Approximately three weeks ago, I selected my latest foster, Chico. If you’ve followed this blog, you may remember he was a featured here earlier as a dog in need of a quick out. I chose Chico because he was number four on the urgent list, black, larger, older, and he has cherry eye in one eye. My personal preference is harder to place dogs, so he fit the bill.
I brought him home, and folks, this boy was a hot mess. He was apparently a backyard dog, left alone, and he was taught…well, nothing.
He didn’t walk, he bounced and twisted on a leash when leading him outside. He barked—a lot. Whatever moved–or didn’t, caught his attention, and he had to chase it. And I had to chase him. After only spending a few minutes with Chico, I was pooped and questioning my sanity.
But I’m determined, if not stubborn. Every day since his arrival, I’ve gently allowed Chico to realize his circumstances have improved. At first, he failed to understand petting was nice and apparently no one ever talked to him. He didn’t appear to know what to do with treats.
I confess, he’s been a challenge.
About a week ago, one evening, he finally decided to quiet down and lay next to me. I rubbed his back and as I stroked, he snuggled closer. I spoke softly, explaining how he has toys, he doesn’t need to rip mama’s dish towels apart. He just smiled and drifted off to sleep. Then I heard it. The sound I’ve been waiting for.
A deep, profound sigh.
And I knew, he knew. He could relax. He was safe.
Since, our hot mess days have reduced to hot mess moments, and he’s improved every day. He’s a sweet boy who loves to cuddle and just hang out with me. What’s the change?
Chico is decompressing.
What is Decompressing?
Decompression – a state of relief from pressure; a return to normalcy after a stressful period or situation.
What occurs during the transition from the shelter to a home is critical to a successful adoption. It is not just getting to know one another, but laying the foundation of a life together.
As discussed in the last blog, life in the shelter is stressful, and surprisingly moving on after an adoption can also be just as taxing for a dog. This puts pressures on an owner and their pet if owners don’t comprehend the anxiety their new pet is experiencing.
Hence the reason for adoption returns.
Why would coming into a loving home be traumatic to a dog? After all, they’re out of the shelter and with their family. They ought to be thrilled they’re in a home, right?
Well yes, but no. Consider the conditions they just escaped. Pups can stay in the shelter for days, weeks, or even months. They’re home is an 4X6 kennel, framed by other 4X6 kennels, full of dogs yapping or howling, strange people coming and going, and they get very little exercise or socialization. They also sense what’s happening to some kennel-mates who leave, but don’t return and are aware it could happen to them.
Then one day that all changes. An adoption from HSCT will come with a vet visit to be spayed or neutered if they’re not already, so that trauma must be factored in. Once they’re fixed, they move into their forever home. New surroundings, new owners, unfamiliar scents, and noises, and add in other pets is confusing to them. An actual routine can also be bewildering.
Which means, humans should not expect their new pet to automatically fit right in. Forcing them interact right away could create problems if they’re not ready. They need space, time to chill and relax. Decompress.
What and What NOT to do
Wanting to coddle an adopted shelter dog, particularly one who’s had a rough life is natural. Owners aspire to present a perfect world within the first twenty-four hours. But dogs need to find a calm state of mind or they become overwhelmed. The amount of time it takes to mellow depends on the dog, but expect it to take at least two full weeks, and that’s a minimum.
During the first weeks, a dog needs gentle guidance, exercise, (walking and limited play) and quite bonding time. FYI, don’t just let newly adopted dog wander out in the backyard to do its business unattended, even if the yard is fenced in. Adopted shelter dogs may not realize they’re “home” and will scale a fence and be gone. It’s best to take them out on a leash until they feel secure and realize this is their forever home.
Become a Boy Scout, Be Prepared
So how to ready a family and home to integrate a new pooch? First, follow the adoption coordinator’s instructions. The staff at HSCT know these dogs. They can explain their triggers. They can also describe what to expect from each dog, how avoid formidable situations, or how to handle them if they arise.
It’s also imperative to prepare for the arrival of a fur family member before they come home and, the transition should be as smooth as possible. Owners need to exhibit patience and give a dog time until it’s ready to be fully integrated into the household.
Having a designated spot to rest and relax is vital. A soft, cozy bed is a necessary welcome, specifically for a senior or a dog that’s not in the best shape.
Keeping a new pet in a crate during their decompression period when home alone is also helpful and smart. This avoids any disasters if the dog panics. Once the animal grasps their person will return, keeping them contained will be an owners decision. Many dogs would rather stay in their kennel. They feel securer in their personal space and that’s okay.
Once they realize they have a safe place to go, they will begin to feel comfortable. A new dog needs to know where their water and food bowls are located, be sure to show them. Stay consistent during feedings times and potty breaks. Even mature shelter dogs will grow to love a routine, and in most instances, these constant practices will assist in incorporating them into the family quicker.
Realize adoption and being brought into an unknown environment can make a dog fearful, and fear is a powerful emotion. Speak to him or her in a soft voice. Petting needs to be gentle. Don’t throw a pet into a social setting and expect him to interact. It may not be ready to interact with you.
Watch Your Little Ones
Children, especially small children should be kept away even from the gentlest dog as the new pet decompresses. Introductions should be slow and supervised. Unfortunately, our little ones can behave unpredictable around a new dog and the greatest dog in the world can behave unpredictable around children, particularly when grabbed, pushed, kicked or fallen on. It’s advised to NEVER leave a smaller child alone with a dog. Teach children how to treat animals kindly. It’ll be a valued lesson you won’t regret.
Introductions to other family pets should also be gradual. An adopted dog needs to get acquainted with his elements. Walks together is the best way to keep control and allow dogs to get to know one another, otherwise, meet and greets should be supervised, brief, and repeated until confident all animals are content and will get along. In other words, keep pets separated until sure everyone is friendly.
Compassion is Your Friend
Remember a dog may revert to bad habits when they experience a huge life change. Even house trained dogs can have accidents due to stress and anxiety. Take them out frequently. Reward and praise when they do their business outdoors. If they have a mishap indoors, do not yell or punish them. This will only slow down any forward progression, and it’s not a positive or productive pet owner practice
Every dog will make the transition to a new home at his or her own speed. Normally, it will take a shelter dog, 6-8 weeks or it might take longer to fully adjust. Don’t worry if the behavior doesn’t fall into place right away.
With love and patience, it will happen.
Note: Separation anxiety is very real. Practice brief absences during the initial decompression. Keep good-byes and greetings low key until the dog adjusts. Doggie puzzles and Kong’s are always great way to entertain a confined pet while they’re by themselves.
Urgents in Need of a Home or Foster!
Siva the Sweetheart
Hello friends! I’m Siva and I want a forever home. I desire to have a family so bad, I’ve taken to performing gymnastics in my kennel to get attention. I tend to demonstrate my cartwheel expertise when people pass by to let them know I’m stressed, and to tell them I’ve been stuck into this small space a long time.
You see, I’ve been here since 3/4/17 and I seriously want out. I’m not sure why no one’s picked me to be their pet. I’m a beautifully marked lady, and I have an amazing smile. I can be bit shy once I leave my kennel, but I warm up with kind words and petting. After I’m comfortable with you, I’ll happily show you how sweet I am.
I am a well-mannered girl. I walk great on a leash, and while I may be able to do a handstand when I need to be noticed, I am mostly calm and accommodating. Promise! How about you come to HSCT and take me into the playpen. Let me show you what a lovely girl I am. I bet after we meet, you’ll want to take me home.
I’m Siva. I’m a two-year-old, female, pittie mix. My # is A076723, and I’m in kennel # D051 and my adoption has been sponsored. I’m free to adopt to an approved adopter.
Hey there! It’s Hico! I’m a cute, cute guy in need of a loving home. I’m bubbly and fun, much like a puppy, but since I’m older, (I’m two) I don’t have the annoying puppy habits that’ll require a lot of corrections.
I’m a sleek, well-built, mid-sized fellow with a fun, cheerful personality. Even though I’ve been a resident of HSCT since 5/22/17, I always wear a huge grin. I’m fairly calm, but I enjoy activity. I walk easy on a leash and sit quietly in my kennel waiting… If you’re fond of evening strolls or a swift morning sprint, then I’d fit fantastically into your lifestyle.
You also want a pup that’s easily trainable? Look no more. I’m the one you’re searching for, I’m a pretty smart dude. I’m also affectionate, and have no problem handing out a kiss or two.
I’m alert and I notice everything. and while I’m curious about my surroundings, I’ll happily stop my probing for belly rubs or if you want to tell me how much you adore me. I’ll certainly return your admiration by adoring you too!
I’m Hico, a male, Labrador Retriever Mix. Come find me in kennel #Y033. My # is A077057. I’m a boy who loves to play and searching for a partner to play with. Is that you?
Hello out there! My name is Maggie, and I’m a lovable girl whose looking for somebody to love me. I’ve been searching for my special, loving person a long time, and no one’s come for me. Where are you, person? I’ve been a tenant of the shelter since 5/22/17 and I’m ready to leave.
I’m confused as to why nobody has picked me to be their pet. I’m a wonderful, affectionate girl. I enjoy back and belly rubs, and I give the sweetest kisses. I’m also intelligent, pretty, and I have a delightful personality. I’m lively, loads of fun, and just a sweetheart, but I also enjoy serene time, and lay quietly near my family.
So, what’s the reason I keep getting overlooked? Well…I can be a bit yappy in my kennel—did I mention I’m desperate for a loving home? My barking is just my way of letting you know I want to go home with you. If you gaze into my pleading eyes, you’ll see how much I desire to make that dream come true. Can you help? Can you give me a home and family I want so bad?
Come meet me! My name is Maggie. I’m a female, two-year-old Australian Cattle Dog. I’m in Kennel #D057 and my ID A077080.
Who likes to cuddle? I do! I’m Bjorn. I love to snuggle and give tons of smooches to my friends. What I’d really wish for is to nuzzle with my own family. Only I don’t have one. I’ve been waiting a long time for them to come find me, since 5/22/17.
You see, I earned a not so great reputation when I first entered the shelter. The scars on my face say my prior life was rough, and I was a little growly because I was scared. Due to my negative disposition, this awful sign was tagged to my kennel that only staff could handle me. This probably made potential adopters ignore me.
But hey, I’m much better. After hanging out here, I’ve learned to chill, and I’m more accommodating. Now that I’m relaxed, you’ll discover I’m an awesome, happy guy. I’m a giver and a pleaser, and I love to show my love. I’m trained on a leash, I’m intelligent, friendly, and I won’t jump on you.
If you’re wanting a handsome boy whose smile is as huge as his heart, then just get me outside the kennels and watch my personality shine. I’m Bjorn. I’m a male, four-year-old, Labrador Retriever/Boxer Mix. My ID is A077083 and I currently reside in kennel #D070, but I’d like to change my address…to yours, maybe?
Ahoy mates! This is Cappy. I’m searching for a permanent place to drop anchor and live with my very own boating partner. I’m not too picky, though. It’s okay if you’re not into cruisers. I’ll happily ride shotgun in any type of vehicle if you give me a home. I’ve been waiting on deck a long time. I sailed into the shelter on 5/24/17, and I’m ready to move aground forever.
I’m a good ol’ sailor pup. I walk superbly on a leash. I’m rather mellow, very curious, extremely affectionate, and an all-around content sea-dog. I know a few basic commands, and just because I’m more mature than the younger buckaroos around here, doesn’t mean I can’t learn. I’m one canny salty dog.
Although I’m not at sea, I do enjoy a dip in the pool. If you’re into swimming, just give me a holler. I’m there. To top off my attributes, I’m striking in the looks department and as every decent sea-dog, I have a charming personality. I have all that’s needed to be an excellent companion except a person of my own. How about navigating to the shelter and let’s congregate and see if we’re a match.
I’m Cappy. I’m a male, five-year-old, Collie/Lab mix. You can find me on the starboard side of the shelter in Kennel # R091 and my ID is A077134. Cappy is heartworm positive, but his treatment has been sponsored.
Kutie Pie Kratos
I’m Kratos, and they tell me I’m amazing. But what’s amazed everyone who knows me, is how an amazing guy like me hasn’t found a home of my own. I’ve been a HSCT dweller since 5/28/17, and I’ve been continually bypassed. I don’t understand why.
Those at my photo shoot were impressed at my gentleness and poise, plus I display great manners. I walk outstanding on a leash, I obey basic commands, and I have a lovable disposition. If you want to snuggle, I can do that. If you like sweet puppy kisses, I can give those, too! I’m a people loving pup!
My face is simply adorable as is my funny personality. I also have a funny bark, which I utilize liberally inside the kennels and that may be what’s turning potential adopters off. Honestly, I’m quiet most of the time, but because of my long stay here, I’m trying to get you to appreciate what an amazing boy I am, and I need an amazing home. I bet your home would be perfect for me.
Come over and see me! I’m Kratos. I’m a four-year-old male, Amstaff/Pointer Mix. You stop by kennel #Y029 and meet me. My ID is A077192. Oh, and one more piece of interesting information. My adoption fee has been sponsored. I’m FREE to adopt to an approved adopter.
Hey. Jay here. I’m a big ol’ sweetie, full of playfulness and love. I think people are the best and I’m thrilled to hang out with ‘em, especially if we can play a game of ball or tug on a rope. I also am ready to pass out my sweet kisses to anyone and everyone.
I’m like to explore and am curious to everything that’s going on around me. I’m well behaved, obey commands, and I’ll impress you when walking on a leash. I also think it’s fun to ride shotgun if taken on outings. Bonus, I’m also potty trained!
With all these great qualities, I do have some abandonment issues. I was surrendered (on June 2, 2017) by my owners who moved and didn’t take me with them. I’m having some trouble connecting with humans right now, and I’m a stressed in my kennel. If I had a new home and family of my own to make me feel secure again, I’m sure those negative emotions would fade.
I’ve been told I’m an awesome all-around dog and a faithful companion, all I need is you to come get me so I can prove how wonderful I am. Name’s Jay. My stats: I’m a four-year-old, male, Stafford American Mix. My ID is A077323 and my Kennel # is D052.
Really Terrific Raffie
I’m a cutie! I’m a sweetie! I’m Raffie! I’m a well behaved, smart boy. I know basic commands, I stroll splendidly on a leash, and I’m extremely loving and affectionate. I’d be an ideal addition to any family…the problem is, my mellowness keeps those searching for a companion from noticing me. I’ve been an exemplary guest here at HSCT since 6/5/17, but I’d like to become a permanent resident in a home of my own.
I’m the type of pup who enjoys taking long walks, playing a game of catch, or relaxing on the couch with my favorite person. I’m genuinely a multi-talented doggie! Not only do I possess fun and intellectual attributes, my looks are striking and my low-key disposition matches my handsomeness, just look at my precious under-bite! I will make whoever chooses me a fantastic family member, I just need someone to choose me and take me home. How about you?
My name is Raffie. I’m a male, two-year-old, Catahoula Mix. My ID is A077354, my Kennel # is R104. Hurry over for an introduction. Once you meet me, I’m sure you’re going to want to make me a part of your family!
Sweet Pea Sadie
Have you ever seen such a beautiful, joyful smile? I’m Sadie and if anybody has a reason NOT to smile, it’d be me. You see, I was adopted from the shelter two years ago. An unfortunate incident (not my fault) involving the neighbor’s dog landed me back here (since 6/5/17) and because my former owners couldn’t keep me safe indoors, I wasn’t allowed to return to my home.
Despite my circumstances, I’m cheerful, walk nice on a leash, I sit when commanded, (see, I’m smart, too!) and I’m just a loving and affectionate girl. As you can see, my beauty goes way beyond my smile, and I’m a very pretty, graceful girl, inside and out. I’m the perfect package. The only thing lacking in that perfection is a loving family so I can be a Velcro dog and stick by my human’s side.
Your side might just be the right one. Come to the shelter and let’s find out! My name is Sadie. I’m a three-year-old, female, Australian Shepherd/Retriever Mix. My ID# is A001336 and my Kennel is #R083. I’m also sprayed, so we can start our life together today!
Isn’t Sully just an adorable name? Yep, it’s my name and I’m just as delightful as my moniker suggests. I love visitors who come to my kennel to visit me. I snuggle up to my gate, waiting to be petted as my tail wags ninety miles a second. I can’t wait until somebody unlatches the lock and springs me forever—but be ready! I’ve prepared loads of kisses to give to my rescuer.
As sweet as I am, I must confess I do need some training walking on a leash and no one’s ever taught me manners, but it’s not my fault no ever bothered with me. Although my charm makes up for my lack of knowledge, the trainers at the shelter are helping me. They know I’m a smart boy and I’ll catch on quick. Once I’ve had a bit of schooling, I’ll be perfect!
You don’t have to wait for perfection. Come meet me now and give me a chance. We can learn together! My name is Sully. I’m a male, two-year-old, Pittie Mix. My ID is A077194 and I’m in Kennel # # D053. I’ve been here since 5/28/17, and I need someone to take me a home and love me forever.
Bold and Bright Brannon
Who likes just a simple good-looking, sweet pup? If that’s the kind of dog you’re searching for, then let me introduce myself. I’m Brannon, and I’m in need of a forever home. I came here on 6/1/17, and since then, I’ve been a well-behaved boy, even in my kennel, yet people keep passing me by.
Why? I can’t say. I have a ton of wonderful attributes. I enjoy being with people, especially if they scratch my back. I’m active enough to go on a jog or long walk, but I’m also calm enough to just hang out and cheer on your favorite football team—or diss the potential mates on The Bachelor. You choose. I’m not fussy as long as I can be with my human.
I walk fine on a leash, and while I’m friendly and lovable, I could use some training, but that shouldn’t be a concern. I’ve displayed a wide range of intellect, plus I’m still a pretty young guy, I’ll learn quick. I just need someone to teach me. How about YOU? Will you be my person?
If the answer is yes, then come quick, and take me home! I’m Brannon, my ID is A077256 and my Kennel # Y028. I’m a year old, Male, German Shepherd/Lab Mix.
Do you know how to make me smile? Actually, I smile pretty much all the time,but if you want to really see me grin, just rub my belly and scratch my back. My name is Briscoe, and I’m about the happiest guy in the shelter. You may wonder how I stay so happy, I’ve been hanging around this place since 6/5/17, and even though I smile at everyone who walks by, I still haven’t found anyone willing to take me home.
I’m a bigger guy and I’m extremely long, which may scare some people off, but don’t let my size fool you. I’m a mild-mannered chap who loves to be around humans and relax. Besides my grin and good nature, my standout feature is my awesome green eyes. Stare into them, and they’ll melt your heart. Since I’m a younger boy, I do need some extra training, although I do okay on a leash. I just need a bit of TLC. Can YOU come get me and give me the love I desperately crave?
My name is Briscoe, come by and I’ll flash my infectious grin. If you pay attention, you’re going to want to make me a member of your family. I’m a year and a half, male, Labrador Retriever/Boxer Mix. My ID is A077389 and I’m located in Kennel #D050
Do you like graceful? Elegant? Refined? If you want a pup with all of those qualities and more, then you’ve come to the right place. My name is Piper. I’ve been waiting inside my kennel since 5/30/17 for the perfect family to take me home…but alas, no one has shown interest in me.
Perhaps I’ve been ignored because I’m a tall girl or I can be a bit yippy inside my kennel, I’m just trying to convey how ready I am to go home. Don’t let my height or my kennel manners stop you from taking me to the playpen.
You’ll see that I prance beautifully on a leash. Not only do I walk well, I’m also stunningly beautiful. I display exemplary behavior outside my kennel. I obey basic commands, and I’m always a lady, and we all know lady puppies don’t jump on their humans.
I’m such a lovely girl and I’ve been waiting for that one special person to come and meet me. Are you that special person? I’m Piper. I’m a female/spayed, three-year-old, Labrador, Pointer Mix. I’m expecting your visit, and you can find me in Kennel #R109 and my ID is A059583
Have you ever looked at those pictures of homeless dogs and wondered why no one has adopted them? Yeah, I’m bewildered, too. My name is Pongo, and I’m the most entertaining dog here, but nobody’s notices. I mean, I’ve been trying my hardest to amuse folks since 6/5/17 and still, no takers.
I just need out of this kennel to show you what I can do. I love to play, but I’m not bouncy, I enjoy a game of catch, and show me some water, and I’m diving right in. I’m full of energy and can be ready to party in a mere second.
Oh, you want a dog that’s fun, but enjoys some down time, too? No worries, I’m a pro at relaxation. I have no problem laying by my human’s side and just chillin’. I’m also a fast learner, if that’s important, I can obey basic commands.
My only issue is I do need some leash training, but I’ll pick that up in a jiffy if you take me on daily walks. So how about YOU come by and see me? Maybe take me to your place, and we can hang out, like forever?
Remember, the name’s Pongo, same as the Disney flick, 101 Dalmatians. I’m also a Dalmatian, mixed with a bit of Lab. I’m male and seven months old. I’m eager to go, so just come to Kennel # R095 and pick me up! My ID is A077391
Urgents who are in need of updated photo’s and bios
We won’t forget you, Jigsaw!
Look Who Found Their Forever Homes!
Former Urgents in Foster Care
Author, Debra Jupe, Content Editor, Daniela Ranzinger, Photographer, Cynthia Favreau