By Tara Gillies, Public Relations Assistant
“Shelter dogs aren’t broken.
They’ve simply experienced more life.
If they were human, we would call them wise.
They would be the ones with tales to tell, stories to write.
Do not pity a shelter dog.
Adopt one.” ~Pedigree’s Hero’s Commercial
October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. With so many sweet, loving animals given up to the local humane society every day, October is as good of a time as any to bring home a new best friend. In the United States alone, there are between six and eight million dogs and cats that enter shelters each year. Out of this astronomical number, only about three or four million are adopted. Thus, about four million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized by shelters each year. If just one out of every three people who purchase a dog from a breeder would go to a shelter instead, there would be no need to euthanize any adoptable dogs. I have heard so many excuses about why people will not adopt a shelter animal. A common reason is that people prefer purebred dogs and use this as a reason to buy their pet from a breeder. However, about 25% of the dogs in United States shelters are purebred. In fact, my sister has gotten two adorable purebred pugs from shelters in New Jersey. They are the most loving dogs in the world and I am almost positive that she would choose them over a boyfriend.
Here are the Humane Society’s top five reasons to adopt a shelter dog this month:
1. You’ll save a life!- As previously mentioned, about four million dogs are euthanized every year due to overcrowding. With every dog that is adopted, you will save the lives of two; the one you adopt and the homeless one who is taken in by the shelter because of the space that opened up.
2. You’ll get a healthy pet!- Animal shelters test their animals thoroughly, vaccinate against diseases, and many even spay or neuter prior to adoption. It is a common misconception that shelter animals have been given up due to illness or because they misbehave. Too often, they end up in shelters because their owners were unable to properly care for the animal.
3. You’ll save money!- Although animal shelters charge an adoption fee, it is hundreds or even thousands of dollars less than buying an animal from a breeder. In addition, shelter animals already have their vaccinations, most are spayed or neutered, and some are even trained!
4. You’ll feel better!- Animals have an uncanny ability to make the worst day better. They give unconditional love and can help with emotional or physical problems. They can even lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels!!
5. You won’t be supporting puppy mills or pet stores!- Puppy mills often keep their animals in cruel, unsanitary conditions. They are bred over and over with little human interaction until they are no longer usable and discarded. Due to inbreeding at puppy mills, many of these animals come with medical conditions that will cost thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars down the line.
Even if you are not in a position to adopt a dog this month, there are other ways that you can help. You can use Facebook or Twitter to spread the word about Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. It is a quick and easy way to let people know that they can help a sweet animal in needs. In addition, you can volunteer at your shelter, foster an animal, or donate money as most shelters are always in need of supplies. Take a look at Petfinder.com and look at the adorable faces in need of a home, and take a moment to think of a way to lend a hand this month.