5 Things to Know When Adopting a Shelter Pet

lucky riptide and penny

Pictured: Our Lucky, Riptide, and Penny – all rescued! -Rachel & Patrick

A handful of highly positive things have come out of the situation we’ve all found ourselves in this year. One that we are particularly excited about is the dwindling number of pets finding themselves homeless at the animal shelter. As we mentioned last month, many folks are visiting shelters or contacting rescues to adopt a pet during this time. We are delighted at the number of recently adopted pets we’ve seen coming into the store (don’t forget, we offer 10% off supplies for recently rescued pets – just bring in the adoption paperwork.)

Like people, every pet is unique, as are the circumstances. Here are some things to consider when thinking of adopting a shelter pet:

Most pets are not surrendered due to behavior

One of the most common reasons pets are surrendered is housing issues. Maybe a family is moving into a building that doesn’t allow pets, or has certain restrictions on breeds, or they are forced to relocate for a job. Sometimes people aren’t fully prepared for the lifelong commitment that is pet ownership. Still other pets find themselves homeless when their owners divorce, lose a job, or if their owner passes away. The shelter will be up front with you about why the pet is at the shelter, because they want every adoption to be a success.

Make a slow introduction

When you adopt a shelter pet, give them lots of time and love when they are acclimating to your home. Introduce them to people one by one. Remember that this is a huge transition for them, no matter how long they were in the shelter. It will take time for them to trust you, to learn where to go potty, and to figure out your routine. If you have other pets, read up on how to best make introductions. Be clear and consistent, and a calming force. Never leave children or pets alone with a new pet.

Get ready to train

Maybe your new buddy is the perfect houseguest! Or maybe they were never trained by their previous owner, or need to unlearn some behaviors they picked up while in the shelter. Either way, they will have to learn your rules, so be sure to have a ton of training treats on hand. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train any pet. Praise, treats, play – figure out what your new best friend is obsessed with, and use it to your advantage.

Shelter pets are thoroughly vetted

Cats and dogs that come from a shelter are carefully screened for behavior and health. Shelter pets often go through procedures that would cost thousands of dollars at a private veterinarian before they are eligible for adoption, such as spaying/neutering, vaccinations, microchipping, dental cleaning, and correction of any illness or injury they had when they were surrendered. All things considered, shelter pets are an amazing “bargain!” Some shelters are even waiving their nominal adoption fees during this time.

Prepare for a long lasting love

Many people will tell you anecdotes about how the pet they got from the shelter was the best cat or dog they ever had. Shelter pets can be just as fun, quirky, loving, and intelligent as any other cat or dog. Every pet is different, and shelter staff can help find the right fit for your family. Your perfect pet is just waiting for you to find them!

We can’t wait to meet your newly adopted pet! Once they’re ready, bring them in to be spoiled by us at Leo&Lucky’s. Don’t forget their adoption paperwork for 10% off food and supplies. See you soon in store, at curbside pickup, or with free local delivery.

Nicole Apostle is the marketing director at Leo&Lucky's.