5 things to know when adopting a dog from the animal shelter

5 things to know when adopting a dog from the shelter

August 17, 2018

What you can expect from adopting a dog from the animal shelter. Tips, tricks, and advice on adding a new furry member to the family!

Hi everyone! It’s been a fun week of launching the blog, posting some fun content, and getting all your comments and internet love. I mentioned that I wanted to expand into writing more about travel, and pets, because those are two of my favorite things in this season of life. I currently live with two little mongrels, Amy (who is my dog and I adopted from the OKC Animal Welfare Division about 4 years ago), and Maverick (who is my boyfriend’s one-eyed Yorkie and the dog that convinced me that small dogs are so so fun). Let’s be honest, this is just an excuse to post more pictures of the pups in my life.

See? Look how cute.

But what I wanted to talk about today is what you can expect when you adopt a dog from the animal shelter. I adopted Amy when she was around a year old, and I had no idea what it meant to take care of a dog. I was a crazy bundle of anxiety, and I didn’t know the basic pet-owner humps that I had to get over. I was all up on the dog version of WebMD convinced that she was dying every single day.

I’d also like to say that I am very pro-adoption. I love ALL dogs, and if you choose to purchase one from a breeder or pet store, that is for sure your choice, but consider that there are thousands of dogs in the state that need comfortable, loving homes and you are more than capable of providing them that home. It’s a little bit selfish, because you feel really good about yourself, and also I feel like shelter dogs really know that you rescued them.

So if you’re considering adopting an animal from the shelter, here are 5 tips that might come in handy in the days and weeks that follow you bringing your fur baby home.

5 things to know when adopting a dog from the animal shelter


In Amy’s case, she was a lot sick. Shelter workers do their best to keep Animal Shelters clean, but with that amount of animals, it’s hard to keep things controlled. When Amy got home, she had a UTI (she couldn’t pee at all), an ear infection, and after a few days she contracted kennel cough. I didn’t realize she was sick when i adopted her, because she was so bubbly and happy. It wasn’t until I got her home and she wasn’t able to pee, that I realized she really had a problem. This is not really a normal scenario, but be prepared that they might need a little recovery time from the point that you bring them home until they are fully healthy. I would keep some boiled chicken and rice on hand to mix with their food to make sure that they eat.


I was lucky and lucked into a really great veterinary office right away, but that still didn’t stop me from reading doggy WebMD every time she made a weird noise. It’s the same rule that applies to when you’re feeling sick, or your kid is feeling sick, your mind will go crazy with the possibilities. You have no idea how many hours I read about dog vomit vs dog regurgitation.

I would number one, trust your instincts, number two, trust your vet. Most vets have pretty good hours, and you can call and ask if you need to bring your pupper in. Emergency vets will not give you medical advice over the phone, but real vets will. It might take a few expensive trips to the emergency vet, but you’ll in turn learn what little sickly quirks your pet has. That’s definitely not something the internet can tell you.


I thought I would love Amy immediately, but it took a few months. First of all, she was a drain on my paycheck (for years! And she still is!), and second of all, I was basically a stranger to her. It took some time for her to trust me and bond with me in a way that’s different from when you have a dog from a puppy. We went on daily walks, trips to Braum’s to get ice cream, and when i got brave enough I would take her to the dog park and outdoor bars. Somewhere along the way we really bonded, and now she’s my best friend! Also, when you stick a thermometer up a dogs butt within the first 48 hours of living together, you bond in a pretty special way.


For the first week or so I had Amy, she was so exhausted from being sick, that she laid on her bed and didn’t really do anything. To my surprise, when I came home from work one day, she had grabbed the remote control off of my bed and chewed it up into one thousand pieces. That’s when I realized that the tiredness and sickness wore off, she had quirky little personality traits that I wasn’t aware of. Moral of the story = your dog probably has some sass that’s hiding way down deep inside. And once we started to bond, I realized what she loved, what she hates, and how often she dreams when she sleeps.


I was always planning on keeping Amy out in the house while I was gone, but after the remote control incident, I decided to crate her. We went through three different types of crates before we found one that she wasn’t trying to chew her way out of. Have a solid plan of what type of food you are going to feed them, but be ok with it whenever you may have to adjust. You’re bringing a new member of the family into your life and it will take awhile for everyone to adjust. Just know it will pay off in the long run!

5 things to expect when adopting a dog from the animal shelter

Do you have an animal shelter dog? What were some tips that you found helpful during the adjustment period?

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  • Kacy

    Cutest nuggets! I am definitely a fan of adoption. Ashton was a rescue in foster care when we got him. He was already 9 years old and has some health issues we’ll always have to deal with but I wouldn’t trade him for the world!

    August 18, 2018 at 4:25 pm Reply
  • Gine Oquendo

    I agree with you. When I got my first pet from the animal shelter of Wags Pet Adoption I expected that they might get sick and we need more time to bond since he is already 4 years old when I got my Lucas from pet adoption. But it’s okay because I know he is the one who meant for me, I’m supporting the pet adoption because I want to give and share my love and our home to those pets are less fortunate to have a fur family. Please refer to this link: https://wagspetadoption.org/adopt

    December 26, 2018 at 5:13 am Reply
  • Barbara Drake

    My shelter dog, Barkley, is a fantastic, smart, quirky little guy. Have had him for 7 yrs, the best thing I’ve done for both of us. Never had a problem w him from the very beginning–healthy, energetic & fun. Not a warm & fuzzy fellow, but he misses every moment we’re apart.

    February 2, 2019 at 8:03 pm Reply
  • Devin Brugman

    There are many factors that come in to play while picking the right dog for you. An adorable face isn’t the only quality you should look for. Although an adorable face does go a long way, you should also take into consideration a number of other important points. Here we have laid out a short description of each point you should take into consideration when picking that perfect addition to your family.

    April 11, 2019 at 6:47 am Reply
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