Frequently Asked Questions

About Rescue & the Process

    What is Cairn Terrier Rescue?

    How do I adopt a Cairn Terrier and how does the process work?

    Is there a charge for a Rescue dog?

    What is a Direct Adoption versus a PCTC Adoption?

    What is a Home Inspection and how does it work?

    Why does PCTC only adopt Cairns to VA, WV, DE, MD, or DC?

    Where do you get the Rescue dogs?

    How can I help Cairn Rescue?

   

About Rescue Dogs & Cairn Terriers in General

    How old is the typical Rescue dog?

    How often do you get puppies in Rescue?

    What color is the dog?

    How much do they weigh?

    Are they lap dogs?

    Do they need to be on a leash?

    What medical problems are common in the breed?

    Are they barkers?

    Do they dig?

    Would it be a good dog for my elderly parent?

    Are they good with children?

    Will it get along with my other dog or dogs?

    How much grooming do they require?

    Do they like to ride in cars?

    Are they housebroken?

Back to Top What is Cairn Terrier Rescue? written by Betty Marcum

Cairn Terriers come into the Rescue system because they have been abandoned or surrendered by their owner. Dogs are placed into Rescue programs for a variety of reasons, including family moves, death, divorce, illness, new baby, owner inability to cope with the dog's health conditions, owner incompatible with Cairn Terrier temperament, conflicts with children and strays found in shelters. Some people may have acquired a dog without considering the fifteen-year (or more) commitment that pet ownership may require. In some cases, a dog is placed in Rescue because of neglect or abuse.

Before placement a Rescue Volunteer will evaluate the dog's personality, temperament, health conditions and adaptability. They will provide any necessary veterinary care and rehabilitation. This dog then may be placed in a temporary foster home if needed or adopted directly to a nurturing permanent home selected to provide the love and care it needs and deserves. Many dedicated and caring volunteers are providing these necessary services to help Cairns all across the country.

Known biters, aggressive dogs or pets who are simply too ill to be adopted are not offered for adoption. Some dogs are offered for adoption within strict guidelines such as placement in homes without children or any other pets.

Dogs are given any necessary veterinary care before adoption. For example, in some parts of the country, heartworm is epidemic, and a dog will need to be treated for heartworm and placed on preventive medication before adoption. Pets will be spayed or neutered.

Rescue groups cannot "guarantee" the future health or well being of any dog. But they will guarantee to take the dog back if the adoption does not work satisfactorily for any reason.

You will not receive AKC registration papers with a Rescue. This does not mean that the dog is not a purebred. However, if you rescue a dog you can apply for an ILP (Indefinite Listing Privilege), which will allow you to compete with your dog in AKC Sanctioned Agility and Obedience events.

Rescue groups very rarely have a puppy for adoption. Usually dogs are placed into Rescue just past the "cute puppy stage," anywhere from 2 years to 13 years. Cairns are young at heart and generally have a long life span, so you will have many years of love and fun to share with your Rescue.
Back to Top How do I adopt a Cairn Terrier and how does the process work?
      partially written by Betty Marcum
  1. Read through all of the Frequently Asked Questions.

  2. Complete the Adoption Application. Make sure all fields are complete and give as much information as possible. Incomplete applications may be rejected or delayed. This application properly completed will provide the Rescue Volunteer with enough information to match your home and lifestyle with an appropriate Cairn Terrier who will fit into both. The goal is to find safe, loving homes for all Cairn Rescues. Responsible breeders, many of whom are Rescue Volunteers, interview prospective puppy purchasers very carefully. You should expect the same from your Rescue Volunteer. No applicant is ever at the top of the list for the next dog. For each Rescue dog, the volunteers will review all pending applications to make the best possible match for the dog and the new family. Your application will be kept on file for two months. If you are still interested in adopting a Cairn after that time, you will need to submit another application. If you should change your mind, please let the volunteer know right away. When you do take your new pet home, you will discover the wait was well worth it!

  3. Once a Rescue Coordinator has reviewed your application and there is a possible match between you and a Cairn, one of the following may occur:

    • Direct Referral: This occurs when Rescue hears about a Cairn that needs a new home. The dog may be in a shelter or still living with its owner. Rescue does not claim to know anything about the history of the dog or its temperament and the dog is not part of the PCTC Rescue program. Rescue simply informs you of the Cairn and it's up to you to work with the shelter or owner in pursuing the adoption of the Cairn. PCTC's involvement with the adoption process ends with referring you to the shelter or owner.

    • PCTC Adoption: This occurs when there is a Cairn in foster care with a PCTC member. You may be invited to meet the foster Cairn or asked to schedule a home inspection. If you wish to adopt the Cairn, then a home inspection is done (see What is a Home Inspection?). If everything is in order with the home inspection, then the adoption of the foster Cairn may proceed.

  4. When you pick up your Cairn (in the case of a PCTC Adoption), you will be asked for a donation. Your volunteer will have already discussed this with you during the process. The donation amount for an individual Rescue will depend on the age and the necessary veterinary care (including neutering). Typically, you should expect to donate more for a younger Rescue, since the actual cost for the older ones is offset by asking for a slightly higher donation for those under 4 years. See Is there a charge for a Rescue dog? for details.

    All Rescue Cairns must leave their foster homes in a crate at the time of adoption. If the dog did not come into Rescue with a crate, you may purchase a crate from Rescue for $30, or provide your own at the time of adoption. Most Cairns will fit into a medium sized plastic crate with these dimensions: 20" W x 27" L x 19" H.
Back to Top What is a Direct Adoption versus a PCTC Adoption?

A Direct Referral Adoption occurs when Rescue hears about a Cairn that needs a new home. The dog may be in a shelter or still living with its owner. Rescue does not claim to know anything about the history of the dog or its temperament and the dog is not part of the PCTC Rescue program. Rescue simply informs you of the Cairn and it's up to you to work with the shelter or owner in pursuing the adoption of the Cairn. PCTC's involvement with the adoption process ends with referring you to the shelter or owner.

A PCTC Adoption occurs when you adopt a Cairn that has been in foster care with a PCTC member.
Back to Top What is a Home Inspection and how does it work?

A home inspection is more or less a safety check to make sure that your home is Cairn-ready. The home inspector is looking for situations that you, as a new Cairn owner, may not realize could harm a dog. The inspector will educate you about these things so that they may be remedied. In addition, the inspector is looking to make sure that the particular dog you've chosen will fit into your lifestyle and into your household.

Your home inspector will contact you and set up a time when all household members will be present. It is important that the inspector see how the members of your household interact so that he/she can better tell if the particular dog you've chosen will be a good match for the level of activity in your household.
Back to Top Why does PCTC only adopt Cairns to VA, WV, DE, MD, or DC?

PCTC is a regional club that has a small group of Rescue volunteers. As part of the Rescue placement, we do home checks. We will also take back any Cairn that doesn't work out in its new home or needs to be re-homed in the future if its current home can't do so. We do encourage all owners to make provisions for their animals, but unfortunately not all do so.

All of our Rescue volunteers work and have families and animals of their own, so a long drive is a hardship. In addition, we like to provide support (if needed) to help the Cairn adjust to its new home. If the Cairns are placed close to a volunteer, this is doable, but long distance makes it very difficult, if not impossible.
Back to Top Where do you get the Rescue dogs?

Rescue Cairns come from shelters or from owners who can no longer care for them.
Back to Top How old is the typical Rescue dog?

The typical Rescue Cairn is between 2 and 10 years old, with the average age being in the 4 - 8 year range. Since Cairns can live well into their teens, they may still be quite active even at 10 years old.
Back to Top How often do you get puppies in Rescue?

Puppies and dogs under the age of two do not come into the Rescue program very often.
Back to Top What color is the dog?

Cairns come in a variety of colors ranging from wheaten (blonde) to almost black. All of them are attractive and you will love your Cairn whatever the color.
Back to Top How much do they weigh?

Cairns typically weigh between 13 and 17 pounds. However, some larger ones can weigh up over 20 pounds.
Back to Top Are they lap dogs?

In general, Cairns tend to be somewhat independent. However, no two Cairns are truly alike; one may love to sit in a lap for hours, while another may not.
Back to Top Is there a charge for a Rescue dog?

Yes, you will be asked for a donation. The donation amount for an individual Rescue will depend on the age and the necessary veterinary care (including neutering). Typically, you should expect to donate more for a younger Rescue, since the actual cost for the older ones is offset by asking for a slightly higher donation for those under 4 years.

Rescue donation fees are as follows:
  • 4 months to 3 years: $400.00
  • 4 years to 6 years: $300.00
  • 7 years to 10 years: $150.00
  • 11 years: $75.00
Back to Top Do they need to be on a leash?

If there is no fenced yard, Cairns must be exercised on a leash. Cairns were bred to hunt and it is impossible to train them to resist the urge to chase squirrels, cats, rabbits, other dogs, etc.

Cairns are NOT suited for invisible fencing because they will most likely take a "hit" in order to chase something through the fence. However, they won't take the hit to get back home. In addition, invisible fencing does not prevent attacks from larger dogs. Likewise, a Cairn should not be left tied out in a yard for the same reason.

PCTC will not adopt Rescue Cairns to homes where invisible fencing is the primary means of keeping the dog in the yard when outdoors.
Back to Top What medical problems are common in the breed?

In general, the Cairn is a healthy breed. For more information, you can visit the CTCA website at www.CairnTerrier.org and follow the link to Health Concerns.

One advantage to adopting an older Cairn is that it is easier to determine if there will be any health issues than it is with a young puppy.
Back to Top Are they barkers?

Some Cairns bark, while others hardly bark at all. In general, Cairns make good watchdogs and will often let you know when there are strangers (or squirrels) in the vicinity.
Back to Top Do they dig?

Cairns were originally bred to go to ground and excavate vermin from piles of rocks called cairns. Digging is part of the breed's instincts, however, some Cairns dig, while others have no interest in it whatsoever.
Back to Top Would it be a good dog for my elderly parent?

Some Cairns would be good with elderly parents depending on the individual energy level of the dog and the parents. As a rule, Cairns are an active breed; however, they do mellow some with age.
Back to Top Are they good with children?

In general, Cairns seem to have a natural affinity for children. Although they are tough little dogs, no dog of any breed should be expected to tolerate ear tugging, tail pulling, etc. Intervention is needed if play becomes too rough, and puppies especially need time away to rest undisturbed once in a while.

Because the life history of a Rescue Cairn is largely unknown, PCTC does not adopt Rescue Cairns to families with children aged 7 years and under.

For more information, see our Rescue Blog article Are Cairn Terriers Good with Kids?
Back to Top Will it get along with my other dog or dogs?

That depends on the individual situation.
Back to Top How much grooming do they require?

Routine grooming should include regular brushing, toenail clipping or filing, teeth brushing, and occasional baths. In addition, hand stripping should be done periodically to remove dead hair and permit new hair growth.
Back to Top Do they like to ride in cars?

Whether or not a Cairn likes riding in cars depends on the individual. A Cairn should either be secured in a seatbelt harness or in a crate when traveling in a vehicle. This will protect you and your Cairn in the event of an accident. All Rescue Cairns must leave their foster homes in a crate. The adoptive home may purchase a crate from Rescue for $30, or provide their own at the time of adoption. See Drive Safely with Your Dog.
Back to Top Are they housebroken?

Whether or not a Rescue Cairn is housebroken depends on the individual situation. All Rescue Cairns must have a crate at the time of adoption. The adoptive home may purchase a crate from Rescue for $30, or provide their own at the time of adoption. The new owners are urged to train the Cairn as one would a puppy for the first several months regardless of whether the Cairn was housebroken before or not. Good beginnings make for happy endings and it is better to reinforce the desired behavior from the start rather than try to backtrack and retrain later. Cairns are a smart breed and will learn the rules if the owner takes the time to properly train.
Even if you are unable to adopt or foster a Cairn, there are many other things you can do to help.

You can DONATE one or more of the following:

  • money [click here]
  • collars and/or leashes
  • crates, ex-pens, and/or baby gates
  • dog treats and/or food
  • dog toy(s)
  • grooming supplies (brushes, dog shampoo, toothpaste, etc.)
  • gift certificate to Petco or PetSmart
  • flea/tick repellant (Frontline TopSpot)
  • heartworm preventative (Interceptor)
  • cleaning products (carpet cleaner, bleach)
  • vet services

You can DO one or more of the following:

  • encourage your friends and family to adopt and/or foster Rescue dogs
  • encourage veternarians to offer discounts to Rescue
  • volunteer to transport dogs to vets, foster homes, or new homes
  • host a yard sale and donate the profits to Rescue
  • volunteer at PCTC Rescue outreach events (see PCTC Calendar for details or contact a Rescue Chair)

For more information, contact a PCTC Rescue Chairperson.

by Ann Priddy
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