There are lots of resources available on-line that explain how to prepare for your new addition to your family. But much like having a new baby, you really can't plan for everything all at once. You also don't need to solve all the potential problems all at once, certainly not before the baby, or in this case, your new dog, arrives.
It is totally normal to have anxiety when committing to fostering or adopting a dog. Typically, the adopter (or foster) will over think the event. All of our board members and volunteers have pets of their own. Most of us have multiple pets, and most of us have adopted a pet through Peace4Paws as well. We all went through the process that you are going through right now, and most of us were quite nervous. "What if?". "What if?"
A certain amount of "what if " is productive; we call that prudent planning and it is important. There are lots of resources online and your adoption counselor will guide you. But, try not to overthink the process. These dogs are more resilient than we think. Our hearts are about rescuing a dog in need and adding love into our families. We are doing a very good thing, so we want you to have faith in the process, and try to avoid overthinking. It will work out!
A quick story, one of our stellar volunteers went through the "urgent" list of "kill shelter" dogs from our partner shelter in Kentucky. She didn't get far on the list before she became attached to the first dog on the list who was a very bony, dark brown Catahoula. This dear volunteer of ours researched the breed so extensively that she had at least a thousand "what if's' in mind before the dog even arrived. (She could write a book on the breed now.)
Needless to say, she was worried, and we were worried with her, and so were her friends and extended families.
This wonderful volunteer has about five decades of experience with animals, and owns about five animals of her own right now. As soon as the dog arrived, she went through all the pertinent steps as needed per hour, per day, per week, per year, and this dog is doing great!!! She has had this dog for six years now! Dog and family have adapted very well and are madly in love. Time is key!
However, of course, it is very good to have a plan and prepare. The first night and the first few weeks are a big adjustment on everyone, especially for the dog. It is good to remember that your new dog really wants to please you. He or she is really, really grateful and happy for this opportunity to be a part of your family. These dogs were abandoned! They were scared! They were lonely! They need you and you will know what to do as each and every opportunity presents itself.
Preparation includes having the time to spend with the dog, opening up your schedule to be with the dog a lot in the beginning, being open to lots of extra dog walks in the beginning, proper bedding, food, water bowls, crates (if you will be using one), fortifying your fence, making the whole house dog-safe, preparing all the family members about how to treat a dog, having access to trainers and training classes as needed. There is a lot of information both online and in person available to you. There are plenty of videos online as well about what to do if you are considering bringing a dog into your life. We will give you a special folder with lots of helpful articles and contact information when you adopt your dog from us as well.
Yes, prepare, but above all have faith. If in the worse case scenario, you plan to adopt the dog and you have tried everything but somehow this dog is not a match for your family, don't worry; it is our job to take the dog back. This rarely happens, but if you have tried everything, and it doesn't work out, the dog will be safe and you will find your match.
As you look into your new pet's eyes and see and feel the love, it will inspire and empower you to do the right things for this new family member. It's all good. Thank you for reaching out to us for adoption (or foster).
We truly look forward to working with you!