There’s nothing better than having a little furry family member ready to greet you when you get home every day. Nothing, that is, other than adopting one from a shelter or animal rescue. October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. If you don’t already have a dog — or if you do — how can you participate in this awesome month-long event?
Start at Your Local Shelter
The best place to start during National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month is at your local animal shelter. Depending on where you live and how many animals are currently staying in the shelter, you may be able to find the perfect new four-legged member to add to your family. Many animal shelters run events and offer discounts on adoption fees during this month to encourage adoption.
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If you don’t find the perfect dog on the first visit, don’t get discouraged. Many dogs come and go at these shelters, so you can visit on Monday, and by Friday there will be a whole new batch of furry friends to choose from.
Besides, you don’t pick the dog. The dog picks you. You’ll wander around the shelter, looking at dogs, and suddenly, there they’ll be — the dog you didn’t even know you were looking for. Sure, you went in with the intention of adopting a puppy, but when you find that one special dog, you’ll know.
What If I Don’t Want to Adopt?
If you already have a few furry friends at home and don’t have the room or the money to bring home anyone else, how can you still participate in this worthy event?
Animal shelters can always use more funds and supplies, so if you can’t bring home a new dog or another adoptable animal this October, consider donating. Most shelters are nonprofit organizations, so talk to them to find out where you can donate. If they would prefer your donation in the form of blankets, dog food or other supplies, you can ask about that, too.
You can also run an online fundraiser through your social media — Facebook has a fundraising function now that allows you to collect money and have it sent directly to the nonprofit of your choice, so you don’t have to be the middleman or account for any of the funds yourself.
You could also help someone else bring home a new pet. You know how people will pay it forward in a drive-through by paying for the meal of the person behind them? This kind of gesture goes beyond paying for drive-through food. Talk to the shelter manager and see if you can pay for a couple of adoption fees. It will be up to the shelter’s discretion to figure out where to apply the credit, but it might make someone’s day, even if they have the money to pay for the adoption.
Social media can be an excellent tool for many different things. If you’ve got a following, why not use it for good during Adopt a Shelter Dog Month?
Start posting on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter or posting pictures of local shelter dogs on Instagram or Snapchat, along with information about where to adopt these pets. You might be surprised how many of your followers will jump up to adopt, donate or support the shelter so the organization has the tools it needs to find forever homes for all of its current residents.
Since most shelters are nonprofit organizations, it can be difficult for them to bring in and retain volunteers, especially during big event months like National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month in October. Why not pop into your local shelter and see what it takes to become a volunteer? It might be an involved process that requires training, or it might be as simple as signing a paper and committing to come in a few times a week to walk or play with the dogs. If you have children, make volunteering a family activity to teach kids about the value of respecting the lives of other animals.
If you’d like to bring a dog home, but can’t commit to giving them a forever home, consider volunteering your services at a furry foster home. Animals that need special care or are too young to join the general population of the shelter often get fostered until they are old enough or healthy enough to be adopted.
Animal shelters rely on you and your community to keep them running. These nonprofits are often the last port of call for cats, dogs and other animals who haven’t been lucky enough to find their forever homes yet. If you can’t bring home a new pet this October for whatever reason, donating some time, some money or some supplies to help keep the facility running can be a great way to support Adopt a Shelter Dog Month this year.