PSA: October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month! In honor of the cutest holiday, we’re sharing an interview with one of our favorite partners, Best Friends Pet Adoption ATL. Thanks to the generosity of many Atlantic Station residents, tenants and guests, Best Friends is able to host multiple adoption events on Atlantic Green each year.
Today, we’re chatting with Amy Gravel, Marketing Specialist at Best Friends ATL, about her top tips for successful adoptions, how to introduce a new animal to other pets, and the essentials you need for your fur-ever friend.*
Atlantic Station (AS): If someone is thinking about adopting their first pet, how should they determine when they’re ready to take the leap?
Amy Gravel (AG): Welcoming a pet into your home should be a well-thought-out decision, especially if you’ve never had one before! There are so many things to consider including time, effort, expenses, space and lifestyle. People need to remember that choosing to adopt can be a quick process, but that pet will be a part of your life for the next 10-20 years!
Talk to friends and or family who have pets, offer to dog or cat sit for a friend and do your research! Our adoptions team is great at walking people through the process and giving as much information as possible. We’re with adopters every step of the way so people can feel supported in their decisions.
AS: Any advice for pet owners looking to welcome a second or third animal into their families?
AG: Multiple pet households can be so joyful! That being said, knowing your current pets’ preferences is so important. If you have a dog and you’re looking to welcome another, we offer meet and greets for pets so they can get to know each other first and see how they get along. For cats, we rely heavily on our fosters to know their foster cats and help find the best personality fit.
Our adoptions team offers excellent guidance and recommendations to help make the process smooth and stress free. There is always a period of transition, so give your current pets and new pets time to adapt to their new lifestyles. One thing to remember: if the adoption doesn’t work out because the pets are not getting along, don’t feel ashamed! This is common and sometimes there’s nothing that can be done except to find another home for the animal. We always accept our pets back and will work hard to find a home that works for them.
AS: What are your top 2 – 3 tips for a successful adoption?
AG: Follow the “Rule of Threes” with dogs and cats alike! To sum it up—it takes about three days for a new pet to decompress in a new environment, three weeks to learn your routine, and three months to start to feel at home! Of course, this is just a guideline and many pets can take less time or even more, but often people think it will be a simple and smooth transition. Having lots of patience is the number one way to help make an adoption successful.
AS: How do Best Friends ATL pop-up adoptions work? What should attendees know going in?
AG: We host pop-up adoptions at least twice a month! Because all of our pets are in foster homes, this is a great way for people to meet the pets in person and take them home the same day. We usually bring our MAV (Mobile Adoption Vehicle) filled with cats as well as some dogs and puppies.
Since we do same-day adoptions, it can be helpful to have supplies at your home already so that as soon as you adopt, you don’t have to make any more stops and can bring your pet straight home! We post all of our events on Facebook, Instagram and our website, so to see upcoming pop-ups, make sure you follow those channels!
AS: What are your must-have items for first-time pet owners?
AG: You really just need the bare essentials. For dogs, a leash, harness, food and water bowls, wet and dry food, treats, some chew toys and balls and a crate are the most important things to start with. A comfy dog bed can be a nice bonus, but you can also make one out of towels and blankets.
For cats, litter and a litter box, a scratching post, food and water bowls, wet and dry food, treats and some fun toys are all they need! The most important thing is a loving home.
AS: What’s the funniest or most memorable dog name you’ve ever heard?
AG: We currently have a dog named Drew Barrymore and one named Bea Arthur. I love when pets are named after celebrities because it just gives them a little more personality!
* Note: this interview has been slightly condensed and edited for clarity.