National Adopt A Shelter Dog Month
October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) suggests people who are looking for "man's best friend" to check out the millions of dogs at local shelters across the country. However, responsible pet ownership requires more than simply agreeing to take an animal into your life; the potential adopter should be ready to make a commitment that will enhance the lives of both the human and the animal.
With nearly 10 million animals entering local shelters across the country each year the Adopt a Shelter Dog Month helps focus attention on the pet population problem we face in this country.
Renowned dog trainer Joel Silverman also says that shelter animals make good pets, and that proper training is the key. Silverman's many canine pupils have starred in commercials, television shows, and feature films and often come from shelters. According to Silverman, pet owners that train their dogs have better relationships with their pets and less problems in the home.
"Most people don't realize that training is not as difficult as they think," says Silverman. "Training should be fun for both the pet owner and the dog and, in fact, usually strengthens the bond between them."
In a recent study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, researchers surveyed people turning animals in to 12 various shelters around the country to try to find our exactly why animals end up there. The study was published in the current issue of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, and can be seen at The ASPCA's Web site (http://www.aspca.org). The study's researchers reviewed reasons why people gave up their dogs up for adoption, and found the following frequency of answers:
29 percent surrendered their dogs due to behavior problems
29 percent surrendered their dogs because of the family's housing situation
25 percent surrendered their dogs citing incompatibility with the family's lifestyle
15 percent surrendering their dogs due to the family's preparation and/or expectations.
Nehi and Charlie, adopted from the county humane society by munchkins
According to The ASPCA, people bringing a companion animal into their lives need to thoroughly review their lifestyle and their readiness to take responsibility for the animal's care. The ASPCA advises people to consider the five questions below before they adopt a dog:
1. Am I ready to make a long-term commitment? Adopting a pet means being responsible for it's health and happiness for the rest of his or her life, which could be up to 15 years for dogs.
2. Is the animal right for my household? A strong, active pet may be too much for a young child or elderly person to handle. Small pets may be too delicate for rough play with children. Always make sure that everyone in the household agrees to adopt an animal.
3. Who will be the primary caretaker for the animal? One adult in the home should be designated as the primary caretaker so that the pet's needs do not become lost in the shuffle of busy schedules.
4. Can I afford the animal? The cost of a pet is more than just the purchase price or adoption fee; remember to include the cost of food, pet supplies, veterinarian bills and training.
5. Am I ready to commit to making this dog a good canine citizen? A well-trained dog is a pleasure and is welcome in public parks, on walks, and as a visitor. Research shows that people who take the time to train their dogs are more likely to keep them longer than people who don't.
Looking for a dog to add to your family? Consider adopting a shelter dog!