Fall is here in all of its grandeur with its amazing hues of red, orange and yellow. The much awaited season of coziness, candy, and pumpkin spice lattes also comes with celebrating October, which is National Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. It was created to encourage people to adopt, not shop for their next family member with a special month-long celebration commemorating all the shelter and rescue dogs out there who are still looking for a home.

There are many ways that you can help.  You can adopt directly from a shelter or humane society, or from an animal rescue. (See our blog post about the benefits of adopting from a rescue).

With all these choices, the question is: What can I do to help? How can I celebrate and be a part of Adopt A Shelter Dog Month? Here are our suggestions:

1.     ADOPT! If you have been on the fence about adopting a rescue dog, there is no better time than the present! Shelters are often overcrowded, and they are forced to put dogs down in an effort to make room for the constant amount of intakes. Adopting a dog from a shelter opens up the space to other dogs that need it. It also keeps shelters from having to euthanize those whose lives are on the line.

If you choose to adopt from a rescue, you will be helping to save two lives: the one that you adopt, which opens up a space at a foster home and allows the rescue to save another from the shelter. That in turn opens up a space at the shelter.

However, adoption does not stop there. To help your adoption be a successful one, we invite you to read our blog post about pet adoption.

2.     FOSTER! If you are not sure that you want the full responsibility and expense of a dog just yet, volunteer to foster for a shelter or rescue whose mission is to decrease shelter overpopulation. Fostering can be a very rewarding experience, especially when you see your foster pet flourish and reach its full potential with you while it waits to be adopted. There is nothing more fulfilling than experiencing the happiness of a dog that has finally found its forever home, even if it may be difficult to see them go. The good news is that there is always another dog waiting to be saved who desperately needs love and attention. Check out our post for more information on fostering.

3.     DONATE! If you cannot foster, you can always donate to local shelters to encourage dog adoption. You can offer to pay the adoption fee of a dog that has been at the shelter for too long. Or, you can make a donation towards a dog that was pulled from the shelter by a local rescue. You can also provide in-kind donations such as beds, blankets, food and medication.

Or, donate to a rescue organization. We always need help with monetary, in-kind donations. You can check out our Amazon Smile page to see how you can help us help animals in need.

4.     VOLUNTEER! If you are not in a position to make monetary donations, but have some time to spare, there are many ways that you can still support a rescue and adopting a shelter dog:

a.     Visit your local shelter and take photos or videos of the dogs housed there and share them in your social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Don’t forget to use hashtags: #adopt, #adoptdontshop, #adoptable, #rescue #shelterpet #adoptashelterpet, etc. Encourage your friends to share them. The person that is looking to adopt may be right at your fingertips! One important thing to keep in mind when photographing shelter dogs is to always remember to take a picture of the pet identification card and kennel number. This information is critical when sharing a pet so a potential adopter can easily identify them. Bring treats with you to get a dog’s attention. You don’t always need to take happy dog pictures. Often times, it’s the sad pictures are the ones that get the most attention.

b.     Volunteer to walk and spend time with the dogs there. They don’t get a lot of love or attention so they love it when someone spends time and plays with them! Take a video of you interacting with the dogs to show just how awesome they are, and share it on social media following the tips above.

c.     Contact a local rescue and offer to help walk their dogs or promote an upcoming adoption event or fundraiser.

5.     CROSSPOST! If you cannot visit a shelter, you can also visit rescue and shelter pages on social media or adoption websites and share information of the posted shelter dogs with your friends and family. You can also share information and encourage participation in local adoption events or fundraisers such as the upcoming Strut Your Mutt event.

In the end, every little bit helps to encourage others to adopt a shelter dog. Some of what you may see at the shelter may be too sad to handle, but those are the ones that need your help the most.

We encourage you to take our October Adopt A Shelter Dog Challenge and help a pet in need of a home. It may not be much, but you can be the difference in a pet’s life.  Join us to increase shelter adoptions and make them successful. And Ah! Before we forget, the best way to encourage shelter adoptions is also to discourage others from buying a dog from a breeder or pet store and sharing information about the benefits of spaying and neutering. Many people think that buying is the way to go when there are countless amazing dogs waiting to be adopted at the shelter. If they have concerns about adopting a shelter dog, invite them to come to the shelter with you and interact with the dogs there. They will definitely be pleasantly surprised.

Thank you joining us in celebrating the lives of shelter pets. We would love to hear how you celebrated Adopt A Shelter Dog Month on our Facebook or Instagram pages.