Dr. Vince’s recently adopted dog “Rue”

October is Adopt-A-Dog Month across the U.S.  This observance helps shine a light on the needs of the millions of dogs in shelters and rescues across the country who need homes.

Although accurate numbers are hard to determine, it is estimated that 3 to 4 million pets are euthanized each year.  What makes this more tragic is that an estimated 17 million people will bring a new pet into their home during this year.

Maddie’s Fund, a national pet rescue foundation, says that all treatable and adoptable pets from shelters could be saved with just 2 more pets being adopted from each shelter every day.

Shelter pets are often inaccurately portrayed as “broken”, “undesirable” or some people even think of them as “damaged goods.”  Many worry that these pets come with behavioral or health issues.

The fact is that many of these shelter pets were relinquished because of owner issues, not animal issues.  Some owners ended up being allergic to the dog, others found that they didn’t have time and sadly, many weren’t prepared for the costs of a pet.

Adding a canine companion to your family has many benefits.  Dog owners tend to exercise more than non-pet owners and children growing up in a household with pets tend to be well-adjusted and learn the importance of caring for another living being.  In addition, recently it has been found that children raised with pets have less of a chance of developing asthma. The right dog can even be a wonderful companion for a senior citizen.

Before adopting, please consider your lifestyle and home environment as well as what age/temperament/breed/size of dog will be best for you and your family.

At many shelters, dogs are temperament tested and their behavior is evaluated before they are put up for adoption.  The shelter volunteers and employees can help point out possible good matches for you.

If you have your heart set on a special kind of dog, another possibility is to look into pure-breed rescues in your area.  These groups specialize in particular breeds and have great connections among quality breeders and other rescues across the country.

Don’t forget to use our staff and veterinarians as an excellent resource when deciding on a new pet.  We likely know the reputation of local shelters and rescues and, of course, can also help you understand the unique personalities or health issues of many dog breeds. When you finally adopt your new dog, contact our office to schedule an initial exam with one of our veterinarians and ask about our free exam and vaccine program (click here for more information) for dogs adopted from animal shelters and certified rescue groups.