Adopting a rescue is a wonderful thing, but before you do, I have written a few guidelines you should read and follow before this major step in your life.
I have rescued many dogs, I have had wonderful experiences and not so wonderful experiences and had to face the reality that you can’t save them all.
If your home already has other furry or feathered beings residing in it; never trust that all will be well when you bring a rescue home. Use the behavioral evaluation of the rescue, but don’t rely on it for complete accuracy. I, myself, have been led to believe an embellished story of Oz, when, in reality, the path ahead led more to the Wicked Witch’s castle. Don’t ever trust your new rescue and your pets home alone together until you are sure everything is peaceful. Crate the new one if you must leave; it only takes a matter of seconds to inflict hurt and heartache.
Watch carefully the interactions of those in your home, do they seem uneasy around the new rescue….
Watch closely the eyes of the rescue, does he seem to follow the others more like prey…..
Pick a dog that matches your home, if your home is filled with birds, don’t pick a bird dog ….. some rules only follow common sense.
If you have young children, be very diligent in the beginning……a pom can just as easily bite the nose off a toddler as a pittie…….there is no “safe” breed.
If there is any indication of menace, don’t believe things will get better. I once rescued a german shepherd mix. A beautiful girl, she loved my entire family, did tricks, took food graciously……..perfect? No…..she hated me. Every time, I walked past, her lips would curl, I learned quickly not to approach her sleep, or she would jump at me growling….. The second day, she bit the palm of my hand. My children loved her, I kept thinking, things will get better. We took her to the vet, she snarled at him. A wise man, he told me that I had a ticking time bomb in my house. One day, I would reach for something, a broom, a vacuum, something that would trigger her to attack me…..
With much distress, we returned her to the rescue. And, as things turned out, the truth is sometimes slow to be forthcoming. The rescue told us she had been abused and beaten by a woman who “looked a lot like me.” So much, for things getting better. We later found out she had been adopted again. This time, she attacked the family cat, who wasn’t as lucky as I fared that day.
I rescued a beautiful Mountain dog from a NYC rescue. We waited weeks until he was able to come home, and we continued his kennel cough treatment. Again, the rescue told us we could take him home immediately with the cough. Now, I rescue elderly dogs, so I had some sense of the dangers of kennel cough….especially to the compromised health of senior dogs. Be knowledgeable about the health of a rescue, and how that health will impact the others in your home. Keep drinking bowls separate at first, it is so much better to be safe than sorry……. Get the advice of a vet before you bring any health challenged new pet into your home. Don’t only take the word of a rescue that other pets in your home will be safe, keep the health of pets who already own your heart first in your priorities.
This Mountain dog had separation anxiety as well; he was on medication. He was the Jekyll and Hyde of canines. Since I was home most of the time, and worked as a Reiki Master by appointment, I thought he would be able to cope with my leaving for short periods of time, crated. We had an extra large metal crate. During separation, this dog achieved supercanine strength. He managed to separate the metal crate top …..how he did this, I still don’t know to this day…….and squeeze through the separation. This was not a little dog….unless his parents were giant mice, I don’t know how this biological feat was accomplished. Anyway, I came home to much damage. Still, my stubborn streak persisted. We looked at all possible locations to keep him safely for 30-60 minute intervals while I was away. Finally, we chose a corner of the kitchen, he had nothing to destroy…..or so we thought. We tied him. There was no other option. He could not remain outside, because he loudly voiced his constant displeasure, even when I was home. After 30 minutes, I returned, to find my windowsill destroyed, my air conditioner destroyed, and a dog who had tried to break through the kitchen window. That was the last straw for my husband, who took a drive back to the City that afternoon. I still wonder about him; but like I said earlier, the lesson that you cannot save everyone is a hard one to swallow. Not every animal can be reached or “saved”……in spite of love, communication attempts, or Reiki. Sometimes, the damage is just too deeply entrenched in a soul.
I am one hundred percent for rescue, I continue to rescue to this day. Just remember, there are challenges to face and strong commitments to be made. Dogs from horrendous circumstances seldom walk into a home without carrying baggage….just as humans do. My home is filled with residents who carried in those bags of baggage filled to the brim. Be prepared to work through those challenges and clean-ups until both you, the other residents of your home, and your new pet are peaceful……Sometimes, those clean ups and challenges last a lifetime…..realize this, before you make the commitment to bring a rescue home.
And never blame yourself, if peace cannot be achieved……bring the rescue back to a place of safety, perhaps another family can reach into that darkness of a soul and clear the way for light.