Your shelter dog’s homecoming

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

If you’ve ever adopted an adult shelter dog (or dogs) in the past, then you know it’s not like bringing home a happy, bouncy puppy who hasn’t yet experienced much in life. Puppies mostly need to learn obedience, good manners and where it’s OK to “take care of business,” all taught with loving patience.

It’s another story altogether when adopting adult shelter dogs, especially those who have lived a shelter life for a long time and/or have been rescued from years of abuse/neglect. You may wonder if they ever get adopted. Well, not all do, but “angels” in human form do exist and specifically want these dogs to experience a happy life, however long that may be.

If you have thought about doing this, you can make your new BBF’s transition from living in a shelter to living in a home much easier. Transition suggestions are the topic of this and next week’s article.

Before I get started, though, keep in mind that about 20 percent of all adopted dogs are returned to their shelters. I feel that, in most cases, meager time and patience were irregularly doled out. So, make room in your life to spend time and much patience so that you and your new pal (let’s call him “Woof”) are in that 80 percent who develop lifetime bonds.

Before taking Woof home, ask shelter staff what toys he likes and the kind of food and treats he eats. If you cannot feed Woof the same brand of food as the shelter, be sure to ask them how to change over so that Woof won’t have tummy troubles. (If he has troubles and an accident, do not punish him; just calmly clean it up.)

Get all the items that Woof may need before bringing him home: food, treats, food and water bowls, toys, bedding, collar, leash and whatever you deem necessary. Buy new bedding and a collar if you can. Woof can then attach his scent to them, making them truly his. (Like humans, dogs love new stuff to call their own.)

If a canine companion is already living with you, slowly introduce him or her to Woof outdoors. You will need someone to help you do this because both dogs must be leashed. Try to stay calm, relaxed and not rushed; dogs can quickly pick up your anxiety, which makes them anxious, which then is directed to the other dog. Let them get to know each other slowly, in dog time.

At CAPS, many potential adopters bring out their dogs to meet the possible new pack member. More often than not, a lucky shelter sweetie gets a happy ending. Be sure to check in next week for more homecoming tips for adopted shelter dogs.

To wrap up this week’s article are a couple of reminders and a tidbit of something new. First, if you haven’t already, mark May 3 on your calendar as the date for our upcoming, annual 5K Strut-Your-Mutt Walk/Run and Bark in the Park. This year’s event will be held at Churchill County Fairgrounds. For more information, go to our website ( or call the shelter (775-423-7500) during normal business hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Next, please stop by Flower Tree Nursery to buy raffle tickets ($1 each or six for $5) for a gorgeous floribunda crabapple tree (valued at $81.99!). All proceeds from this raffle directly benefit the dogs and cats in our care. Tickets can also be purchased at the shelter during normal business hours (see above) and on our next Walmart Saturday (see below). The drawing will be held on May 1 at Flower Tree, and you don’t need to be present to win.

Finally, our new tidbit of information is that CAPS will be at Walmart on April 19, selling our wares: shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, caps, totes, calendars, baked goodies and more. We’ll have registration forms for the 5K walk/run (see above), so this would be an opportune time to pre-register ($15 per person, $50 for a group of four). Ki the Kissing Pooch will also be waiting to greet his old friends and meet new ones, who surely will join his fan club. (Just so you know, Ki is majestic but humble.)

This week’s article was contributed by Betty Duncan, a member of the CAPS board of directors.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment