Saturday, October 13, 2012

October Goes to the Dogs


When we think of October, we often think of the falling leaves of autumn and the witches and ghosts of Halloween.  However, October also happens to be Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog month.  The ASPCA began this campaign to raise awareness about the millions of dogs in shelters throughout the United States.
 According to the Humane Society of the United States, anywhere between six and eight million animals enter shelters each year.  Sadly, an estimated three to four million are euthanized yearly.  Therefore, pet adoption and owner education is exceedingly important in order to provide as many animals with loving responsible homes as is possible.  

Bearing all the above in mind, consider finding your next pet at your local animal care center or rescue organization.  Even if you prefer a purebred dog, check your shelter.  In shelters throughout the country, an estimated 25 to 30 percent of the shelter population is purebred.  In addition, do not forget to check breed specific rescues.  If you are looking for a dog to adopt, Petfinder.com and Adopt a Pet.com are also great places to check.  These websites list dogs available for adoption from about 5,000 community animal shelters nationwide and various rescue organizations throughout North America!  You can search by zip code, breed, age, size, and gender.  In addition, each pet profile includes a small biography and has a picture of the animal.

There are those that believe that shelter animals are not decent pets.  The idea is if they were good, their previous owners would not give them up.  However the main reasons pets are given up include: the owners are moving to housing that does not allow pets; allergies; the owners are having personal emotional and/or financial problems; there are too many animals; there is no more room for unwanted litters;  and the owner no longer has time for the pet.  Behavior trouble is another reason people turn his or her dogs in.  Often the behavior problems could have been easily solved with proper obedience training.  If you are planning to adopt, you must be willing to make a serious commitment to the animal for the rest of its life.

Maybe you want to help the local shelter or one of the many rescue organizations in the area by adopting, but you already have enough animals.  Maybe you do not have any pets because you live somewhere that does not allow them.  Whatever your situation is, there are many ways you can still get involved and any assistance increases the chances of adoption of these wonderful companions.

If you wish to work with animals, stop by a shelter and offer to take a dog for a walk.  A more socialized dog is much more likely to find a home.  Help groom the animal; this also enhances its chance for adoption.  Many shelters and rescues have limited space to take in pets.  Because of this, fostering helps provide space for others in need. Fosters provide basic care on a temporary basis for such reasons as the animal might be recovering from illness or is too young to be adopted. No matter what you do, volunteers are definitely needed and always appreciated!

Shelters and rescues can always use help with publicity.  Offer to make and distribute fliers around town.  Talk to friends, family, business associates, maybe they can help too.  Creating exposure for the shelter helps facilitate adoptions.

Do you have some blankets or towels lying in the back of your closet?  Donate them to the shelter.  They make wonderful bedding for dogs and cats.  Shelters often have wish lists of items they need.  Call and talk to the staff, or go there, you may find that their needs match up with some of your extra items.

If you want to donate money but feel your bank account cannot handle it, label a tin can and put your spare change in it.  You can put one at work and get your co-workers to donate as well.  Donations help fund medical care, transportation, adoption events, and education. 

There are many ways to help that need only a few minutes or a few dollars at a time, but each little bit contributes to making a huge difference in the animal’s lives.

Today would be a very good time to start to do whatever you can to help shelter dogs for Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month and the rest of the year! 



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