April showers bring may flowers but flowers aren’t the only newcomers that should be invited into your home this year – Welcome to Adopt a Shelter Pet Month! I’ve long been an advocate of #adoptDontShop and if you are planning to spring a resident from one of our local shelters there are few things to make the transition easy for all of you. When we adopted our little Rosie Cotton from H.A.R.T. we had so many concerns about her effect on our old grumpy senior kitty, Samwise. But with a few simple tips, our zen wasn’t turned completely on its ear. (As “zen” as we get anyway.)
Discuss the plan
Are you getting a dog or a cat? An puppy or an older dog? A pile of kittens or a mellow senior kitty? Make sure you and your family are on the same page regarding what kind of pet you will be adding! Talk to the shelter staff about specific behaviors and needs of your potential new family member.
Dog-Cat-Puppy-Kitten-proof your house
Now is the perfect time for your spring clean! Most importantly, ensure that nothing has a permanent home (pile of laundry or shoes) on the floor. It’s going to take time to learn the quirks of your new family member, and it’s best not to learn them on your favorite pair of shoes!
If there are areas of your home (i.e. kitchen, utility room, dining room, etc.) that you want off-limits to Simba or Fido, you need to decide what those areas are and create boundaries before they arrive. Using barriers or baby gates at first will help them learn these boundaries.
Create a Special Space
Most importantly, make your new furry family member feel welcome. It will be new and possibly a bit scary for them. Create a space that’s specifically for them. Buy a new bed (avoid used if you can) that’s all theirs, set up their food and water bowls, and if they have any comfort items from the shelter such as a toy or blanket, make sure it is where they can find it in their special place.
Give them their space, be patient, shower them with love, and your life will become more wonderful and meaningful with every new passing day shared with your rescue-pet.
Want in on exclusive VIP goodies? Come to the Bark Side. We have dog cookies.