The Chew: ‘Adopt a Shelter Dog’ Month

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

Rae Patterson, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Adopting a shelter dog might seem a little spooky to someone who is accustomed to a specific breed and the expected traits that come with it. But rescuing a mutt might be more of a treat than you expect. October is National “Adopt a Shelter Dog Month,” so it’s the perfect time to consider these 4 reasons a rescue dog might be your perfect fit.

Adult Dogs: The dogs at your local Humane Society may not have a birth certificate or a documented personality profile, but they aren’t a total mystery. One of the benefits of adopting from a shelter is that the dogs are usually adults. This removes some of the unknowns; such as the dog’s personality after spay/neuter procedures and the dog’s full-grown size.

Miranda adopted her boxer mix as a puppy and his estimated size was 40 lbs… 90lbs later and that estimate went right out the window. Adopting an adult dog is a great way to make sure you abide by your apartment or condos size restrictions.

A puppy is a lot of fun but also a lot of work. The constant supervision that puppies need means that a puppy might not be the right choice for everyone. Adopting an adult dog from a shelter allows you to bypass the puppy teething stage and often the potty-training process as well.

More Economical: Purebred puppies and even specialty mixed-breed puppies can be extremely expensive. The highly popular Goldendoodle tends to start at $950 per puppy. Adoption fees at a shelter are likely to be only $100-$300, and these fees almost always include spay/neuter, the dog’s most recent vaccines, flea medication and often microchipping.

This is an excellent price, considering all the supplies and care that have already been invested in these rescue dogs, and considering the usual cost for spay or neuter surgery to individuals is around $200-$500. Many shelters also have events promoting adoption, during which adoption fees can be as low as $25. This October shelters and rescues all over the U.S. will be offering reduced adoption fees for “Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.”

Health Benefits: Although health will ultimately depend on the individual dog, mutts do have the advantage of being less prone to genetic disease. Mutts tend to be hardier, often enjoying a lower risk of joint, spine, heart and organ problems than many purebreds.

In a 2013 study of the medical records from a veterinary clinic that examined over 27,000 dogs, scientists found that 10 common genetic disorders appeared significantly more in purebred dogs. This is not to say that you should never get a purebred dog. Many breeders employ vets and geneticists to aid in reducing the likelihood of such disorders.

The probability of health benefits of mutts is simply one factor to consider when choosing a new dog, and perhaps a factor that will encourage those uncertain dog shoppers to try something new.

Grateful Companions: Perhaps the best reason to consider adopting a shelter dog is the simple reward of helping an animal in need. Shelters across the U.S. are full to the brim every year. The ASPCA estimates that around 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year primarily due to a lack of space and resources.

Aside from the risk of euthanasia, even the best and most loving shelter cannot take the place of a permanent home. Shelter dogs often come from a rough background, whether scrounging as a stray or suffering from abuse or neglect. Those dogs know when they find a good home and a good human, and they will be grateful animals their entire lives.

If you are considering adopting and want to learn more about finding the right dog for you, please feel free to contact Bark + Boarding. Feel free to stop by and check out one of our adoption events where you can meet and play with some dogs that are up for adoption from Operation Paws for Homes. We specialize in caring for and working with pets and their families.

You will also find great incentives for folks who adopt rescue animals. Whether it’s a free set-up, discounts on retail supplies or amazing adoption packages we are here to set you up for success without breaking the bank. We would love to talk you through your first (or next) adoption, and we would be happy to refer you to local rescues.

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If you have a question about your pet’s behavior, feel free to email [email protected]. If you and your pet are featured in an article, you will receive $10 off any of our services.  For more information check out www.BarkandBoarding.com.