April 30, 2016 was National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day!  This is a very special day where we celebrate all the wonderful pets in local shelters looking for their “fur”ever homes. Not a dog or cat person?  Most shelters also have small animals for adoption such as hamsters, rats, chinchillas, reptiles, and other pets.

Hickory Veterinary Hospital is proud to provide veterinary care to the animals at Chesapeake Animal Services.  Their shelter is located at 2100 S. Military Highway and houses many wonderful animals eager to find their new homes. Adoption information and visiting hours are posted on their website at http://www.cityofchesapeake.net/government/City-Departments/Departments/Police-Department/Animal-Services-Unit/tuacb-adopt2.htm.

One of the pets waiting to find his perfect family is a happy pig named “Moo”.  Here’s what shelter staff had to say about this precious porcine!

Moo, ID# O-2016-144, is still here at the shelter waiting for his forever home. He is neutered and at approximately 200lbs or so, he’s a BIG pig. But despite his size, Moo is the sweetest pig ever. He sits for treats, gives cute little piggy kisses, rolls over for belly rubs, is gentle when taking treats, greets you when you come and see him, is good with adults and children, is friendly with other animals and at his previous home he enjoyed to take naps cuddled with cats. What more could you ask for? If you’d like to visit with Moo stop by the shelter during visitation hours and ask to see him. You won’t be disappointed…he is quite the ham.


If you are looking to adopt a new family member, it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian before you pick out your new pet.  Your veterinarian can help you decide which pet would be a good fit for your family’s lifestyle.  For example, a family that prefers to spend their time watching TV snuggled on the couch is not a good match for a Border Collie, who would require a lot of exercise to be a happy healthy dog.  Nor would a super active family be a good match for a Bulldog or a Pug. Adopting a pet that fits your family’s lifestyle will better ensure a long happy relationship with your new pet.

Welcoming your new pet into your home is a very exciting time but it’s important to make sure the transition goes smoothly for your new pet.  Here are a few tips to ensure your pet’s first few days go well and build a solid foundation of trust and companionship.


Steps to Introducing a Dog to Your Home

  • As soon as you pick your new dog up, take him to the park. Walk him to burn off excess energy. A slightly tired dog is a good thing when it comes to encountering his new home.
  • After his walk, park a few hundred yards from your door instead of driving all the way home then walk the rest of the way. This helps to calm the dog down and introduces him to the sights and smells of the neighborhood.
  • Be sure to show your new dog where you would prefer he do his toileting and give lots of praise when the “duty” happens. Toilet training can never be started too soon.  For now, keep your new dog on the leash as you enter your home.
  • Once inside, explore one or two rooms on leash, making sure to only go in rooms your new pet will be allowed access. Show your dog the room where the crate is, where the pet will eat, plus one other room allowing pet visits.


Meet Junior. Junior is a 2 to 3-year-old male hound type dog that came in to the shelter as a stray. He is laid back, sweet and LOVES attention. But he is a hound and also loves to follow his nose. 🙂 Junior did very well at a recent adoption event so would probably do well with other dogs, but a meet and greet with any potential new siblings is recommended.

Junior’s ID is D-2016-286

Steps to Introducing a Cat to Your Home

  • Prepare one room, which will be your cat’s home for the next few days. Make sure to provide plenty of comfy places to sleep, plenty of hidey-holes, a toy or two, food, water, and a litter tray.
  • Calmly take the cat carrier straight to this room and shut the door.
  • Open the carrier door and let the cat out. Do not be surprised if your new kitty does not immediately want to leave the safety of the crate. Place the carrier near the food, and leave kitty alone to work things out.
  • It is fine to spend time in the room. Be as non-threatening as possible by laying on the floor. This makes you less imposing to the cat. If kitty comes to investigate, speak softly but don’t attempt to pet unless invited.
  • Your goal is to leave the door open and allow exploration of the new home independently. However, for that first night, it is best to close the door.


Bringing Home Other Small Mammals

Small mammals such as guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, and mice are naturally cautious and if they sense danger their first instinct is to hide. They also need to be slowly introduced to their new home and family.

Place them in their new accommodations and partially cover the cage so they feel safe and secure. Leave your new pet alone to adjust to the surroundings for a few days.  When your pet begins to venture out to eat and explore, this is a sign they are beginning to adjust to their new surroundings. Be patient, it may take some time before your new friend will allow petting or handling.