There are a lot of things I wish I had known before adopting Shiva. I especially wish someone had informed me of all the little necessities to stock up on. While we had bowls, leashes, toys, and plenty of food, little did I know I would need a lot more than that to get through the first six months. Here on Rescued Insanity, I like to do what I can to support dog owners who may be as clueless as I. The following list is designed to aid those who are bringing a dog home for the first time. Especially if that dog comes from a shelter or rescue organization and is slightly insane.
What to Buy Before Adopting a (Crazy) Dog
1. Band-aids – Not for the dog, but for you. Chances are the dog will have no leash experience and will probably pull. Not only does this injure your shoulder, but it can do a number on your hands. I was prepared for the arm-out-of-socket feeling but I had no idea about the blood. Or the calluses.
2. Leather gloves – See above.
3. A top-of-the-line vacuum - This may be obvious to some people but I thought that adopting a dog with short-hair meant shedding wouldn’t be a large problem. Turns out, my short-hair dog sheds more than my Siberian Husky ever did. Furthermore, the first few weeks can be very stressful for your new dog, which means he or she may be losing more fur than normal. It’s a lot easier to handle if you have a vacuum that doesn’t make you swear.
4. Clothes, especially pants, that match the fur of your dog – See above.
5. Really, really cheap shoes – For the first six months it’s a good idea to store the Christian Louboutins under lock and key. The cheaper the shoes, the less you will cry when your new dog strews pieces of them all over your living room floor.
6. Locks for cabinets, bathrooms, closets, garbage cans, laundry baskets, and refrigerators – Even if you don’t think your dog can open that cupboard door above the stove, lock it anyway.
7. An easy to clean living room rug – Or a really cheap rug that is easy to replace. Or, even better, just get rid of all rugs entirely. After last summer’s case of mild heat stroke, I was so thankful we’d gotten our area rug for free.
8. Ear plugs – Your dog may take awhile to adjust to sleeping in a new place. If you are determined not to give in to the cries, these may help.
9. Gas Mask – Not necessary really, but it wouldn’t hurt. Especially for practically husbands who have never even changed a diaper.
10. Sweatshirts with pockets – It would be even better if every item of clothing you own has a pocket on it somewhere. Preferably extra deep ones.
11. Super understanding neighbours, or neighbours with a yappy dog of their own – I realise this may not always be possible but if your neighbours aren’t “dog people” you may have a battle on your hands. Many rescue dogs suffer from mild separation anxiety and this is something that takes a lot of time to work on. We lucked out in that our neighbours have a yappy little yorkie and so didn’t complain too much about our dog’s six months of howling.
12. Tylenol – Wine works too. By the caseload if you can manage it.
13. Marriage counsellor – This may not be necessary right away but if you are the kind of person who “can’t have just one” it may become more essential later on. It’s always good to keep it on your radar!
14. A cell phone – You probably have one already but let this serve as a reminder to have it with you at all times when you are out. Once you have a dog of your own, other dogs have this knack of finding you when they are lost. They seem to sense you won’t be able to ignore them without feeling really guilty. It’s easier to find the dog’s home if you have means of communication on hand.
And, most important of all…
15. Towels. Lots and lots of towels.
I do hope this list doesn’t dissuade anyone from adoption. That was hardly my intention. Every dog is different and you may find some of these items superfluous. But I feel it’s my responsibility to be upfront about such things. The way I wish people had been upfront with me. Besides, if any of the above makes you nervous, you may not be ready for a canine companion after all. Perhaps a cat is more your speed. I’ve never heard of a kitten eating designer shoes.
If you have a second and are interested in winning a set of gorgeous juniper fetching sticks from Molly Products, make sure to check out Shiva’s featured K9 Kamp post at Peggy’s Pet Place. You won’t be disappointed!