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"We just what?"

One of the most rewarding things in life is doing something that helps someone else. Usually, helping someone else also brings an array of benefits to the one giving the help! It is a win-win situation. Often people glamorize or romanticize adopting an animal. Human beings love to say they rescued an animal. Saying those words out loud makes us feel heroic, and it is not false. Rescuing an animal is heroic. Saving lives will always be heroic. The issue is not feeling heroic or rescuing the animal. The issue comes when we place expectations for what comes next.

What does come next? No one can answer that definitively. The differences between each animal are as long and wide as the differences between human beings. That said, there are also many things in common. What can be said, is that some animals that are rescued come with trauma or experiences that have made them less than sociable. Animals get PTSD too. Knowing something about their past can be very helpful in knowing how to handle your new family member. Ask the rescue group about the history, and have an animal communication session to learn about their past and their personality. Animals have preferences just the same as human beings. You can message me if you are interested in a session. One thing is for certain, you can't go wrong with love and patience.

When I said earlier that issues arise when there are expectations, I meant it. For example, when you expect to bring home a rescue and think they will immediately get along with your existing companion, those expectations may not be realized right away (or ever. Not all animals like all animals. They can and do learn to accept, however.). Because your expectations are not immediately met, you may get frustrated and give up on poor little Fido. Please don't. Being returned to a shelter over and over only causes more anxiety and depression for the animal. They are not shoes. You should not try them and return them. You committed to adopting a rescue, which means you took on the responsibility of caring, nurturing, and helping your new family member, no matter what. You would not return a human child, would you? Of course not. I ask that you let go of the notion that humans are more important or more valuable than other beings. A life is a life.

So what do you do when your new family member isn't warming up to you? What do you do when their behavior isn't ideal? You wait. You give them space. You teach them with gentleness and love. Change what you can (don't leave clothes on the floor, put away things you want to be protected), and you love on their terms. Watch your tone and your words. Show kindness. Do not create a fearful environment to get them to do what you want. Be patient.

While you are observing them, rest assured, they are observing their new surroundings as well. In "Finding Joy: A Dog's Tale" , we see how Little Bear watched everything. He learned about everyone and his surroundings and that gave him a sense of security. Give your rescue time to acclimate and understand that they are not going anywhere. Remember, they most likely have been shuffled around before being ready for adoption. They need time to realize that this is their home. Aside from all of these things, the best thing you can do is be honest with yourself BEFORE adopting. Do you have time to spend with them? Are you ready to put someone before yourself? Can you provide a safe environment? Are you willing to turn down an apartment or housing if they do not accept animals? Will you be able to provide medical care if necessary? If you answer "NO" to any of these questions, do not bring an animal companion into your home until you are ready.

Animals have an amazing ability to accept and adjust. They do not hold grudges, but they do not forget either. Most will not exhibit spiteful behavior, at least not in the way we think. For example: If you take something of theirs and rip it up, they may take something of yours and rip it up. Humans say it was done in spite. I say it is done by example. They learned from you. It's not spite or tit-for-tat. They just see you doing something and that must make it okay. See the difference?

Animals are amazing and loving and unique. With time and patience and love, your new rescue will blossom into a very special family member. It is a beautiful and strong bond, that can bring years of companionship and unconditional love.

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