I recently rescued a dog from an animal shelter. I decided that I wanted a dog for protection and for my son who has autism. When I saw the dog on the animal shelter website, I knew that he was a dog that I wanted to rescue. He had obviously had a hard life, he was covered in ticks and was malnourished. So the next day I went to the shelter and adopted him.
When I arrived there, I was in shock at just how skinny he was. He was listed as an old English bulldog and I knew that couldn’t be his breed based on his size and his having very little wrinkles on his face. When I looked into his face he definitely had some Pitbull in him. It was determined by myself and the vet that he was Pitbull mixed with American Bulldog. The dog who had no name at the shelter seemed to be very excited to be outside in the play yard but didn’t pay much attention to me. He never once barked or growled and so I thought maybe he’ll be a good dog.
When I put him in the car, he sat down like a human on the seat and seemed really happy to be leaving the shelter. It’s almost like he knew he would have a forever family. We got him home and he ran about the big yard that I have which is fenced in fully and smelled everything. He seemed very happy and within a few minutes he quickly warmed up to me, still no bark. I was highly concerned because he didn’t know us and he wasn’t responding the way many dogs do. No matter how much noise was going on here, throughout the neighborhood or even the barking dogs in the neighborhood, he paid no attention. I took him to the vet the next day and everything checked out ok, they removed all the ticks and said for me to keep feeding him 4 times a day. Though he’s very protective of me and my son, he’s still not barking at all.
He does this thing where he’ll stand length wise in front of my legs any time I feel anxious and I’m kind of wondering if he was a service dog to someone. As someone who suffers from chronic anxiety, to see the way he reacts to me when I’m in an anxious state, I have a feeling that he was trained for someone who had anxiety. I wonder if he’ll ever actually be protective of me in the event that someone is a threat to me. I’ve had him for 3 days now and with no signs of aggressiveness or barking, I’m not so sure I picked the right dog. He also seems very needy, at night he lays at my bedroom door (he’s an outside dog) and he whines.
My suggestion to anyone who’s getting a dog is to take the time and think about it. Do you really want a dog? Especially a large dog like what I have. He eats tons of food and drinks lots of water, when they are malnourished and you adopt them, prepare to be feeding 4 times a day sometimes more and prepare to be their only friend. If you’re wanting a dog to be protective of you but not be aggressive towards you, test them out at the shelter. So what you would want to do is have someone else make a sudden move toward you or pretend that they are going to attack you and see how the dog responds. I didn’t do that and now I’m left with just another animal to feed and no guarantee that he’ll protect me. So in my case, I wasn’t looking for a baby, another mouth to feed to just to be a family pet, I was looking for a working dog.
Dogs are a huge responsibility and you definitely should adopt from a shelter rather than a person. In the event that it’s not the dog you had hoped for or he/she’s too much trouble, you can return them to the shelter and pick out the dog you really want. If you take it from someone, you’ll end up with the dog and no guarantee’s and of course you can always take it to the shelter but, there’s also the risk you run that they won’t take a dog they haven’t already had before and there’s always guilt of returning a dog to either way. At this point, there’s no way that I could take him back to the shelter, I know that if he didn’t get adopted right away, they would euthanize him because they didn’t have the space.
UPDATE: We have figured out that he will bark if someone rings the doorbell, so I’m hoping any criminal who comes here rings the doorbell, lol. In the little over a week that I have had him, he’s gained 19 pounds. I take him once a week to the vet just for a weight check and we were all pleasantly surprised at his weight gain. He also decided he wants to play now and though he won’t fetch anything, he does like to play tug-o-war with his rawhide bone and a rope. A dog will be your friend for life if you feed them, pet them and play with them so make sure you have sufficient space before getting a dog because chaining a dog up means you shouldn’t have a dog and make sure that you’re going to give them plenty of attention.
The main reason I’m writing this blog is because I was motivated by watching a TV series on Netflix called “Animal House”. It’s a show about a no kill shelter in New York called North Shore. The other reason I’m motivated is because when word spread that I take in pets that are no longer wanted, I became the drop off place for unwanted pets, primarily puppies. It was horrible to see how many people discarded their pets at my doorstep as if, they were just trash. It’s also sad that many pets are considered property under the law and nothing more.
I have adopted several animals from shelters and currently have a couple of animals that I adopted from people who couldn’t take care of them any more. Normally, this would be considered fostering and I have done a lot of that but, I plan on keeping the remaining animals I have left permanently. I currently have a cat that a woman didn’t want any more and though I knew virtually nothing about him, I decided to take him in because he needed a good home. I was told he was 14 years old but, later found out through a post she had made, the cat is actually 16 years old. I also was told that the cat couldn’t be kept any longer because the neighbor was allergic to cats and then found out she has 2 other cats that she’s keeping. So anyway, it’s a long story but the point is, when you’re adopting any kind of animal whether it be from a person, a rescue from the street or in a shelter, you never know what kind of health problems the animal may have and you certainly don’t know his/her true temperament.
In my case, I had to take the cat to the vet to find out if he was healthy or needed to be euthanized. The first 2 weeks he was here, he would not come out of hiding and he hissed every time we got near him and I thought “I can’t deal with this”. Come to find out, the cat is blind in both eyes and couldn’t see who was approaching. Finally, we had, had enough of his hiding and not socializing and forced him out of the room he was hiding in and shut the door so that he could no longer run back to that space. The entire day I would pick him up and carry him to the couch or to my bed and pet him and have him lay down so that he could get used to us without hissing. He kept us awake the entire night upset that he was being forced to socialize and to get used to the cat we already had (also a rescue). The next day, to our surprise the cat started socializing as if he had known us forever. He got on the bed, he walked through the house, he nudged my arm for me to pet him and got along well with the cat we already had who’s much younger than he is. It was amazing to see the turn around so fast and I think a lot of it is, us not allowing him to hide anymore and you know something, he doesn’t even bother going to the door of the bedroom he used to stay in.
The point in telling you all of this is because, I want you to understand that you never know what type of animal you’ll actually be getting, they are a lot of work and sometimes you’ll even feel like giving up but, you have to make the time to welcome the animal in your home and make the animal feel like you really care and that you can be trusted. The problem with most animals in shelters is that have either been abandoned or abused and possibly both. The animal isn’t likely to trust you regardless of their past situation and working with them to rehabilitate them is a lot of work and patience. Often times people get pets out of just wanting one and don’t consider everything that’s involved.
The animal, particularly dogs with previous bad behavior, will continue that behavior after you bring them home and it can be extremely troublesome and stressful, to change the animal’s mindset and behavior. They may chew your carpet, tear down your breakables, snap at you or even run when the door is open. Learn as much as you can about the animal prior to adopting him/her if possible. If you go to a shelter or the local pound, make sure they give you all the information about the animal including his/her behavior while they have been there and anything you can find out about the condition they were found in.
If you have never had a pet before, start with a small pet that you know a little something about, whether that be from online research or knowing someone with a pet. Don’t feel rushed to make a decision on which animal to take home. Walk around each cage and spend at least 10 minutes with the animals that you really like. If you’re adopting an animal that you found on the street, be sure that you have the time to rehabilitate that dog/cat before taking it home and make sure that it doesn’t present a health hazard or is dangerous. Some animals can be okay until you get them in your vehicle, that’s when the trouble can really start and make sure the dog/cats overall condition looks good before bringing it home. If it only looks like it’s starving, that’s better than a dog say with the mange.
Please share your rescue/adoption stories below and as always, thanks for reading my blog!