Adoption considerations

Stray dog origins


It’s a beautiful story right? You saw a dog on the street or heard about Morocco Animal Aid & decided to visit the shelter & you fell in love. Amazing! 



Adopting a dog from Morocco & from us is a special experience. You are proactively choosing to better the life of an animal that previously lived on the streets. But the reality is this: This dog was once a wild animal. Most of the dogs who came to be in our care, have been collected from the streets or from difficult or neglectful backgrounds. 



The ones that were not collected from the streets, may not have been raised in a loving, kind or regimented environment. These dogs will be very different from the dogs you may be used to back home. Adopting a dog with stray origins can be tough. Many have never experienced life with a human or their interactions with humans have been limited, negative or traumatic. 



There are also particular nuances about your dog’s journey that may be unclear to us & therefore we cannot communicate with you, as we simply do not know. Things such as: 

  • The history or sequence events of events for the animal in the lead up to their time with us
  • Their breed
  • In the case of puppies: Their expected size once full grown
  • Their age
  • Their medical history or pre existing medical conditions or injuries
  • Any behavioural problems

It is important that you consider the impact that the above factors will have on your life should you choose to adopt one of our rescues. No one is perfect. But, please be mindful of these factors when considering adopting one of our rescues. 




Are you ready to adopt a rescue dog? Are you really?


Sure! Of course you are! You have wanted a dog for ages, you’ve just been waiting for the perfect time & dog to present itself. The time is now. Sometimes we can get caught up in the excitement, the rush & the overwhelming feeling of love we feel for our new furry friends that we can forget some factors that may affect the time, commitment & patience that our new friend will need should you decide to adopt them. 

Adopting a rescue dog isn’t a decision that should be made quickly or lightly. There are many things to think about before you decide to wholeheartedly commit.

Can you afford it?

You’ve fallen in love with this dog. It’s love you’re sure of it. You would do anything for this dog. Take it for walks everyday. Give it your undivided attention, & shower it with love & affection everyday for the rest of its life. That’s great! But can you realistically afford a dog? The average dog can live for up to 15 years. Yep. 15 Years. 

That’s 15 years of:

  • Food
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet toys
  • Pet registrations or licences
  • Ongoing medical maintenance treatment: Flea, Tick & worming medication
  • Vet visits

That can add up to ALOT over a long period of time. Throw in a few potential emergencies & that could further put financial strain on your pocket. Not feeling 100% financially stable with just yourself or your family? Then consider whether or not bringing another being into your life to take care of, is the best idea for you. 

Your immediate & long term future plans?

Considering moving house? Starting a family? Taking on a new job with more responsibilities? All these things are a part of life. But they are also things that could seriously impact on your dogs future should any of these things occur during or after your adoption. 

Thinking a little further than the present can help you determine very quickly about whether or not now is the right time to add a dog into your life. 

You know nothing or very little about the dogs personality

Nobody is perfect. Human or animal. We all have our personality traits that can make us desirable or not so desirable to others.

This can be one of the most difficult aspects of selecting one of our rescue dogs. In a perfect world, we would love it if you were able to come spend time at the shelter, carefully getting to know each and every dog & then select a rescue based on your time spent.

The reality is that the majority of the time, people don’t have the luxury of being able to regularly visit our shelter, or to be able to visit our shelter at all. Meaning that you rely on us to be able to communicate the personality traits of your chosen animal that can make them endearing or alternatively a pain in the ass. 

Bearing in mind that dogs pick up on different kinds of energies from different kinds of people & each person’s experience with a dog can be unique. 

Your dog may be scared or anxious

 Wouldn’t you be scared if a stranger picked you up, took you away from everything that is familiar & put you into a strange environment, with new smells & other animals or humans? Your dog is going to feel exactly the same. Your dog has been through alot. They may have been sick, injured, abandoned or separated from its family for the first time. 

Your dog was also part of our shelter environment, which at the time provided it with adequate shelter, food, medical attention & love which is far better than some of the alternatives your dog could have found themselves. Our dogs roam free throughout the shelter. The shelter is noisy & they are used to being in an environment with many other animals, playing, fighting & just being. 

Taking the dog from an environment they have become accustomed to into an entirely new one (Even though it is better) can be terrifying for your dog. It’s going to take some time. Give your dog time to adjust to the new surroundings. 

Your dog will need training

This is a certainty. Most of the dogs that come to Morocco Animal Aid, have not been raised in a regimented, routine environment. At their core, they are wild animals. This is 100% on you as an owner. A dog cannot train itself. Want your dog to be able to listen to your every command? Well that’s not going to happen overnight.

When was the last time you picked up on something for the 1st time? Good things take time. Great things take longer.

Your dog doesn’t know that it can’t start a fight with every dog it walks past. Your dog doesn’t just magically know not to pee on your beautiful new rug. Or that your expensive shoes are not a chew toy. As far as their lives on the street & in the shelter had taught them. They could do both those things? Wherever & with whatever they wanted to.

Now you, a new human wants to tell them that they can’t do any of these things anymore? Wow. They don’t believe their furry ears & they have no idea why you’re so mad about it! Training is something that takes patience, time & consistency. Treats certainly help! 

Changing you dogs behaviours can be surprisingly easy. Consistency is key. Some examples below:

  • Your dog wants to fight with your other dog? Telling your new dog no & associating the word no with a gesture such as clapping or taking the new dog from the environment & isolating them as punishment each time they do this, will ensure that the dog learns that by doing this, you will be unhappy with them. With time they will come to understand that them fighting is not worth you being mad at them.

  • Your dog wants to pee on your beautiful new rug? Telling your dog no & removing the dog as soon as possible to outside will let the dog know that they need to pee outside the house instead of inside the house. Using the same door each time can be a good method so the dog associates that door with needing to go outside to pee. Also ensuring you walk your dog outside as soon as she/he wakes up & just before he or she goes to bed, means that they will go to the toilet outside the house instead of inside the house. They will begin to associate the action of being outside with going to the toilet & with time will start to tell you when they need to go to the toilet.

  • Your dog wants to chew on your expensive shoes or anything else it can get its little paws on? Removing the item from the dog’s mouth with a firm “No” command, showing them the item & a gesture such as clapping can iterate to the dog that you’re not happy. Giving them chew toys, is a great way to distract them from chewing things they shouldn’t. Giving them toys in a designated space such as their dog bed can mean that they will be happily distracted & won’t go seeking alternatives to chew on. Similarly, we also have a responsibility to ensure that our houses are pet proof. Didn’t want your shoes to be wrecked? Don’t leave them in a space where they can be reached. 

It’s also important to recognise when the dogs behaviours start to change, to offer them positive reinforcements such as treats or praise when they do something good. They went for a pee outside? Great! Tell them they are a good boy/girl & offer treats.

Giving your dog a routine & being consistent in your commands, gestures, punishments & positive reinforcements will accelerate their understanding of their place in your life & your home.

Your new dog, other pets or family members may not get along at first

First meetings rarely go smoothly. Especially when your new dog & other pets or humans meet for the 1st time. They may be scared, anxious or excited. From both sides. Your existing pet/human is used to being the top dog/cat/human & not sharing you with anyone else. Now you have bought this strange new dog into their territory, to share you, to share their toys, their food & their space. 

Dogs are pack animals, but they are also territorial. Your existing pets may be protective of you & their space. On the other end of the spectrum, your new dog has walked into a new environment & needs to assert itself in its new environment. During a first meeting between new pets, they may be:

  • Aggressive
  • Excited
  • Anxious
  • Scared
  • Shy

Just like your new dog will need adjusting to you, they will need adjusting to your other pets/humans as well. Encouraging them to spend as much time together as possible is the best way to integrate your new pets. Walk them together, encourage them to play together. Be conscious that this could be one of the more testing parts of your journey with a rescue. It may also change the behaviours of your existing pet/human & show sides of them that you weren’t aware of previously. Remember, they too will be adjusting to the new addition. 

Trust is something that can take time

Think about it. Would you trust a stranger that picked you up, took you away from everything that is familiar & put you into a strange environment, with new smells & other animals or humans? No most likely not. So your dog most likely isn’t going to trust you either. I mean. Who are you!?

Unless you have been able to visit the shelter consistently to establish a bond & trust with your dog, trust is something you will have to build once you arrive home. 

You want your dog to be able to associate you as being someone they feel safe, peaceful & content with. 

Some ways to build trust with your dog:

  • Taking your dog for a walk will establish a bond & they associate the walk as being a positive association. 

  • Stay calm. Dogs pick up on energy, just like humans do. Angry? Your dog will pick up on that. Try your best to stay calm. They will naturally follow your demeanour.

  • Allowing them to smell you. Putting your hand out, underneath their nose for them to smell is a non dominant way for the dog to get to know you better. 

  • Respecting a dog’s space by not making eye contact right away. This can be very intimidating for dogs if they do not know you. Not making direct eye contact with the dog when petting or training right away will allow them to get used to you in their own time.

  • Getting down on a dog’s level. Towering over your dog can be intimidating for dogs, squatting down to their level is much more comfortable for the dog.

All of the above are great ways to be able to start to develop trust with your dog. However the best tool is your time. Spending time with your dog is the best way to establish a connection that will ultimately last a lifetime. 

Time is needed to adjust

 Think about how long it takes humans to adjust to a new home, a new job or a new city? It’s exactly the same for dogs. They will experience the same anxieties that we as humans do, when being removed from the street to the shelter & then to their new home with you. They will be unsure. They will be anxious & they will be scared. 

They may behave erratically or out of fear of being in a completely different environment. Some animals have never been inside a house, car or around children. 

They may bark, damage your home, property or belongings whilst adjusting. This is all normal behaviour & can be addressed by adding routine, structure & training into their integration into your home. But this will take time. It takes 21 days for humans to be able to form a new habit. Bear this in mind when, your dog may (will) test your patience. 

If you have read this far & haven’t fallen asleep or run away terrified, fantastic! We would love for you to apply to adopt one of our rescues. Our adoptions are something we take very seriously. Our animals safety, health & wellbeing are our number 1 priority. 

All adoption applications are subject to assessment & approval is not guaranteed. It is not personal. We just want the best for our rescues & for you.

Still interested after all that?