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Rehoming a working dog

When it comes to looking after our working dogs, the focus for everyone at SafeLane is on both the physical and psychological wellbeing of each individual canine.

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As part of regular wellbeing assessments that are undertaken by everyone who comes into contact with the dogs - from vets to technical managers, from trainers and handlers to kennel hands - the effects of the high-pressure work that our dogs undertake is taken into consideration. 

Sometimes, if a dog shows signs of stress, a decision has to be made to retire that dog.

Bree was an explosive detection dog working in high threat environment; she was just 2 years old when the team at SafeLane’s dedicated canine training facility in South Africa decided her working days were over.

Rehoming a working dog like Bree

Finding a forever home for working dog Bree

As Bree was a highly focused, intelligent and energetic Malinois, Talitha Etsebeth, the General Manager at the canine training school, understood the importance of finding the right owner for her - someone who would understand her needs for mental stimulation and lots of exercise.

Talitha and her dedicated team always ensure SafeLane’s dogs have the best – the best care, the best food, the best training – and when it comes to retiring them, they also make sure the dogs go to the best retirement homes.  To achieve this, SafeLane has a thorough vetting process for potential new owners of retired working dogs. 

The process involves detailed questioning, face-to-face meetings – and ideally a home visit too, to ensure a suitable match is made.  Then there is an on-going programme of telephone-based support.

Luckily for Bree, Alan Fung was ready to give her a new home.  He already had experience with the breed – he was a parent to JT, another clever and energetic Malinois.  This meant he had understanding of the responsibility involved in caring for her.  After vetting Alan further, and introducing him to Bree, their interaction with each other was fabulous and they were clearly well-matched.

How working dogs adjust to domestic life 

For working dogs, adjusting to retirement and domestic life is a big shift, so Talitha advised Alan on the importance of setting firm boundaries with Bree to help her adapt.

She was introduced to her new home environment slowly, and very much on her terms; she met JT on neutral ground to ensure they got off to the right start and to ensure potential territorial issues were avoided.

Luckily for Bree, Alan and his family gave her everything she needed to get settled in and after just 2 months, she had become a full member of the family.  

Rehoming a working dog like Bree

10 years on and Alan says: “Shadow may have been a better name for her, she never leaves my side!” 

According to Alan, except for her friend JT, Bree tends to ignore other dogs during walks.  She is a gentle, loving dog with a protective streak where her owners are concerned.

10 years on

10 years on, Alan got back in touch to thank Talitha and the team for entrusting him with Bree.  Over the last decade she has provided him and his family with love and entertainment.  Alan says: “she is the apple of my eye.”

For the team at the dog school, and the wider SafeLane family, a successful rehoming lifts everyone’s spirits.  And Bree’s happiness with her new life shows that the vetting process and Talitha’s instincts when finding the right forever homes for our retired dogs are both spot on. 

Rehome a hero today

Rehoming a sniffer dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience.  If you’re based in South Africa and can provide a stable, loving home to one of our retired dogs, please get in contact.

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