we can stop looking.
Please remember to quote your client reference when phoning

If you have not activated your application there is no need to let us know.

If you have not heard from us a few days after you activate your application it means there are no suitable matches in our care.
We will only contact you when a suitable match comes up, initially by telephone, to discuss the merits of the dog with you.
Do not worry if you do not hear from us after activating your application - if there is nothing to tell you we won't bother you - but you will remain on our files until we do find the right match or until you contact us to tell us you no longer need our services.

4 - Confirmation - When it seems that a suitable dog is available

We will first contact you by telephone to tell you all about the dog and discuss its suitability. We will email pictures if you wish.
If you agree it seems a good match we will arrange the home visit.

A home visit is mandatory.

This is normally done with a dog in mind but may also be done if we have a Home Visitor or Officer is in your area for another reason.
We would need to find out more about you, your lifestyle and your local environment with a view to comparing your home to the needs of the dog we have in mind. We will have spoken to you on the telephone and we may take up veterinary references.
After the home visit, if all fits into place, you would meet the dog. If you liked the dog you could take it on a 4 week trial.

If, at this stage, we feel that the dog we had in mind for you is not a suitable match
we would advise you why and look for another one for you. If you did not like the dog, for any reason, you could say no and we would look for another one for you. There are no penalties, you will not be failing or letting the dog down.

We would only offer a dog that we felt was suitable to live in your environment - there are too many BC's in the wrong homes and we wish to resolve this problem not perpetuate it - so it is important that you provide us with accurate information to enable us and our colleagues elsewhere to make a suitable match.

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5 - The Four Week Trial period

All the dogs we offer for adoption now go out on an initial 4 week trial period.
If we all agree that the match seems right you would be able to take the dog on for a trial to ensure it fits into your home and lifestyle.
This is particularly important if the dog is to form part of a working team with a handler.
Their relationship must be compatible for it to work.


The dog may be returned to us, by appointment, at any time during the trial period if you are not happy and we will look for another one for you. We re-itterate - there are no penalties, you will not be failing or letting the dog down.
Adoption is intended to be a lifetime commitment. It must be right.

At the start of the trial period all the adoption documents are drawn up and we pass on information about the dog, but we do not ask for a donation until the dog is adopted - at the end of the trial. We usually phone in the first 48 hrs of the trial to make sure the dog has settled.

During the trial, one of the conditions is that you keep in touch - contacting us at least once a week with an update on the dogs progress - more frequently if you wish and at any point that you may have queries or want further information.

By the end of the last week you need to have made your decision and can return the dog if you choose not to adopt, but if you are happy, and the dog is happy, we will happy. The adoption can be completed and you can keep the dog.

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6 - Adoption

The adoption process can be sealed at the end of the trial period by sending us a donation, but first we will want to have a final telephone conversation with you about how the dog is fitting in and sometimes we will do a follow up home visit.

This is what we expect to occur in the final week of the 4 week trial. As said above, if you are happy, we are happy and the dog is happy, it only remains for you to make a donation and we will send out your part of the adoption paperwork you filled in at the beginning of the trial period and the dogs vaccination card to complete the process.

Currently we do not have a fixed amount we demand as a donation.
Re-homing a dog does not revolve around getting a certain amount of money for it and we would not want to lose a good home because a 'fixed' donation was too much for the new owner to comfortably afford.

The amount we may need to spend on any dog will vary and as we are a dog rescue charity, not a business, we are not seeking to make a 'profit' on the rescue work we do.
Obviously we need funds to continue with our work and to enable us to grow, progress and rescue more dogs, but this is adoption, not the sale of a dog and the donation is towards our future work not to buy the dog.


So - how long does all this take?

How long is a piece of string? Long enough to do the job its needed for!

It is impossible to predict how long it would take to find a dog for a particular application or set of criteria.
It's not a production line, its an individual process and it mainly depends on the nature and needs of the dogs we have, or take into our care, the type of home being offered and the specifications listed on the application.

It is a process of matching dogs to homes based around the needs of the dogs as revealed in assessments and taking into consideration the criteria the applicant states is important to them.
If we happen to have a suitable match when an application arrives it can be very quick.
Sometimes we have to wait until a suitable dog comes in.

We do not want to cut corners by being hasty and we are not trying to boost statistics by re-homing dogs quickly. To us the important thing is to get the right home for the dog. A home where it will be respected, well treated and fulfilled.
A permanent home for the rest of its life.

This little story illustrates how we feel about rescue and re-homing

A long time ago a hard nosed, competitive, lady raised some funds for us and wanted to donate the results as dog food rather than cash.
A relative of hers was a pet food supplier but did not stock any foods we told her we exclusively used in rescue, but rather than buying our usual food elsewhere the lady bought us some sacks of various other foods her realtive stocked and supplied.
When she donated them we were a bit surprised, but grateful - although we could not use it without upsetting the dogs tummies (as they were used to completely different diets), we had an arrangement with another pet shop that supported us who would take new, unused donated foods or other items we could not use and swap it - value for value - with food or things we could.

So we ended up getting what we could use - however the lady was not well pleased.
She berated us for being 'ungrateful' as we had elected not feed the food she had given and when we explained why she said - "they should be grateful for what they get - they're only rescue dogs and they're lucky to have any food at all".
We didn't and still don't agree with that attitude. Why look down on any animal that's fallen on hard times?
Why treat it as second best, unworthy or undeserving?
It deserves you to do your best for it.

For the sake of the dogs we take in, we keep that story in mind when it comes to the way we operate. That especially goes for re-homing.


If you have never had a Pet Border Collie before we would suggest you did a bit of research on the suitability of this breed for your environment and circumstances
Check out our Breed Advice section on this website.

Because we care about the Border Collies entrusted to us and we care about the ethics and moral responsibilities of rescue, we only want our dogs to be re-homed once, so we consider it important for both the dog and the new home to get it right first time.

By taking the time and trouble to properly assess each individual Border Collie we are able to pass on accurate and honest information about the dog to applicants.

By taking the time and trouble to gather information on the homes being offered we are able to  offer suitable matches to applicants, taking the 'pot luck' out of re-homing and providing a responsible service to both the dogs and the people who apply to adopt one.

If you would like to offer a particular type of home to a rescued Border Collie, click on the appropriate link in the sliding menu on the left to find out more.

If you are interested in adopting a Border Collie from us, please phone 0845 604 4941 during office hours.
(2 pm to 5 pm weekdays)

Please do not write to us or email us about adoption - we want to speak to you before we start the process.