How To Adopt A Dog From A Shelter
I have always been a dog lover ever since I was a child, and now that I’m in my twenties I’ve decided that it was time for me to take that huge step and adopt a fur baby, the biggest question in my head was “how to adopt a dog from a shelter?” because I wanted to have that experience of saving a life instead of buying one on a pet store.
For some reason, I thought I had to provide the shelter with personal/legal documents such as birth certificate, social security number, an ID, etc. To my surprise, none of that was needed.
How to adopt a dog from a shelter while also dealing with your mental health? This was a little controversial for me, I’m not going to lie, it’s still an endless debate in my brain, but sometimes we just need to embrace what we desire and start the process of self-acceptance when it comes to feeling confident enough to take care of another breathing creature.
I was really nervous on my way to the shelter. I didn’t know what to expect, what to do, nor what to say.
I had been researching for nearby-local shelters and came across one that was a fit for me. I went there on a Saturday, was explained the whole adoption process and got all of the information I needed to make the desicion to adopt a dog.
In my case and for this adoption shelter, the only thing I needed was my name, current address, a phone number and that was basically it!
No extra documents or information were necessary.
Anxiety and Indecision
If you’re like me, you’d probably go to a shelter and feel the need to adopt all of those dogs. I felt like I had a tight knot in my chest that wasn’t going to let me allow myself to pick a specific dog.
I wanted a dog that didn’t grow much and it was hard trying to manage my anxiety levels on feeling guilty if I made the wrong decision. After all, one of those dog’s life depended on my decision.
I came across a few dogs that I instantly fell in love with, but one of them was sick, the other one was just separated from its brother and they didn’t know what reaction it may have, and the other one was going to be a huge dog.
I was somewhat disappointed that I hadn’t found my perfect match and that I was not going to be able to give a life-long home for a dog. I came across this small dog that I was about to take but the volunteer told me he was going to be as big as a Rottweiler and that was a big no from me (I wanted a small-medium dog). I felt so unconsciously guilty, but right next to him was this beautiful 3-month old puppy who was scared to even be around the other dog. Something in me knew that I had to meet her.
I asked the volunteer if she was ready for adoption and they told me that she was ready. I was a little nervous, the dog didn’t really seem like she cared who was holding her, or what was being done, but I still decided to take a couple of minutes with her.
She was uncontrollably shaking as if no one ever had taken the time to pet her and spend time with her. That broke my heart. Even though that in my brain there were still those small echo pieces telling me that I was not fit enough to be a dog owner because of my mental state, I decided that I was taking her with me, and so I did.
The whole ride back to my house was full of “what if’s” and “am I really doing the right thing knowing that my mental state barely lets me do things for myself” and “I don’t want her to suffer”. As you can tell, this was all a really big step in my life. Normally, I don’t like making decisions on my own because I don’t like overthinking too much and if I make a decision, then I’m stuck with the consequences of said act. It was really a struggle, but for some reason, I was determinate to make these puppy’s life something that she didn’t know she deserved and was impossible to have access on that shelter.
Immediately after I adopted her I went straight to PetSmart to get her the necessary things that she may need along the way, such as a bed, toys, food, pads and more toys!
The first day home was truly a roller coaster. She had just turned 3 months old that exact day that I adopted her and it’s still mind-blowing to me how a dog can change your life and make it better in such a small period of time.
The first week has gone by and she has been a little headache threatening to blast a full-on mental breakdown, but luckily I’ve managed. I know she’s still a puppy. She wants to play, bite everything and just be as messy as she can be. Some days it’s manageable and others it’s a little insane, but we both manage. We both keep each other sane, occupied and happy.
Life Before Olivia
Going back to the same non-stop question of how to adopt a dog from a shelter while being mentally ill, it was all draining to just breathe and feel like life didn’t have any sense of meaning. Life was just a mixture of waking up late, no motivation whatsoever, feeling like I was just wasting my time and energy while being stuck in the same situations over and over, and on the other hand, it was mostly just suicidal thoughts. That was how my days normally went before I adopted Olivia; yes that’s her name, in honor of my all-time favorite TV character Olivia Benson.
My life today
What can I say? She brightens up my life in so many ways. I feel like I finally have a motive to keep fighting my everyday battles and someone whom I can share with all of the crazy everyday tasks and situations. Someone I can uncomfortably love and receive the same affection from her part.
She has become my best friend, confident and truly a lifesaver. Not only did I save her life, but she also saved mine, and I could not find the words to describe how thankful I am that I had this opportunity.
Mental illnesses are really complicated, life-changing experiences that often times leave us on the edge of self-destruction. Luckily, if we feel like we’re strong enough to maintain and help another breathing creature, I encourage you to take the necessary steps towards that new and fulfilling life that regards towards adopting a pet.
To wrap it all up, how to adopt a dog from a shelter in easy steps:
- Research the shelter
- Try to find a type of dog/cat that you may like
- Mentally prepare for the new family addition
- Emotionally prepare yourself
- Make sure that you’re financially stable enough to take care of your pet
- Take a deep breath, it is going to be okay and it will be worth it!