Not all rescues are created equal, and the burden is on YOU to do your research and ensure you are working with a licensed, responsible, ethical animal rescue organization. There are many “dog flipper” rescues around who do the bare minimum, (if that) to turn dogs out quickly for profit. Below, we will list some of the very basic things you can do as you begin your search for a new family member.

  • Visit the PACFA list of currently licensed rescues in CO. If the rescue is not licensed – DO NOT ADOPT!!! There are several groups from out of state saying they are a “rescue” when in fact they are not! They often bring unhealthy dogs into Colorado and sell them on Facebook, Craigslist, or at parks without proper vetting and quarantine protocol. This is ILLEGAL! Always make sure the org you are working with is licensed by the state. https://ag.colorado.gov/ics/pet-animal-care-facilities-act-pacfa/active-pacfa-facilities
  • Contact the governing agency for rescue organizations in Colorado, PACFA– (Pet Animal Care Facilities Act) https://ag.colorado.gov/ics/pacfa. You may call and request inspection and complaint records for any rescue you are interested in adopting from. Be mindful of complaints where animal husbandry, medical care and housing are concerned. Also take into account any complaints from the rescue’s former foster families – as the fosters generally know the inner-workings of the rescues and complaints are often quite valid and concerning. If the rescue you are considering has a lengthy list of complaints and violations – it would serve you best to steer clear and avoid heartache down the road.
  • Ask the rescue if they do a wellness hold/quarantine on their pets. This is REALLY important, guys. Viruses such as Parvo, Distemper, and even Kennel Cough have a 2-10 day incubation period. Animals often pick up these illnesses at shelters or while on transport to CO. A reputable rescue will have a minimum 10 day wellness hold on ALL animals AFTER they arrive in Colorado and prior to placing them up for adoption. This is done to ensure the animals are healthy. A wellness hold also gives the rescuers the opportunity to get to know the individual animal, their behaviors, specific or special needs, and to determine what the best home for the animal looks like, (ie, no cats, kids, short fences, etc.) There have been several instances where disreputable rescues will adopt an animal right off the transport vehicle, or within days of arrival. This simply is not safe; it is not ethical, and it is not in the best interest of the animal or the adopter.
  • Will the rescue allow you to meet the animal prior to adoption? Sadly, many disreputable rescues will require you to make a commitment to an animal you have never met. Some may not even allow you to see the animal until the adoption fee has been paid, and then they will bring the animal to your car like a drive-thru. THIS SHOULD NEVER BE DONE! You should have the opportunity to meet the animal you are interested in to see how that animal responds to you and your family, and to determine if that animal will be a good fit for your family. Be wary of any organization that will not allow you to meet the animal before requiring you to commit to them. Never put money down, or pay an adoption fee for an animal you have never met!
  • When visiting the animal you are interested in adopting – You should be allowed physical contact with that animal. You should be allowed to look over the animal for any obvious signs of injury or illness, and to assess behavior. If the animal looks sick or exhibits questionable behaviors – you have the right to ask questions and get answers, or to walk away. We suggest that if the animal appears sick – you walk away. Fast.
  • What is included in your adoption fee? Rescues are mandated in the state of Colorado to spay/neuter all animals prior to adoption. If this is not being done, the rescue is in violation of PACFA rules. All adopted animals are to have at least 1 exam by a veterinarian, and age appropriate vaccinations as well. A reputable rescue will have already microchipped the animal to ensure the animal will always have a way to get back home should they become lost.
  • Is there a return clause? Reputable rescues will have it outlined in their contract that an animal must be returned to them if you can no longer keep the animal. Yes, you will likely forfeit your adoption fee, but this return clause is in place to ensure the continued safety of the animal, which should be everyone’s priority.
  • When you finalize your adoption – The rescue is REQUIRED to give you all of the information they have on that particular animal. This includes: Where the animal came from, when it arrived in Colorado, any and all medical paperwork and vaccination documentation they have, and a health certificate if the animal orginated outside of Colorado.
PRAR is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of our animals and our adoptive families. As such, this is what you can expect from our organization:
  • We are licensed by the state of Colorado’s Department of Agriculture for animal rescue.
  • We maintain very strict protocol to keep in-line with, (and often go above and beyond) the rules set forth by the state.
  • EVERY animal in our rescue has completed a minimum 14 day wellness hold.
  • All of our animals live in volunteer foster homes, not kennels. PRAR NEVER boards/warehouses an animal in a facility! This allows the animal to decompress, become part of a family, learn house rules, and begin basic training. This gives US the opportunity to learn the animal’s behaviors in a home environment, strengths, and areas that need work – so that we can get a better idea of what the ideal home situation looks like for that individual animal.
  • All injuries and previous illnesses, (if any) are made public in the animal’s adoption bio.
  • You will never adopt a pet without meeting them first.
  • All of our animals are spay/neutered/microchipped/vaccinated/dewormed prior to adoption.
  • Animals over 1 year of age have been heartworm tested.
  • Any known medical issues have been addressed by the time the animal is put up for adoption.
  • We offer the opportunity, (and STRONGLY URGE) all of our adopters to join our family – A private Facebook group, so that you will have access to our vets, behaviorists, foster families, pet sitters, and in the case of litters – you can maintain contact with littermates’ families and watch the entire litter grow up. Littermates often get  back together for playdates, birthday parties, sleepovers, etc. It is our hope to keep our families together, and our rescue team emphatically appreciates the opportunity to watch our kiddos grow and flourish with you.
  • PRAR offers continuing support after your adoption, for the life of your pet. Including back-up microchip contact.
  • By adopting a rescue dog from a 501c3, licensed animal rescue, you are putting money into an organization that fights tooth and nail to save the lives of euthanasia listed dogs every day, and is committed to ending the overpopulation of pet animals in this country. When you purchase a dog from a breeder, you are lining the pockets of those breeders and continuing the suffering of the dam, (mom) who will be continually subjected to life of bankrolling her owner. You will be supporting the continuation of pet overpopulation which leaves 6,000 precious dogs euthanized DAILY. YOU have the power to help us end the overpopulation crisis.
  • When you adopt one dog from PRAR, you save TWO lives. You have given a furever home to the pet you bring home, and you make room within our program so that we can save another from euthanasia. That’s something you can feel good about!

ADOPTION PROCESS

  1. We do NOT adopt outside of Colorado.
  2. We do NOT adopt siblings/littermates.
  3. Look at currently available pets below, and click on their picture to read their bio.
  4. MAKE SURE YOU MEET THE MINIMUM ADOPTION REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PET YOU ARE APPLYING TO ADOPT – If you do not meet the minimum adoption requirements for that animal, your application will not be processed.  If you do meet the requirements, please complete our online adoption application. This application MUST be completed in it’s entirety. Do not rush! If not completed fully, answering every question in its entirety – your application will not be processed.
  5. DO NOT APPLY FOR A DOG THAT HAS NOT BEEN LISTED FOR ADOPTION YET. If you saw an animal on our Facebook page, but it has not yet been listed for adoption on our website – DO NOT APPLY. Your app will be tossed. We do not yet know anything about these animals or what their ideal home looks like and we will not accept applications for them until they are posted for adoption. Please apply for an animal listed currently on our website who desperately needs a home NOW.
  6. We do not allow adoptions as “gifts,” or for another party. The OWNER must be the approved adopter, and must sign the contract.
  7. Make sure the references you list on your application are aware that they must return our call immediately. Failure to speak with your references will result in a delay/declined application.
  8. Please contact your veterinarian immediately and authorize release of information (pet history) to our rescue. Failure to do so will result in a declined application.
  9. If you don’t hear back from us within 3 business days of submitting your application, please email us at pawsitiverestorations@gmail.com.
  10. Once your application has passed review we will call for a phone interview and to schedule a meeting as long as you meet the minimum requirements for the animal, and if the animal is still available.
  11. We keep all applications on file until January of the following year. You do not need to re-apply if you have already applied for an animal this calendar year, as long as all of your information is the same.
  12. If you have a Pre-APPROVED application already on file, you may e-mail us to request to meet any of our listed/available animals as long as you meet the requirements for that animal.  It is ALWAYS best to have a pre-approved application on file.
  13. If after meeting the pet you are interested in adopting, and you and the animal fall in love, you will place a $100.00 (non-refundable) holding deposit on your animal, and a PRAR rep will schedule a home visit. Click on the FAQ button to learn more about our home visits.
  14. Once the home visit has been passed, arrangements will be made to sign our adoption contract and take possession of your new fur-baby.

ADOPTION FEES

  • Puppies under 1 year – $450+
  • Adult Dogs – $300-$400
  • Seniors Dogs – $200-$300
  • Kittens – $225
  • Adult Cats – $150
  • Flip Risk/Purebred – To be determined.

What is a “Flip Risk pet?” Flip risk simply means that that particular animal/breed is at a high risk of being bought cheap and sold high. These are typically highly sought after breeds who are sold for exorbitant prices by breeders and pet stores, making them hard to acquire. Low-life flippers make a living by getting these dogs cheap and then “flipping” them on craigslist or other social media platforms for huge profit, with no regard to where that animal ends up or the care it will receive.

What does my adoption fee cover?

There are always questions about adoption fees with rescue dogs. We hear it constantly – “Why do you charge for dogs, it’s JUST A DOG!” “I used to go to a corner lot and get a dog for free!” “It’s just a ‘mutt,’ it’s not worth what you’re asking for it.” “I can’t afford that fee! I want a dog for free, and I’ll pay for the vetting myself.” The list goes on… Most people are not familiar with how rescue works and the exorbitant costs that go in to the animals we save.

When you adopt from PRAR, and if you adopt from ANY licensed rescue in the state of CO, there are certain vetting requirements set forth by the state. ALL animals must be spay/neutered prior to adoption. ALL animals must have age appropriate vaccinations at the time of adoption, etc. Those two requirements alone often meet or exceed the adoption fee. What folks don’t understand is that there is a LOT of expense put into all of the animals before they ever go up for adoption. Let me lay it out for you…

PRAR puts our animals health and wellbeing above all else. They are the superstars here, we are just the vessels that make the magic happen. This is what OUR organization does for OUR animals: ALL of our animals who come in from out of state must see a vet in that state for a comprehensive health check, fecal exam, initial vaccinations, deworming, health certificate and heartworm test if they are over 1 year of age. Any injuries, fleas/ticks and other parasites, (if any) are handled at that time as well. Those animals also have to have somewhere to live before they transport to CO! We have a network of amazing foster families in all of our targeted areas. We supply those foster homes with whatever they need/ask for to care for our dogs. This is an incredible investment into our animals before we ever even get our hands on them! Then the animals have to be transported into Colorado from these underserved areas out of state. That costs money too, folks! Once the animals finally arrive in Colorado, each is given an intake exam, a collar, and an ID tag. They are dewormed, vaccinated with both DAPPv and Bordetella as per a strict vaccine schedule, and they are microchipped. They are then sent to their foster homes with food, toys, potty pads, crates, puppy pens, treats, and whatever else they need to help them adjust and be not only comfortable – but HAPPY! We hold each and every animal for a minimum of 14 days for a wellness hold to ensure they are not sick. If an animal breaks with an illness during this time, that illness is treated. This means that all of the supplies we give must last for a minimum of 2 weeks, but often it’s more like 3-4. In the case of injured and sick dogs, or our pregnant/nursing moms, this stay can last 3-8 months! During that time, any known medical issues are treated by our AHAA accredited veterinary partners. The animals are spayed/neutered, revaccinated, and dewormed AGAIN. The animals receive yet another comprehensive wellness exam prior to adoption to ensure our animals are healthy and ready to go to their furever homes. When our animals go home, they go home with all of THEIR things to help ease the transition and lower stress levels. They will come home with a blanket, their old toys, new toys, food, collar, and treats. Here is a breakdown of just SOME of the medical costs associated with care of the animals, and why we depend so heavily on donations (on top of adoption fees) from our village of animal advocates:

  • $25.00 covers a health certificate – required for each animal we save from outside Colorado.
  • $15.00 covers ONE DaPPv or ONE Bordetella Vaccine. Puppies require multiple boosters.
  • $25.00 covers a Rabies vaccine, but not the office visit to get the vaccine,
  • $15.00 covers one Microchip
  • $60.00 covers a veterinary office visit (exam only)
  • $50.00 covers a basic CBC blood work panel
  • $48.00 covers a Heart worm/Tick-born illness test
  • $180.00 covers a pregnancy x-ray
  • $800 + covers a pyometra spay
  • $50 covers one parvo test
  • $70 covers one giardia test
  • $50 covers one fecal exam, but not the office visit to get the test
  • $3000 – $6000 covers treatment for ONE parvo puppy

On the off chance that we make a miniscule “profit” from the adoption of a dog, those funds go to help the numerous sick/injured/pregnant dogs that we take in, whose veterinary expenses often range into the THOUSANDS of dollars. Our adoption fees don’t change because of illness or injury. The dog who cost us $8,000 to save will have the same adoption fee as the healthy dog in that same fee schedule. Now, I challenge ANYONE to go and get a “free” dog and do the same amount of vetting and care that we do for our dogs and see how much that costs you. It is quite the opposite, really – most people actually SAVE MONEY by adopting a fully vetted rescue animal. Yes, rescues SOMETIMES get a discount on veterinary services – but it’s certainly not what the public thinks! Our discounts range from 5%-10% off standard vet prices. It’s not a lot folks.

ADOPTION FEES

  • Puppies under 1 year – $450
  • Adult Dogs – $300-$400
  • Seniors Dogs – $200-$300
  • Kittens – $200
  • Adult Cats – $150
  • Flip Risk/Purebred – To be determined.

What is a “Flip Risk pet?” Flip risk simply means that that particular animal/breed is at a high risk of being bought cheap and sold high. These are typically highly sought after breeds who are sold for exorbitant prices by breeders and pet stores, making them hard to acquire. Low-life flippers make a living by getting these dogs cheap and then “flipping” them on craigslist or other social media platforms for huge profit, with no regard to where that animal ends up or the care it will receive.

 

Congratulations! You’ve been chosen to adopt a Pawsitive Restorations kiddo, and thus join the P.R.A.R. family! Now it’s time for your home visit! EVERY home/person adopting an animal from P.R.A.R. must undergo a home visit prior to us placing one of our beloved pets into your home. These visits are either done in-person, or via video call and typically require about 10-15 minutes of your time. We reserve the right to choose which method of home visit we wish to proceed with. A PRAR Volunteer will reach out to you soon after placing your deposit to schedule a home visit with you. They will remind you what they are looking for, and it is your responsibility to make sure everything is repaired/in place before the volunteer arrives. 

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR:

  • That the home and yard are safe for the animal you are adopting
  • No gaps or holes in the fence that the dog can fit through. If they can get their head through it, they can get their body through it. Please make sure ALL gaps/holes are mended PRIOR to your scheduled home visit, or you will chance losing the animal for which you have applied.
  • ALL Gates/Entryways into your yard must have a padlock. This is non-negotiable, and will be part of your contract to maintain. Wind blows gates open. Kids leave gates open, and animal theft is on the rise. We do not want our kiddos getting loose. Please have padlocks in place prior to your scheduled home visit. No dangerous debris/chemicals in the yard, or accessible to the dog in the home.
  • Please have sturdy window well covers in place if you have deep wells.
  • Please have the supplies you need for your new addition ready. We will move very quickly once your home visit is complete. Please ask the foster family for a photo of the brand/type of food your pet is currently on, and go buy at least a few weeks worth. Your pet may NOT go anywhere after adoption, so no stopping at the store on your way home! (flight/health risk) NO RAWHIDE treats please. This is dangerous for dogs, and a very expensive surgery to retrieve it from the stomach/intestines. Thick bully sticks and tracheas are a much better option. Please have a new crate available. If not new, please soak the used crate in a 70/30 bleach mixture for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to putting your new pet inside of it.
  • Hoarding situations – Thankfully this is rare, but if we walk into a house that clearly belongs to someone with a hoarding disorder, we will not be allowing the adoption to proceed.

We are not the house cleaning police, we promise! We know that people LIVE in their homes and we aren’t looking to see if you did the dishes or vacuumed the floor. We just need to make sure our babies are going to good/healthy/safe homes.

Once your home visit is complete, and the paperwork returned to the office, someone will reach out to you to schedule a time to bring your new baby home!

Do you allow pet meetings when adopting a pet?

 Short answer is, YES! So long as our host foster home is comfortable with the situation, AND your current pet is fully vaccinated, spay/neutered, and is pet friendly both on and off leash. We ask that you come in and meet the animal you wish to adopt first, to make sure it’s a good match for you and your family. At that point, you and our foster parent may bring your pet, (on leash) into the enclosed yard to introduce your pet to the animal you wish to adopt. The safety of our foster families and of our dogs is paramount. If at any time the host family feels that they, or our pet is in danger, you will be asked to remove your dog from the yard.

Do you adopt out siblings together? 

We do not adopt out siblings, nor do we recommend that any family have more than one dog under 6 months of age at any given time. Littermate syndrome is real, and more people need to be cognizant of the ramifications of raising littermates together. Please do your research.

Why do you require a completely fenced/locked yard?

 Lots of reasons. In addition to pulling euthanasia listed dogs, we also support our communities by tracking/trapping lost pets. We scan found pets with the hopes of locating a microchip and returning that pet to it’s owner. We also collect and scan deceased animals who have been hit by cars on our roadways. We’ve seen first hand what happens when dogs and cats escape their homes, and it’s not pretty folks. We don’t EVER want one of the cats or dogs that we pick up off the road mutilated to be one of OURS! We have made each and every one of our animals a promise when we rescued them. We promise them a good, fulfilling, happy life, with a family that can and WILL give them what they need socially, emotionally, medically, and physically. These kiddos need and deserve room to run and play multiple times a day.

 Our Executive Director admins for several Denver area rehoming groups and we see far too many people rehoming pets because they don’t have a fence and that cute puppy they adopted has grown up and now needs more outside time than they can/will give them. As a general rule, people don’t do breed research and understand the NEEDS of the breed before bringing that cute little puppy home. Got news for ya folks, that cute little puppy is going to grow up. He’s going to need training, he’s going to need exercise, and he’s going to need mental stimulation. Roaming frequently and safely through their secure yards allows them ample time to sniff, smell, and they get much needed mental stimulation from that activity. You do incredible emotional harm to an animal by bringing them into your home, making them feel like they are part of your family, only to dump them off when they grow up and you can’t/won’t give them what they need; what you should have known they needed before you brought them home.

 Now, before you start hollering at me, yes, there ARE some wonderful pet owners who are active people, who live in homes without fenced yards. And they make due by properly training their animals and finding ways to give those kiddos everything they need. Those folks work HARD to ensure their dog is living a happy, healthy, fulfilled life. Sadly, those people are the exception and not the rule. It’s a hard choice to make, but we have to make the choices we feel are best for OUR dogs. We do everything in our power to ensure that our animals are going to the best home situation for them, for their breed, for their individual personality and temperament. We hope that you will understand that we take our position and our commitment to our animals very seriously.

INVISIBLE FENCES – We do not allow invisible fences in lieu of a physical fence. Let’s just say that Fido has a strong prey drive and sees a bunny. His adrenaline is running high and he’s willing to take the zap for the chance to get that bunny! He runs through your invisible fence and goes for broke chasing said bunny. When fun time is over, he is coming back a whole lot slower than he went out. This time, he’s not going to take the zap, and now Fido is locked OUT of your yard. This is just ONE reason we don’t qualify invisible fences. Another is that predators don’t wear collars that will keep them on the outside of that invisible fence… the physical fence is a safety barrier. 

LOCKS ON GATES – ALL Gates/Entryways into your yard must have a padlock. This is non-negotiable, and will be part of your contract to maintain. We regularly have strong winds that blow gates open. Kids leave gates open, and animal theft is on the rise. We do not want our kiddos getting loose, ever. As such, we mandate that all fosters and adopters maintain a padlock on all gates going into their yards.

 

Your donations make it possible for us to help animals who have no one and nowhere to go. Without you, we can’t help them!

P.R.A.R. Is a PACFA licensed, 501c3 nonprofit, foster-based animal rescue in S.E. Aurora, CO that relies very heavily on donations from individuals and businesses to save the lives of hundreds of animals each year. We graciously accept monetary, supply, equipment, land grant, charitable bequest, vehicle, and service donations!

  How your monetary donations help to benefit our rescue:

  • $25.00 covers a health certificate – required for each animal we save from outside Colorado.
  • $15.00 covers ONE DaPPv or ONE Bordetella Vaccine. Puppies require multiple boosters
  • $22.00 covers a Rabies vaccine
  • $15.00 covers one Microchip
  • $100-$200 covers a Spay/Neuter
  • $60.00 covers a veterinary office visit (exam only)
  • $50.00 covers a CBC blood work panel
  • $48.00 covers a Heart worm/Tick-born illness test
  • $180.00 covers a pregnancy x-ray
  • $800-$1,500 covers a pyometra spay
  • $50 covers one parvo test
  • $70 covers one giardia test
  • $50 covers one fecal exam, but not the office visit to get the test
  • $3000 – $6000 covers treatment for ONE parvo puppy

In addition to the expenses listed above, we also have to pay for:

  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Medications/Dewormers (almost every animal has medical needs)
  • Toys/support items for mental stimulation
  • Tracking & trapping equipment
  • General Supplies & equipment (crates, pens, bowls, medical supplies, puppy pads, administrative and office supplies, etc)
  • Behavioral analysis, training, and reconditioning. (We help those who’ve been severely traumatized, both physically and emotionally)

…and whatever else THEY need to help them become the very best they can be!

Did you know?

  • $350 can sponsor one healthy dog’s entire care? Including microchip, vaccines, deworming, heartworm test, spay/neuter, food, supplies.
  • $500 covers the cost for one out of state Rescue Roundup?
  • $1,000 will pay for one month of transports.
  • $5,000 can cover our “Healthy Animal” vet bills for one month?
  • $62,000 would cover a safe transport van, so we can transport animals in need to our rescue in Colorado.

 

We rely on our dedicated volunteers to help ensure that our rescue runs like a well oiled machine, our events go off without a hitch, and our animals are given the very best loving care available! Are you interested in volunteering to help rescue animals? Here are just a few of the areas where we need volunteers currently:

  • Foster homes (critical need)
  • Performing home visits
  • Application Processing
  • Transport
  • Fundraising
  • Donation pick-up
  • Social media expert
  • Blanket/Toy making – we will teach you how!
  • And so much more…

If you feel led to volunteer with Pawsitive Restorations, please visit our “VOLUNTEER” page to fill out a volunteer application, and someone will get back to you shortly!

Accord

One of the easiest and fastest ways to help our kiddos is by NEWORKING! 

  • Comment on our social media posts OFTEN

  • SHARE our social media posts to your wall and to any groups you are in!

  • Like/Love our social media posts

Without going into all the technical mumbo jumbo about algorithms and what-not, by sharing/commenting/liking our posts, we get a much more expansive reach because the more folks commenting and sharing, the more the Facebook bots think this is something everyone wants to see, so they make the post more visible. 90% of our animals are adopted because someone shared a post, and a friend saw it! NINETY PERCENT, ya’ll! NETWORKING SAVES LIVES!

Congratulations! You just adopted a new family member! NOW WHAT?! Well, if you adopted that precious kiddo from us, you have gone through our mini-education presentation and you are 2 steps ahead of the game! This page serves as a reminder for all the information we threw at you, and for new pet owners who weren’t lucky enough to get a crash course education on bringing their new pets home.

IF YOU HAVE ADOPTED A PUPPY

PAWS OFF THE GROUND! – 1st and foremost – remember the holy grail of puppy rules – THAT BABY IS GROUNDED!!! If your newly acquired puppy is under 16 weeks of age, (and often times even if they’re under 6 months of age, they have not been fully vaccinated. A common misconception is that puppies need one “puppy shot” and they’re done. WRONG! Puppies need a minimum of 3 DAPPv vaccines starting at 8 weeks of age to be properly immunized from deadly, highly contagious viruses such as Parvo, Distemper, Parainfluenza, Adenovirus, etc. These vaccines should be given at 4 week intervals until the puppy has completed all three boosters in the series. Until ALL THREE boosters have been administered, your puppy at-risk and is what we call, “PAWS OFF THE GROUND.” This is exactly what is sounds like. Your puppy’s adorable little feet should never touch the ground except for inside YOUR house and inside YOUR back yard. No visits to the store, groomer, friend/neighbor, dog park, walks, or even in your front yard. GROUNDED, FOLKS! And let me tell you why…

Remember that all rescues/breeders are not created equal. Most organizations/breeders don’t take the 20-30 minutes to properly educate new pet parents about puppy safety where contagions are concerned. Parvo, for example, is a highly contagious, deadly virus that is extremely hard to kill. Parvo and other killer viruses typically have a 2-10 incubation period before symptoms are noted. Parvo virus particles can live in soil and on surfaces for over a year without a host, and it is ridiculously hard to kill. Yeah – you read that right. It’s a gnarly little booger and it WILL kill your unvaccinated dog.

Here’s our hypothetical scenario – There are several unethical rescues lurking around who bring dogs in from out of state every week. A bus comes in on Wednesday with 50-60 dogs on board. Those dogs are on the adoption floor at Petco or Petsmart on Saturday. There has been no proper quarantine time for those dogs, and many dogs do get sick on transports. Remember – 2-10 day incubation period for these deadly viruses! Your neighbor Bob wandered into a Petco and adopted a dog from a disreputable rescue. That rescue gave Bob ZERO education. Bob had the cash – Bob got the dog, that’s all that rescue really cared about. But Bob didn’t know any different, so let’s not bash Bob. Anyway, Bob takes his new puppy home and he thinks he’s doing everything right. He has that puppy in a harness and they’re walking up and down the street working on leash training. Bob’s new puppy poops in your front yard, but Bob is a nice guy and he picks it up; you never knew it was there. 2 days later that puppy pops with Parvo. Unbeknownst to you, or Bob, you now have millions of deadly parvo virus particles in your yard, (where they will lie in wait for over a year). All it takes is for an unvaccinated dog to step in that spot and then lick their paw. Now YOUR dog is sick, you’re out $8,000, and your dog may or may not survive. It happens that fast and that easy folks! Can you honestly say that you know which dogs have pooped in your yard over the past year? Nope, you can’t possibly know what viruses are lurking outside of the bubble that is your home and your back yard. So, please keep your new baby in your protective bubble until they are completely vaccinated! Remember, too, that these vaccines must be given ANNUALLY. One series of puppy vaccines will not keep them protected throughout the years. 

NO NEW FOOD FOR 10-14 DAYS! Now that we’ve properly terrified you about parvo, let’s move on to some less horrifying things. Your puppy/adult dog should have been sent home with at least some of the food they have been eating. You will want to keep your new pup on that same food for a minimum of 10-14 days, and I’ll explain why here in just a sec. All dogs experience stress to some degree when moving to a new home. With that stress often comes some physiological responses. Things like, not eating right away or loose stools, (not diarrhea, more like soft serve yogurt) are normal stress reactions. This slight stress response can be treated by feeding a bland diet of chicken breast and rice, and adding a tsp of canned pumpkin to their feedings. That being said, some dogs can experience a high level of stress which can lead to Stress Colitis. Stress Colitis can present as diarrhea, often with mucus or blood in the stools. This really does need to be evaluated by your veterinarian who can confirm the diagnoses, prescribe a G.I. specific antibiotic, probiotics, and either a bland, or temporary prescription diet to help your new pet get through this stressful time. (Every PRAR dog has undergone a minimum 14 day health hold, (quarantine) but if you adopted elsewhere, or bought from a breeder and you see the symptoms above, it is of UTMOST importance to have your pet seen immediately for a fecal exam, lab work, and a parvo test.) Back to the same diet – Your puppy should be on the SAME EXACT DIET they have been eating prior to coming home because a sudden change in diet can also cause symptoms similar to what has been described above. During this period it is extremely important that you are monitoring your pup’s stools constantly for any change so that if they are experiencing Stress Colitis, (or worse), you will catch it early. If you brought Fido home and changed up his diet all willy-nilly – you are not going to know if his diarrhea is because of a diet change, or because of a condition which requires veterinary intervention. NO. NEW. FOOD. FOR. 10-14. DAYS. This includes – NO NEW TREATS. Use puppy’s kibble for training treats at this time. If/when you want to change your pet’s diet, (after the initial 10-14 days) please do so gradually, mixing small amounts of the new food into the old food over the course of 7-10 days to allow their little tummies to acclimate to the new diet.

COMFORT ITEMS – If you adopted a PRAR dog, (and hopefully even if you didn’t) you were given used toys that “smell like home.” These are toys that your pet has played with and his siblings or other dogs in the home he is familiar with have played with. These are what we call, “comfort items.” They are familiar in sight and smell, and can bring great comfort when everything else in their whole world is brand new. Please make sure your pet has these items available in their crate and at their disposal whenever they need/want them. Please do not wash them until the pet has completely decompressed and is 100% comfortable in their new home. (About a month, give or take).

FIRST NIGHT AWAY FROM THE LITTER – If you have adopted a puppy and this will be their first night away from their litter – their pack – their family. You’re probably in for a long night(s). Please remember this rule of thumb, “THE PACK ALWAYS SLEEPS TOGETHER.” This is basic dog knowledge. Your baby is alone and scared. You can minimize the stress at bed time by bringing his crate into your room and putting it right beside your bed. I often sleep with one arm hanging beside the bed and next to the crate so that puppy knows he’s not alone. He can see and smell that I am right there with him. Be prepared for him to wake up in unfamiliar territory without his siblings, and cry. Comfort him as best you can and reassure him that he is safe and loved. The worst possible thing you can do at this time is to put him in his crate and stick him in a laundry room or basement alone, just to save yourself from the crying of a lonely, terrified baby. Being without their pack is unnatural for dogs and you will likely make the behavior worse. YOU are his pack now, please honor him and his emotions through this time and support him as best you can. This should only last a day or two – you can do it.

POTTY TRAINING – Get that baby outside OFTEN! They have to potty when they wake up, after they eat, and after they play. They have to potty lots of times in between, too! Start by taking your new baby outside at least every hour during the day and give RIDICULOUS, over-the-top praise and yummy high value treats when they potty appropriately. There are lots of tips and tricks available to you if you Google potty training for a puppy. One of our favorites is to hang jingle bells on the door low enough for puppy to reach, and ring those bells everytime you go outside to potty. Like Pavlov’s dogs, your puppy will learn to ring those bells themselves when they want to go out. Yep! It works! Google it!

SOCIALIZATION – If you have a puppy, you have a responsibility to ensure that your puppy is properly socialized. There is a pretty small window available to you to take advantage of the key socialization period for dogs. Between 4 and 16 weeks folks! That’s the critical window. That’s when we are going to make or break a dog, generally speaking. Your puppy MUST get adequate socialization to people and other pets during this time period. But how do we do this when our puppy is grounded? Okay, you’re going to have to work for it, but it’s do-able. I tell our adopters to invite friends over to their homes as often as possible to socialize the pup to new people. Bring a variety of people over! Allow your pup the opportunity to meet as many people of various ages, genders, and ethnicities as possible! IF those people have ADULT – FULLY VACCINATED – FRIENDLY pooches, please invite the dogs as well! But – it is imperative that you make sure those dogs are fully vaccinated and have not been recently adopted into their families. NO PUPPIES. AT ALL. Remember folks – the primary concern is to keep your pup safe from potential exposure to deadly viruses, while also allowing them this much needed socialization during this critical developmental period in their lives.

IF YOU HAVE ADOPTED AN ADULT DOG

NO WALKS/TRIPS FOR A MINIMUM OF TWO WEEKS! – Your new pet is what we call a monumental, “FLIGHT RISK” during the first two weeks, (minimum) of adoption! He doesn’t know you, your family, or your house and he just wants to go back to what he knows. It’s nothing personal… put yourself in their shoes. You must be mindful of this at all times during this transition period! AT NO TIME during the next several weeks should your new dog be outside alone. Let’s take that a step further – your dog SHOULD be on a leash attached to a very well-fitted collar or better yet, a harness at all times in your back yard for at least 2 weeks. You don’t know if he’s going to jump the fence to try to go back to what he perceives his home to be. Expect your dog to attempt to “door dash” if given the opportunity. Do not allow children to open doors at this time. Do not take your dog on trips to the store, dog parks, or even a walk around the block until that animal has completely decompressed and is comfortable in your home. Before taking your dog on walks, you should have complete recall on that animal, just in case he slips his leash and bolts. The last thing you want is your dog getting away from you when he sees a bunny and you can’t get him back because he still doesn’t even know who you are. Dogs who suddenly find themselves in unfamiliar territory, with unfamiliar people are SCARED. They absolutely will run if given the opportunity to do so, so please, please, please do not EVER let them outside alone, or give them any opportunity to get away from you – you will likely not get them back.

NO NEW FOOD FOR 10-14 DAYS! Your dog should have been sent home with at least some of the food they have been eating. You will want to keep your new dog on that same food for a minimum of 10-14 days, and I’ll explain why here in just a sec. All dogs experience stress to some degree when moving to a new home. With that stress often comes some physiological responses. Things like, not eating right away or loose stools, (not diarrhea, more like soft serve yogurt) are normal stress reactions. This slight stress response can be treated by feeding a bland diet of chicken breast and rice, and adding a tsp of canned pumpkin to their feedings. That being said, some dogs can experience a high level of stress which can lead to Stress Colitis. Stress Colitis can present as diarrhea, often with mucus or blood in the stools. This really does need to be evaluated by your veterinarian who can confirm the diagnoses, prescribe a G.I. specific antibiotic, probiotics, and either a bland, or temporary prescription diet to help your new pet get through this stressful time. (Every PRAR dog has undergone a minimum 14 day health hold, (quarantine) but if you adopted elsewhere, or bought from a breeder and you see the symptoms above, it is of UTMOST importance to have your pet seen immediately for a fecal exam, lab work, and a parvo test.) Back to the same diet – Your dog should be on the SAME EXACT DIET they have been eating prior to coming home because a sudden change in diet can also cause symptoms similar to what has been described above. During this period it is extremely important that you are monitoring your dog’s stools constantly for any change so that if they are experiencing Stress Colitis, (or worse), you will catch it early. If you brought Fido home and changed up his diet all willy-nilly – you are not going to know if his diarrhea is because of a diet change, or because of a condition which requires veterinary intervention. NO. NEW. FOOD. FOR. 10-14. DAYS. This includes – NO NEW TREATS. Use the dog’s kibble for training treats at this time. If/when you want to change your pet’s diet, (after the initial 10-14 days) please do so gradually, mixing small amounts of the new food into the old food over the course of 7-10 days to allow their little tummies to acclimate to the new diet.

COMFORT ITEMS – If you adopted a PRAR dog, (and hopefully even if you didn’t) you were given used toys that “smell like home.” These are toys that your pet has played with and his siblings or other dogs in the home he is familiar with have played with. These are what we call, “comfort items.” They are familiar in sight and smell, and can bring great comfort when everything else in their whole world is brand new. Please make sure your pet has these items available in their crate and at their disposal whenever they need them. Please do not wash them until the pet has completely decompressed and is 100% comfortable in their new home. (About a month, give or take).