Our Homing Policy

Homing Policy

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Please read prior to completing our homing application.

At Epsom Canine Rescue, we are determined to ensure that all rescue dogs are homed in an environment that best meets the needs of that dog.

We will also do everything in our power to ensure the dog you are interested in is the right dog for you, and ensure a happy and successful partnership. We never destroy a healthy dog, so please help us give them a second chance.

Like many smaller rescues we do not have a rehoming centre which you can visit and view all of our dogs together. Where we can, we use foster homes and if we do not have a suitable foster place we pay for a kennel in a private boarding establishment.

The average cost of a dog in our care exceeds £800.00 we therefore ask for a minimum donation for puppies and dogs up to twelve months of £300.00, for dogs aged 1 - 7 years £280.00, 8 - 11 years £200.00, and 12 years plus £100.00. Minimum donation for a pair is £350.00. Pure breeds dependent on breed will be indicated beside their details on our website. All of our dogs are independently assessed by a qualified behaviourist, vaccinated, neutered, microchipped and advocated prior to rehoming and these donations enable us to continue offering more dogs a lifeline, though of course you are very welcome to offer more. All of our dogs come with five weeks free insurance what ever their age, underwritten by Agria pet insurance (excludes some bull breeds and wolf hybrids).

If at any stage of the adoption process an Epsom Canine representative, fosterer, home checker, behaviourist/trainer or any other rescue volunteer are not happy with the match for any reason, you may be refused adoption and will need to return the dog.

As a rescue, we are against any form of aversive training methods and do not place any of our dogs in a home where this will be used. Please note that this is a condition of any adoption.

Homing Area

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We are a 'local' rescue and as such are only able to rehome our dogs within an approximate 20 mile radius of Reigate

This is because we home check every home personally, and want to be on hand to offer back-up guidance and support to settle your new dog in if necessary.

Unfortunately we are unable to accept home checks by other rescues or third parties. This is because we feel we know our dogs individually, and a home that may feel perfect for one dog may not be suitable for another.

Homing Procedure

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Please take a look at our Dogs for homing pages, this is regularly updated with all the dogs we currently have available.

If you are interested in offering one of our dogs a home, then we ask that in the first instance you please complete our rehoming questionnaire

Rehoming Questionnaire

After completion please send to the email address below. We will then get back in contact with you, please feel free to list more than one dog you are interested in


We endeavour to respond as soon as possible. However we rely on volunteers with other jobs and commitments, so on occasion may take a couple of days.

If the dog your interested in does not suit your requirements, we may suggest another dog which is more suited to your lifestyle and needs.

We will then arrange for you to meet with the dog you have selected. As we use foster homes wherever possible, this may be anywhere in the local area. If you have an existing dog, we do all introductions at the training field in Nutfield under the watchful eye of a qualified behaviourist to ensure compatibility..

We will also do a home check. This is to check the safety of your garden and house for the dog you are considering, and also to establish where the dog will be sleeping. Again if you have a resident dog, we may also bring the dog you are considering along to ensure that your dog has no problem with unknown dogs in the home.

To ease any dog into the home we ask people to visit them multiple times to walk their new companion and get acquainted as we feel it makes it less stressful for both parties! We then have a day visit, followed by a day and overnight leading into the two-week settling in period prior to adoption.

Approximately two weeks later we will do a follow up visit to check on progress and complete the formal adoption paperwork.

Please also take the time to download and read our guidance notes on adopting a rescue dog. this provides lots of useful information on preparing for your new dog, what to expect in the first few weeks and how to build a successful partnership.

Guidance - Adopting a Rescue


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Our minimum child age for re-homing dogs is eight years. However where applicable, we will specify different minimum child ages for certain dogs based on their background, breed or character.

We appreciate that not everyone will agree with this policy, however we would not be a responsible rescue if we placed a dog with no history with a young child. 

Age of Adopters

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This is obviously a very emotive subject, and we understand that not everyone will agree with our guidelines.

However these are based on two criteria: (1) Where a large proportion of our dogs in rescue come from, and (2) A determination not to place dogs in the same position again, whereby they are forced into rescue or worse put to sleep because they can no longer stay in their homes.

Our minimum Age for Adopters is 25. In general below this age, people often have a lot going on in their lives, with changing relationships, jobs, homes, families and busy social lives. Whilst we do understand that this does not apply to everyone, we are contacted by a large number of young people who have taken dogs on and can no longer keep them because their circumstances have changed, or sadly because they have taken dogs on a whim without considering the ongoing commitment.

We have no maximum Age for Adopters, but age over 65 we would ask for details of a Nominated Party who would agree to permanently take over the care of the dog in event of illness or death.

It is important that the nominated party considers carefully whether their lifestyle, work commitments  family and/or other pets could reasonably accommodate caring for a dog, who may at that stage be elderly and have health issues.  Confirmation in writing, with contact details would also be requested from the Nominated Party.

In any event, the age of the dog being chosen must be such, that there is  a reasonable expectation of that dog living out its final years in its adoptive home. Dogs in rescue have already been made homeless at least once, and may already have been moved between kennels and various foster homes; so it is unfair on the dogs to expect them to move home yet again  if their owner can no longer care for them due to illness or perhaps having to move into accommodation that does not allow pets.


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Other than for certain elderly dogs, it is a requirement that any home has a suitably secured outside space or garden for the dog that they are applying for.

Moving home is a stressful time for any dog, and many will also come in with unknown or little recall.  As such  we have a duty to ensure that they are kept safe during this transition period, and that they have a secure environment to explore & run around in whilst bonds are formed with their new family,  and training is undertaken.

The height & type of fencing needed will depend on the breed, age and character of the individual dog, but we ask for a minimum of 5ft. For all Terrier types this will mean at least 5ft height, made of sturdy materials, with no holes,  & secured with gravel boards or rabbit proofing.

Hedges alone would not usually be adequate as they can easily push their was through if busy following a scent!

Working Hours

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Again, we do not automatically preclude full-time workers from adopting our dogs. However the dog they are considering must be of a suitable age, personality and background to fit with that lifestyle. 

We would also expect suitable arrangements to be in place e.g a dogwalker to ensure that the dog has an adequate break, company & stimulation during the day.

Unfortunately we have many dogs handed into rescue because they are exhibiting anti-social or destructive behaviour due to poor socialisation and being left alone too long, we have to take this into account in our re-homing procedures.


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For puppies and dogs under six months of age,   we will only re-home to families where someone will be around for most of the day, and who will commit to a programme of socialising and attending training classes; that will ensure that they grow up to be a well rounded adults.

Anybody applying for a puppy/young dog will need to be prepared to invest a large amount of  both time & effort, particularly in the early days.

Applications from full-time workers will therefore not be considered.  You must also be prepared for a commitment of 15 years or so.....

The following adoption requirements will also apply:                                         - The puppy/young dog must attend a course of suitable training classes: this is to help give it the best start behaviourally and socially, and evidence must be sent to the rescue.                                                                                     - The puppy/young dog must be neutered at between eight - ten months old (unless a vet advices there is a medical reason not to do so), and evidence sent to the rescue.


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As a rescue we often have a number of Jack Russell  or Parsons Terrier types  on our website looking for homes. Not least because  they are a particular favourite our our founder.

They are fantastic little dogs, but it is important that you are choosing one for the right reasons, and not just based on size....you get a lot of dog for your money with a Jack Russell!!

Whilst this is obviously a generalisation and there are exceptions to the rule. It is important to remember that most Terriers are first and foremost a working breed, originally bred to bolt quarry from their dens. So they tend to be extremely intelligent, athletic, fearless and vocal dogs. They have a tendency to bore easily, so it is not uncommon for them to become noisy or destructive if not properly stimulated and exercised, and they will consequently often create their own fun when left to entertain themselves.

Their high energy makes them ideally suited to busy households where they can join in (& help!) with everyday activities.  Obedience classes are also a must, as Jack Russells know their own minds, can be a little stubborn and are headstrong, independent and fearless if not properly socialised.

Despite their small size, they aren't particularly suited to living in a flat or a highly urban area - they  would much prefer the freedom of burning off energy running in a more rural environment, flushing out the hedgerows and following all the smells and sniffs, as they generally have quite a high prey-drive.

They do make good family dogs,  and if well socialised are generally friendly towards children. However,  they  will not tolerate manhandling even if it is unintentional, so are not well suited to households with pre-school children.

Unless they have been bought up around cats  or are still very young, feline companions are not generally an option as they will usually chase. Secure fencing is a must, terriers are avid climbers and diggers, and will escape through the smallest holes after something of interest. For this reason 5-6' fencing is a must and hedging alone will not usually be adequate. It will need to be reinforced with sturdy wire mesh, and fixed properly into the ground (See separate paragraph on fencing).

We will also not generally home a terrier bitch to a home where there is already a resident female terrier type dog, as it often leads to problems and scraps further down the line. The exception being where we have a known, bonded pair of females looking for a home together, and we know their history and that they are happy to share, toys, people and other resources.

Why Muzzle Train

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We muzzle train many of our dogs as a matter of course. But what may come as a surprise to many people, is that the reason we do so is actually for the safety and protection of OUR dogs.

Dogs are trained to wear a muzzle for a number of reasons:

- Some dogs just can't resist 'snacking' whilst outside the house, and see walks as a veritable smorgasbord of nibbles and treats to try on route. Whilst some choices can be frankly rather disgusting, others can cause upset stomachs or other health problems. 

Muzzles can help this by making it difficult for you dog to pick up anything you do not directly feed them. And yes - you can still give treats through the side of a muzzle!

- Some dogs can get over-excited when playing with other dogs. They aren't being vicious or attacking, its just that their style of play can be a little over the top, or isn't well suited to their play companion. The sheer thrill of running around with another dog can sometimes mean excitable nips as they tear past each other, and particularly with thin-coated dogs, tiny 'grazes' can open up dramatically as they move. Often the dogs don't even notice at the time, as they are so engrossed in the game, and it is particularly common in Sighthounds with their style of play, thin coats and racey-chasey games. 

By muzzle training your dog, you are giving him the opportunity to continue having fun and socialising ( particularly important in young dogs), without having to worry about things getting out of hand and costly vet bills. Obviously it goes without saying that a muzzle does not give a dog free reign to 'run riot', and that you should always ensure that your dog displays good manners around others, and returns to you when it is time to end the game and go home, 

- Some dogs are not keen on having other dogs up close & in their face. This can be due to a number of reasons including lack of early socialisation, or because they have had poor experiences with other dogs in the past which can lead to fear-aggression. The majority of dogs just want to stay out of trouble and enjoy their walk in their own space. Unfortunately, we cannot control other owners and their dogs. Often the owners of "friendly dogs" are the worst culprits here, allowing their dogs to bound up to everyone and every dog, getting excitable and up close & personal because their dog "doesn't react" & "just wants to make friends". In dog terms this is very rude and shows poor social skills on the part of the other dog in not reading your dogs body language that says "go away I just want to be left alone please", so that your dog is left with the only other canine option - growling and perhaps lunging. 

It is a sad fact that If your dog is a spaniel or a lab, and they react like this it is considered acceptable. However, if your dog is a Staffie or other Bullbreed, because of the bad press they get, people's reactions are different. So regardless of the circumstances, the Staffie/Bull-breed ends up getting the blame. 

For this reason we will choose to muzzle train the majority of our Staffies/Bullbreeds - to highlight that WE are the responsible owners, and to protect them from any recourse; but also to enable them to gradually rebuild their confidence around other dogs. 

The key to success here is correct training. And like any new experience it needs to be taught in the right way, over a period of time and using positive reinforcement. Using these methods the muzzle just becomes part of 'walkies' and usually ends up generating the same level of anticipation as when a lead and harness are produced ready to go out. 

An excellent video that shows how to successfully muzzle train your dog can be found here

We will always discuss with you when you meet our dogs whether they are muzzle trained or still undergoing training, and explain the reasons why. And we will provide guidance and back-up on how to continue with the training. 

It is important for the dog that you continue to use the muzzle on all walks, and not just "dip in and out" , otherwise the dog will become confused nod unsettled.

As always our long-term goal is Happy, Healthy Dogs!!

Resident Cats

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Many dogs & cats can live happily together, and we will always put the cat status of a particular dog on its bio.  In some instances  this may be unknown, and it may be possible to ‘cat test’ an unknown dog in one of our foster homes where there are resident ‘dog-savvy’ cats.

However,  it is important to remember that even with dogs that have lived with cats previously, or shown little interest when ‘tested’, personalities & environments vary, and results can be different with other cats.

It is also important to consider the personality of your own cats.  If they are timid or skittish, they may be more inclined to run, which is a greater temptation to any dog to chase; whereas a more ‘dog-savvy’ confident cat would hold its ground.

You should also bear in mind that if cats are not used to dogs, (or a particular dog), then  they may (in the short-term)  retreat and spend more time upstairs or outside whilst they get used to the presence of a new family member,  and that this can often make owners feel guilty!  They will gradually get braver as time goes on and venture down the stairs to peer through the stair gate  – remember cats are very inquisitive!!

With careful integration there is no reason why the two cannot live happily together, but it is important to start off on the right track and create a ‘safety zone’ for the cat.

A cat’s instinct is to go up high, so a dog stair gate (taller than a child one) is a must have, placed across the bottom of the staircase, as your cat will have the ability to easily scale this and dart upstairs if he feels threatened.   The idea is to leave the upstairs a dog free zone to start with,  and have this as an area where you cat can feel relaxed and safe. It also means that both cat and dog still have the opportunity to see each other (that a closed door does not provide), so gradually the cat loses its ‘novelty factor’.  This may mean having to leave food & water bowls on the upstairs landing.

Take time in the house to give treats and get to know  the dog before leaving your cat flap open or even a door.  In the early days it is better to leave a ground floor vent type window open so the cat can use this (as a running cat across the floor will be a target).  When they do meet,  this should always be done under supervision, using a house line so you are able to restrain your new dog if need be.  The owner must play the part of mediator, helped with both physical (stroking/treats) and verbal rewards.

It will take time for both to feel at ease with each other. Please don’t give up after 48 hours because you feel sorry for your cat, they will come around!!!