Please please read to the end
Those in rescue know the importance of decompression. We do our best to stress this concept to adopters and fosters. Many people wanting to return their foster dogs or adopted dogs express behaviour concerns within the first 72 hours and are ready to give up.
By the time you take a new dog into your home as a foster or an adopter, it has gone through a world of change. Some of these dogs are owner surrenders to shelters. They were living a lovely life in a home, they went for a car ride with their family and suddenly they are trapped in a tiny cold kennel at a shelter. Others may have lived alone on a chain in a yard their whole life. Now they are surrounded by strange people, strange sounds, and strange smells. Some of these dogs are strays that got lost and couldn’t find their way home. Some of the dogs are street dogs, who have never had a home and have no idea they want one. At some shelters these strange people are suddenly sticking them with needles and putting them through strange temperament tests. They are absolutely petrified. Then a rescue or foster comes in to save them, but the dog doesn’t know that. They are loaded up in vans and cars and are driven across town to somewhere they can stay for the time being. After spending some time in a foster home or boarding, it then it’s time to be put in strange van, with many other scared and confused dogs, for a 3 day trip into another country. If this was a person they would be broken down and seeking help. The dogs on the other hand are expected to know when and where to potty, what they can and can’t chew on, to sleep quiet in a new kennel, and to be so excited to meet new friends. For some dogs, they make the transition okay. Others make so many doggy mistakes and are given up on because they take longer to adjust and need more guidance. Unfortunately for the dogs people forget that they can’t talk. They bark, they cry, they howl, the growl; they try to express their concerns in doggy language.
They don’t know what we want, they have to be taught what we want. They aren’t perfect dogs. Many are broken, some are just bruised, but they all need you. Fostering and adopting isn’t always pretty, it isn’t always clean, but it is always worth it. It’s our job to love them and train them. If you are not willing to commit to these animals, who have already been through so much, don’t adopt one until you are. Give them the decompression time that they deserve so they can do what they do best, love you.