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.
It 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?“
Move In Day Can Feel Overwhelming
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 owns 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. We lived in a family home for five years, until our human Mom had to take us back to Tiffanie’s kennel due to a hardship.
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. 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 coming and going, 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 try to 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 thinking of adopting us out separately. Then a miracle happened! You can read more about this in our Mom’s post Preparing for and Meeting My New Dogs.
Our new Mom-to-be had been browsing through the Humane Society’s website, 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:
- Our new Mom took us out in the backyard first, so we could run around and check it out.
- Then she let us into the house, but just the living room at first.
- 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.
- This next part was really exciting–we all got to go for a walk at a local park!
- There were a lot of snacks for me and Charlotte, which we really appreciated.
- Our dinner (my earlier question) was served at the same time as in the kennels. And it was the same kibbles we were used to.
- 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.
The 3-3-3 Rule
Our new Mom learned that many dog trainers talk about a rescue dog’s first day in a new home, as the beginning of a longer adjustment period. It usually takes 3 days for an adopted dog to stop feeling overwhelmed. Then it takes another three weeks to adjust to the new environment and routine. After three months, most dogs begin to feel comfortable that this is, indeed, their new home and they can relax and start to trust their new human parent. Rescuedogs101.com has a great article about this.
All, in all, I would say that Charlotte and I are pretty happy in our new digs. We love our new Mom and feel pretty secure that she will take good care of us. Although, we do still get a little anxious when she leaves, especially Charlotte. But she just acts like it is no big deal and says she will be right back. Then when she comes home she walks in like she had never been gone, pets us, and gives us a couple of treats.
Sometimes, she takes us back to Tiffanie’s for a visit with the other dogs. We love to run in the huge field. Although, a couple of times we were scared she might leave us there. But she always comes back! And she never leaves us there for more than a few hours–just long enough so we can run and play.
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!