We have all seen the Sarah McLachlan commercials asking us to donate and save abused shelter animals. I don't know about you, but I can't get through that commercial without breaking out in tears. But before you bring out the checkbook or credit card to sign up for that monthly contribution, think about adopting and giving a dog a forever home. Throughout my years helping dogs in a veterinary capacity, I have witnessed many myths and misconceptions about adopting dogs. Such as:
- I don't know what I am getting.
- I can't find what I want in a shelter.
- Pets are in a shelter because they didn't make good pets.
- Shelter pets have too much "baggage."
In fact, the main reasons dogs are given up include:
- Owners are moving to housing that don’t allow pets (7%)
- Owner having personal problems (4%)
- Too many or no room for litter mates (7%)
- Owner can no longer afford the dog (5%)
- Owner no longer has time for the dog (4%)
In addition, rescued pets have full histories … something that can actually be GREAT for adopters. Remember, all dogs, even eight-week old puppies, have distinct personalities.
One staggering statistic I found is that 96 percent of all dogs given up for adoption had never received any obedience training. Many things considered to be "behavioral issues" are really quite manageable with correct and consistent training and guidance.
If you are thinking about adopting a dog, there are three types of organizations:
- Animal Control & Municipal Animal Shelters. While the best animal control agencies are very much like private shelters, a lot of them are what you could call “no-frills.” Some have adoption counselors, mostly volunteers, but at others, you’ll be on your own.
- Private Shelters. Non-profit, private shelters, which often have terms like “SPCA” or “Humane Society” in their names, are one place many people go when they’re interested in adopting a dog or cat.
- Rescue Groups. Rescue groups sometimes work with only one particular breed, but there are many groups that feature all kinds of dogs. These dogs usually live in homes with the members of the organization.
Donating to a Shelter or Rescue Group
So, maybe at this time in your life you are not able to adopt a dog. The next best thing you can do it to donate to a shelter or rescue group. These are a few easy ways that you can donate to your local shelter or breed-specific rescue group:
- Donate Your Time - Volunteering for a shelter is one of the most beneficial ways to get involved.
- Donate Your Skills - Do you have special talent or hobby like photography, website management, or creating videos? These are all skills that will help a dog find a forever home.
- Donate Gently Used Items - Shelters can always use food bowls, dog beds, leashes, collars, and toys.
- Donate a Place in Your Home - Fostering a dog is rewarding and a great way to help out your local shelter.
- Donate Food - Buy food at wholesale stores and donate to your local shelter.
With the holidays approaching, why not think of donating to a shelter instead of buying gifts? Your gift may very well be that second chance a shelter animal so desperately needs.