The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has designated October as National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. More than three million dogs are currently in shelters across the United States and are in need of a good home. The month-long observance encourages animal lovers all across the nation to raise awareness about the positive aspects of adopting a pet from a shelter. If you’re considering adopting a shelter dog, it’s important to educate yourself. I am going to post links to other on-line sources on how and why to adopt a shelter dog that have been very helpful to other people seeking a furry friend.
First, is a dog right for you? Is is important to know the responsibility you are taking on when thinking about adopting a dog from a shelter. Its important to know that after you welcome in your dog, your daily routine will change dramatically, in a good way. Yes, you need to remember to feed him and take him out because dogs are like children; completely dependent of their owners. This article (Click the hyperlink to read it) posted on the American Humane Association website, talks about the responsibilities along with adopting a new dog and also the qualities it takes to own a dog. If you love to play outside, don’t mind a little mess, and enjoy big wet kisses, you may be the perfect dog owner.
After reading that article and you know that you are the perfect pet owner, it is important to realize know how important a shelter dog is over getting a dog from a breeder or a puppy mill. The second article I want to share with you, written by Megan Sprague, talks about adopting from the Humane Society because “you not only save the dog who otherwise would have been euthanize at the shelter, you also make room for us to rescue another dog from the shelter. Puppy mills have become a huge problem because everyone wants to be a backyard breeder which leads to hoarding. Sprague does a good job of explaining in depth why a shelter dog is the dog for you once you figure out what breed is suitable for you or your family.
Now that you know you want a shelter dog, you need to figure out your next animal shelter visit. I now want to direct you to Cathy M. Rosenthal’s blog. Here she explains the five things you should do when visiting an animal shelter or adoption event. She says bring the entire family because knowing what dog is best for the family requires the whole gang. Engage with the staff because they will be able to give you insight into a dog’s personality- who’s friendly, who’s shy, who is great with other pets or kids. Allow enough time to adopt because most people think it is going to take an hour when it could take more than visit. Cathy says to look at all the animals because you may think you want a puppy, but then realize the calmer older dog is more suitable for your lifestyle. Lastly, spend time with your potential new pet because getting a pet is long commitment so getting to know your pet’s personality will ensure a better adoption.
If you haven’t had luck at your local shelter or can’t attend an adoption event then this site is for you. It is run by the ASPCA and will help you find your next dog. Once you have researched what type of breed and size works well with your family, this site will help you find a dog. It offers you tools to select a certain breed, age, gender, and even distance away from you to travel to provide the best adoption process possible. This allows to you constantly see an updated list of dogs in your area that are up for adoption.
Now after all of this, if you think that maybe you are not ready for adoption, but you still want to help the animals contact your local animal shelter! This volunteer website offers creative ideas to help out shelters including creating a website for them, assisting with obedience, and starting a news letter. Donate your time or money. Shelters mainly run on volunteers and donations and will be grateful for any offer. Get a group of friends and make a day out of it!
I hope these steps to dog adoption will help some people who are feeling unsure about the process. Dog adoption is a life changing event, and with the right guidance it will be one of the best decisions ever made. In honor of this month, go out there and show your support for these animals. Adopting a shelter dog can be a truly rewarding experience, and it gives a dog a second chance at life!