There are many things that will happen after you adopt a shelter pet. Some good. Some bad. Obviously, we all want housebroken animals who never chew on our furniture, but sometimes that just isn’t the case. There’s an adjustment period for both the humans and the pets. Even with a few cloudy days mixed in, there’s truly nothing better than the love we get from the animals in our lives.
When you come to Journey Home to adopt an animal, we want that animal to be the best possible fit for you and your home. Our kennel and vet staff work extremely hard to get to know as much as they can about each animal’s behavior and medical history prior to them being adopted. Something we’ve proven time and time again is that we know so much more about an animal after they find their home. Giving an animal the opportunity to open up in a home setting and find their confidence is what we strive for. We adore hearing stories of animals once they’ve been adopted and love to learn all of the things that you find out about them!
The top priority after adopting from the shelter is to find a primary veterinarian. If you have other animals, you likely already have a vet. When I got my rescue dog from Journey Home, it was as easy as calling my vet and letting his office know that I added another dog to our family. They took down some brief information and bam, my new pup had a vet.
When your pet leaves Journey Home they will have been spayed or neutered and microchipped. The important thing to note is that your pet will be vaccinated per their age. If you adopt an adult dog or cat, they will be up to date on vaccines. However, if you adopt a puppy or a kitten they will only be vaccinated up to their current age. This is why establishing a primary care veterinarian is vital. Your primary care vet will be the one who finishes vaccinating your new pet if they’re a puppy or a kitten when they leave Journey Home. They will also be the one to give your adult animals their future vaccines.
Once you adopt an animal they are legally and financially yours to care for. However, Journey Home takes pride in being a community resource and we truly want to help you and your animal be successful. 10 days post adoption, you can bring your new pet back to the shelter if you have any questions or concerns. We also operate a community clinic where you’re welcome to book with us for vaccines at a discounted rate. Our community clinic does not take the place of a primary care veterinarian. One common misconception is that we operate a fully functional vet hospital, and we don’t. Post adoption, there are very few things your animal will need to return to our community clinic for.
Oftentimes people look at rescue animals as a “risk.” You don’t usually know much about their medical background, their behavior patterns, or their past. I’d challenge that by saying those same things can be true of any animal. Whether you purchase from a petstore, buy from a breeder, or rescue an animal – there can always be unknowns. The beautiful thing about choosing to rescue is it’s changing an animal’s life. I adopted my Shepherd, Rip, from Journey Home. He was transferred here from the reservation in New Mexico. He’d never had a home or people before. I joke that I basically adopted a coyote. I spent a long time gaining Rip’s trust and he’s turned out to be an incredible dog. Rescue animals may take a little more time, a little more patience, but they’re worth it. Every time, they’re worth it.
Something that I think is truly amazing is that dogs and cats just love. Wholeheartedly. Unconditionally. They don’t know if their life is long or short. They only know the compassion we show them while they’re here. I used to be hesitant to even foster because I thought of it as getting attached and then having to lose that animal. But, after working at Journey Home I started to shift my mindset. Fostering, like adopting, is giving an animal love while they’re with you. It’s showing them there are homes and good humans. It’s giving them a true chance at a healthier and happier life.
Over Thanksgiving I fostered a dog who had been at the shelter for a long time. Kai was an amazing dog in my home. I was sad every day at the thought of bringing him back. But, I did bring him back. Mostly because I already have five dogs! Shortly after Thanksgiving, Kai was adopted! I was so happy to see him going to his forever home after months of waiting. I like to think I played a role in his journey. That his time with my family, inside my home, and with humans in a non-shelter setting helped him finally find his place.
Of course, while you foster an animal the shelter will continue to see to its medical care. Once it’s adopted you become responsible, legally and financially, for its care. Though that’s a fact, we don’t want that to scare you. We love being a resource for the community and are happy to answer any questions you may have, regardless of where you and your pet (or potential pet) are at on your journey to a forever home!