October is "Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog" month.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals created "Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog" month to celebrate the many dogs and puppies in animal shelters across the country. The primary goal of animal shelters is to find a permanent home for these dogs and puppies.
Of approximately 68 million owned dogs in the United States, 20 percent were adopted from an animal shelter, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Assn. Through programs like "Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog" month, shelters attempt to increase this number by educating the public about shelter pets and pet overpopulation.
According to the American Humane Assn., 5,500 dogs and cats are born every hour compared to 415 people. As a result, more than 56 percent of dogs and puppies who enter shelters are euthanized, according to the National Council on Pet Population. Most of these dogs and puppies are euthanized simply because there are not enough homes for them. Because of pet overpopulation, most shelters require spaying and neutering of adopted animals. Shelters hope that through pet adoption and spay/neuter programs, the number of homeless pets will continue to drop.
Another essential step in lowering the number of homeless pets is to prevent animals from being abandoned in the first place. Many dogs would never have been relinquished had their families considered the 10- to 15-year (or more) commitment, the importance of obedience training and the dog's temperament before acquiring a dog.
According to the NCPP, the top 10 reasons dogs are relinquished to shelters are moving, landlord issues, cost of owning a pet, no time, inadequate facilities, too many pets, pet illness, personal problems, biting and no homes for littermates. Lack of training can be blamed for the relinquishment of many dogs as well, because 96 percent of abandoned dogs have not received obedience training, according to the APPMA.
Shelter dogs range in size, age, personality and breed. In fact, roughly one in three shelter dogs is purebred. Shelter dogs and puppies require only what all dogs require: training, exercise, good health care and nutrition, affection, and a commitment for his or her lifetime. For anyone who can offer these things, "Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog" month may be the perfect time to consider giving a shelter dog a second chance.