Welcoming a new furry family member can always bring a mix of emotions. You’re obviously excited about this new pet, but it does come with its own set of challenges. When you bring home a pet from a shelter, that brings up a whole new set of questions and obstacles. Luckily, we have some tips to help and some advice from an expert.
The most important thing to have when bringing home a new pet, especially a rescue pet, is patience. This animal is experiencing a whole new family and environment, which is definitely intimidating. While you are super excited about this new addition, your pet might take some time to adjust.
“Some animals may have more of an adjustment period than others, but shelter staff can help prepare you on how a particular animal may react to new surroundings,” said Rachael Lewis from the ASPCA.
What’s unique about shelter pets is that they may have been in multiple homes. This can be difficult for some animals, because they may have experienced some trauma and might be confused about how a domestic pet should behave. But sometimes, this experience with other owners can actually be a benefit.
“When adopting from a shelter, you often have the opportunity to learn more about the animal you are considering bringing home, including their background, energy level, and how they would get along with children and other pets,” says Lewis. “Many shelters have animal behavior counselors you can speak with to determine whether a specific animal would be a good fit for your household.”
Before you even bring a new pet home, it’s crucial to understand the personality of the animal. This helps you determine if it’s right for your family and how to best welcome it into your home. If it’s a very energetic pet, make sure you have plenty of acceptable toys and things to play with. For a more shy or nervous pet, try to keep introductions to a minimum so you don’t overwhelm your dog or cat.
Being prepared with the right supplies and the right spaces for this new pet definitely makes the transition easier. You of course should have all the essentials like food, collars, ID tags, leashes, toys, and treats. But besides stocking your home with all the right things, you have to make sure your home itself is pet-ready. This means dog or cat-proofing everything and making sure there’s a confined, safe space that this pet can call its own.
While bringing home a rescue pet can sometimes be a bit more challenging than just getting one from a pet store, it’s well worth the investment. Pet stores often do not have very high standards when it comes to breeding and the safety of the animal. Buying pets from those stores only further encourages them to keep participating in these dangerous practices. But by adopting from a shelter, you’re helping a pet in need and helping free up space for another animal that may need help.
“Adopting an animal from a local shelter saves more than one life,” says Lewis. “Adoption not only moves an animal from vulnerability to safety, but creates space at the shelter, and moves more resources and attention to the remaining animals.”
So when it comes to finding your newest little friend, remember to adopt, don’t shop. And when you finally get to bring that ball of fluff home, there’s one word to always keep in mind: patience.
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