Tag Archives: pet adoption
I’ve gotten a few emails asking about how to add a third dog to a two-dog house, so I wanted to put together a post about my experience. But I realized that I need to start out with one qualifier…
Adding a third dog? Piece of cake.
Adding a third dog who’s a puppy? Not as easy.
Some of you might remember, Cooper started out as our foster. Then we failed, and we adopted him. The big boys were a little put off when they realized he wasn’t going to leave, but it didn’t take them long – a few weeks or so – to welcome him into our family. But it hasn’t been seamless. There have been two fights, one between Lucas and Cooper (Cooper went after a toy that was VERY valuable to Lucas) and one between Emmett and Cooper (Cooper pushed his buttons too many times for too long).
In hindsight, the biggest challenge we faced wasn’t adding a third dog to our family – they sort of work that out among themselves – but adding a puppy! A high-energy puppy who’s a chewer! Most of our extra time and energy was spent on puppy stuff like redirecting to appropriate toys, house training, and so on. And I would say that our biggest mistake was that we didn’t build in time for Cooper to have quiet time in his crate while we doted on Emmett and Lucas. We tried to spend time with each of them every day, but I think there would have been less jealousy in the beginning if we had done a better job with that. If you have older dogs in your house and you’re thinking about adding a third dog, I would suggest considering a dog who is past the puppy stages because it’s just one less thing to manage during the transition.
In the end, having three isn’t much harder than having two. It’s an extra scoop of kibble to pour and another dose of heartworm medicine to buy, but it’s also another playmate for your existing dogs and another life you saved.
5 ways you can make the transition easy:
- Maintain routines. If you’ve taken your first two dogs on a walk every single day at 6 AM, take them for a walk every single day at 6 AM even if it means your new pup gets crate time. Over time you can integrate the new pup into that routine or slowly tweak the routine to what you want for three dogs. But in the beginning, it’s important to maintain your routines.
- Spend one-on-one time with all three. Set aside a few minutes – 5 will do it – to play with or scratch each dog individually. You’ll reassure your existing dogs and bond with your new dog. Then spend time playing with all three together so that everyone knows that you will share equal time, attention, and love.
- Supervise EVERYTHING. I can’t emphasize this point enough. When you’re adding a new dog, you must watch play, feeding, naps, and so on. They will work out who’s who among themselves – but it may not be a seamless process. Until you’re sure they’re comfortable with each other (which can take many months), supervise everything. Hot zones to watch closely: food and water dishes, toys, and dog beds.
- Budget for an increase in pet care costs. Monthly heart worm, food, toys, grooming supplies, veterinary care including routine checkups… Plan on spending around 30% more each month than you spent on two dogs. Know that going in, and it won’t be as big of a shock.
- Have fun! Having three dogs definitely turns you into an even crazier dog person. Enjoy it! It’s like having a miniature dog park in my living room. When they snuggle in bed with me, I have nearly 200 pounds of dog keeping me warm.
Those of you with three (or more!) dogs, anything to add? Is anyone thinking about adding a third – or fourth or fifth – dog to your house?
Okay, okay. I know. You already know Emmett! He inspired me to start this Positively Pit Bull section, and I planned on kicking it off with his story. But since I got so many wonderful submissions right away, I bumped his story back a bit. My goal is to post at least two stories of breed ambassadors every month. Have you submitted your dog yet? Please do! We can’t wait to meet your pup!
Location: Bloomington, IN
Favorite things: peanut butter, napping, cheese, squeaky toys, playing “find it” or hide-n-seek, treats, dinner, napping some more
We adopted Emmett in July 2006. After we purchased our condo in downtown DC, we knew we wanted a dog. So we went to the Friends of Homeless Animals, where Emmett picked us. The second he came out of the kennels, he jumped on my lap as if to say, “Okay, people, take me home!”
With the exception of his separation anxiety, Emmett made himself at home immediately and endeared himself to our friends, family, and all the other dogs in the park next to our building. He was even invited to a dog birthday party!
Emmett is practically unshakable. He can go anywhere and meet anyone. He has a remarkable ability for connecting with people. He gazes into the eyes of a perfect stranger, leans against their legs, or rests his head in their lap. He wags nonstop at friends new and old. As my friend Ashely famously said, “He is tenderhearted.”
That’s not to say he’s perfect. He’s pushy with new dogs – he wants to be the man in charge right away. He’s food crazy; having gone through starvation followed by overfeeding, he still wants to eat every single thing he can. We have to be really careful not to leave anything on the counters or else he’ll get it when we’re not looking.
But he’s perfect as a therapy dog. He works with kids who really need some extra love, and he works as a library dog. His exuberance and his unbridled joy with people make him perfect for these “jobs.” And he loves it. He has so much fun snuggling up to kids, learning new tricks with them, and just being there for them to rub him. I sort of think that in his mind, I ferry him about town to greet his adoring fans because everywhere we go, kids just flock to him. They hang off of his big, thick neck, plant kisses on his nose, and shower him with belly rubs.
And I love having the opportunity to talk about his breed. A lot of the kids ask me if he’s a pit bull. I get to take that opportunity to answer every question they have about dogs and pit bulls – and to dispel the myths and misconceptions that they have.
Everywhere Emmett goes, he makes people smile. We’ve worked really had to train him both for manners and for tricks so that he leaves a positive impression anytime he meets someone new. I’m proud of Emmett because, regardless all of the training, he’s everything that embodies a positive pit bull: gentle, loyal, exuberant, friendly, and happy, happy, happy!
In honor of their 15th birthday, Petfinder arranged to adopt the internet today! When I received an email about the event that included a request to blog about pet adoption, how could I resist? Obviously, I couldn’t!
(Get ready for the biggest cliche to ever appear on this blog!)
Because adopting a dog changed my life.
I adopted Emmett in July 2006. He was cute, sweet, cuddly, and happy! I had no idea what a Staffie was. To me, he was and is just my Emmett. But he opened up my world to this whole other world, a world where people have to defend their dogs not because of anything they’ve done, but because of how they look. Loving Emmett turned me into an advocate for animal welfare (albeit accidentally). I had to advocate for him, obviously, so how could I not advocate for other dogs like him?
And then I adopted Lucas. Lucas, my fearful pup, who would get so scared that he would lunge and snap and snarl, quivering the whole time. He would hide under the table when the TV was turned on, and he could not be patted. But I could see the fear in his eyes, and I knew that beyond the fear there was a wonderful boy in there. He was just trapped by his fear. So I read every book I could on dog training, then on dog behavior. We took lots and lots of classes and worked with many trainers. Lucas reminds me every single day that I still have tons to learn, but I wouldn’t be nearly so aware of animal behavior and training and all the joys that come from that if I hadn’t adopted Lucas.
And then there’s Cooper, my foster failure. He’s a sweet, silly, playful, brilliant pit bull mix. He’s been here nearly six months, and it’s hard to believe he ever wasn’t here! But then I remember that there was a time when I could get my work done in one sitting. And I could get the laundry done without someone running off with socks or underpants. Cooper’s job is to teach me patience, and he’s working really, really hard at getting through to me. Check out other dogs from Cooper’s rescue on Petfinder.
I know that it’s super important to focus on the dogs who are suffering, the puppy mills that run a thriving, cruel business, and the dogs who are languishing away in shelter. Every single one of those dogs deserves a chance at a happy, loving home. Sadly, many people have a bad idea about shelter dogs. That they’re somehow less than or worse than a purchased pup. The reality is that they can be the absolute best friends, the sweetest companions, and the best teachers anyone could ever hope for.
My guys have literally changed my life.
Take a chance. Adopt a dog, and let him (or her!) change yours.
Is there an adopted dog in your life? Tell me about him or her in the comments! How has your dog changed your life?
The BlogPaws challenge from this past conference was to blog about a less-adoptable pet this week.
So what’s a less-adoptable pet?
Dogs who struggle with getting adopted tend to be older dogs, dogs of a certain appearance (black dogs and bully breeds, for example), pups with health conditions or who are socially awkward.
Here is an example of a less-http://ohmydogblog.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1986&action=editadoptable dog. He was two-years-old, had been bounced between shelters, was overweight (over 80 pounds. seriously.) and a bully mix:
Here is another less-adoptable dog. This one – whoo boy – mange, a limp, malnourished, and he was terrified of dogs, people, cars, noises, inanimate objects, dogs, buses, dogs, and a few other things I have suppressed from my memory:
So these dogs aren’t perfect. But these so-called “less-adoptable” pets aren’t any less adoptable for the right family! In many cases and for many families, it’s just the opposite.
But puppies… who can resist a puppy? So in the face of some serious puppy competition, these “less-adoptable” pets need to become more competitive! More marketable! They need a re-branding!
The first place to start is the name. Toss out “less-adoptable.” These dogs are now “perfectly-adoptable!”
And let’s scope out the perfectly-adoptable dogs’ competition:
As we all know, puppies have a great reputation (awww! they’re so cute!), but they’re not right for every family. How many families are surprised, shocked even, that their darling puppy needs to be house trained and will have accidents for a little while, or that he mangles your shoes, or that he gnaws the arms of your furniture?? Or how about the amount of exercise they need? Not to mention that stubborn phase they all go through? Also, has anyone ever noticed how annoying puppies can be?
I’m just saying.
So who wouldn’t want to bring home one of these perfectly-adoptable dogs? A few examples:
- Older dogs have so many advantages over puppies!
- Bully breeds can make the most wonderful, loyal, snuggly companions.
- Black dogs… how is this even a problem?
- Dogs with disabilities are often so much more capable and resilient than we could ever be.
- And, maybe most of all, how can you pass up the opportunity to give a very deserving dog a long, happy, healthy life?
These older, black, bully, disabled dogs are as lovable and cuddly as the oh-so-popular puppies. And they give so much more back to you than you could ever dream.
Emmett, for example, knew who we were the second we stepped foot in his shelter. From that day on, this little bully baby has been more loyal and devoted of a best friend than a girl could have ever imagined. He visits with children who need a little love. He reads at the library. He goes for walks, plays with other dogs, and loves nothing more than to climb into my lap at night.
And Lucas? The fact that this poor guy was so terrified of the world when we got him, and the fact that he can now navigate a pet store, run at a dog park, ride in the car, makes me burst with pride every single day. We couldn’t pat him and he never once wagged his tail for the first few months we had him. Now, when he rests his big head on my lap while we watch TV or read, my heart explodes. Seriously. I die every night.
So instead of looking for a “less-adoptable” pet, consider adopting one of these perfectly-adoptable pets! Volunteer at your local shelter to write glowing personality descriptions or take gorgeous photographs to make these dogs more marketable!
I hope you all had a wonderful week! It’s been busy around here! We’re dog sitting Cady, aka Lucas’ best friend in the whole entire world. Last time we dog sat, she looked like this:
Now, the little darling looks like this:
My, how fast they grow! She’s bigger than Emmett (much to his dismay) and nearly the size of Lucas. Luckily, her energy makes up for any poundage he has on her!
And now a few links to share before you head off to enjoy your weekend…
First, a little self-promotion: I got to write about dog-friendly landscaping and nontoxic pet toys, which was really fun for me. A new website launched, devoted entirely to books about pets, and I’m super excited that I get to be a contributing reviewer. And I received over 20 postcards for the Campaign to End BSL! A great week, all around!
And now for a little cat love!
June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month. Here’s a great project from Petfinder.com:
To give adoptable cats everywhere their chance in the spotlight, Petfinder.com is holding a fun photo contest dubbed “The Whiskers” (a playful homage to the Academy Awards) where you can vote on the best kitty-photos in a variety of CAT-egories from “Best Newcomer” to “Best Comedic Performance.” You can vote here: www.petfinder.com/thewhiskers. If you’re addicted to funny cat videos and LOLCat photos, you’re going to love voting on these super sweet kitties – maybe you’ll even find one you want to adopt!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Emmett and I have the read-to-the-dogs program at our public library on Saturday, but otherwise we’ll just be hanging around the house, relaxing!
What about you? Doing anything fun with your pets?