Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rescue Rocks - Dog Adoption

Rescue rocks. Both of my pups are rescues, and I would not trade them for anything. With apologies to Jerry Maguire, they complete me. However, the road to a happy home isn’t always a smooth one, and you may encounter a few bumps in the road. I certainly did.

Bringing a new animal into your life (rescue or otherwise) is a big change, albeit a good one. Change can be scary, of course. Sometimes, your new dog and you will go together like peas and carrots. (Especially if your dog can overlook your constant need to make pop culture references.) When Bella joined my family eleven years ago, the transition was a breeze. I was lucky.

However, the second time was not a charm. My husband and I adopted Tavish this summer, and I jokingly (well, really seriously) told friends that I’d come down with a case of post-puppum anxiety disorder. (Although not officially recognized by any psychiatrist I know, I’m pretty sure I had a chronic case.) I was so worried about making a mistake that I started to drive myself (and my husband) crazy. What if he has an accident in the house? What if he chews something? What if the dogs hate each other? For a little while, my mind just kept cycling through worst-case scenarios. I didn’t sleep well. I couldn’t eat. To make a very long story short, I was a mess.

If I could go back and give myself one piece of advice when I adopted my dogs, I’d choose these four simple words: cut yourself some slack. I really needed to get out of my own head and take a step back. As a Type A sort of person, that wasn’t exactly easy for me. After several conversations with some very understanding (and dog-loving) friends, I started to do just that. I realized that I needed to give myself some time before I started panicking about the situation. Sure enough, Tavish eventually settled in and we’re one big happy family. (That’s not to say that things always work out for the best – I’ve been down that road too, but that’s a story for another day. However, it’s important not to be too hard on yourself in that situation either – but before you give up, make sure it’s not just your anxiety getting the best of you.)

If you decide to adopt a new dog (and you totally should), I hope you’ll cut yourself some slack as well. Recognize that it might take some time. Don’t be afraid to voice your fears and insecurities. (If you’re searching for a support group, there are many wonderful pet bloggers out there who would be happy to chat. They were certainly there for me, and I’d be happy to be there for you.) Not only will it help salvage your sanity, it will give you the chance to just enjoy building a relationship with your new family member. It’s worth it.

About the Author: A.J. (better known as Pup Fan) is obsessed with bad puns, pop culture, powdered sugar, and dogs. She inherited her love of animals from her family, most of whom agree that they would rather be one of the family dogs if given the choice – it’s a good gig. When not reenacting Legally Blonde as part of her day job, you can find her hanging out with her husband and her rescue pups/muses, Bella and Tavish. She also volunteers with two local rescue groups: Friends of Homeless Animals, where she helps out with adoption events and Twitter; and City Dogs Rescue, where she is a volunteer blogger. She also contributes to Sisterhood of the Whispering Crowns, a blog dedicated to ovarian cancer awareness, and maintains an oft-neglected cupcake blog.

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