Paws for Thought
Presented by Lincoln County Humane Society
Discovering Shelter Dogs
October is national “Adopt a Shelter Dog” month.
With nearly 10 million animals entering local shelters across the country each year, the Adopt a Shelter Dog Month helps focus attention on our pet overpopulation crisis, and strives to convince people to make shelters their first choice and desired way for acquiring companion animals. According to the ShelterPetProject.org website, only about 21% of Americans adopt pets from shelters or rescue groups, so we have a huge opportunity to save lots of lives.
Why Consider Adopting a Shelter Dog?
•Shelters offer a great selection of wonderful dogs
•Knowledgeable shelter workers and volunteers can help people make a match that will suit their lifestyle and family dynamics
•To adopt from a shelter is to save a life
•In many cases, shelter dogs have already been spayed or neutered, and vaccinated
•If you are looking for a purebred, you’re in luck- 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. Search www.petfinder.com by breed to find what pets are available in local animal shelters
•You can find both older and younger dogs at shelters
•Animals are generally brought into shelters not because there’s something wrong with them but, rather because of something going on in their owner’s life: a death in the family, allergies, divorce, bankruptcy, etc.
The First Step
Responsible dog ownership requires more than simply agreeing to take an animal into your life. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), people bringing an animal into their lives need to thoroughly review their lifestyle and their readiness to take responsibility for the dog’s care.
The ASPCA advises people to consider the five questions below before they adopt a dog:
1. Am I ready to make a long-term commitment? Adopting a pet means being responsible for its health and happiness for the rest of his or her life, which could be up to 15 years for dogs.
2. Is the dog right for my household? A strong, active dog may be too much for a young child or elderly person to handle. Small dogs may be too delicate for rough play with children. And always make sure that everyone in the household agrees to adopt an animal.
3. Who will be the primary caretaker for the dog? One ADULT in the home should be designated as the primary caretaker so that the dog’s needs do not become lost in the shuffle of busy schedules.
4. Can I afford the dog? The cost of a dog is more than just the purchase price or adoption fee; remember to include the cost of food, pet supplies, veterinarian bills and training.
5. Am I ready to commit to making this dog a good canine citizen? A well-trained dog is a pleasure and is welcome in public parks, on walks, and as a visitor. Research shows that people who take the time to train their dogs are more likely to keep them longer than people who don’t.
By bringing a pet into your family, you can teach your children about kindness to animals and responsibility by caring for the pet. By opening your heart to a pet, you will have a friend for life. No matter what circumstances bring an animal into a humane society, most cats and dogs for adoption are affectionate and loving companions. So if you’re looking for a dog to add to your family, discover a shelter dog!