I have experienced some wonderful rescue animals in my home over the years, and have great memories of all of them. It seems to be my “thing,” and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They are deserving of all the love and care they can get, especially since most of them have come from an abuse and/or neglect situation. Thank goodness there are now more no-kill shelters than ever before. There are also animals that are victims of circumstances when an owner has died. These often aging animals end up with other family or friends if they’re lucky, or a shelter situation if they’re not.
So here are some points to consider.
Please make sure you and your family are absolutely ready to commit to a lifetime of love and care for the animal you adopt. This includes medical care. If you are not 100% sure you are ready to adopt, you might consider fostering first. This way you get an idea of what it will take to care for the animal, and also get some guidance from a shelter along with veterinary care while the pet is with you. You might end up as a “foster fail” because you’ve fallen in love with the pet and wish to have it in your home for the rest of its life. This happens a lot, and is not a bad thing!
Prepare your home for this new addition. Pet proofing your home is important. Keep hazardous items out of reach. Remove loose cords or cables. Safely store medicines, cleaners and chemicals out of reach. Remove poisonous plants and anything that could potentially be chewed and/or swallowed.
Patience is key!
You are coming together typically not knowing much, if anything, about the animal’s past. If you are able to learn something, that’s a bonus! Time will be needed to get to know each other. Remember, typically the animal has come from a shelter or rescue situation, so it will likely be nervous, confused, anxious, scared, sad, bewildered, etc. Imagine how you would feel if you were in this animal’s position!
The first week is often the most challenging but also a wonderful discovery period. Your new pet needs some structure and guidance on what you expect from it, including where it will sleep, nap, eat, play, and so on. As you get through each day, you will learn more about each other. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly. It takes time to become familiar with each other and get into a routine. The animal needs time to adjust and warm up to you and your family, so give it space but also give love and attention. Pet, groom, and play with your pet. Providing a pet bed in a quiet area or crate creates a safe space where it can relax.
If you have other pets in the household, give them time to gradually get to know each other. Avoid forcing them to be together. Let this happen slowly, cautiously, and always with supervision!
Some training will be necessary.
Setting boundaries to stay off furniture and counters or teaching basic commands such as sit and stay are important from the start. If you have a pet with bad habits, or just have trouble with training on your own, there’s an abundance of trainers out there to help for a fee.
If you know the breed of the dog, it can be helpful to study about that breed to help you understand its character traits better.
Some frustration with the new pet is inevitable. Patience and time are needed to get through this first phase. You can do it!
Jenny is a Certified Natural Health Consultant for pets and their people, and a Healing Touch for Animals (Level 2) and NES BioEnergetics Practitioner. Consultations are done over the phone and through email. To contact, call or text (906) 235-3524 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excerpted from the Fall 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.