What you can expect from adopting a dog from the animal shelter. Tips, tricks, and advice on adding a new furry member to the family!
Hi everyone! It’s been a fun week of launching the blog, posting some fun content, and getting all your comments and internet love. I mentioned that I wanted to expand into writing more about travel, and pets, because those are two of my favorite things in this season of life. I currently live with two little mongrels, Amy (who is my dog and I adopted from the OKC Animal Welfare Division about 4 years ago), and Maverick (who is my boyfriend’s one-eyed Yorkie and the dog that convinced me that small dogs are so so fun). Let’s be honest, this is just an excuse to post more pictures of the pups in my life.
See? Look how cute.
But what I wanted to talk about today is what you can expect when you adopt a dog from the animal shelter. I adopted Amy when she was around a year old, and I had no idea what it meant to take care of a dog. I was a crazy bundle of anxiety, and I didn’t know the basic pet-owner humps that I had to get over. I was all up on the dog version of WebMD convinced that she was dying every single day.
I’d also like to say that I am very pro-adoption. I love ALL dogs, and if you choose to purchase one from a breeder or pet store, that is for sure your choice, but consider that there are thousands of dogs in the state that need comfortable, loving homes and you are more than capable of providing them that home. It’s a little bit selfish, because you feel really good about yourself, and also I feel like shelter dogs really know that you rescued them.
So if you’re considering adopting an animal from the shelter, here are 5 tips that might come in handy in the days and weeks that follow you bringing your fur baby home.
THEY MIGHT BE A LITTLE SICK
In Amy’s case, she was a lot sick. Shelter workers do their best to keep Animal Shelters clean, but with that amount of animals, it’s hard to keep things controlled. When Amy got home, she had a UTI (she couldn’t pee at all), an ear infection, and after a few days she contracted kennel cough. I didn’t realize she was sick when i adopted her, because she was so bubbly and happy. It wasn’t until I got her home and she wasn’t able to pee, that I realized she really had a problem. This is not really a normal scenario, but be prepared that they might need a little recovery time from the point that you bring them home until they are fully healthy. I would keep some boiled chicken and rice on hand to mix with their food to make sure that they eat.
DON’T READ THE INTERNET
I was lucky and lucked into a really great veterinary office right away, but that still didn’t stop me from reading doggy WebMD every time she made a weird noise. It’s the same rule that applies to when you’re feeling sick, or your kid is feeling sick, your mind will go crazy with the possibilities. You have no idea how many hours I read about dog vomit vs dog regurgitation.
I would number one, trust your instincts, number two, trust your vet. Most vets have pretty good hours, and you can call and ask if you need to bring your pupper in. Emergency vets will not give you medical advice over the phone, but real vets will. It might take a few expensive trips to the emergency vet, but you’ll in turn learn what little sickly quirks your pet has. That’s definitely not something the internet can tell you.
IT WILL TAKE SOME TIME TO BOND
I thought I would love Amy immediately, but it took a few months. First of all, she was a drain on my paycheck (for years! And she still is!), and second of all, I was basically a stranger to her. It took some time for her to trust me and bond with me in a way that’s different from when you have a dog from a puppy. We went on daily walks, trips to Braum’s to get ice cream, and when i got brave enough I would take her to the dog park and outdoor bars. Somewhere along the way we really bonded, and now she’s my best friend! Also, when you stick a thermometer up a dogs butt within the first 48 hours of living together, you bond in a pretty special way.
THEIR PERSONALITY WILL CHANGE
For the first week or so I had Amy, she was so exhausted from being sick, that she laid on her bed and didn’t really do anything. To my surprise, when I came home from work one day, she had grabbed the remote control off of my bed and chewed it up into one thousand pieces. That’s when I realized that the tiredness and sickness wore off, she had quirky little personality traits that I wasn’t aware of. Moral of the story = your dog probably has some sass that’s hiding way down deep inside. And once we started to bond, I realized what she loved, what she hates, and how often she dreams when she sleeps.
PLAN, BUT BE FLEXIBLE!
I was always planning on keeping Amy out in the house while I was gone, but after the remote control incident, I decided to crate her. We went through three different types of crates before we found one that she wasn’t trying to chew her way out of. Have a solid plan of what type of food you are going to feed them, but be ok with it whenever you may have to adjust. You’re bringing a new member of the family into your life and it will take awhile for everyone to adjust. Just know it will pay off in the long run!
Do you have an animal shelter dog? What were some tips that you found helpful during the adjustment period?