As I was out-of-town this weekend I didn’t get to go up to the Fort McMurray SPCA for my weekly visit and take snaps of all the dogs & cats at the shelter looking for their forever home. I decided to talk about something that a lot of people are guilty of, heck even I was and now till this day I will never ever do that again!!!! It’s Judging a Book by its Cover and in this case judging a dog or cat on how they act at a shelter and not in a true environment.
As soon as we purchased our first home we wanted to get a dog. We were up at the shelter for at least 2 weeks or so looking for the perfect in our mind animal for our home. Someone laid back but liked going out on adventures, someone house trained with basic obedience.
Hubby texted me that he found this dog who was very different that he wanted me to come and see. When I met this dog, then named Apollo I took him outside with the kennel attendant and the little bugger wouldn’t even come near me. Ok most animals can tell when they meet me that I am a huge animal lover and just want to snuggle but oh no this dog wasnt having it any way. It took at least 10 minutes to get him to come near me and he awkwardly sat there while I petted him. As soon as you opened the outside door he bolted back into his kennel sat down and waited for the attendant to close the door on him. He wanted to be in there, it was his safe haven.
This boy didn’t bark, didn’t really like men/kids or toys either but you know what, I was so intrigued by this dog and wanted to make him mine, I wanted to work with him and teach him what a real home was like cause honestly I don’t think he ever had that.
We put in an application for him the next day (after we did some research about canine epilepsy) and named him Rolo. Rolo had a nice bedroom area set up in our bedroom but he wouldn’t even come out of the basement for about 2 months. I can’t even remember how many treats I gave him to get him to like me. Hubby on the other hand had to work way harder than I ever did, It was only till about a year ago where Rolo decided his new dad wasnt bad after all. That was almost 2 years in the making!
If you have seen Rolo and I in person you never would have guessed that it was a very long process to get him to where he is today.We have an incredible, unbreakable bond that nothing will ever take away from us. Known Fact: Did you know that with most animals it takes at least a few months for an animal to get settled down into a new environment (so next time when you think about returning an animal, please give it a chance)
Here is some tips of what I found worked well with Rolo while bringing him home (all animals are different and this may not work for you but worth a try!)
1) If the shelter you are adopting from has blankets or toys in their kennel ask if you can buy it or take it to bring home. This will give the animal something familiar in their new environment. We borrowed the blanket that was in Rolos kennel and you could find him sleeping on it at night when he was in the basement.
2) Dont push them to far or to fast. I tried so hard to get Rolo to come upstairs into his new bedroom but my hubby was right and said let him do it on his own terms. He was right and Rolo did eventually go searching around and when he got into his room I told him it was for him and patted on the bed and said Rolo’s. He sat down and slept there every night :)
3) Ask the kennel attendant or adoption coordinator what types of tricks the animal knows, keep up on these and do them once a day with some treats and positive reinforcement.
4) Good words & bad words. When Rolo does something good he knows it with either a treat or I say his key words” good boy, good rolo, yay”. When he is bad he knows by me changing my voice tone, pointing my finger and saying very firmly “bad rolo”. He immediently cowers and puts his head down.
5) Be sure to ask the kennel attendant or adoption coordinator what type of routine the animal was on so you could stick with it for a while and if need be slowly change it. for instance, when would they go for a walk(how long), what times did they eat at (how much, what type), when did they go for bathroom breaks etc.
I wanted to remind everyone that EVERY SINGLE ANIMAL in this world whether its; sick, unhealthy, shy, hyper, scared, with a disability or even just healthy needs a home and YOU could be that one to change their life around. I hope that next time you see an animal at a shelter who may need a little extra work that you remember Rolo’s Story and dont judge a book by its cover and give that animal a second chance you may be surprised as to what they can acomplish!
** Thank you for stopping by my blog and I hope you enjoy reading about something I am very passionate about; being an animal advocate. If you enjoy my blog be sure to share it with your friends & family and check us out on other social media pages!