/ Wednesday, October 5, 2016
What To Expect As a First Time Puppy Owner - Post Adoption
If you're interested in adopting a dog from a shelter, but, like me, have little to no previous experience with dogs, this is the post for you! :-)
Growing up and into my adult life, I didn't spend a lot of time with animals. I have never been much of an animal lover, which is the complete opposite from my husband. I would see cute little puppies every now and again and for a short moment, desired to own a small dog one day. I even made remarks to my husband about what type of dog I wanted when the time was right, however, the idea of dog saliva touching my skin or cleaning up canine urination and defecation deterred me from pursuing dog ownership, while my husband has always had high hopes and been enthusiastic about it.
From the first time we saw Luke asleep in his kennel at Wayside Waifs, we knew we had to meet him! Prior to meeting Luke we met with one other cute little dog, but it was Luke who won the kids hearts. I was so excited! That is, until we began the adoption process.
About 30 minutes had passed from the moment we decided that we wanted Luke to the time we sat down with a representative to fill out paperwork. While the rep described all the care and hoops we had to jump through bringing in a new
child puppy into the family, I started to feel a tinge of reluctance. Thoughts of a [dog's] lifetime of cleaning up poop from our yard added with the fact that the following week, my husband was scheduled to take a week long trip out of town leaving me solely responsible for the care of our dog, left me wanting to stop the process pronto!
Fast forward to today, one week and two days later. We have changed his name to Lucas Sergio F. The kids call him Serge. In such a short period of time, my reluctance has totally surpassed and I have developed a completely different outlook regarding our big puppy. I have learned a lot in this past week and it's only right that I share my experiences with others who may be interested and/or curious about what goes into adopting a dog.
Here's a list of what you can expect post-adoption based on our personal experience:
- Expect to plan a few hours out of your day to complete the adoption process if you adopt from a shelter. The entire process took us approximately three hours. There was a lot of information to cover and a lot of forms to sign. Also, Lucas was sterilized. No fatherless puppies for this guy!
- If you adopt a puppy younger than six months from a shelter, expect him or her to contract kennel cough or one of various other infections. This may not happen with your puppy, however, kennel cough is common among sheltered puppies. A few days ago, Lucas had to visit the veterinarian at Wayside Waifs (free!) because he developed a horrible cough that caused him to vomit multiple times daily. He was diagnosed with kennel cough and has been taking medication. He's getting so much better!
- Expect to wipe up (and sanitize!) urine and poop until your dog becomes house broken. This is a given. We haven't had any poop accidents in the home (thank you puppy gods!). I purchased a poop scooper to help me become content with cleaning up his messes outdoors because let me tell you, picking up squishy poop with my hand wrapped in a plastic sack... Once was enough for me. Never again!
- Expect to lose sleep for early morning potty breaks! If you want to housebreak your dog quickly and avoid having to clean up any messes, you have to become dedicated to the training. I'm far from a morning person, but I was ready to stop scrubbing dog pee from my rugs like yesterday, so, I'm a new member of the "morning person" club. :-)
- Expect to have a designated chill area in your home for your puppy if he or she isn't housebroken. Not only do we have a large cage, we have it open into a bigger area that's blocked off for when we are busy and can't keep an eye on him. This is to prevent him from urinating in a random spot in our house without our knowledge.
- If you have children, expect to continuously pick up toys and small odds and ends off the floor. I'm not sure about bigger dogs, but my puppy chews up everything! Everything! Having him has forced me to keep my home tidy.
- Expect an increase in expenses. It's not a huge increase, but you will spend a little extra money for dog food, treats, toys, and other essentials. You'll have to invest in a kennel and/or cage and exercise pen. There are also vet bills and pet care insurance plans that we more than likely won't get.
- Expect possible behavioral issues as a result of the dog's past treatment. If there are any issues it's usually listed on the dog's descriptive file sheet on the front of his or her kennel at the shelter. Lucas was very timid when we met him and when we brought him home. He flinched and trembled a lot and would not move with a leash on him. We knew instantly that he may have had some issues in the shelter he was transferred from before landing at Wayside Waifs. During our adoption process a dog behavioral specialist who worked one on one with Luke explained that he requires a lot of patience because he's very timid and afraid. I'm happy to say that he has improved so much since his first couple of days with us! He loves running around the yard with the kids and playing with my husband. This is what he likes to do with me:
- Expect to have moments of frustration. Well, let's see, scrubbing canine urine from my rug, cleaning up huge messes of shredded paper (thanks kids!) and the shredded foam divider that was placed in his cage, teaching him not to poop on the neighbor's lawn, cleaning up vomit, and losing sleep. Oh! He also just chewed up my USB cord that I use to connect my DSLR to the computer. It wasn't even on the floor!
- Expect to experience a different kind of joy. I glad my husband didn't give into my reluctance. Lucas is such a sweet and cute puppy! Watching him play with the kids or roll around in the grass makes me giggle! Lucas is such a good companion for my family. He's adapting to his new family and environment so well. I couldn't be more grateful to have him in our lives!
*Special thanks to my father-in-law, the dog whisperer (haha!) for being such a great help! My husband called him for advice multiple times while we were at the shelter and he agreed to take Lucas to the vet for us without hesitation.
Thanks for reading!