What do you wish someone had told you before you adopted your first rescue dog

I can’t answer for myself however I can answer for close friends of mine. They adopted a black lab and on nine of the adoption papers did it mention that the puppy was a biter. As a matter of fact the paperwork said he was great with people, children and other animals. They found out the hard way that the puppy will bite anyone and everyone. They have each been biten at least 4 times each. The dog loved me and even guarded my car if he saw someone around my car. I was visiting one day and he was playing with a stuffed animal toy. As he played he was pulling all kinds of fuzz out of the toy and as a dog owner myself I didn’t want to see the dog eat the fuzz so once he put the fuzz down about 7 or 8 times I picked up the fuzz as I do with my own dog. The next thing I heard was a deep growl and he had my right wrist in his mouth and wasn’t letting go, I could see quite a bit of blood coming out of my wrist so I tried telling him to get down but when that didn’t work I kicked him hard enough for him to let go but it wasn’t over then, he dropped my wrist then grabbed my fingers. By that time I knew I couldn’t get him off of me unless I gave him another kick. Finally I was free, and running to their bathroom to wash my wrist with water. I was petrified that he had hit something in my wrist that might cause it to never stop as happens when people slit their wrists. My friends came into the bathroom and helped stop the bleeding o my wrist and fingers. They wrapped it as best they could and I went home. My boyfriend saw my injuries and flipped out but calmed down enough to help stop my wrist from bleeding and put medicine on it to keep it from getting infected then put a bug butterfly bandaid on it. My fingers weren’t hurt as much. I was never afraid of a dog in my life until that happened. It never would have happened if the adoption agency had told the truth on the adoption papers. I didn’t report the dog because the people were friends but it didn’t stop biting and has biten them again a few times. My only thing I made them promise was that they wouldn’t let their dog anywhere around other people or children and they have done so far.

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I can share what most people new to rescuing any animal should know:

  1. Schedule a vet visit immediately. Even if you are adopting from an animal control center, get a baseline going with their new doctor. Compare the notes, if any with animal control with their findings and make sure there are no hidden issues that will cause both pain to both of you. I adopted a male cat that was supposedly 9 lbs on the day I took him home, finding him at 7lbs, not eating and dehydrated. Fluids and an ER visit fixed the issue, and most animals are not in critical health as the one I had, but it is the responsible thing to do to start them out with a professional check. These visits are less costly than normal pet consults, because an animal control pet will already have been micro chipped, neutered or spayed, and vaccinated.
  2. Get as much information from the rescue society, animal control or previous owner as possible. Previous conditions and treatment, favorite foods, times, places, as much detail as you can. If you are acclimating them to your home, finding out what stresses or comforts them is invaluable information to them. Many animals form destructive behaviors because they are stressed, left alone or bored. Knowing the way the dog lived previously and how they reacted will help you prevent another poor environment for them and help you get to know your dog’s needs. Being left alone is probably the most common reason for bad behavior, they are social animals that want to belong.
  3. Don’t overwhelm them. Let them quietly come to know your space, starting out in one room and/or crate if they are stressed. Limit the noises and interactions with just quiet behavior that will start them off calm. Even if you have a gregarious house of lots of kids and activities, try to give them time to process the changes with a sense of peace
  4. Be patient. This is a long term family member and this is a completely new environment. Many rescues come from disturbing, abusive, painful situations and this is your case. you need to build trust. Dogs are not meant to be your entertainment, and as delightful as they are. expecting the dog to gratify some entertainment need in you is a sad approach for both parties.
  5. Provide the proper nutrition. Very critical for animals that were starved or are weakened — your vet will help you make sure you are feeding them appropriately. Especially if you adopt a weakened dog, make sure you feed them what they can digest normally, at intervals that are regular (to build trust) and are of the best quality you can afford. Those that have starved will need the clockwork of a schedule so they do not develop food aggression or stress over when the next meal may come.
  6. Show unconditional love. That is what they offer you, so give them the space to understand that your home is the place of love and compassion. Just removing fear, anxiety and replacing it with love and safety will give you the family member you both deserve.

I wish someone had told me to get over my preconceived notions about certain breeds, and to focus on the kinds of dogs that are least likely to be adopted from shelters. I’m talking about pit bulls, chihuahuas, black dogs (they aren’t adopted as much because they don’t photograph as well), senior dogs, and dogs with medical issues. These are the dogs that are killed at much higher rates than others.

(two of my sweet rescue babies, adopted almost exactly one year apart, right around the 4th of July which is one of the most dangerous times of year for shelter pets)

I love and adore my terrier mix (my first rescue), and I of course don’t regret rescuing him nearly a decade ago, but when adopting now, I only seek out dogs that fit into at least one of the previous categories. My husband and I now live with four rescue dogs; one is my original terrier, and the others are all chihuahuas rescued from a high-kill shelter in Orange County, CA.

I used to think chihuahuas were yappy and mean, because that’s how they’re depicted in the media. I was so wrong. Only one of ours is aggressive, and that’s because he was severely abused. Once you win him over, he’s incredibly loyal. The other two are just angels who love everyone and everything.

I wish more people would consider these issues before choosing a pet. They ALL have love to give, and there are few things more rewarding than truly knowing you’re saving a life.

My happy place. See more of my rescue family at our Real Housedogs of Colorado account!

What an overwhelming good experience it would be.

Yeti, my first rescue, was the most amazing dog ever. I have a brilliant dog now, and I wouldnt trade her for the world, but Yeti was one of a kind.

I wish I had known that shelter workers care less about accuracy when describing a dog than ‘selling’ the dog to someone. I wish I had known that animals are in the shelter for a reason other than that the owner ‘couldn’t take care of them anymore’, because a well loved pet is not going to end up in the shelter. I wish I had known that most rescue dogs have serious behavioral problems (unless they are small puppies) and that is why they are in the shelter.

I’ve never had a rescue dog but I wish shelters would be truthful, and I wish they’d steer people to less popular animals like black cats or older animals.

He wont sleep in your bed . amd he sheds endlessly and stock up on squeaky ducks.. It would have been nice to know that stuff