Before you Foster or Adopt


  1. UNKNOWN BEHAVIORS:? Whether an animal was adopted from the shelter or a rescue group, it is important for pet owners to understand that to a certain extent, there could be unknown behaviors.  For instance, it is hard to know whether an animal is housetrained, friendly with other animals, children, etc. If the animal came from a foster home, or if a previous owner provided detailed information, there will likely be a bit more information available. Regardless, we stress to all new pet owners to be patient; much as you would need an adjustment period of you were taken from your only home or family you’ve ever known, an animal requires the same approach. Be patient, expect a learning curve on both your side as well as the animal’s, and above all, remember that an animal lives to make you happy- just give them time!

The best thing you can do is give the new animal space- do not invite a group of people over, or take the animal to the dog park or public spaces. The animal will need time to settle into their new surroundings, to process the change and figure out who you are! Like children, animals need rules, structure and to understand what is expected of them. We highly encourage avoiding potential stressful situations for a minimum of 2-4 weeks upon bringing a new animal home; let’s set them up for success!

  1. COMMON MEDICAL SITUATIONS: ? If your new foster dog was just rescued from the shelter, he may develop kennel cough? within the first 14 days. Do not be alarmed if you see a runny nose, or if you start to hear a hacking or honking sound in their throat/chest; simply contact your vet as soon as you observe this, as they will likely need to prescribe a two week round of antibiotics. Nothing too serious as long you catch it soon- just like a human with bronchitis.

Kennel cough could be contagious to other dogs, so please separate any other pets in the home; your dog may not catch it, but better safe than sorry! Another common thing dogs experience after leaving the shelter is having worms ?in their feces or diarrhea; while certainly not pleasant, the dewormer tablet is an easy fix, and diarrhea could likely be due to low quality food and stress.  

  1. BATHING & GROOMING: ?Dogs are frequently just spayed or neutered after leaving the animal shelter, so please do not bathe the animal at least 10 days (or when sutures are removed). ?Why? Because the sutures or glue that has closed the surgical site could become loose which means they will have to be taken to an emergency vet for re-stitching as well as being put at risk for serious infections.



Our main priority is making sure you have the tools and are prepared to start things off on the right foot; it’s all about a safe introduction, then keeping firm boundaries. Please note these key tips to adhere to initially (ie. at least the first week, as this allows everyone a chance to settle in & get safely acquainted with each other and the routine of the home):

– No shared food or toys?; feed separately at either different times or areas of the home, and only allow your pets to have a toy only when they are separated or in their crate;

– Do not leave your new dog alone unsupervised with other pets or children, and do not leave outdoors without your supervision (and ideally, even on leash to build trust until the privilege of being off-leash is earned);

– Do not allow your new pet to sit on your lap, furniture, or sleep in bed with you? initially; by showering your new pet with praise and not making them earn their privileges could create an entitled little monster, and frequently this leads to jealousy from your other pets which leads all too often into a fight for possession and territory

The most Important thing for new pet owners of rescued or adopted dogs and cats:

All of these animals have suffered some sort of trauma, neglect, abuse or emotional abandonment, so more than anything, they need PATIENCE. They may never been loved or lived with a family before, or they may have been abandoned by their owners on the street or dropped off one day at the shelter… we can only imagine what they have had to endure. So when you are looking at your pet and wondering why he is shaking, why he won’t budge when you are trying to take him for a walk, or why he isn’t jumping onto your lap to lick your face, just remember what he needs more than a walk in the park is your love and patience.

While the going may get rough initially, just remember YOU are the only person this animal has right now in the whole world who cares about him, and while he may be a little smelly, scared, or an accident on your favorite area rug, if you can be a patient leader, he will blossom!

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