Imagine that you are plucked from the only life you have ever known – a terrible life, filled with pain and neglect, but nevertheless the only one you ever knew. Imagine that you begin anew, and are surrounded by loving, understanding people, who teach you how beautiful life can be. You form a bond with them; you consider them your own. But then, they bring you to a new place. One that is equally as lovely as theirs, but you don’t know the people there. You don’t have a bond with the people there. The ones you thought were yours kiss you goodbye and leave you with these new people.
This is the life of a rescue pet. Whether they are saved from life on the streets or abusive and neglectful owners, or even carelessly dropped off at a shelter to be the first in line for a stick in the heart – they all come from the only life they ever knew. Upon rescue, most are placed in foster homes, where they are rehabilitated and learn what it means to be utterly loved and adored, as it should be. Naturally, they form bonds with their foster parents, and begin to leave their old lives behind. And then one day they are adopted. Suddenly they are uprooted from the bonds they’ve just made and are expected to integrate into a new, forever life.
Being adopted into a true forever home is cause for great celebration, but many new owners don’t take the time to understand a rescued pet’s background. We can only imagine what these pets have seen and what they have suffered. They need time to settle into their new homes, to understand that life will be stable for them now, and to know with surety that their forever has begun.
Foster parents work diligently to ensure that rescued pets are ready for their forever homes. They housetrain them, they socialize them, and they heal them from their past. This is a necessary step in the rescue process, indeed.
But a foster parent’s hard work may unravel when the rescued pet is adopted. This is normal and adoptive owners must learn to help the pet through this phase, instead of rushing to return the animal. This period of adjustment could last a day, a week, a month, or months. Therefore, it is essential that potential adopters understand what a rescued pet might be going through.
If you as an adopter open your heart and do your own hard work in helping your new rescued pet heal, then in time you will have an amazing, precious gift: the love of a rescue animal. It is unlike any other love. There is a gratefulness in their eyes, peace in their smiles. They will bond with you so deeply that it will humble you to your core.
So give your newly adopted pet a chance; try to see things from their point of view. Be gentle and patient, and be determined to show them what it means to have a loving forever home to call their own.