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October is here again: Time to adopt a shelter dog or puppy

By Laverne Hughey Pet Corner
Oct. 6, 2012 at 10 p.m.

Time really does fly, and here it is October again, meaning it is definitely time to adopt a shelter dog. Animal shelter, humane societies and rescue organizations are looking forward to finding permanent homes for dogs.

We should always know that thousands of dogs and cats are admitted to shelters and rescue groups, desperately in need of a home. While no one would think of bringing a new person into the family without careful consideration, adopting a pet is much the same.

Usually, when a dog or cat is adopted by a new family, the fee includes spay or neuter and certain vaccinations which are required which may also be paid for in the adoption fee. Dogs with short hair will not need extensive grooming by a specialist, as fluffy dogs will.

About two years ago, a lady whose family has four dogs told me two of her dogs are shelter dogs and she could tell how they seemed to appreciate having been adopted into the home. It does seem that dogs that have come from a shelter, rescue organization or humane society adoption facility know how lucky they are.

Two facilities in Marshall offer puppies and dogs for adoption – Marshall Animal Shelter, 607 East End Blvd., (903) 935-4530, and the Pet Place, 1901 Jefferson Ave., (903) 938-7297. Both facilities are open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Whether a prospective adopter wants a purebred dog or is "nuts about mutts," chances are the right dog is waiting at the Shelter or the Pet Place to be discovered and adopted. According to the sponsor of the annual Adopt-A-Shelter Dog month every October, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), nearly 13,000 dogs and cats enter animal shelters across this country every single day of the year.

Some of the dogs taken to shelters or humane society organizations are purebred dogs purchased to be a welcome addition to a family, only to be brought to a facility when the relationship didn't work out. Usually, the dog did nothing wrong, the family simply decided they no longer wanted it. And, another purebred becomes a statistic.

A few years ago, 12 shelters in the US participated in a year-long study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, six reasons consistently emerged as to why owners gave up their dogs or cats, including moving, landlord does not allow pets, too many animals in household, pet too expensive, personal problems, or inadequate facility for pet. It is a really good idea to consider these reasons before adopting a companion animal as one or more could apply to you.

If dogs at an animal shelter, rescue group, or humane society facility are so wonderful, why are they there? For the very reasons listed above. Just because a person does not keep a commitment does not mean there is anything wrong with the dog. He is a victim of a "change of heart." Some people are crazy about fuzzy, cuddly puppies and when the puppy becomes a very large dog in about six months, the love affair is over, and Big Boy makes the long, lonely trip to the Shelter or another facility.

Adopting a puppy or an adult dog should not be a hasty decision. Go to the shelter or other facility; talk with a staff member about the type of dog you think you want to adopt. Think about your own personality and the amount of time you have to devote to a dog. Some of the cutest small dogs are so full of energy they may not be the right choice for a couch potato. All dogs require exercise every day, whether running in the yard or going for a walk with its guardian.

It is hard to understand why anyone would "buy" a companion animal when there are so many wonderful dogs that have a very short window of opportunity to be discovered. They are on death row without having committed a crime. Think about it; it there anything better than saving a life?



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