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October Is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

Adopting a pet can be a rewarding experience, if you are ready.

By Karyn Collier, DVM, chief medical officer of St. Francis Veterinary Center

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has designated October as National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. More than three million dogs are currently in shelters across the United States and are in need of a good home.

The month-long observance encourages animal lovers across the nation to raise awareness about the positive aspects of adopting a pet from a local shelter.

[Visit North Central Animal Shelter's Facebook Page to see pets that are up for adoption.]

It’s important to educate yourself before making the commitment to love and care for a pet. Here are some tips to guide you through the process:

  • Make sure you are ready for the commitment: A dog is an extension of your family, so it’s important to make sure that you are ready to add more responsibility to your daily life. With good care, most dogs can live 12 to 15 years, so it is critical that you consider what is likely to be happening in your life over the next few years before you adopt a pet. Be sure to discuss the decision with your family and research what breed would work best for you and your loved ones. You can read up on the ASPCA's tips on adopting the perfect family pet, and the American Humane Association's tips on recognizing whether getting a dog is the right choice for you.
  • Know the facts: Many shelter dogs are pure breeds, and most will offer additional vetting, with basic vaccinations and microchipping options. Most shelters will also provide assistance and referrals for affordable spaying and neutering. Shelters and rescue groups offer a wide variety of purebreds, mixed breeds and big and little dogs, making it easy to find the perfect dog for you.
  • Be prepared: Once you have done your research and determined that you’re ready to adopt a dog, make sure you know what paperwork you’ll need in order to complete the process, as well as any other materials you’ll need—from a leash to two forms of identification. Your local shelter can provide you with this information. Once the adoption is final, you can brush up on helpful health and wellness tips for pet owners at St. Francis Veterinary Center’s Pet Health Library.
  • Select a primary care veterinarian: Once you've made the commitment to open your home to a new family member, take time to research the primary care veterinarians in your area. Your family veterinarian will become the person who knows your pet's medical needs better than anyone else, and over time this is the person you'll rely on most to help you keep your pet happy and healthy. For help finding a veterinarian in your area, you can search St. Francis' website

Adopting a shelter dog can be a truly rewarding experience, and it gives a dog a second chance at life. The following links will help you find a local shelter in your area and begin the adoption process.

TELL US: Have you ever adopted from a shelter? Share in the comments below. Also, be sure to upload a photo of your furry friend to the photo gallery above.

Cerro Gordo October 18, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Both of my dogs came from the Lacy St. shelter. One of them is the best dog I've ever owned. The other one... Well, she's a sweetheart. I'll see about posting some pictures later. I wish that everyone who is thinking of buying a pure breed from a breeder or going to a pet shop would just take one visit to their nearest animal shelter and just check it out. Not trying to lay a guilt trip or anything, but please just give it a chance. It's a great deal (the dog gets fixed, chipped, and all it's shots for a hundred bucks), and you're gonna get a great pet.
David Fonseca (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 09:38 PM
^Couldn't agree more!
Lauren October 19, 2012 at 10:09 PM
This article is wonderful! Spread the word, everyone! Adopt, don't shop!
ChickenBoyFan October 20, 2012 at 03:50 PM
I am braggin here but, everyone loves my Lacy St. rescue, Petey. He was turned in for being vicious,( came in snappin and snarlin) and was going to be put down. I got him as a companero for my neurotic Weimariner, whom I took in, when her owners moved away and left her behind. Bad, bad, irresponsible people, in my op. Anyhoo, she and I (mostly she) turned him into the happiest doggie on earth. We did this by being really KIND to him. When he realized he was in a safe and harm free enviro, he started to trust and bloom. I also took them to the dog parks every day for a while. They really lose their anxiety when they get lots of daily excercise. Too tired to fret, they become more trainable. (so do I, actually). Rescue dogs are superior, in my opinion. Since they come with hard luck baggage, they seem to really be grateful for the "leg up" (pun intended) from a tender loving owner. Final advice: Just be really really nice to your dog. Speak kindly, and non threatening. Lots of pets and "good dogs" go a long way, to them. We who know, and love the misfits, wouldn't dream of buying from a nasty breeding situation. (if you need a fancy breed, well, they end up at the pound too. Hope I've made a case for adoption.
nonoise October 20, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Please ask neighborhood councils for money and/or supplies to support your wonderful efforts.
Lauren October 21, 2012 at 05:23 PM
You made an amazing case!!! All of my pups came from various shelters too... My one eyed doxie mix came from Lacy St, my neurotic dachshund boy came from East Valley, my tiny 8lb old man dachshund with a broken leg and almost no teeth came from Pasadena, and my fat bossy doxie mix hails from Long Beach... Yeah, I have quite the dachshund and mutt family/pack!
ChickenBoyFan October 21, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Yes. The neighborhood council is a perfect resource for some funding to improve the quality of our of own pets, here in HP.

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