Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lessons Learned from adopting a shelter dog

I had a dog for 10 years, we got her as a puppy and she was literally the best and smartest dog ever. She was family she even vacationed with us. When she died in 2013 it hit my whole family really hard, I didn't really know life without a dog and my brother moved his dogs out a few weeks later and it was pretty crushing coming home from school and not have a dog waiting for me. So I was ready for a new dog asap, my parents weren't so ready.

Well November 8, 2013 I was looking at the APA a local shelter here in St. Louis and we found two dogs we loved. So we went the next day with my niece and nephew to visit both dog. We didn't know if we would leave with one or two or really any at all. First was an 8 year old miniature pincher (zoe) who was great. Then a 2 year old German Shepherd (Bella) , my pick. We took Bella outside to play even though the staff said she never played and also never really socialized with families that had looked at her. Well they were wrong she played with me and my nephew, she was all over us. I knew she was coming home with me, I couldn't leave her. We loved Zoe but we really fell in love with Bella and all agreed she had to come. We kept Zoe in mind and planned on adopting her a week later when a rescue got her for a specific family. So on November 9, 2013 we adopted Bella who is now known as Lola. Bella just didn't fit her personality.
It was rough bring her home, we didn't know her past. All we knew was she was surrendered because the owners moved and couldn't afford her. She seemed well trained and we were told she was kennel trained...

She is filled with anxiety when she is left alone and continually broke out of her kennel and would have accidents in the house. She is pretty much scared of all sudden movements and sometimes if I touch her back she freaks out. So I don't know what her previous life was like.

Lola stuck with me from day 1, we just clicked. She is literally my baby. It took about 6 months and 2 kennels to really get her "kennel trained" and after that she was basically perfect except for her crazy excited freakouts every time I come home (but I kind of like it)
She has vacationed with my family, and that was an experience. She did really well though especially since she was forced to be with 2 other HUGE dogs and 2 toddlers. When we came home she had a kennel relapse. We are working on it and it looks like the Kennel wont be happening anymore. She does better when I leave her out rather than in. So no more kennel.
I can honestly say that there were a lot of struggles with Lola, but I would do them all over again. That dog got me through a lot, from my fear of not getting to graduate to dealing with my grandpas death. She has turned into an amazing dog and part of my family. I can't imagine having any other dog.

Lessons from adopting a shelter dog:
-There is nothing wrong with older dogs, Lola isn't super old but shes also not a puppy. I would much rather have a sweet gray faced dog than a puppy I'm up with every 2 hours.
-BE PATIENT, you don't know what these dogs have been through. Give them time to adjust. Lola wasn't in a shelter long but it definitely affected her.
-Don't compare your new dog to your previous dog, there is literally no replacing Lucy. No dog could. But Lola is different she is my Lola. She has her own personality and mannerisms that make her her and I wouldn't want it any other way.
-You can get a purebred from a shelter. Lola is 100% German Shepherd.
-MUTT ARE JUST AS GREAT! Lucy was a mutt she was a little pit, lab, miniature pincher mix and she was perfect, they also have less health problems.
-You aren't just saving them, they are doing the same for you. Seriously my parents got me Lola right when I needed her. My family was going through a lot, school was crazy and work was crazy.
-Go to a no kill shelter! Putting your money into a no kill gives them more opportunity to rescue!
-Finally DON'T GIVE UP ON THEM, there were days that I got so frustrated with Lola, but she just needed a little guidance and time. Give your dog time to learn what you want and you will get an amazing dog!

So if you are looking for a dog, give a shelter dog a chance. You wont regret it.

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