If you’ve read my recent blog post, you’ll know that rescue work has changed dramatically in the face of Coronavirus. Most notably, adoptions boomed during the pandemic and many people brought a new furry friend into their home. First-time pet owners and those who haven’t had a pet in a while might feel overwhelmed. I know I did when I decided to adopt our two kitties and then our dog. Here is a list of things to do to guide you through your new pet!
If you walk away from this post with just one thing, let it be this: give you new pet two weeks to decompress! You can find all the details about this in the full article I wrote. In a nutshell, the two-week rule allows the new pet’s stress levels to come down so it can flourish in your home and new situations. This especially holds true for new dogs. The animal coming into your home has been through a lot of transitions. Whether a stray or owner surrender, the pet was most likely at a shelter, then possibly transported in a car across states, then poked and prodded by a vet before found itself in a brand new foster home.
Allowing a new pet time to settle in will help set it up for success. They’ll learn to trust you, build a bond, and be more likely to thrive in your home. Slow and steady is key in the beginning!
Find a vet
The best way to find a vet is to ask for recommendations from the rescue you adopted from! They usually have a few trusted partners that they work with. I also recommend talking with friends and family that have pets and like their vets. When in doubt, check out yelp! It’s also okay to try a vet and shop around if you don’t feel like it’s a good fit. You’ll want to be comfortable asking questions and feel like your vet is listening to your concerns.
Most rescues will ask that you take your new pet to a vet for a routine check-up within a few weeks of adoption. I would recommend letting your new pet settle in for at least a few days before venturing out to the vet. Also, be sure to bring lots of treats for pre and post vet visits to keep it a positive experience!
Don’t make the same mistake I did and put off buying pet insurance. I always recommend having pet insurance for your animal. Insurance costs vary depending on species and age, but if you can set aside enough each month to pay the premium, do it. Having pet insurance can lessen the financial burden when it comes to making tough decisions in case of emergencies.
I am a proud partner of Figo Pet Insurance as they are a huge supporter of Chicago’s rescue animals. They’re a local company that continues to donate and help animals at Chicago Animal Care & Control. I’ve been working with them for a while now (you MAY happen to see a familiar face on their website!) and love their devotion to pets. Plus, they have an easy to use app that connects you to other pet parents in your area and 24/7 access to chat with a vet. I always recommend shopping around, but definitely make sure to get a quote from Figo. By getting a quote, you’d be supporting this blog too! 🙂
Find a trainer
When I talk about finding a trainer, most people think I assume their pets need help. It’s actually quite the opposite, it’s the owners that need training. Working with a trainer will help give you insight into how your pet communicates. When we first got Rawlings, we had a session with a trainer who showed us what different body postures meant while on our walks. You’ll learn how to better understand and then train your dog to do the things you’d like.
Training sessions are not only a way for your pet to learn new skills, it’s also amazing bonding. We used to take Rawlings to a training class every week. It was so fun to work with her and see her improvements. It definitely brought us closer as well. It was so beneficial to have that time together.
You can find a trainer by asking the rescue organization for recommendations. I always recommend seeking out trainers that use positive reinforcement.
Continue to advocate for rescue animals
Rescue organizations love their adopters. There is nothing better than seeing a newly adopted kitty with its own Instagram. I love seeing the updates from adopters, and so do the organizations you worked with. Continue to support them by donating, sharing their posts on social media, and even volunteering when available. Stay involved in any capacity you can, they gave you your new bff so become their cheerleader!
Enjoy your new furry family member
Things are always overwhelming in the beginning. You’ll feel a wide range of emotions and question yourself plenty. Remember to relax, have patience while you learn your new routines, and enjoy the journey. Usually, you’ll find that you were the one that was rescued.
Meet Fig, this little lady is all puppy and 100% cute. She, was pretty much a puddle of mush during our shoot so of course I fell in love with her. Fig has an adoption pending (!!) but make sure to check out MCP Rescue for all the other dogs (and the occasional feline!) they have available.
I bought this dress because it’s light, breezy, and I can throw it on and go. It’s from Belle Up Boutique in Beverly, a great shop for both maternity and regular clothes. You can shop online or in store. Belle Up is a Black woman-owned boutique right here in Chicago and I highly recommend checking them out!
*A note about my partnership with Figo pet insurance, when you get a quote using my link, I receive a small amount. I decided to partner with Figo because I believe they are really making a wonderful impact on pets in Chicago and beyond. I always want to be transparent and value my readers. By you clicking on the link for a quote, you are in no way obligated to buy an insurance plan but you will be supporting this blog 🙂