Home > Pet Adoption, Pet News, Pet Topics > Dogs: Adopt Me Please! The Shelter Pet Project

Dogs: Adopt Me Please! The Shelter Pet Project

42-17304144Anyone who knows me, or has read my blog to any extent, knows that I am passionate about animals. But, I am also passionate about something else… animal adoption.

A lot of people assume that adopting a dog or cat from a shelter means that they will be adopting a pet with physical problems or behavioral issues. This could not be further from the truth! Most of the dogs I have worked with at the shelter over the past 7 years have been wonderful and loving dogs. And, most of them were at our shelter due to circumstances outside of their control… home foreclosure, job loss, an owner’s death, an illness in the family, divorce, etc.

I know it’s hard to believe, but most pets are NOT in a shelter because their owner found them to be an awful pet. And yet, somehow the image still persists that adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue organization somehow means that the pet is “flawed” in some way.

The first dog I ever adopted from a shelter was a Shepherd/Collie mix named Indy.

She was 5 years old. She was given up for adoption because her owner was going off to college. I can honestly tell you that Indy was one of the BEST dogs I have ever had. She was not only fully trained (and I do mean FULLY trained!), but she also had great manners. She never begged for people food. She never jumped on furniture. And, she was loyal and loving. When we went for walks, she would walk by my side, unleashed. Indy was “the perfect” dog and she came from a shelter. I still miss her dearly 4 years later.

Since Indy, I have had the opportunity to adopt 3 other wonderful dogs: Aspen, Daisy and Jasper. Each of them has been special. And, not once have I ever been disappointed in adopting any one of my “shelter dogs”. On the contrary, my life has been richly rewarded and blessed because I adopted them.

People will tell you that their shelter dog seemed grateful to have a new home. As an owner of several shelter dogs, I will tell you that I have experienced this firsthand. Shelter dogs know what it’s like to have a home and lose it. I think they know what a blessing it is to have a forever home (something even us humans can relate to!) with someone who loves them and cares for them.

Did You Know?
According to The Humane Society of the United States:

Eight million (8,000,000) pets enter animal shelters and rescue groups every year
Approximately three million (3,000,000) of these healthy and treatable pets are euthanized due to a lack of adoption.

In the next year, it is estimated that 17 million people plan on acquiring a new pet. 17 MILLION! Could one of those 17 million be you? If so, then consider this… What if, instead of buying a dog from a pet store (often supplied with puppies from a puppy mill) or going to a breeder, you were to check out your local shelter or rescue organization first? What if you were to give an animal a home for life? Just think what a difference you could make for a loving pet.

The Shelter Pet Project is a campaign sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States and Maddie’s Fund

Their goal is to:

Eliminate the stereotype that there is something wrong with shelter pets
Make shelters the first choice and desired way for acquiring a companion animal
Increase the rate of animals adopted from shelters

You’ve probably already seen their commercials on TV and didn’t even know it. Check them out!

They also have some great resources for prospective pet adopters:

Pet Personals – Start looking for a pet right away!
The Adopter Network – Ask questions about adopting a dog or cat or browse through a list of questions asked by other prospective adopters
Adopt-A-Gram – Send an Adopt-A-Gram to a friend to encourage them to adopt from a shelter. You can even pick a pet to include in the Adopt-A-Gram

I encourage you to check out their website. It’s fun and interactive and it will definitely keep your kids entertained with the talking dogs and cats!

  1. LaVerne
    August 5, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    I guess I have to be considered mean or just a nutcase. I so want a dog but I have some phobia (now) about rescue organizations. I recently tried that for the first time after my companion of 15 years passed. I had the rescue dog (yes, perfect dog for me or so I thought) a total of 5 weeks. Early in the 4th week (after vet visits every week for various reasons) she got sick and could not be saved. I have advised the rescue organization that I had to put her down and attached a letter the vet wrote for the reason (parvo). The rescue organization has totally ignored my letter (not even a gee I’m so sorry). Now I’m afraid of rescue organizations. Obviously, this is a shortened version of the whole story but I think I managed to get tangled up with an unscrupulous rescue organization and that gives the rest a bad name (I’m like the dog that has been mistreated and finds it hard to trust people). Thanks for letting me vent. Most of the time I’m just still crying.

    • Mel
      August 5, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      LaVerne – First let me say how very sorry I am for your loss. I cannot imagine how heartbroken you must be after losing a dog that you so clearly had bonded with. What an awful way to lose a dog and what an awful loss. That the rescue organization chose not to reply to your letter or to even apologize for your loss is so discouraging. Either they were very afraid of a lawsuit and chose to pretend they did not see your letter, or they are callous and uncaring people and only looking to make money. The truth is I think it was the former vs. the latter. That does not make you feel better, but that is what I suspect happened.

      I am so sorry that this has influenced how you feel about other rescue organizations (I honestly don’t blame you), but I hope you will try checking out some of the other groups in your area. Have you contacted any trainers in your area to ask them who they reccomend? Is there anyone in the rescue community that you could reach out to and get some recommendations? Does you vet know any good groups?

      I just hate that ths one group has failed you so miserably. A rescue group here in MN did something similar to me when I was fostering for them. I decided to leave and find a rescue group that I could volunteer for and feel good about it. There are good groups out there. I hope you will give one the chance to show you that they are not all like the one you dealt with. My deepest condolences on the loss of your dog and on the pain you have been experiencing. You are neither mean nor a nutcase, you’re just someone hurting because of a very sad situation.

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