This is the book I have been waiting to read. Ever since I made it known here that we were leaning toward adopting an adult dog, everyone told me there was only one book I needed to read: The new release from Patricia McConnell and Karen London, Love Has No Age Limit.
After poring over this wonderful, practical, little volume, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the only book that a potential dog adopter needs to read. The book is slightly over 100 pages, but McConnell and London say everything that needs to be said to prepare your home and heart for a rescued dog.
Love Has No Age Limit has a strong emphasis on preparation. The authors do all in their power to keep their readers from being blindsided by the many challenges that come with adopting a dog. But with their advice, these challenges are not daunting; rather, McConnell and London equip their audience with the right tools and the right perspective to rehome any dog.
I appreciated their practical tips for preparation, such as: Don’t give the dog full reign of your house right away. Treat the dog as if she is not housetrained, even if the adoption agency says she is; the stress of moving to a new home can cause some dogs to forget the rules of going inside or outside a house. Set your house rules with your family before bringing the dog home (this one struck a chord with me, because I am going to need to do about two months of instruction to get my husband up to speed with all that I’m thinking about and planning for our dog).
McConnell and London, per their backgrounds as well-respected animal behaviorists and trainers, also emphasize the importance of establishing a relationship and a bond. With some dogs, this bond may be instantaneous; with others, it may take a few months or even a year or more. Knowing that both are acceptable possibilities has helped me tone down my fears about adopting an adult. “It often takes a year to fully integrate a dog into your household,” the authors say, and this was such a relieving reminder. Everything does not have to be ideal all at once; don’t expect a perfect dog in two weeks.
The overwhelming message of this book is to have patience with one’s adopted dog. This was such a welcome message to me. After all of my months of planning and research, I am plagued by the thought that I am going to mess the dog up, that he or she won’t be “perfect”–which is silly. Of course the dog won’t be perfect. Of course I will make mistakes. McConnell and London just keep saying, “Have patience. Have patience with yourself and with your dog.” And that’s the message that matters.
Disclaimer: I requested a review copy of this book from Patricia McConnell’s publishing house.