The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been in existence for almost two hundred years now and is known universally as an organization devoted to helping animals worldwide. A large part of their efforts are focused on encouraging adoption of shelter animals, to save animals lives that otherwise might be euthanized. October is Adopt-A-Dog month, established in 1981 as an annual event to encourage people to save animals lives as well as enrich their own by adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue group.

Millions of animals all over the world are waiting in shelters to find their forever home and family. Tragically, for many of those animals that never happens, and they are put down. If you are thinking about bringing a dog into your life, a shelter or rescue dog will not only provide you with a companion, but you will save a life and become a hero in the eyes of the animal you adopt.  Shelter and rescue dogs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, and personalities, so you are sure to find just the pet you are looking for. Even if you are searching for a specific type of dog, there are many breed-specific rescue organizations you can look up that are in need of adoptive pet parents.

Research has shown the benefits of pet ownership; owning a dog can have physical, mental, emotional and social benefits. Pet owners are proven to be happier than non-pet owners, they feel less lonely and have lower rates of depression. Pet owners seem to cope better with grief, stress and loss. Pets are well known for keeping their owners company and making them feel better when sick or feeling down. Pets are wonderful for children, teaching them empathy, responsibility, and enhance self-esteem while helping to combat loneliness and boredom.

Having a dog can have a number of health benefits, leading to increased levels of physical activity, and improved heart health, lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Growing up with a dog may help strengthen immune systems and may reduce the risk of allergies in children. Having a dog can be a great way to meet people and break the ice in social situations.  At the end of the day, having a furry face and wagging tail greet you at the door can improve your mood and help you to relax after a tough day. Having a dog can also help you sleep better, by providing a feeling of safety and that someone is keeping watch while we sleep.

So if you’re thinking of adopting a dog, make sure you check out the wonderful animals in need of a home at your local shelter or go online to search for a rescue organization for they breed you are looking for before you ‘shop’ for a pet. You will be saving a life, and the furry body that you give a loving home to will be forever grateful and give you the unconditional love we all know dogs are famous for.