October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog month

In honor of National Adopt A Shelter Dog month, it is appropriate to discuss two important items: the benefits of dog ownership and making the right breed selection for you and your family.

There are scores of articles touting the health benefits of pet ownership- pets of any kind. From Psychology Today, they cite measurable reduced stress due to the human-animal bond in the form of lowered blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, less muscle tension, and changes in blood chemistry indicated by lowered stress hormones after less than a half an hour of playing with the dog. With service programs like Therapy Dogs International (TDI), canines can offer emotional support to elderly people, veterans, disaster victims, and others. These registered dogs provide an invaluable service to people everyday.

All dogs make good pets- pedigree or not. All dogs need a good home. You might be surprised to know that about 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. If you have your heart set on a purebred, a shelter or a breed-specific rescue are good resources to find one. Please adopt- don’t shop!

Now, a few notes about breed choices. If you have made the choice to get a dog, consider your lifestyle. All dogs need physical and mental exercise every day. ALL DOGS. This means walking and 15 minutes of training. As an example, just because it is a 12 pound adorable Jack Russell does not mean that it does not need a walk every day. Jack Russell Terriers are not a dog for everyone- they are bundles of energy and true to their terrier class they are little hunters. Research the breed you are interested in and see if the breed characteristics fit in with your family and your lifestyle. Also, websites such as Animal Planet and Eukanuba have a breed selector quiz that guide you towards breeds that fit your selected choices- choices such as ability to provide activity, grooming, weight limits, other pets, children, and more.

Last but not least, there are many animals that are seniors or special needs that need loving homes as well. Don’t overlook these wonderful dogs because they aren’t “perfect”. Reggie is a special needs dog and the sweetest dog you will ever meet, and he is presently volunteering as a Therapy Dog.

Make your canine choices wisely, but make them! October is Adopt A Shelter Dog month and so many dogs want your loving family to come home to!

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