October means more than just fall-flavored drinks, cooler temps and leaves turning color. It’s a chance to be a hero to dogs young and old.
Every October for the past 40 years, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization and nation’s leading first responder for animals in need, encourages animal lovers to adopt a dog from a local shelter or rescue group during its annual Adopt-a-Dog Month.
The nonprofit says dogs have been our best friends, protectors and often personal heroes for thousands of years.
Throughout October, people can go to www.AmericanHumane.org to find tips on preparing a home for a new four-legged companion, other vital information and social media campaigns and blogs to help build a better world for furry best friends.
Here are some ways the organization suggests celebrating Adopt-a-Dog month:
Adopt from a shelter or rescue group
When ready to open a heart and home to a new best friend, adopt from a local animal shelter or rescue group. Talk with shelter staff to find the perfect dog for you and your lifestyle, and remember that older dogs make excellent pets, too.
Spay or neuter your dog
Have your dog spayed or neutered, thus preventing the possibility of unexpected, and potentially unwanted, puppies. Spayed and neutered animals have been shown to lead longer, healthier lives and have fewer of certain behavioral problems than animals who have not been spayed or neutered.
ID your pet
By putting identification on your dog, either in the form of a tag, a microchip or both, you will reduce the possibility that your pet will become one of the presumably “homeless” dogs that end up at your local shelter. Only 15 to 20% of dogs who enter a shelter are reunited with their owners. Make sure your dog is one of the fortunate few by outfitting him with proper identification.
Support your local shelter
Show the pets at your local shelter or rescue group that you care by donating time, money or supplies like pet food, leashes, beds and toys. Call the shelter to see what supplies or services are needed most. Even the smallest effort can make a difference.
Consider adopting an older dog
There is a great need to provide safe, loving homes for the thousands of older pets who often face the highest risk in animal shelters. Each year, an estimated 670,000 dogs are euthanized in the nation’s shelters. Many potential pet adopters overlook older animals — but there are so many reasons why dogs over the age of 6 or 7 make ideal furry family members and friends: They tend to be less rambunctious than younger dogs; they’re often already house trained; they’re a great fit for people with busy lifestyles; they’re so grateful for a second chance and will give you lots of love and thanks.
“There are so many animals, young and old, who need forever loving homes,” says Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “Be a hero and join us in our push to get as many beautiful, loving pets adopted as possible.”
Pilar Arias is a multimedia journalist with more than 10 years of experience in broadcast, digital and print production. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics. Follow her on Twitter: @PilarFOXNews.