Before you adopt, consider what “rescue” dog means.

So you are thinking about adopting one of my friends from Romania? There is lots you need to know and research – you can use the Paws2Rescue website for that. Never adopt one of my friends because you feel sorry for them and only adopt when the time is right for you or your family. We want to be loved forever, not as a whim.

Most of us have never lived in a house, or heard your household noises like the washing machine, television, door bell, vacuum cleaner – these can all frighten us at first. Most houses where we come from in Romania are only ground floor, so don’t expect us to understand yet what stairs are for. If we bark when you walk up, it’s only because we don’t know that you are coming down again!

When we first arrive at your home, sometimes we are scared, so we look for any open door or window to see how to escape in the first few days. We quickly learn that when the doorbell rings, you are going to open the door – so please make sure that we are safely locked in another room – or you might lose one of my friends. Please be extra careful until we have learned to trust you.

Remember where we have come from! Some of us lived in daily fear in a kill shelter, some abused, on a chain, on the streets or in factory yards. Not many of us had a bowl of good food twice a day. I sued to go through bins looking for scraps of food, and some of my friends had to eat sand, cardboard and stones, when they couldn’t find food. Usually if a human threw us food, it would be a meat carcass or stale bread. Remember this when we steal your sandwich from the kitchen surface – we aren’t being naughty, we just remember the times when we had to eat any food that we could find.

Don’t assume that me and my friends will be trained to walk on a lead. Whilst the Paws2Rescue team in Romania do their best to walk and lead train dogs who they know have been adopted, please remember that some rescuers may have 70 dogs in their yard, so lead training and teaching us all to walk to heel really is impossible. But we are not stupid either, and we will soon learn to do this, when you are patient with us.

I was never house trained, I never lived inside a house, but I know what it means. Almost all my friends do too, and it is not in our nature to soil in our homes. We might have one accident on your carpet, but please do not worry, as we will toilet in the garden outside.

The abuse I had in Romania was awful. I was never stroked until I was rescued, so a hand always meant I was about to be beaten. I always remind my humans about this, and why I don’t like to be stroked on top of my head, it scares me. Some of my friends had their tails cut off, were kicked too, mainly by men, so don’t be surprised if a man in a baseball cap or dark glasses scares us, we are reliving one of our memories.

It is important to think about us. We arrive in your home, we don’t know you, we don’t know where we are, we don’t know that you are our mummy or daddy, we don’t know if the bowl of food you give us is going happen every day, the noises in your home scare us. We need to learn to trust you – so don’t expect it all one the first day.

When you start taking us for a walk after we have spent a week getting used to each other in the house and garden, we need your help. If you put me in a collar and lead, I might back out of it if a big lorry scares me. I need you to use a harness and lead, and some of my friends need a slip lead as well. Just to help us learn that the cars aren’t trying to hit us and get used to all the strange noises outside. If you can start by walking us somewhere quiet first, it would help us, before taking us to busier roads, it means we can start getting used to scary noises gradually.

When I am with you, I may have flashbacks or cower or bark if someone I don’t know comes near me. I need you to be strong, to teach me that everything is ok. I never knew love before I met you. Please don’t give up on me. All I need is routine, firm guidance, patience and your love. This is all my friends will ask too.

If you are ready to adopt one of my friends, please talk to the lovely adoptions team at Paws2Rescue. They take time to get to know my friends, and they can help you to choose the perfect family member. Some of my friends want a quiet home, and some of the crazy ones need to live with teenagers.

Thank you for considering all this before adopting. We are not shiny new toys, we are not from a pet shop, we are proud to be Paws2Rescue rescued dogs.