Adopting a pet from a shelter is one of the most rewarding experiences life has to offer. They bring you unconditional love, companionship and joy.
Of course, adoption is a long-term commitment – so you want to be sure you are prepared and organized before making such a life-changing decision. Here are some tips that will help make your adoption a happy and successful experience:
Puppies are great for young couples or families with kids. But if you are working all day or collecting Social Security, you’re better off going with an adult dog (or cat) that’s already formed her personality and doesn’t have so much energy. If you have a big house and a fenced-in yard, a big dog is a perfect match. But if your place is small and you’re going to be walking your dog, a smaller or medium-sized version is probably your better choice.
Make sure everyone in your home is on board with adopting a pet. Getting a pet is a terrific way to celebrate a birthday or special holiday – just not as a surprise gift. What if the person receiving the pet doesn’t like her? Then that pet has to come back to the shelter, which is tough on both the animal and the gift recipient. You’re much better off bringing everybody to the shelter and finding a pet everyone likes and who bonds with everyone. Also, if you live with your parents or have a landlord, make sure they are aware of your plans to bring home a new pet.
Shelter life is hard on animals. They’ve gone through a lot and need time to decompress and get their bearings. Always follow the 3-3-3 rule when you adopt. For the first three days, your pet may be overwhelmed and stressed by a new home and family. Pay special attention to her, keep her separate from your other pets when you’re not home and don’t let her outside without supervision.
After three weeks, your pet realizes she’s living with you for awhile and her life and behavior becomes more routine. She is now responsive to training and starting to show her true personality. At the three-month mark, your pet is confident that you love and cherish her. She knows she’s part of the family!