Adopting a pet from the SPCA of Texas is a unique experience. Fortunately, people are becoming more aware that by giving a second chance to a dog or cat, they also are saving a life while improving the quality of their own lives.

Of course, the new addition deserves patience, understanding and an adjustment period. Here are several suggestions for anyone adopting a pet.

Whether he was born in the bushes behind the Laundromat, or as an adolescent was abandoned on the streets by his owner, the street-wise stray needs extra TLC. This dog or cat had had to compete to stay alive or may have been voluntarily surrendered for adoption.

The pet may have been too active, not housebroken or too friendly. Its owner may have died, become ill or was arrested.

Whatever, the pet is separated from those it loves and trusts. In despair, it waits for them to return, sniffing for the familiar smells that will make it feel good all over again.

When you arrive at home with your new pet, it is confused and disoriented. Sights and sounds are familiar and unfamiliar. Please be patient. In time, your pet will catch on – its past will eventually be a distant memory, and it will be your dog or cat.

Taking on the task of a dog with a past is hard work. Most of the behavior you’ll encounter is an expression of the dog’s inability to cope with the demands of your personality and lifestyle.

Things may proceed slowly and be frustrating, but if you are committed, you’ll get there, and the rewards of having a loyal companion who provides unconditional love will be worth any adjustment period you may experience.

Expect the adjustment to take from six to eight weeks, in some cases longer.

One of my favorite things about working at the SPCA is when people proudly show me pictures or introduce me to their dog and say: “I saved a life, and he’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Calendar

July 10-11: Summer Sizzler Western Days Craft and Bake Sale, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 10 and 1-4 p.m. July 11, SPCA, 362 S. Industrial.

July 15: “Sweet Beginnings at Sweet Endings,” 6-8 p.m. at Sweet Endings, 2901 Elm in Deep Ellum. Admission: $3. Bid on celebrity-decorated water bowls to help the SPCA raise money for cages.


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