Animal welfare groups across the country celebrate the joy of dog adoption this month. October is recognized as national Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month and offers a wonderful opportunity to give a dog a new, loving home.
Promoted by American Humane (a national animal welfare organization based in Denver, CO) and the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month brings greater awareness to the plight of homeless dogs throughout our nation. The Humane Society of the United States estimates nearly 3 to 4 million dogs and cats enter shelters across the United States annually. Within our own community, thousands of pets each year are relinquished or picked up as strays that do not go back home. This year’s Adopt-A-Dog theme is “Be a Super Hero! Rescue a Shelter Dog…and Get a Loyal Sidekick for All of Life’s Adventures!” and hints at one of the many special reasons to adopt a dog.
If you are considering adding a dog to your household, this is a good time to do so! Dogs are loyal and loving, providing that special ‘sidekick’ for life’s journey. Many dogs enjoy riding in the car, going for walks and hikes, and simply being a part of a family; therefore, they make wonderful companions! And remember the great health benefits dogs can provide: reducing stress and blood pressure and uplifting our moods, among others.
Whether you are single, married, have children, or are retired, there’s a dog to fit every lifestyle. Of course, you need to find the RIGHT dog, and that’s one of the roles our animal shelters, rescue organizations, and humane societies provide. The staff and volunteers who spend time with the animals know their personalities and may often know the dog’s background, and therefore, offer a tremendous service for those hoping to add a dog to their life.
This year’s theme of super hero is a strong, positive one. Most of us have a role model, someone to whom we can look up, think of highly, and try to emulate. Those role models may be celebrities, or sports or political figures. Yet, we can all be positive role models, especially to our children. Kids look at superheroes, like Superman, in awe, watching the cartoon and movie versions of these make-believe characters. Wouldn’t it be great if, as adults, we gave children someone to look up to, being noted especially for our kindness and compassion? Not only can we teach our children the uplifting, strong moral characteristics of selflessness, kindness and compassion, but we can also teach them responsibility toward our community and our pets.
So, won’t you be a superhero today, to a homeless dog and to your kids and grandkids? Adopt a dog in October during national Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. And even if you can’t adopt a pet, there are many things you can do to show kindness and compassion: support our local pet rescue and shelter organizations with donations not just of money, but also of dog toys, treats, food and even your time.
Dogs need people – they need our care, compassion, time, and attention. Be a Super Hero today!_________________________________________________________________
Gayle Irwin is a writer and the author of two children’s books. Her most recent publications include a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Lessons Learned from the Dog, released last month, and a new children’s picture book called Sage Learns to Share. Her first book, Sage’s Big Adventure, is an inspirational story about her blind dog. She is a speaker in schools and also the proud “pet parent” of two adopted dogs. For more information about her writing and speaking, visit www.gaylemirwin.com and www.sagestory.com