Adopting from a Shelter


First of all, you will be saving a life.

Second of all you will be making room for another soul that needs rescued.

Do not have expectations of your new pet. With time you both will be learning about each other.


There are pure breeds as well as mutts in animal rescue shelters. Mutts are less temperamental than pure breeds and have less chance of having certain diseases. Animals may have behavioral problems. Dogs that are continually being brought back due to no fault of their own may have trust issues. Just like foster children being bounced from one house to another they lack trust and bonding. But with love and patience on your part that can change.


Trust me every animal I have gotten from a shelter is changed forever. They may seem docile and quiet in the shelter but once they have a taste of freedom they may all of a sudden be athletic and running everywhere. This is normal.


It takes about 3 days for a rescue dog to no longer be afraid of their new home. It takes about 3 weeks for them to finally feel comfortable in their new home. It takes about 3 months for their true personality to come through and actually become a member of the family. For abused and abandoned pets it may take a little longer. Each pet has their own character and personality. Change does not happen overnight, nor should it be expected to.


Think of a shelter pet as a foster child bounced from one home to another. They feel unloved, unsafe, and distrustful and for all good reasons. But even those dogs that were forced into fighting has proven they can love again. Unfortunately, those that cannot are euthanized and this is due to human cruelty.


Pets grieve too. They grieve for the loss of their owner, and even loss of other pets they bonded to. Some will show grief by being stand offish or howl, for their missing loved one. I had one howl for 3 nights before he got over the loss of his pet buddy. You just have to let them go though the grief process and be there for them when they do need you.



What to consider:

1. Your personality and lifestyle

2. Do you have the time it takes to train and socialize with your new pet.

3. Are you energetic enough for a puppy or a breed that needs to run.

4. Are you willing to have compassion and patience for a senior who has “accidents” and needs


5. Shelter dogs are either strays, surrenders or confiscated from abuse.

6. Shelter dogs may have behavioral problems, make sure you are ready for them.

7. Cost of pet like; spay/neuter, vet check ups, yearly rabies shot, nail trims and any special

medication that may be needed.

8. Cost of pet food, treats, food and water bowls, toys, ect.

9. If you have other animals, make sure the new pet will accept them. Some dogs are truly an “only


10. Know the breed. Little puppies do not stay little!


Do’s and Don’ts:

1. Do not have preconceived perceptions.

2. Do let them come up to you on their time.

3. Do take your time to form a bond with your new pet.

4. Do not have a bunch of people over until your new pet adopts to their new home.

5. Do pet proof your home BEFORE you bring them home. Make sure all poisonous plants and

cleaners (especially poisons) are out of their reach. This also includes your garage or where

antifreeze is stored.)

6. Do keep electrical cords out of reach especially if puppy is still in its chewing stage.

7. Do consider a gate or crate to keep pet confined when you are away. Some dogs have anxiety

when you are gone. Placing a t-shirt with your scent on it can help.

8. Once they feel safe they will want to be around you more.

9. Do let them smell the back of your hand. An open hand can be threatening.

10. If the pet is hearing impaired, gently touch the pet to get its attention. Never rush in or you may

get bit. Abused pets startle easily.