It’s been almost a year since The Beast came home. As she lies sprawled across my side of the bed, I’m amazed at where the journey of adopting a rescue has taken us.
Lois stole our hearts from the first time we saw her on the Hopeful Hearts website. She’s a Great Pyrenees/Bernese Mountain Dog mix. She has beautiful markings like the Berner but with a white body.
It wasn’t love at first sight thought – at least not for her. Lois’ foster family brought her to our house so they could assess whether our home would be a good fit. She didn’t want anything to do with us or our house.
Being the dog whisperer I am (I’ve watched enough Cesar Milan to qualify), I knew to keep my energy calm and not look at her; ignore her. It was my way of letting her know we would not harm her. That didn’t matter. She barked her face off like I was the devil.
While still stand-offish, she finally followed me into the backyard to play. Which really meant run around until I was lassoed by the leash, barking. This would later turn out to be hindsight.
Obviously we completed the adoption and brought Lois home. It would be sometime before that’s what she considered it though. There were sleepless nights. As time went on, those nights weren’t from her disconcert but from scratching.
Oh, you didn’t know pets can have allergies?
To say Lois is busy is an understatement. We still haven’t figured out how to drain the batteries. We have tried everything from obstacle courses to swimming to hitching her (yes, we may have a dog-sledding harness for her) to puzzles. And yet she still bounces as if to say “what’s next guys?”. However, she has learned to stay in bed until 7:30 am which is waaaaaaay better than the 5:30 internal alarm she had a few months ago.
And remember that running around in circle things from our first meeting? Ya, well, it turns out Lois also has Australian Shepherd in her. Don’t know what they’re famous for? Herding. Nuff said. She herds everything – even the leaf blowing down the street as I’m on the other end of the leash being dragged along.
This weekend I reflected with my in-laws on the change we have seen in her. Lois has gone from a timid, shy pooch to
begging visiting the neighbours for treats and love.
Tips to consider when adopting a rescue
So no one has to go through the heartache of giving their dog up, here are some tips to consider before adopting a rescue.
Ensure you’re ready for a dog. And not just you but your entire family. Everyone needs to be on board. Can you fit a dog into your schedule? Who is going to walk them when you’re going to be late or take them when you’re travelling on vacation? They’re an added responsibility that need your time, attention and love every single day.
Have a slush fund. Make sure you can financially afford a pooch. They need proper vet care and healthy food. Dogs cost money. Period.
Find the right dog for you. Before googling adoption agencies or stepping one foot in a shelter, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you dominant or more passive?
- What type of lifestyle do you lead? Active? Laid-back?
- Are you a clean-freak or can you handle shedding and drool?
- Do you have the right space for a dog?
Do your research for the breed that would be a good fit.
Leave your emotions at the door. Once you start looking it is hard to stay focused. The term puppy eyes takes on a whole new meaning as the looks describe what their heart is saying, “pick me”. It’s hard not to feel sorry for them, however, if you let your guard down you may end up with the wrong pooch for your lifestyle.
Be prepared for the unexpected. Due to the situations dogs end up in foster care, rescue agencies don’t always have the whole history of the animal. They do their best to assess the pooches that come into their care but dogs only speak with their eyes. You will need patience.
Allow for an adjustment period. Once you find your new furbabe and bring them home, give them time. Imagine being whisked away by strangers and taken to a foreign place. They may be standoffish at first but I promise you, it won’t be long before you’re being smothered with love.
Ready to adopt your new furry friend? Here are some great tips from the Ontario SPCA to help you and your pooch adjust.
If you have any questions about our journey in adopting a rescue, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to get back to you.0