A Few Reasons To Adopt A Shelter Dog
October is often remembered as a month of ghosts, ghouls, witches, and monsters due to the popularity of Halloween. However, October is also designated as National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! A whole month dedicated to promoting and remembering the importance of shelter dog adoption. This blog will cover the finer details about dogs and why you should adopt one.
Every year around 3.3 million dogs enter shelters in the United States, according to the ASPCA. Sadly roughly 1.2 million of those dogs will be euthanized every year as well. Many of these dogs have been neglected, abandoned, and/or abused before they got there. Regardless of how they get there, every one of these dogs needs the same thing; a good home. However, many of these dogs have difficulty being adopted due to the stigma of shelter dogs having health problems, behavioral issues, and costly veterinarian bills. This negative representation of shelter dogs is very unrealistic as there is no such thing as a perfect pet. The truth is that shelter dogs can make excellent pets with the right amount of effort, attention, and love.
Why We Celebrate
So how did Adopt a Shelter Dog Month start? In 1981, the American Humane Association, or A.H.A., recognized the alarmingly growing number of dogs and puppies entering shelters every year and decided to do something about it. The A.H.A. designated the month of October as “Adopt A Shelter Dog Month” as a promotional campaign to encourage the adoption of Shelter dogs and raise awareness of all the shelter dogs that are in need of a good home. At the time of writing this blog (2021), it has been 40 years since the founding of this amazing holiday and it continues to be celebrated and observed by many to this day. Even other dog loving organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals, or ASPCA, has gotten involved by celebrating, promoting, and raising awareness about this wonderful month-long holiday.
Shelter Dog vs Pet Store Dog
So why adopt from a shelter as opposed to a puppy store? One of the biggest and most controversial reasons is over puppy mills. As mentioned in a previous blog, puppy mills can be defined as a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. In many cases these commercial dog breeding operations provide very poor overall living conditions for their dogs. These conditions include tightly crammed living space, lack of a healthy nutritious diet, exposure to extreme weather conditions, and complete lack of necessary medical attention or care. These living conditions of puppy mills are not only inhumane, but impractical as many of the puppies who grow up in this harsh unsafe environment are traumatized for the rest of their lives. Puppies that are raised in puppy mills will often have behavioral issues, social disorders, and medical issues from being malnourished and mistreated at a young age. These various problems usually carry through into doggy adulthood and continue to plague them for the rest of their lives.
The Puppy Mill “Loophole”
You may be thinking to yourself, I would never support a puppy mill or their mistreatment towards dogs. The sad truth is that many people support puppy mills and don’t realize it. The majority of pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills. Even pet stores who claim to not buy from puppy mills usually buy from a third party or “middle-man” who in fact does directly work with and purchase from puppy mills. This “loophole” is just another clever scheme that many pet store companies and corporations use to bamboozle unsuspecting animal lovers into purchasing their dogs and puppies. In short, buying a puppy from most pet stores supports puppy mills whether we realize it or not. This is why it’s so important to adopt a dog or puppy from an animal shelter as opposed to a pet store.
Making a Difference
One of the best and most obvious ways to participate in this month-long holiday is to adopt a shelter dog yourself! However, adoption is a big responsibility and isn’t always an option for some people. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still contribute. Making a monetary donation, no matter how big or small, to your local animal shelter is also a great way to show your support for shelter dogs and the shelters that take them in. If you don’t have the spare funds to donate, you can always donate your time instead. Now more than ever, local animal shelters need volunteers to help tend to and care for the countless dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens they take in everyday. Whether it’s an hour a day or an hour a week, every little bit counts in making a huge difference for the lives of shelter dogs. Being aware of a problem is important, but doing something about that problem is monumental. Don’t just read about “Adopt a Shelter Dog Month,” get involved and spread the word. Share this blog with your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and fellow pet lovers!