“Adoption,” says Charlotte Miller, “provides the opportunity to make a significant difference to an animal's quality of life. The chance to restore or develop trust in our role as animal protectors and guardians, and to offer loving care to our dog is truly an opportunity to display our humanity.”
Charlotte from Breed Advisor is a dedicated Dog Rescue worker who has a lot of experience with re-homing pups and an obvious enthusiasm for pet adoption. She is also the author of “The Ulitmate Guide to Dog Adoption.” WoofPack Trails, creator of the dog walking accessory bag, teamed up with her to provide dog lovers with important information on adopting pets.
No doubt, adoption is a great way to open one’s home to a pup in need, to give them a second chance, and to help them thrive in a loving and caring environment. However, when people don’t know what to expect or don’t properly prepare for adopting a pet, the outcome might not go as well as hoped.
As Charlotte explains, “A new dog means changes to routines, dedication to the pet’s exercise needs regardless of the weather, and costs associated with food and healthcare. New owners might not be fully prepared for the monetary obligation and time commitment required to care for their new pet.”
The mission Charlotte and BreedAdvisor are passionate about is educating potential pet owners about the adoption process to help them best determine whether adoption is the right choice for them.
Here are five key points to know about pet adoption:
It takes time for a dog to become settled in their new home. Three months is typically the timeframe before a pet understands its new routine and becomes relaxed with a new family. Likewise, the family needs time to get to know their new pet, to understand the pet’s personality and to gauge situations that may arouse anxiety.
- Some dogs might be hyperactive in the shelter if they are nervous. Dogs who appear to be active in the shelter can behave differently when in their new home. Before rejecting a dog because it appears to be overly active in the shelter, consider they have probably have not had adequate exercise time and are living in an environment that isn’t conducive to helping them to adjust well. Additionally, consider the breed. Is it a breed that is usually calm or one that needs a moderate amount of regular exercise?
Nervous dogs might appear calm in the shelter. Some dogs that appear calm in the shelter may become more active when in their new home. Some dogs cope with difficult situations by shutting down, giving the impression of having a subdued nature. When they can finally move to a calmer environment, they may rediscover their puppyish nature! It is important to be prepared for changes when you bring your pup home and be sure to talk to the staff about their experiences with the dog.
Properly prepare your home. Whether adopting a pup or senior dog, it is important you prepare your home for your new pet. Some dogs may have never lived in a home before, while others may have been surrendered because of problems such as chewing furniture or personal belongings. Put everything valuable out of reach and set up the home to give your dog a safe place to roam and sleep. By heading off potential issues, you are helping your new pet to adapt well to your home environment.
- Be patient with housetraining. Your new dog may not be house trained, or not have a set potty routine due to time spent in a shelter. House training requires patience, repetition and routine. If possible, take your pet outside every two hours and encourage them to “go potty.” Consider rewarding your pet with a tasty, low-fat treat for positive reinforcement. Training classes may also help with stubborn cases.
“When you adopt a dog, the shelter now has a space to take in another dog,” says Charlotte. That dog is no longer in a situation where they can contribute to the stray dog population with unrestricted breeding.”
Adoption can also impact puppy mills which are businesses that breed dogs to make a profit, often with little consideration for the well-being of the dogs they breed or for their litters. If demand for puppies lessen, puppy mill owners will find it no longer lucrative to endlessly breed dogs to sell their puppies.
Think adopting a pet might be right for you? Want to learn more about adoption? Check out Charlotte’s “The Ultimate Guide to Dog Adoption.” If you decide to adopt, celebrate your new family member with us! We would love to see your pictures on our Facebook pages at WoofPack Trails and Breed Advisor.
Daleen Cowgar is a junior at Malone University where she is studying English with minors in Public Relations and Creative Writing. She loves playing with words and looks forward to spending her career continuing to do just that. She also enjoys interacting with the variety of animals that she pet sits.
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