After Adoption

Bringing Home Your New Pet

Congratulations! Bringing a new pet into your home is always exciting. It’s the beginning of what we hope will be a long and joyous journey. However, you should keep in mind that adding an addition to your family is going to take some getting used to. As a responsible new pet owner, there are many things that can be done on your part to ensure that that this initial transition period goes smoothly.


The key to helping your new dog make a successful adjustment to your home is being prepared and being patient. It can take anywhere from two days to two months for you and your pet to adjust to each other.

Try to arrange the arrival of your new dog for a weekend or when you can be home for a few days. Get to know each other and spend some quality time together. Don’t forget the jealousy factor-make sure you don’t neglect other pets and people in your household!

Housetraining your new dog can be a frustrating experience for both the owner and the dog. Keep in mind that a shelter animal has had to “do his/her business” inside a kennel out of necessity.  Many adult shelter dogs have had some housetraining in the past and will quickly re-learn it with positive reinforcement. As with any training, consistency is the key.

We strongly encourage you to sign up for obedience classes. These classes are fun for humans as well as dogs! You will learn positive training techniques that will enhance communication between you and your pet, which will result in a well-behaved dog and a happy owner. We will be happy to suggest dog trainers and classes in our area.

Dogs need an active life. That means you should plan plenty of exercise and game time for your pet. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog! Many discipline problems can be corrected with increased exercise.

Finally, be reasonable in your expectations. Life with you is a different experience for your new companion, so give him/her time to adjust. You’ll soon find out that you’ve made a friend for life. No one will ever greet you with as much enthusiasm or provide you with as much unqualified love and loyalty as your dog will. Be patient, and you will be amply rewarded.


Let your new cat get accustomed to the new surroundings. He or she may hide behind furniture or under a bed at first. Don’t be alarmed as this is not unusual. It is the cat’s way to find a safe, secure haven when he/she is scared. Don’t rush the animal or worry that he/she will not come out to eat or use the litter box. The cat will come out when it is ready. They often find canned food irresistible and while they eat, you can gently touch them and talk to them. It might be best to have the new cat in one room for the first few days to give time for him/her to acclimate and less opportunity to hide.

It is usually best to keep the litter box where there is the least household “traffic” or loud noises.

When introducing a new cat to a resident cat or dog, patience is the key. You can not go too slowly in introductions. First, letting the dog or cat sniff each other under a closed door can break the ice before an actual face-to-face meeting. If introductions don’t go smoothly for an extended period of time, seek advice from Home At Last shelter staff or your veterinarian.

Thank you for giving your new friend his/her “home at last”!

Sometimes things don’t work out or life situation change., if you have exhausted your resources and find that you are unable to care for your adopted cat or dog you MUST return the animal to Home At Last.  Home At Last will be able to care for the animal while finding the dog or cat a new home.


  1. Home At Last staff:  We are available for assistance with on-going problems or concerns you encounter. In your adoption packet, we include a DVD on training your new dog or cat.  It has a wealth of information on training and behavior.  Please call us as soon as you start experiencing problems.  We are here to help you and are happy to guide you through the settling in process.  Call us at 541-296-5189.
  1. The Humane Society of the United States has very helpful behavior information about cats and dogs on their website.
  2. We can suggest dog trainers in our area for group classes or individual consultation.
  3. Your Veterinarian can also be a good source of assistance.

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