There are lots of reasons to dig the month of October: It signals the beginning of the holiday season, the weather really begins changing, and the month is host to my favorite holiday — Halloween.
But there’s another reason to love October. A reason that you’re probably familiar with. October is also Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, so if you’ve been considering adding a dog to your family, now is the time.
And here’s why shelter dogs in particular need your help.
According to Petfinder, the top 10 reasons people relinquish dogs are:
- Moving (7 percent)
- Landlord not allowing pet (6 percent)
- Too many animals in household (4 percent)
- Cost of pet maintenance (5 percent)
- Owner having personal problems (4 percent)
- Inadequate facilities (4 percent)
- No homes available for litter mates (3 percent)
- Having no time for pet (4 percent)
- Pet illness(es) (4 percent)
- Biting (3 percent)
The characteristics of these dogs are as follows:
- The majority of the surrendered dogs (47.7 percent) were between five months and three years old.
- Many dogs (37.1 percent) had been owned from seven months to one year.
- Approximately half of the pets (42.8 percent of dogs) surrendered were not neutered. Many of the pets relinquished (33 percent of dogs) had not been to a veterinarian.
- Animals acquired from friends were relinquished in higher numbers (31.4 percent of dogs) than from any other source.
- Close to equal numbers of male and female dogs were surrendered.
- Most dogs (96 percent) had not received any obedience training.
To sum up, people got these dogs, had them for less than a year, didn’t go to the vet, didn’t pursue any kind of training, then had to move and were all like, “Well, I guess it’s time for the dog to go.” It seems really absurd.
This is why I think the most important aspect of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month is not about people rushing out to rescue every single dog from every single shelter (although that would be kind of cool), it’s about taking a moment to educate folks on the importance of carefully considering the decision to adopt a dog in the first place.
I also think it’s important for folks to talk about the rewards of adopting a shelter dog, because there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the practice.
So I encourage you to take this post as an opportunity to talk about your shelter dogs! If you’re on Instagram, use #DogsterShelterDog to get your pup in this slideshow. If you’re not on Instagram, you can comment below with a photo. And stories — we want to hear lots of stories!
Top photo by Nathan Rupert
Read more about rescue and adoption on Dogster:
- Norman Is a Rescue Dog Who Looks Like Meatloaf
- 7 Ways to Pay It Forward and Help Get Dogs Adopted
- 10 Compelling Reasons to Add a Shelter Dog to Your Life
About Liz Acosta: Dogster’s former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site’s daily “Awws,” only now she also wrangles Dogster’s social media. That’s why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and — her personal favorite — Instagram. See ya there!