Are you Adopting a Rescue-Dog?

There are some boundaries you may want to carefully consider before you adopt.
We adopted CocoRoo two weeks ago. I had never adopted a dog, all of my dogs were raised from pups, including my Chihuahua that I have now- Romeo.
I adopted an older dog because Romeo doesn’t really like active young dogs. He likes older sickly dogs. So I knew he’d like CocoRoo.

She being a rescue was not the raised the way I raised Romeo.
You can watch an older dog and see what they are familiar with and what they have been exposed to.
CocoRoo doesn’t sniff anything on our walks and jumps at every sound.
I found giving her short run helps her settle down for walking.
She is learning about walks outside in new places, not barking at everyone and every dog.

She has not been reliably fed. She was brought to the shelter emaciated and very sick. So we feed her on a schedule that she can count on. She is learning not to dive into Romeo’s bowl when he is eating. She was used to some kind of “group” feed where she and other dogs ate out of one bowl. Very confusing to have her own bowl. Romeo has been very gentle and tolerant of her and now she waits for him to finish eating and still runs to his bowl to see if anything is left.

She will have some healthcare expenses. All dogs need some basic vet care, Romeo has been a very inexpensive pet due to his good breeding, good nutrition, luck, and overall good care. He is 14 and our expenses were the cost of neutering and one surgery for a blockage from something he swallowed.
CocoRoo needed a $75 antibiotic on her first vet visit, and needs some deep dental cleaning. And I anticipate there will be other things because she has not had the nutrition or care that Romeo has had.  I adopted her knowing there would be some expenses for her health and I was willing to adopt an older dog and give her the care she will need.

She is also a total snuggler with me. Over the years Romeo has drifted away from wanting to snuggle with me and has been very attached to my husband. He sleeps curled against my husband too. I wanted a dog that could snuggle with me. Warning,  This is a very BIG expectation to put on a rescue dog. Really, the snuggling and cuddling of  safe trusting connection isn't fair to expect from a new dog from a shelter. I was prepared that she might not be a snuggler.
But it turns out- she is – so we have lots of cuddle time.

If you have never adopted a dog before, and you are thinking of bringing one home this holiday,
keep in mind;
The holidays can be a hard time to give a pet the attention they need so be sure you have the time to attend to your dog.
Be sure you are willing to learn what the dog knows and doesn’t know. CocoRoo doesn't play with any dog toys. She doesn't chase balls. She is learning to play. Romeo has a house full of toys to share with her.
 Check your expectations- are you expecting housebroken? No accidents, no anxiety, no behavior issues? If those are your expectations, please don’t adopt a dog. These dogs need patient gentle training. They have lots to learn in a new family.
They often are very unsure what kind of care or protection they can count on from you as they may have been fending for themselves.
Teach children and adults not to invade the space of the dog. The dog needs to count on you to help it feel safe. This takes lots of vigilance in the beginning to be sure the dog is not getting overwhelmed. It takes time to get to know all the people in a family and neighborhood.

I am learning a lot from CocoRoo and hoping to see her spend her later years being loved and appreciated and accepted, just as she is. I feel grateful to have the time in my life for her. I noticed many people adopting older dogs, and really understanding the care and time needed. Be realistic about how your family is with managing boundaries around a new family pet and how much time you can spend providing the boundaries and nurturing.