One of my favorite things is seeing people open their hearts and their homes to foster or adopt animals from a shelter. These animals, for the most part, have had a rough life. They either come off the streets, are surrendered by their owners, abandoned, severely mistreated, or an unfortunate combination of these things.
Each animal has their own story. Hopefully, part of their story includes people who decide to care for them even when it's hard. Bringing home a shelter animal has it's own unique set of challenges.
I adopted my dog and am currently fostering another. Sometimes it means enduring late nights, cleaning up after them constantly, or giving them meds every six hours, but seeing how happy and healthy they become makes it all worth it.
If you are considering adopting or fostering an animal, please, keep these things in mind:
1. It might take weeks or sometimes months for them to fully trust you.
Not all, but some of these animals have been mistreated. There are those who then turn aggressive and then there are those who become extremely skiddish. The shy ones require a lot of love and patience before they become comfortable around people again.Don't become discouraged when they aren't overwhelmed with your presence right away. I promise you, you will slowly see the transformation.
2. Most animals will come home with a medical problem.
Dogs off the streets typically have a variety of illnesses including anything from intestinal worms to skin parasites. Most of them are treatable, but some of them are not.
Additionally, most animals experience symptoms related to stress from the shelter but it's nothing a little love can't fix!
Please, do no expect your new pet to come home without some form of medical issue and blame it on the shelter when they do not. The shelters do the best they can for all their animals with the limited amount of resources offered to them.
3. Dogs are usually on concrete or in crates.
So, when you take your furry friend home, they might need a little reminder about where it is appropriate to use the bathroom. They get used to popping a squat wherever they want to. Some might have never been inside at all because they came in straight off the streets.
4. A lot of patience and love is required.
These animals aren't perfect. They need a lot of grace just like we do. If their sick or struggling to trust again, the best medicine you can give them is love. (Cheesy, I know, but still true.)
5. The transition can be difficult.
Just like any animal, they will need some time to adjust to your home and to your lifestyle. It takes some time for them to become comfortable in their new environment. Keeping a consistent routine for the first week or two will help your pet transition with as little stress as possible.
6. Shelter animals make the best pets.
You should visit your local humane society to see how you can help!