Adopting a rescued dog in Finland


Finland has an amazing animal population control. There are actually very little dogs which would need to be adopted due to abandon. Most dogs available are for purchase from breeders. Nevertheless, after extensive search on the Internet, we finally found several Finnish Institutions/Associations which are in cooperation with Russia, Estonia and South European countries towards adoption of rescued dogs. Most of these countries have huge need of animal population control, due to abandon and little spaying or neutering in place. The economical recession in Europe since 2008 lead to a higher percentage of abandoned animals and most pet owners have cut on their veterinary expenses related to spaying and neutering. Lack of animal population control increases spread of diseases between animals and people in poor healthy conditions, such as scavengers in garbage containers, and possible liabilities to people, such as physical injuries and possible death (Handy 2001; Aroson 2010).

A careful reading of the requirements, agreements, background, pictures and videos of the dog, payments and veterinary inspections was about to take place, before entering in contact with any of the institutions. Below a list of the mentioned adoption institutions from Finland:

From the list we contacted only two of the adoption institutions, Viipurin Koirat and Kodittominen. The reason why we choose initially these ones was the structured information in their websites and list of dogs available.

Precise information about the set ups of how to adopt a rescued dog are well available. This includes entrance in Finland and registration to the official entity, which is responsible for animal control, Evira. Registration must occur in Evira – Evira number 552/0521/2013 and to comply with the requirements of commercial imports – and is the responsibility of the Adoption institution in Finland to ensure compliance with law and requirements concerning Canine Health in the country. This is a safeguard for potential dog rescued owners, because it reduces the liabilities and accountabilities in case of problems with the health of the dog.

Adoption institutions do not wish that you contact them by phone without first filling in a form on their websites. The form asks besides your personal information, motivation for rescued dogs, background and experience with pets and rescued ones, current pets, life style, house, available time, and awareness of costs.

Adoption institutions are highly concerned of the quality of the adoption. Their aim is to match the needs/profile of the dog with potential owners. The most undesirable effect of an adoption is that it turns out not to be successful and the dog has to be returned. An interesting observation was that these institutions do not adopt to persons under 20 or 24 years old. We got the impression that it is related to little awareness of the degree of responsibility and dedication needed. Luckily we are older, otherwise no go, which would be sadly. However, we were told that exceptions do exist depending on the previous experience and background. So do not give up, you might still be “qualified”.

As potential adopters, the institutions wanted to know our requirements and criteria to the kind of dog that would best suit our needs and lifestyle. Therefore, the following requirements would need to be met:

  • no older than one year
  • small or medium size
  • not very shy or traumatized with human contact, specially children (a nice hint on the videos was to see for any signs of shyness and fear, and reluctance to show and be touched on the belly)
  • can leave with other pets, specially cats

We searched many dogs in the two institutions. The better the description of the dog background, personality, behaviour, pictures and videos the higher changes of helping the adoption match. However, not every canine health detail is ensured. Adoption institutions regard themselves of any liability related to diseases that might appear after adoption, which could not be detected by the veterinary at the time of the full examination and vaccination. Potential “hidden injuries may be a symptom such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as broken, asymptomatic dysplasia or luxation, a precursor of eye disease, parasitic diseases, which are latent in the test phase, etc” (Kodittomien Koirien Ystävät). These possible issues lead us to consider issuing a dog insurance and luckily there are dog insurances for stray dogs in Finland, to the limit of the costs of adoption of the rescued dog. For this purpose besides the veterinary report from the adoption institution, an additional visit to a veterinary in Finland is added.

Once we had some potential dogs in mind, the form was filled in and sent. To much surprise both our forms did not seem to have been received by the institutions since no answer was provided of delivery and we waited two weeks, before we inquired a responsible person by email. Afterwards, some contact by phone took place and interview process started. Kodditomien Koirien Ystävät was the one who keep more contact by email and phone. On the phone interview both I and my husband were interviewed separately about motivations, practicalities and experience. We were told that in the case of the dog we had in mind, the dog could not be alone in the apartment, without another canine or cat company. Luckily we have three cats and that enabled to fulfill the criteria. We had many questions regarding cats and dogs adaptation and we were highly advised on some practicalities.

Ellie's cats

After the phone interview the person responsible informed us by email that we could adopt the dog from Romania  a male with 8 months, medium size, with possible shepherd genes. We spent one day still to be sure on the matter and finally decided to go for it.

Practicalities in terms of reservation of the dog included a payment of 100 euros to the institution. Further 350 euros paid two weeks before the flight of the dog from Romania to Finland. These costs included the following:

  • flight costs
  • spaying
  • microchip, EU passport and administration/registration costs
  • vaccinations in good time before the trip:
    • Rabies
    • Shin splints
    • Parvo
    • infectious inflammation of the liver (HCC)
    • Parainfluenza (kennel cough)
    • Leptospirosis
  • tests:
    • leishmania,
    • Ehrlichia
    • Babesia
    • naplasmosis
    • Lyme disease
    • and heart worm test.
  • tapeworm – echinococcosis
  • veterinary report

Once the dog has arrived to Finland, during the first one or two weeks a continuation of tapeworm has to be given. Drontal or Droncit were advised. Afterwards, an extra of five days for deworming with Axilur or Benecur for Strongyloides stercoralis. The same procedures were advised with the cats, all at the same time as the dog.

The whole adoption process took approximately 4 months since the begging of the search for a dog until its arrival. The Kodditomien Koirien Ystävät takes only reserved dogs from Romania to Finland when there aew at least three dogs to bring. We are very satisfied with the adoption institution and were informed of continuation of contact and visits to our apartment to see how things would be going. Additionally support and advice in anything we would need concerning the adopted dog is provided by the institution. Overall, we are very happy that such institutions exist and dedicated people.


1. Handy G.L. (2001), Animal Control Management: A Guide for Local GovernmentsInternational City County Management Association, USA.

2. Aronson S. (2010), Animal Control Management, A New Look at a Public Responsability, Purdue University Press, USA.


5 thoughts on “Adopting a rescued dog in Finland

  1. There are many dog trainers across Finland, specially in the city areas. I am not sure if you can adopt more than 3 pets. I suggest you enter in contact with any of the organisations which provide adoption. Good luck!

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