October has been designated national Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. Why is adopting from a rescue or shelter so critical right now? The facts are heartbreaking. Approximately 2.7 million perfectly healthy animals are euthanized in this country every year. Companion animals like dogs and cats are killed when there isn't enough room to house them in shelters. Most dogs are surrendered or disturbingly dumped at shelters by previous owners for reasons such as aging, medical expenses or grooming costs, families having children, relocation's or re-trainable behavioral issues. A surprising 25% of dogs surrendered to shelters are purebred. Many rescues are so full of unwanted animals, dogs and cats placed in a shelter have as little as one week to be adopted before they're killed. Despite the success of spaying and neutering programs in the past ten years homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1. This statistic is tragic for both homeless families and homeless animals. How do we consider this acceptable in one of the most prosperous nations in the world?
Each year it has been a personal mission to share as much information as possible on my website regarding the prevention of animal abuse, ending puppy mills, animal campaigns, shelters as well as the sheer richness and pleasure dogs bring to our lives. From personal experience and avid research, as rescue, police, military, therapy and family companions these incredible animals are intelligent, capable, protective, trusting and unrivaled in loyal, loving relationships with human beings. Dogs provide physical and mental health benefits beyond what current scientific methods can statistically measure as new research steadily emerges. What can we do in October and 365 days a year to help these beautiful animals?
* Decide if adopting a dog is right for you. Do your research. Dogs require time, affection, exercise and grooming attention but like any thing we love they are worth the effort. Check with your local shelter today. Once you adopt make sure an animal is spayed or neutered. Begin your search here:
* If you're unable to adopt do whatever you can to help animals in shelters such as donate supplies or volunteer your time. Call your local shelters and ask them what they need most. Feed shelter animals simply by answering fun questions at FreeKibble.com http://www.freekibble.com/
* Remember if you're looking for a purebred dog such as a Golden Retriever or Beagle 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. Find a breed specific rescue in your area. Please- don't buy puppies from pet stores or pet shops online. Puppies bought and sold in stores and online are more likely raised in illegal puppy mills.
* Support spaying and neutering programs in your city and state. Population control is critical to preventing overcrowded shelters and senselessly killing healthy animals later. Read more about spay/neuter benefits here : ASPCA http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/spayneuter-your-pet
* Use your own resources to help animals in need such as posting information on your Facebook, blog or Twitter page. Urge communities to offer programs which spay and neuter animals for reduced price or free. Population control is key.
* Teach children the importance of compassion and care for all animals. Dogs rely on our love and kindness for their survival. Please, do whatever you can to help even if you're unable to bring a new canine companion into your home this month.
* Please, take time to thank those brave enough to work in clinics, shelters and rescue organizations each day. Most of us can't even imagine the amount of courage it takes to desperately try and negotiate temporary foster or permanent homes before an animals time runs out. Please, think of those doing a job most of us could never bear to do but know must be done.