Real story: I used to stay up watching dog rescue videos at 3 am while balling my eyes out. This was the start of how I knew in my gut that if I ever wanted a dog, I would rescue one. A few years passed, and now I have a rescue pup who’s part of my family. My dog has definitely changed my life for the better. Rescuing a pup has its own set of challenges, before and after. With patience and love, your pup will be able to call your home their home, too.
FINDING THE ONE
Fortunately, there are tons of resources on dog shelters and rescue organizations. Be sure to check your local ASPCA. A lot of organizations have websites where you can browse a database of dogs that need adoption. This is extremely helpful because you can check their history, age, and certain behaviors. Just a warning, reading through their stories is heartbreaking. It makes you want to adopt every dog! Their stories usually range from being surrendered, lost, or even abused, so be sure to be ready for what you want to tackle. Sometimes the dogs are being taken care of by a foster parent, so make sure you do your research before contacting the organization for a visit.
You should be super excited after scheduling a meetup time with your future family member! I definitely couldn’t sleep the day before! Depending on where you decide to go, it can become overwhelming. When I went to the ASPCA, I had to walk down a bunch of rooms where all the dogs stayed. That part was extremely hard for me because I just wanted to take every dog home!
One thing I learned was that once you are in the room with your dog, you should let the dog come to you. Some places let you go on a walk together to get you more connected with the dog you are about to bring home. This is a great time to get a feel for the dog’s personality!
I also had the opportunity to accompany one of my friends who visited her future dog in a foster home. To do this, contact the organization and they will set up the meetup day and time. I generally think foster families have more of an opinion on the dog since they have been taking care of the dog for few days or so.
One last thing to remember, don’t forget to ask about the adoption fee and what it includes, like spaying/neutering, vaccinations, and if they provide any basic dog supplies.
SETTING UP YOUR HOME
I’ve learned from other rescue dog owners to create a space where your dog can feel safe. You should create a small and confined area so they can have a smooth transition to their new home. This area should be easy for you to supervise so you can prevent any unnecessary accidents. Remember to pick up the general dog necessities like food, leashes, and grooming products such as wet wipes and combs.
BRINGING YOUR DOG HOME
One thing I’ve learned is that patience is key, especially when bringing a rescue dog home. It is very important to not let your dog roam free in your house. Keep your dog in your confined space so they can understand that this is their space. You can provide some chew toys, like KONG, to reward good behavior.
Once your dog gets settled, you can set a routine for yourself and your dog. When will meal time be? When are potty breaks? Sleeping time? Dogs are routine animals. If you are strict with the schedule, dogs will naturally follow. A lot of these things are not specific to rescue dogs, but generally can be used for all dogs who get introduced to a new environment.
You should take note of anything that causes your pup fear, aggression, or anxiety. This can be other dogs, certain objects or sounds, people, or even other animals. Sometimes you don’t know what your dog has been through, so it is important to observe your dog. For example, if your dog hides from men, slowly introduce them to that source and reward them for remaining calm and relaxed. They will feel more comfortable and learn that there is nothing to be afraid of.
I hope this has been helpful, and I can’t wait for you to adopt your new member of your family! I want to share my pup’s story soon, so stay tuned!
Have you adopted from a shelter? What was your experience like?