Do's and Don'ts of Adopting a Rescue
If you are planning on adopting a pet or have recently placed a new addition to your "fur" family, here are a few tips on "DO's" and "DON'TS" taken from Rescue Proud (by Diana Laverdure): Prior to the adoption make sure that the rescue organization will allow you to take the pet on a "trial" basis. It is recommended to bathe a new dog to wash off the "homeless" odor. Remember to start on the back and tail region and slowly move towards the head when bathing as this will be less intimidating to the animal. Then the animal will need some time alone to get familiar with its new surroundings prior to any family introductions. Slowly begin introductions to your existing your "fur" family. Remember that this process takes time and should never be rushed! It is advisable to start with the most submissive existing pet for introductions and proceed slowly to the most dominant. Don't stop older dogs from growling at the newcomer. Simply observe them to ensure that the interaction doesn't escalate to a bad situation! Over time a natural hierachy will develop between existing family members and the newcomer. It is important that you respect that hierachy. Always greet, feed and allow priveledges FIRST to the dog with the higher dominance.
As the newcomer becomes less threatened and more comfortable in its new surroundings, people from outside the home can be slowly introduced by slowly stroking the animal on the lower back and chest. Hold the animal in your lap when introducing the animal to children. Therefore you will remain in better control of the situation should the child or newcomer become excited. Intervene if either the child or animal becomes anxious or nervous with the encounter.
Ask the rescue organization about whether the dog interacts with cats. If at all possible, observe the newcomer's posture when it sees a cat and whether it is friendly or eager to get to the cat.
When adopting a rescue cat, place the animal in a separate room to adjust to its new surroundings and smells. Provide the cat with its own litterbox, food source and water. Take a towel and wipe it over the existing "fur" family and then place it in the room with the newcomer. Do the same process to the newcomer for the existing family members. This will begin the introduction process.
Once again, it is advisable to introduce newcomers to one family member at a time beginning with the most doscile and ending with the most dominant. Remember that this process takes time and that you should always remain present when introductions are made. Then gradually open more doors to your home allowing the new cat to explore your home while always having it "safe-room" available at all times.
If you follow these simple guidelines you will find your new pet's transition to your home alot smoother that you had previously thought!