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Adopt A Dog Month

vwcampin (Shelby L. Bell) [Flickr]

When you bring home a new pet, plan for a time of adjustment as you and your furry buddy get to know each other.  You may be comfortable because, after all, it's your home - but it will be foreign and unfamiliar to your newly adopted dog.  Patience and lots of love will help to make the transiton easier for your new best friend.


The month of October brings colorful trees, cooler weather, football games and tailgating. Well, this year some things might be different, but the trees and the weather seem to be right on track. October is also Adopt a Dog Month.

There are good reasons to adopt a dog. To begin with, you get and new best friend - and you’ll save a life. Every year, in many parts of the country, millions of adoptable pets never make it out of the animal shelter alive, because there are too many of them and not enough people adopting shelter pets. And – when you adopt a shelter pet, you free up space so another homeless animal might get its chance for a new home and a loving owner.

Put aside any misconceptions about dogs being in a shelter because they were bad pets. Most are there through no fault of their own. Their owners had to move and could not take them, or lost their job and could no longer afford them, or – not uncommon right now – their owner became ill and could not care for them.

Many adopters of shelter pets talk about how grateful their new furry friends seem to be when they realize they have a loving home, with regular food and attention. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a dog some time to adapt to its new environment – remember, it is coming out of a stressful situation, in a cage, in a place that was noisy and smelly, and into a place that is quieter, with more freedom and space. So, your new pet may sleep a lot the first few days. It will also need time to check out its new surroundings, and adapt to a new schedule.

Authors Patricia McConnell and Karen London suggest a schedule of three days, three weeks and three months for a pet to acclimate to a new home. It takes about three days for a dog to transition from the shelter to a home setting. After three weeks, your dog will have learned your routine. And after three months, your canine buddy will know it is finally home, right where it should be, with you. It is a process, but the result is a great relationship with your new best friend, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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