Separation Anxiety Support

For Shelters and Rescues

There are many small, low-to-no-cost things shelters and rescues can do to improve the welfare of dogs suffering from separation anxiety while in their care. We have created several free resources to help you help those dogs and are here to answer your questions.

There IS Hope!

How to Help Pre-adoption

While it makes sense to question if being transparent about a dog’s known history of separation-related behavior problems might deter interested adopters, it’s important to be open and honest about the dog’s care needs from the beginning. We know there are adopters out there willing to go the extra mile for a puppy with Parvo or a dog with diabetes or hind-end paralysis, and we know the same is true for separation anxiety.

Bonus Tips:

In conversation and in the dog’s adoption profile, elevate separation anxiety to the status it deserves alongside other dogs that need adopters who are willing to go that extra mile.

If possible, offer a discounted adoption fee to help the family balance the cost of adoption against the cost of the care needed once the dog is in their new home.

We recognize the dilemma of wanting to help a dog with separation find their forever home as quickly as possible while also being open and honest about the dog’s care needs. Remember, this is a welfare issue for the dog (and family), and it’s important the adoptive family understand those specific needs. We have created this resource to support you in writing adoption cards that are both a call to action and of hope that give potential adopters the facts without sugar coating them. 

The Adoption Process

In the same way it’s important to help adoptive families understand the special care needs of any dog, helping them understand both what separation anxiety is (and isn’t) and what it means is critical to starting them off on the right paw as they begin their new life together.

Bonus Tips:

While adopters may be eager to begin training, remind them it’s important to give the dog some time to decompress before doing so. 

Support them in getting started with training by sharing Mission POSSIBLE, as well as more information about what it’s like to work with Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT). 

Let them know when to expect any planned post-adoption check-ins and how to reach out with questions if needed.

Adoption counseling sessions need to balance giving potential adopters the information they need to make an informed decision about whether they are able to meet the dog’s care needs and offer a sense of hope that separation anxiety is treatable. We’ve created this resource to support you in planning for and facilitating counseling sessions that offer that balance. Please also choose, use, and share one, many, or all of the free educational resources included in it with the adoptive family!

Post-adoption Support

Offering post-adoption support can go a long way in helping guardians truly feel as if they are not alone in this journey and also increase potential for permanency in the home. The types of post-adoption support shelters and rescues might offer are countless and can easily be customized to fit both the organization’s current capacity and the unique needs of each adoptive family.

Bonus Tips:

Conduct post-adoption check-ins (phone, email, text, Zoom) within 3 days and at about 2-3 weeks if the dog is still in their care. If possible, check-in around the 3-month mark, too. 

Get creative and have fun putting together a separation anxiety Critter Care package that works for both your organization and your adoptive families.

Post-adoption care needs for dogs with separation anxiety, especially those first few weeks, are both expensive and can often feel overwhelming for guardians, even the most prepared ones. We have created this resource to help you think about some creative low-to-no cost ways to offer post-adoption support that also fit the unique  contexts and capacity of each shelter and rescue organization.

We are here to help!

If you don’t see what you’re looking for or would like some help getting started, please reach out to our team: Shelter/Rescue Contact Form.

Thank you!

My gratitude to you is infinite. I recognize the challenges that you face in your position and want you to know that we truly see your big hearts and tremendous efforts. Read our blog about how important our shelters and rescues are, and our commitment to them: See Them, Tell Them.

Resources to Download

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