October Is National Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month

The ASPCA estimates that around 10 million animals are dropped off at shelters across the country each year. They're just waiting for those forever homes with people who want to love and cherish them.

October is National Adopt A Shelter Dog Month, and if you're looking for a special friend you'll truly be blessed by a trip to your local shelter. Both of our girls were shelter dogs, and I can remember the days that I got each of them like they were yesterday.

Bailey was the first dog I had ever owned, and she came from the Fort Knox shelter. She was one of eight puppies and there were three left when I found her. She is truly the four-legged love of my life and I treasure every moment we enjoy together.

Then a few months later came her little sister, Sadie. She was a parvo puppy and there was no way I could leave her in that shelter in her condition. After a few days at the vet's office on an IV she was good to go and she's never looked back.

They came from two different shelters and Bailey is four months older, but our girls are sisters at heart. They are almost nine years old and they have had the most spoiled rotten nine years any dog could ask for.

And that's all shelter dogs are looking for. They need love, attention, discipline and exercise - and you might be just the one who can provide it.

If you're interested in a shelter dog, the ASPCA says you should ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I ready to make a long-term commitment? Adopting a pet means being responsible for it's health and happiness for the rest of his or her life, which could be up to 15 years for dogs.

2. Is the animal right for my household? A strong, active pet may be too much for a young child or elderly person to handle. Small pets may be too delicate for rough play with children. Always make sure that everyone in the household agrees to adopt an animal.

3. Who will be the primary caretaker for the animal? One adult in the home should be designated as the primary caretaker so that the pet's needs do not become lost in the shuffle of busy schedules.

4. Can I afford the animal? The cost of a pet is more than just the purchase price or adoption fee; remember to include the cost of food, pet supplies, veterinarian bills and training.

5. Am I ready to commit to making this dog a good canine citizen? A well-trained dog is a pleasure and is welcome in public parks, on walks, and as a visitor. Research shows that people who take the time to train their dogs are more likely to keep them longer than people who don't.

If you passed this test with flying colors, it's time to go find a forever friend. In return you'll get unconditional love, puppy kisses every morning and an endless supply of smiles and warm hearts. October is the perfect time to make a canine addition to your family.


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