bringing home

your new pet

Bringing Home Your New Dog

We recommend that you take your new canine family member straight home after picking them up at the shelter. Remember, this is all new to them, and a calm environment with routine will help transition into their new life faster. Before you even get home, walk through your house with a critical eye looking for areas that need to be pet-proofed.

  1. It is critical that you keep your new dog on a leash at all times during transport. Bring someone along to help in the car with the dog, especially if the dog is not crated.  Keep a firm hold on the leash before opening the door to avoid the possibility of the dog bolting.

  2. Keep the dog leashed even when in your home to slowly introduce them to the new environment. Once you feel comfortable the leash can be removed. Don’t be afraid of leaving the leash dragging for a while…it is a gentle way to redirect the dog from trouble.
  3. If possible, introduce the dog to each family member separately. That way the dog will have the opportunity to process each family member without getting overwhelmed.
  4. The first few days allow your new dog to have alone time. These short periods of time help to ensure that the dog does not become dependent on you.  We suggest giving him/her a stuffed Kong to reinforce calm when the dog is alone.
  5. Always supervise children and cats with dogs, no matter how the size or temperament of the dog. This is for the safety of your dog and your child or cat.

Bringing Home Your New Cat

  1. Please make sure that you have your new kitty in a secure carrier. It can be very stressful on the kitty to be transported, and a carrier is the safest place for them.

  2. Before you bring your cat home make sure that you are bringing your new family member into a safe environment. As you are cat-proofing your home consider this “baby” as having super powers. They can jump almost seven times their height, squeeze into spaces that you would think are completely impossible to fit into, chew through cords, and may have other talents that you would not have imagined. Being proactive is your best defense. Click here for some great pet-proofing tips.

  3. Set up an extra bedroom or any room that can be closed off with a secure door and ceiling. Cats often have difficulty with change in environments and too much unfamiliar stimulation may force them to retreat into a hiding spot and disrupt a smooth transition. Their “starter home” should be equipped with:

    -Food and water bowl on one side of the room and an open litter box on the other side of the room.

    -A place to hide. A cardboard box or a chair draped with a blanket work very well. It is recommended that you have limited furniture in the room.

    -A piece of your clothing or a towel with your scent on it. This will allow the kitty a chance to become accustom to your scents.

    -A scratching post and toys in the room for the new kitty to play with.

  4. Go at your new kitty’s pace when interacting. It is very temping to want to pet, hold, or interact with your new family member, but allow the kitty to make the first move. When he/she is ready they will approach to sniff, if they move away they are saying it is too soon.

  5. Please ask us for information about introducing your new kitty to your resident dogs or cats. A proper introduction can make a life-long friendship much more likely, and will also help to keep everyone safe.

  6. Children tend to move quickly and are unpredictable, which can frighten your new cat. Take this opportunity to teach the child how to properly interact with animals.

  7. We encourage you to keep your adopted kitty safe indoors. For tips on how to keep you cat happy and enriched without going outside, please check out this helpful information from Cats and Birds

Behaviour Concerns Post Adoption

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice or assistance if you have any questions after you bring your new pet home.  You can reach a member of our Behaviour Team by email at or by calling 519 966-5751 ext 118.  Remember, adopted dogs come with two post-adoption training sessions, and there are no time limits on taking them.  While formal training isn’t usually offered for cats, our Behaviour Team would be happy to help with any settling issues that you’re experiencing.  We want to help if you have any concerns, so please feel free to ask! We also have lots of information available online to help you deal with some common dog behaviour challenges.

Medical Concerns Post Adoption

Please note that while all adopted pets receive a complete veterinary exam, it is impossible to guarantee the health of a living being. Any animal can be incubating an illness at any time that is not easily detectable. This is why we strongly recommend limiting your pet’s contact with other animals until at least 10 days has passed. The WECHS is not responsible financially or otherwise for any illness or injury to animals your adopted pet is exposed to.

Post adoption medical concerns relating to being a shelter pet that may arise shortly after adoption can most often be seen and treated by WECHS medical staff. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • respiratory infections (sneezing, coughing, nasal or ocular discharge)

  • incision concerns (redness, swelling, discharge)

  • diarrhea

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the medical concern or the amount of time since the adoption has been finalized, adopters – as the pets’ new owner and person responsible for their care – may instead be directed to a veterinarian of their choice at their own expense. For example, if a newly adopted pet suffers from an injury in the home or ingests a foreign object the adopter would be directed to seek emergency care on their own.

If you have concerns about the health of your newly adopted pet(s), please contact the Humane Society as soon as possible for advice or direction. We can be reached 24 hours a day – from 8 am to 6 pm daily please call the Humane Society at 519-966-5751 (the medical department is ext 128); for urgent matters after hours please see your adoption paperwork for the emergency medical phone number. Please note that the Humane Society will not be responsible for any medical bills incurred before speaking with us.