Making the choice to adopt and love a shelter dog
By Carolyn Thorne, DVM
Did you know that when you adopt a dog from an animal shelter you are doing so much more than gaining a new lifelong furry friend? October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month, so please take a moment to understand why it is worth going rescue.
Because there are more unadopted pets than there is room for in animal shelters in the United States, some 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized each year. Adopting a rescue dog (or cat) means one more of these animals will have a healthy, happy life in a loving home.
Though some would-be rescue parents fear that such a pet will involve more work than adopting from other sources, this really isn’t the case. These cats and dogs are usually placed in shelters due to a human problem—for example, a move or change in family situation—and not because of any issue with the animal’s health or behavior. Even in cases where an animal is sick or hurt, they have been nursed back to health by caring and dedicated specialists and are only made available for adoption when the pet is ready to move to their forever home.
Cats and dogs are emotionally sensitive just like us and living in a shelter can have long-term effects on their mental health. Life in a shelter can cause dogs anxiety and this is usually because limited resources often mean animals are not always kept on routines and their day-to-day interactions—with their caregivers and with visitors—can vary.
We have excellent shelters in the Boston area. Please see links to some local and reputable shelters on our resources page.
Don’t worry! Once your new pet is home with you and becomes familiar with his or her new schedule and is given regular, positive interaction and attention--including plenty of exercise—they will settle right in and their anxiety will quickly lessen. Planning a schedule for your pet before you bring them home will help both of you to feel comfortable and speed up any adjustment period.
I would be happy to meet your new pet or speak with you about a potential pet. Contact me to schedule a time to speak.
Have more questions about adopting a rescue dog (or cat)? The Humane Society of the United States has great information and tips!