Why Adopt a Shelter Dog?

By on October 11, 2015

We continue our campaign for October, National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, with a question: Why adopt a shelter dog?

The numbers are startling (and sad). If you’re asking me or anyone else as involved or more than I am in this pet community, “Where shall I get the dog I want?”, the answer is, “Adopt from (fill in the blank)”, with the operative word being “Adopt.” But as it’s stated above, the number of animals that are adopted from shelters is low. It’s probably lower than you think, too.

Only 17 percent of animals we acquire come from local shelters of rescue groups. As many dogs, for example, come from breeders. A startling 42 percent of dogs come from family members, neighbors and other acquaintances.

In this second featured article in our October campaign, we’ll tell you why adopting is great for shelter pets, but also why it’s great for you. Our hope is that the 17 percent number above grows now and in the future. If you missed the first article from this campaign, see it here.


Some folks think they know what they get when adopting a shelter pet. Traumatized animals who are or were sick, who came from bad homes, who have behavior problems, etc. There are stigmas like this and they’re prevalent. They’re also mostly wrong.

So, what do you “get” when you adopt a shelter dog?

When you adopt, for example, from the Nebraska Humane Society, you are getting a dog that has received immunizations, is spayed or neutered, has had a microchip embedded for times when your dog shows up at a shelter and needs to get home, has had any behavioral therapy it needed in order to become adoptable, and you get a kit to take home which will help you care for the dog during his or her first days with you. You are also providing the shelter with money it needs to rehabilitate animals, provide food, water and shelter, and complete community-improving services.

Midlands Humane Society provides a spay/neuter procedure, a microchip, all vaccinations and your adoption fee includes all the “pre-loving” your new companion gets from Midlands staff and volunteers. An important note: buying from a store or online does not guarantee you “getting” any of this.

You are also saving a life when you adopt from a shelter. In fact, Pam Wiese of the Nebraska Humane Society says, you’re saving two. “Adopting from a shelter or rescue truly gives a pet a second chance.  And the beauty is, when you adopt, you give TWO second chances—one to the pet you take, and one to the pet who can take his kennel.”

And to say a healthy, adoptable dog is all you “get,” is a giant understatement as animal lovers know.

It’s widely-known that health benefits result from pet ownership. Here’s a quick list of physical, emotional and psychological benefits one can gain from having (or even being around) companion animals. Academic journals have published research on all of the health benefits below in case you need some light reading before bed…

  • Studies show that kids develop a stronger immune system (up to 33 percent better) when they grow up around animals. Animal allergies are much less likely in a child when animals share his or her home. 
  • Animals provide wonderful companionship and unconditional love, both of which contribute to a happier owner.
  • The American Heart Association says pet owners have lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as lower triglyceride levels than people who don’t own pets.
  • Ever wonder why dogs are utilized as therapy animals for kids, sick people and our aged friends? Having a dog lessens your chance to develop depression and anxiety and they help lower those levels if you experience them already.
  • Studies show that Oxytocin, the “feel good” chemical in our bodies, rises when we simply look at our dogs. Feel good, get sick less!
  • Dogs lower stress levels, provide opportunities to increase socialization, plus they can even detect things like cancer, seizures and other maladies. We’re not quite sure how, but it happens. As you see, the benefits are many…

So. You can save a life (or two!), increase your well-being and gain a partner who will bring you joy and companionship for years. Shelter dogs are a no-brainer, so next time you’re thinking of getting a pet, consider shelter pets as one (if not the best) option. Adopt, don’t shop.


The October Campaign is proudly brought to you by Pets in Omaha and with the help of our sponsors. This article is here courtesy of Canine Cabana. Click the banner below to visit its website.

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