Its a dogs life in European expat havens

Published:  31 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, USA, UK, Euro, England

For many expats, life overseas wouldn’t be complete without a furry friend, but finding the dog of your dreams in your new location might not be as easy as in the home country.

Acquiring a canine companion once you’ve arrived in your chosen retirement destination ensures you’ll never feel alone and unwanted, however unfamiliar your new life seems at first. It’s amazing how quickly you become friends with others taking their dogs for a walk on the beach. However, the means of adopting local dogs are often very different than in Britain and the USA.

Dog-lovers have it easy in the UK and America, especially since the Don’t Shop, Adopt slogan hit the media. Dog shelters proliferate, packed with cute dogs waiting for someone to love, and reputable breeders do exist, although they might take some finding. However, once you’re overseas, rules, regulations and even the availability of shelter or pure-bred dogs can be very different.

Most Mediterranean expat hotpots have a disturbing excess of stray dogs and not enough shelters, as witness the canine attention you’ll get when eating out. Dogs aren’t often spayed or neutered, resulting in an overpopulation of puppies just waiting to start families of their own. Purebreeds can be bought from breeders and pet shops, but inbreeding is a risk, especially with hunting breeds which, in Spain particularly, are simply used and discarded.

Spain and Greece have equal excess dog population problems, with around a million strays on the Greek streets and another million in crowded shelters. Expats searching for a friend for life are spoilt for choice, and the focus is slowly changing from purchasing a furry friend to rescuing one, or maybe even more.

One source to avoid everywhere in Europe but especially in northern countries such as Hungary is the puppy mill. Purely commercial in focus, these places breed puppies without a thought to inbreeding, and buying one can lead very quickly to high vet bills and eventual heartbreak. Wherever you find your best friend, you’ll never regret sharing your new life with a new dog.
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