Adopting Zoofy - The Good, The Bad & The Precious
Hello, I am Aneesha, founder of Zoof Pets.
People often ask me - Do you have a dog? Me: Yes; Them: What is his name? Me: Zoofy; Them: Oh, that is why Zoof Pets? Me: No, he was named after Zoof Pets!
Zoof Pets is almost 3 years old and Zoofy came home 15 months ago on November 16, 2020. He is an indie-mix and was estimated to be 1.5 years old. So, I guess, Zoofy and Zoof Pets were born around the same time. He was destined to come to us!
Why Am I Writing This Blog?
Zoofy was a victim of ‘Dogs can spread Corona’ rumour and was abandoned on the streets. This is an assumption. We know nothing of his past. I would like to believe it is not true because it isn’t easy to abandon a dog like Zoofy. The family who took that decision must have had their reasons and I am sure they must still be thinking of him.
Whenever I tell people that Zoofy was adopted, people often get curious. A friend even told me I was brave to adopt Zoofy without knowing his past. I don’t think I am braver than anyone else getting a dog. But, I realized there are a lot of misconceptions about adoption and it warrants sharing my experience.
Why Did We Decide To Adopt?
In the last three years, I have met over 200 dogs. But, before Zoofy, I never had a dog. And, Deepak (my husband) too has never had a dog. But, building Zoof Pets created in us a yearning for a pup of our own. But, we were never sure if we could invest enough time to raise a pup. COVID and the subsequent lockdown gave us some time to think and we realized there never would be the RIGHT time! We decided to adopt post Diwali that year.
Adopt A Puppy Or An Adult Dog?
I did my research, spoke to pet parents, had long discussions with Deepak and finally decided to adopt a puppy. Deepak and I were open to any breed. We saw a few Indie puppies on FB groups and decided to drive down to meet them post Diwali. I was excited and Diwali was 5 days away.
One afternoon, out of the blue, I was scrolling through our Instagram page and came across Anubis Tiger Foundation’s old post. I remembered our conversation with Deepa Talib (founder) a couple of years ago. I had promised her we would get in touch when we were ready to get a puppy.
Impulsively, I dropped her a WhatsApp message. And, immediately she sent me a picture of a dog. He was called Summer. I am not a believer of love at first sight. But, Summer broke my belief. There was a rush of oxytocin. I had to pull myself together and prepare a list of questions to make sure my decision was an informed one.
I had a long telephonic conversation with Deepa and decided to go and meet Summer. She suggested we meet him a couple of times before making the decision.
Summer had just reached a foster home after a couple of adoption fails. We rang the bell, the lady opened the door and there he was, sitting shyly in a corner. We took him for a walk. He was a curious dog but a patient one. We liked him. We went home.
COVID lockdown was still on. So, Deepa did a video home-check and gave a go ahead.The next day after Diwali, we went back and brought him home. It was no surprise that we named him Zoofy.
The First Few Weeks
The first day was uneventful. He kept to himself. It is very natural for dogs to take time to get adjusted to a new house. We decided to give him as much time as he needs. He was quiet, ate less and kept aloof for a couple of weeks. We were trying to know him and I believe he was trying to understand us.
The first month was smooth. Vet visits, Spa visits and regular walks - we were getting adjusted to a life with a dog.
We Were Not Prepared For This
He was house trained to the T. We have had no pee-poop accidents ever except for a couple of times when he was sick. As Zoofy eased in, we realized he did not know things that a typical dog his age would know.
He would pull on his leash, jump randomly on strangers, hated children and would lunge at cyclists. He grew protective of the house. He would bark aggressively at any one at the door. It became very difficult to invite people home. And, he HATED maids. And, when we tried to stop him, he snapped at us too! It wasn't an easy time. My anxiety was high and I had a business to run.
What Happened Next?
We hired a dog behaviourist. We trained with her for the next three months. We weren’t training three days a week. Our every interaction with Zoofy was a learning/training experience. The dog behaviourist trained us and we in turn instilled confidence and good habits in him.
At the end of three months, we understood Zoofy’s trigger points. We learnt how to introduce him to new people. And, he learnt he could trust us. Training is a life-long process. We falter, sometimes he falters but we are both learning.
How Are Things Now?
There is no doubt that we couldn’t have found a better kid than Zoofy. He is very independent and goofy. He isn’t scared of Diwali crackers but avoids diya. He isn’t a foodie but loves chicken liver and nankhatai. He would leave his food if he is full. If he wakes up first, he won't wake us up. He would patiently stare at us till we wake up!
He goes for a walk twice a day with his dog walker. But, everyday, we take him out at night for a leisurely walk. He loves to sit on the terrace and stare. He has learnt to knock doors if he wants to get into a room or go out. He still hates our maid. We still have to tire him out before we introduce him to a stranger. But, we have come a long way. He is the best thing that has happened to us.
Few Adoption Questions:
1. Should I Adopt A Puppy Or An Adult Dog? Which Breed Should I Adopt?
If you are a first time dog owner and you can adopt an adult dog who has been trained, then you are at luck. In all other cases, raising a pup versus raising an adult dog has its own set of pros and cons. It is a myth that adult dogs cannot be trained.
Consider your lifestyle before you adopt a breed dog. If you prefer to stay indoors and do not like exercise, adopting a high energy breed like the German Shepherd may not be a great choice. However, if you can make arrangements to ensure your dog’s exercise and health needs are met, then any breed is a great choice. I always wanted an indigenous breed as they are low maintenance and tend to have high immunity. It is true that Zoofy is blessed with a good immune system and a beautiful coat.
2. Where Can I Find Dogs To Adopt?
Every city has a network of NGOs who rescue dogs and help them get adopted. Anubis Tiger Foundation, Save the Paws, Bombay Animal Rights to name a few, are doing brilliant work.
3. What Should I Prepare Before Getting A Dog?
- Buy a food and water bowl, age appropriate dog food, a collar and a leash
- Shortlist a vet, groomer and a trainer
- A dog pen or a crate if you are adopting a puppy
- Pee pads and dog wipes
You can buy everything else once your pup comes home.
4. Do Adopted Dogs Have Health Problems?
It is a very valid question. Though breeders promise a healthy dog, it is always not the case. We have seen a lot of dogs develop autoimmune diseases early in life. It is very common for large breed puppies to have a tendency for hip dysplasia. We even developed anti-slip shoes called Zoof grips to manage this issue in puppies and senior dogs.
Adopted puppies may or may not have health issues. We haven’t had any health scares with Zoofy. We get him checked a couple of times a year to ensure there are no deficiencies or impending issues.
5. Are Indies Aggressive?
Any dog, any breed can get aggressive and have behavioral issues if they are not socialized at the right age. Indies are no exception. They also have a strong personality. However, there is nothing training cannot solve. Zoofy was a little hyper at the start but now he has calmed down. Also, regular exercise helps in channelizing energy. Dogs tend to imprint their humans. It is very likely that if you are calm and composed, your dog will eventually learn to be calm.
6. Can Rescue Dogs Be Trained?
Any dog, young or old can be trained. It is a myth that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. It isn’t any easy to train a dog that you buy from a breeder.
Are you planning on adopting a pup too? Leave us a comment if you have any further questions or suggestions!
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