Rehabilitating a Rescued Pet: Fears and Facts

A Common Sense Guide to Successful Pet Rescue Rescuing a pet is a great way to bring the joy of fur or feathers into your household. It provides many advantages over purchasing a pet, but can bring with it a different set of challenges as well. Whether it's a poodle or a parakeet, many rescues come with special needs, sometimes for the lifetime of the pet. The first step is to identify any limitations you have in caring for a pet, and only consider pets that fit within those limitations. After that, just keep an open mind and know that the acclimation process will take time and patience. Choose with your head, as well as your heart. Pet rescues usually have at least minimal information about the pet that you can use to find the one best suited for your family. For instance, if the pet fears loud noises or quick movements, households with small children are probably not well suited. Using all available resources can help minimize conflicts and reduce acclimation time. Remember - patience is a virtue. Acclimating your new pet will be a process that will likely have setbacks. For the first week or two, try to assimilate the environment from which your pet most recently came. For instance, if he was crated at night, then continue to crate him. If he was fed at specific times, then continue that schedule. Once he begins to become more familiar with his new surroundings, you can gradually make changes if you need to. Be safe - not sorry. When introducing your new pet to other pets in the household, do it gradually and under strict supervision. One method that has worked well for me, is to alternate between holding your new pet while letting the existing pets explore him, and then holding your existing pets while letting your new pet explore them. Start with short sessions and gradually increase the time until you feel comfortable letting them all free together. Start small - stay strong. Start off by confining your new pet to a portion of the house where he easily can be supervised. According to Jacque Schultz, C.P.D.T., he will also need periods of isolation so that he learns he cannot always have your undivided attention. It is important to ignore him if he whines, so that you do not reinforce undesired behaviors. Remaining lovingly patient yet consistently firm is the key to a successful acclimation and lifetime bond.