This site is no longer being updated. Read more on pet behavior and wellness at The Wildest.

October Is Adopt-A-Dog Month

Five reasons why adopting beats buying—not including, it’s the right thing to do.
By The Bark Editors, October 2009, Updated June 2021

In the effort to promote adoption for all the RIGHT REASONS (such as, saving dogs from euthanasia and avoiding fueling puppy mills), a few practical truths get lost, including the fact that adopting from a shelter or rescue has some qualitative advantages over buying. In honor of American Humane’s Adopt-A-Dog Month, we break it down for you.

1. Support and Smarts. Shelter staffers and volunteers are driven by the goal of finding the best home possible for a homeless animal. To that end, most shelters go an extra mile to make a lifelong match between their animals and prospective adopters through education, counseling and follow-up assistance, including training classes.

2. Good Intel. Many dogs in shelters and rescues have lived with foster families, and these folks can provide excellent information about what a dog is really like in a home. In other cases, staff members and volunteers gather information from the people who surrender their animals. In the case of strays, they work hard to get to know the dog and provide a realistic assessment. You can’t know everything before you adopt but good information provides a strong foundation for a lasting placement.

3. The Price Is Right. Adopting is also usually significantly less expensive than buying from a pet store or breeder. Plus, shelter dogs are more likely to be vaccinated, dewormed, spayed or neutered, and microchipped.


Sign up and get the answers to your questions.

Email Address:

4. No Hard Sell. If you have your heart set on a specific breed of dog, breed-specific rescues are a good bet. Not only are these volunteers extremely knowledgeable about the dogs with which they work; they have an incentive to be honest. They don’t want to send you off with a dog you can’t handle or that’s a bad match for your lifestyle.

5. Feel-Good Factor. Don't underestimate how good it feels to provide a loving home to a dog in need.

Learn more about American Humane Association’s Adopt-A-Dog Month.

Banner courtesy American Humane's Adopt-A-Dog Month. You can download a super hero and sidekick poster here.