This morning I emailed a contract to Save a Mutt Animal Shelter finalizing my adoption of a two-month old Lab/Black Mouth Cur mix. I will get to bring her home on April 12.
The next eight days will be ones of excitement, anxiety and puppy-proofing as my boyfriend and I mentally and physically prepare ourselves for the new addition to our household. I’ve wanted to adopt a puppy for over a year now, but no matter how long you wait and prepare you’re still bound to make mistakes and learn some new tricks yourself. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far in the beginning stages of my journey to adopt:
Finding your forever pet will take time, especially if you’re in search of a puppy or a specific breed. I mean, who doesn’t love puppies? Newborns rarely ever stay in shelters long. In fact, I found out that the first time they’re brought to an adoption event, they are usually given a home that same day. I was turned down from the first two pups I applied for because I was competing with a mountain of other applications. But don’t get discouraged when one adoption falls through, because there are thousands more waiting for you.
Keep an open mind.
I was dead set on finding a German Shepherd. I signed up to receive alerts from sites like adoptapet.com specifically for when new listings for Shepherd pups popped up, but in the end I fell in love with Jade’s (now named Kota) face and chunky paws. It is more about the bond you feel rather than the ideal breed you have in your head.
Have open discussions.
If you live in a household with other people, check and then double check with them that you are all on the same page. My boyfriend was not fully ready to commit to a new dog right away so I waited until he was. But if everyone is on board, also make sure to include them in every step of the process. One step I thought was going to be much easier than it turned out to be was choosing a name, which turned out to be a multi-day, back and forth debate. It ended in a compromise of shortening Dakota to just Kota.
Purchase all supplies in advance.
Most adoptions only take one to two weeks to finalize, so don’t wait to ready your home for the new addition.
Switching to a new environment can be stressful for any dog, but especially one who has been rescued. Make him/her feel as comfortable as you can by getting all toys and products she’ll need ahead of time. Purchase the same type of food the shelter has been feeding your dog to ease their stomach for the first few weeks. Also, if you’re buying a puppy, get a four to six-foot regular leash, not the retractable one, because while training, retractables will allow your dog to think that the harder they pull, the further they can go.
My puppy adoption story is only just beginning, so I’m sure within the first week of Kota joining our home I’ll have plenty more tips for fellow first-time pet owners. And if you have any pieces of advice, let me and fellow readers know.