Two Mixed Breed Siblings Recently Adopted on the sofa in their new Home

First Day in My New Home Through a Rescue Dog’s Eyes

Last updated on January 6th, 2024 at 07:17 pm

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be an adopted dog who is moving into her new home? Well, I can share what it was like on the first day in my new home through a rescue dog’s eyes.

Moving to our new home was confusing, exciting, at times terrifying, and a lot to take in all at once. My sister and I moved in together after living for nine months in a luxury kennels/daycare with a bunch of other dogs. This house was a lot different. There were no other dogs in our new home, just one human. It was certainly a lot quieter. My biggest question was, “When will dinner be served?

Moving Can Feel Pretty Overwhelming

Our First Home

My name is Georgia and I have only one sister–Charlotte. Our dog Mom was a Pug and everyone thinks our Dad was a Cattle Dog, but that is a little uncertain. Our Mom was rescued by a very nice lady named Tiffanie who owned K-9 Country Club in Petaluma, CA. Pretty soon after, we popped out, the only two in our litter.

Tiffanie kept us with our Mom until we were old enough to have human parents. Then we were adopted by a family and lived with them for five years. We were pretty happy with this family and they took pretty good care of us. But for some unknown reason the family had to return us to Tiffanie.

Moving Back to the Kennels

That was a pretty sad day for us and very confusing to wind up in a place with a whole bunch of other strange dogs. Just about every day some dogs would leave and new ones would come in. We could not figure out where they were going or coming from.

Charlotte playing with a dog at the kennels.
Charlotte playing in the big lot at K-9 Country Club.

But we did get to play with them a lot in a huge yard with outdoor furniture and other fun stuff. It was kind of like a very long summer camp. The good news was that we were fed twice a day at the same time–kibbles for breakfast and kibbles for dinner with a snack just before bedtime.

Still, we grieved our first home, and it took us a while to get used to the new routine. It also felt stressful with all of the barking and howling, and different personalities. Some dogs were pretty nice and fun to play with, but others growled at me and Charlotte. There were times when we had to protect our food and dog toys and maintain our own little space.

All of the kennel people were really nice to us, but it was just not the same as having our very own family. We used to have our very own beds and shared the furniture with our human family. Of course, we had a very comfy pile of blankets to sleep on at the kennel, but there is nothing like your very own bed.

Meeting Our New Mom

Tiffanie tried really hard to find a new family for us. But we were a little older (five years), and she wanted to keep us together. Tiffanie posted pictures and let everyone know about us. After nine months, she was just at the point of adopting us out separately.

Then a miracle happened! Our new Mom found us and we were able to stay together in our new forever home! You can read more about this in our Mom’s post Preparing for and Meeting My New Dogs.

New rescue dogs, Charlotte and Georgia looking a little tentative in their new home.
Charlotte and Georgia posing for a picture.

Our new Mom-to-be had been browsing through the internet and saw our picture! Tiffanie had posted it as an affiliate of the Marin Humane Society. Our new Mom fell in love with our “adorable” picture, she later told us. She scheduled an appointment and took her best friend, our new “Auntie Jayne” along with her to visit us. We had a great visit. We got to run around a lot and eat a lot of treats. It was really fun to get so much attention from humans. Of course, I really, really like treats a lot!

Two weeks later Tiffanie put us safely in a crate in the back of her SUV and delivered us to our new Mom’s house!

Move In Day

From a rescue dog’s view of the first day in a new home, here are the things that I remember:

  1. Our new Mom took us out in the backyard first, so we could run around and check it out.
  2. Then she let us into the house, but just the living room at first.
  3. Next, we got to play with some really cool toys like a hard rubber ball and a tug-of-war toy made from old socks.
  4. This next part was really exciting–we all got to go for a walk at a local park!
  5. There were a lot of snacks for me and Charlotte, which we really appreciated.
  6. Our dinner (my earlier question) was served at the same time as in the kennels. And it was the same kibble we were used to.
  7. Finally, we each had our very own, really comfy, bolster bed to sleep in. And, it was right next to our new Mom’s bed.

This place was really starting to feel like home! For a rescue dog’s first day in a new home, this was getting off to a pretty good start!

So Many Feelings!

Even though our new home seemed pretty cool, it took us a while to adjust. We were not quite sure if this would be a good place or a bad place for us to live. Charlotte threw up the very first day after eating too many treats. Our new Mom felt bad. Then later that same day, Charlotte forget that we were not supposed to pee on the carpet. I could tell by the tone of our new Mom’s voice, that she was not very happy about that.

We were still a little confused about whether or not this was going to be a long-term or short-term stay. We did not know who this new human Mom was or anything about her. But we liked that she fed us on time each day and always took us for our daily walk to the park. Yet, it was quite different than living with a bunch of dogs for what seemed like a lifetime to us. And we also had become quite attached to Tiffanie and her staff.

So, we were happy, sad, uncertain, anxious, tired, excited, at various times for the next several days. But our Mom was pretty calm even when we made mistakes, and she stayed with us for several days before going out to the store or on a work appointment. When she did leave the house, it was only for short periods of time. That gave us a chance to get used to the fact that she was coming back and not leaving us forever.

A World of Emotions

Black and tan rescue dogs settled in on an easy chair.
Georgia and Charlotte getting comfy in their new home.

I quickly realized that adapting to a new environment is like embarking on an emotional rollercoaster. From the outset, with belly upsets from an overindulgence in treats to misunderstandings about house rules, it’s been a series of ups and downs.

Creating a safe space became essential for me, offering a haven for those moments when everything else felt overwhelming. Positive reinforcement played a key role in my adjustment; every small win, every moment of good behavior, reinforced my confidence and trust in my new environment.

I paid close attention to what my human’s body language conveyed. It was clear she understood my feelings – the anxiety, the excitement, and even the times I yearned for some quiet time to process the changes. Her patience was evident, allowing me to take everything at my own pace, which made all the difference.

The experience of separation anxiety was real. I fretted whenever my Mom would leave, but she wisely began with brief absences. This taught me a valuable lesson: she would always return, and I wasn’t alone for good. Such a positive experience helped diminish my fears.

Whenever I showed signs of stress, our Mom was attentive. To help with this, Mom got some professional help from a dog trainer.

To fellow fearful dogs: patience is key. Allow yourself the grace to feel everything, but also seek comfort in the good times. Remember, every journey starts with a single paw forward, and you can decide on the pace.

My Advice to New Dog Owners

Transitioning to a new home can be a bit disconcerting, placing you amidst unfamiliar situations. It’s a significant change that requires patience and understanding. Having recently gone through such a shift myself, I’ve come to recognize a few essential elements in acclimating effectively.

Essential Tips for Helping Your New Dogs to Settle In

  • Keep a Routine: Sticking to a regular schedule is reassuring. Just like in my experience of being nourished with consistent meal times, establishing routines aids in creating a sense of normalcy.
  • Create a Comfortable Space: One of the paramount things is to make a comfy area for your dogs that feels like it’s truly their own. While a new environment won’t immediately feel like home, a personalized corner can be a simple way to bring comfort.
  • Stay Active: Engage in activities that help yout dogs adapt to their surroundings. Interaction and play can serve as a good way to distract from the stress of change.
  • Respect Boundaries: Respect for personal space is crucial and provides a sense of safety and calm.
  • Be Positive and Supportive: Friendly support can ease the transition. Amidst new faces, a kind gesture and a positive tone goes a long way.

Understanding the Adjustment Timeline for a Rescue Dog

Many new dog owners may not know this, but there’s this unwritten guide called the 3-3-3 rule that many dog trainers mention. It’s all about understanding the crucial phases in a rescue dog’s life when they first arrive at their new forever home. I’ll share what I’ve learned about this timeline and offer some tips from my own experience.

  • First Three Days: The initial period is truly overwhelming for a rescue dog. They might feel anxious and will need a quiet and safe place to retreat. It’s best not to rush things; allowing them to settle in at their own pace is key.
  • First Three Weeks: Within the next week, your furry friend starts to become acquainted with their new environment and daily routine. This is a critical time to establish a consistent schedule for things like feeding and potty training, which provides your dog with a sense of stability. It’s also a perfect opportunity to set boundaries and rules to help your dog understand what is expected of them.
  • First Three Months: By the time you reach the three-month mark, your dog would likely have developed a solid sense of security. They know that your home is their safe space where they’re loved and taken care of. Maintaining good health through regular check-ups and a nutritious diet is vital as they continue to adjust.

My Final Comments

All, in all, I would say that Charlotte and I are pretty happy in our new digs. We love our new Mom and feel secure that she will take good care of us. Although, we do still get a little anxious when she leaves (especially Charlotte). But Mom just acts like it is no big deal and always says she will be right back. When she comes home she walks in like she has never been gone, pets us, and gives us a couple of treats. All is good again, and we don’t even remember why we were worried!

Well, that’s it! That is what it is like for a rescue dog’s first day in a new home. At least that was my experience. And, I have to say, it was a pretty good one in the end! Be sure to read Mom’s articles, Everything You Need to Know About Adopting a Rescue Dog and How to Heal and Comfort a Rescue Dog. We both give them a paws up!

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