I have seen variations on this theme….October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month is another. I am not sure who started the official adopt-a-dog month, the American Humane Association has claimed this one in past Octobers, though I couldn’t find anything official on their website for this October. But I say anyone who wants to declare it should do so. In actuality, every month and every day should be adopt-a-pet month or day!
I have to admit that not all of my pets were adopted from shelters, and none were actually “rescues”. Two came from family, two came from friends, one came from our local shelter, and one came from a local breeder. For those that are upset by this, please let me claim ignorance….my youngest pets are about 8 years old, and I just didn’t know better back then. I didn’t realize that there were millions of homeless pets out there. Rest assured, any future pets will not come from breeders, and certainly not from a pet store. The whole pet store issue is definitely a topic for another blog.
So let’s just focus on the fact that adopting a shelter or rescue dog or cat is the best thing we all can do! We can all help reduce that horrifying number of homeless pets, and hopefully eventually bring about a country that has nothing but “no-kill” shelters.
If you are really determined to get a specific breed of dog, and you can’t find one at your local shelter, there is most likely a rescue not too far from you for that particular breed. Just do a little research, or ask around. (Facebook is a great place to find rescues.)
Some people may still believe that pets from your local shelter or rescue are free. That is certainly not the case, nor should it be. All of these places have expenses that need to be covered, not just by donations, but by adoption fees. In most cases you are getting a healthy, spayed or neutered, sometimes trained, pet, who is up to date on all its’ vaccinations. If you can’t afford an adoption fee, then you probably can’t afford to have a pet anyway….pets can be expensive….you have to feed them and keep them healthy, give them a safe environment to live in, and you have to be prepared for possible medical costs. Pets get sick just like we humans do, and they deserve the best of care also.
I did a little research of some of my local shelters and rescues. The average adoption fee for a cat at a shelter is $30 (seniors) – $125 (kittens). Keep an eye out for specials also. Often they will have reduced fees or even completely waived fees at certain times. Dogs go from being free for seniors, or anywhere from $100 for a dog, up to $200 or $300 for puppies. Dogs at rescues average $300-450. Rescues will also run specials from time to time. Best Friends Animal Society features “Pets of the Week”, one dog and one cat. If you adopt their pet of the week they will provide you with free food for a month, plus free transportation to your home, anywhere in the country.(adoption fees $100/dogs and $65/cats).
Some rescues or shelters may charge even more. Look around! Do your research on the rescue or shelter you consider working with…..make sure they are reputable. You want to be sure that you are getting a healthy pet, or that they are at least up front about any health issues the animal is currently being treated for. Ask around and get references. They are going to put you through an adoption application process (and if they don’t they are probably not reputable). They will only respect you for doing the same to them.
One of the greatest resources on the Internet is www.Petfinder.com. This is where many rescues and shelters list their adoptable pets. You can search by type and breed of animal, as well as by location. They also have many, many resources to help you select the right pet, and how to prepare for bringing your new pet home. While you are on there, read their “10 ways you can help dogs for adopt-a-shelter-dog month”. If you can’t currently adopt (maybe you have a full household like we do!), perhaps there is something else you can do.
For my part, for the month of October I am going to list one adoptable pet on my Facebook page every day. With any luck, the right person will see it or share it with someone else, and maybe some lucky animals will be going to happy new homes!