Have you ever considered adopting a shelter dog? Well, now is the time. October is national adopt a shelter dog month.
Every year millions of dogs enter the shelter system. Of those approximately half never make it out alive.
The sad thing is there seems to be a stigma that shelter dogs are bad and shouldn’t be adopted, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.
Shelter Dog Myths
Here are a few common myths about shelter dogs.
- Shelter dogs have been abandoned for a reason. This is absolutely true, however the vast majority of shelter dogs were surrendered not because of their own problems, but because of the owners issues. Here are a list of some of the most common reasons dogs are brought into shelters.
- Owner allergies
- Death of an elderly owner
- Elderly owner physically unable to care for the pet
- Financial troubles, can no longer afford the pet
- Owner no longer has time for a pet
- Owner had a baby and no longer has time or money to care for the pet
- Owner moving and unable to take pet
- Pet is found as a stray and not returned to owner due to not having tags or a microchip, so it is taken to a shelter
- Dog has puppies and owner is unable to care for all the animals
- Shelter dogs are sickly. This is completely untrue. Pets in shelters are examined by veterinarians, given vaccinations, are spayed or neutered, and receive treatment for any medical conditions they have prior to being put up for adoption. If the animal does have a medical condition such as food allergies, etc. this is disclosed to any potential adopters prior to adopting so they can make an educated decision.
- Purebred dogs are not available from shelters. This is another misconception. According to statistics compiled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, at least 25% of dogs that enter shelters are purebred.
If you are considering adoption, please consider an adult or senior dog when adopting from shelter. Puppies are always easy for shelters to adopt due to their “cute” factor. Adult dogs often get overlooked simply because they are all grown up.
Benefits of Adopting an Adult or Senior Dog
Here are some great benefits to adopting an adult or older dog.
- What you see is what you get. When you adopt a puppy you don’t know what they are going to look like all grown up. With an adult or senior dog you can plainly see exactly what they look like, now and in the future.
- Adult and senior pets are much less destructive. They are past the chew on everything puppy phase.
- Adult dogs have more manners. Since they have had a family in the past they usually have some obedience training and are socialized to living with humans.
- Adult dogs and senior dogs have lower energy levels and are more relaxed. Anyone that has had a puppy knows they have boundless energy and need constant attention. An adult or older dog has less energy and needs less entertaining and exercise, so they are much less work than a young dog.
- Finally, and most importantly and adult dog seems to understand that it was saved by you. They have an appreciation and a devotion that is unique. They know you rescued them and gave them a chance at life. They are grateful and they show it, and they will form a bond with you their new owner unlike any you have known before.
Am I Ready For The Responsibility Of A Dog?
This is an excellent and very important question, and one that only you can answer for yourself. Even though it is adopt-a-shelter dog month, you need to be sure you are ready for a lifetime commitment to a dog before you run out to a shelter or rescue and adopt one.
There are many things to consider prior to adopting a dog. Remember all those reasons I stated above that people take their dogs to shelters in the first place? Good, then before adopting you need to make sure you are ready for the responsibility and you are willing to make the commitment for the rest of the dogs life.
Dogs are living, breathing creatures with emotions and feelings and not an expendable “thing” to get rid of when it is no longer convenient for you. You need to be willing to give them the same commitment you would give a human child. If you are not willing to do that, then you are not ready to have a dog. Lack of a permanent life time commitment is the number one reason so many pets end up in shelters in the first place.
So, be honest with yourself and if you are truly ready to have a dog in your life and you have been on the fence about whether to adopt from a shelter or rescue, I hope this information has helped change your mind.
Shelter dogs are amazing animals and once you’ve adopted from a shelter or rescue you will never “buy” a dog again. You will understand once you have had the experience for yourself.
To read about my personal experience with my first rescue dog CLICK HERE.
Here is a great short one minute video from the American Veterinary Medical Association all about National Adopt-A-Dog Month. It also covers many points to consider prior to adopting a dog. Please watch it and feel free to leave any comments below.
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