Each year, an estimated 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted out of the 6.5 million that enter shelters nationwide (ASPCA stats). Adopting is a big decision in your life and the animal’s life. When selecting a companion, choose an animal and breed that’s compatible with your lifestyle. The first few days are very important for rescue animals, as they move from a confined environment into a home. Here are some steps you can take to make a rescue animal comfortable in its new surroundings and forever home.
1. Prepare the House for The Newcomer
Make sure you have all the basic items your pet will need, including food, water bowls, toys, treats, a comfortable bed, a crate, an identification tag, and a leash. Before leaving the shelter, make sure you have the feeding schedule and the food preference from the caregivers.
When selecting toys, think of the animal’s habits. Cats like scratching posts and moving objects. A post made from a rope is a good choice because the material is different from most other materials in the house. Another thing to consider is the safety of the toy. Toys made from hard rubber are a better choice as the dog will find it harder to tear it apart for a snack.
2. Be patient
You are excited to have a new member in your family, but remember that you are strangers at this point, so you still need to learn about each other. Give your new friend some time to get used to everything. Create a safe space where they can go to have some time away from everyone. And, don’t worry if they spent a lot of time in a safe space.
Take your time with the training. Designate a toilet area and take them there regularly. Pet-proof the windows and doors so they don’t run away and get lost. Use pet gates to ensure they don’t enter into a dangerous area. If there are any faulty appliances in the house, get them fixed as well.
3. Be Consistent
Your new pet will take some time to learn the rules of their new home. A dog may need 10 to 14 days to acclimatize, according to experts. An animal shelter can be a stressful environment due to the limited mobility and noise from other animals in close quarters. In the beginning, the rescued animal will be adjusting to the more relaxed surroundings. After they feel comfortable in their new home, they will start to show their true personality. Develop a routine that you want them to follow and repeat it regularly so there’s less confusion.
4. Introduce your family
A good way to introduce your family is to get the pet used to their smell. Place their worn clothes in a place where the animal will be able to smell them. Your pet is probably overwhelmed, so allow them to slowly get acquainted with the sights and smells of their new home.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emma Cook is a recent graduate and freelance writer from Raleigh, NC. When she’s not thinking of creative writing topics, she’s probably sipping coffee at a local coffee sho, hanging out with her dog, or thrift shopping.