Monday, October 10, 2011
Adopt a Shelter Dog Month is a nationwide campaign sponsored by the ASPCA to promote and encourage people to visit their local animal shelter if they are considering adopting a dog. October is the month designated for shelter dogs, and June is the purrfect month for cats. Every month of the year is a great time to adopt a shelter pet, but since it's October, dogs are in the spotlight for this month.
Throughout the month of October, many shelters waive or have reduced adoption fees to encourage people to adopt a shelter dog. If you've been thinking about adding a new puppy or adult dog to your family, now is the time to get out there and start your search for the perfect shelter pet. Even if your shelter isn't offering reduced adoption fees, please don't let that stop you from adopting. There's a very good reason why shelters have an adoption fee and don't give a pet to anyone who walks through their door. They want to make sure the person adopting a pet is willing to make a commitment to the pet, and paying an adoption fee shows that a potential pet owner is serious about this promise.
Giving a pet away is never a good idea for shelters or anyone who is trying to find their pet a new home. There are people who look for free dogs from “free to good home” ads or shelters and they are not adopting the dog as a family pet. Adoption fees, whether by a shelter or a family re-homing their pet, are more likely to find real dog lovers looking for a pet rather than selling the dog for a profit to someone else. Adoption fees help offset shelter expenses, although most fees don't come close to what it actually costs to feed and provide medical care for the pet.
Every pet deserves a home with a family who loves them. Millions of dogs and cats are surrendered to shelters every year for of a variety of reasons. Some reasons are valid, but many dogs end up in shelters because of behavioral issues that could have been corrected if their owner had only taken the time to seek out help for them. Too many pets are turned into shelters because their owner didn't understand the importance of picking a pet that would fit into their lifestyle. Pets are sometimes surrendered because they got old or developed an illness their owner couldn't or wouldn't pay for. There are things to consider before adopting a pet, and every potential pet owner needs to think carefully about their lifestyle and their ability to make a lifetime commitment to a pet. Adopting a pet should never be a spur of the moment decision.
Black dogs and cats are often overlooked and left at shelters for various reasons. They are harder to see and a lot of people seem to look past them. People are superstitious or they just find other colors of coats more pleasing. Not me! I adore my black dogs and cats, and can't imagine why they would be overlooked. Older or disabled pets are cast aside, and Adopt a Shelter Dog Month is a good time to showcase those pets. They deserve forever homes, too.
Adopt a Shelter Dog Month is a good time to visit your local shelter and volunteer your time, make a much needed donation and help spread the word about all of the great shelter dogs waiting for the right person to come along. Shelters can always use people who are willing to help with grooming, walking dogs, cleaning cages or clerical work. One simple way to help out is to spend some time with the shelter pets and give them some much needed attention. You could also take them a donation of quality pet food like CANIDAE, or some tasty TidNips treats.
To honor shelter dogs, the ASPCA is holding a funniest dog video contest. Check out their Facebook page for details on how to enter your own funny video for a chance to have your dog featured on their website. The contest is open to anyone over 18 years of age, and closes on October 31, 2011.
One thing to keep in mind when adopting a shelter dog: be patient and give them time to adjust to their new home. What you see in the shelter may not be what you get at home once your dog begins to feel comfortable in their new surroundings. Living in a shelter is hard and intimidating for some dogs. Each pet has a story they could tell, and they don't understand why they were abandoned by their owner.
Whether you're looking for an older dog or a puppy, your local animal shelter is the best place to begin your search. Celebrate October by getting to know your local shelter. You never know – you just might find your best friend waiting patiently for you!
Photo by Steph Skardal
Read more articles by Linda Cole