By Phil Snyder, Executive Director of Suncoast Humane Society
Published in the Englewood Sun on November 1, 2015
October is gone, which means that National Adopt A Dog Month is officially over for this year. However that does not mean that you will be unable to adopt a dog, or a cat for that matter, in November. In fact, we hope you do.
The intent of designating a certain month as Adopt A Dog Month is to create awareness of the benefits of adopting a dog from a shelter or a rescue group. It also affords the opportunity to promote that powerful human-animal bond.
This annual celebration was originated by the American Humane Association in 1981. Thirty-some years later, the message "please adopt" is as important as ever. There are still millions of homeless dogs, and cats, in need of adoption, now and every month of the year.
Adopting that special dog can give you a best friend, a true companion, an exercise buddy or just a fuzzy face to greet you at the end of a hard day. Adopting or rescuing a dog can save a life and is certain to enhance yours. And just think, offering a homeless pet a safe, loving home also can make you feel like a hero!
Not to be left out, our feline friends have their own special adoption month, which is every June. During Adopt A Cat and Adopt A Dog Month this year, the Suncoast Humane Society was able to place 95 dogs and 168 cats into new, loving homes. We don't want to stop there.
November may not be officially designated as Adopt A Pet Month, but you can make it one. Any month can be that special month for you and your family. Whenever you are ready, you will find dogs of all types, sizes, ages and personalities, in need of homes, plus a variety of cats, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, and even birds.
You say you are not ready for the responsibility of adding a pet to the family? I wouldn't worry too much, as there are other ways that you can help your local animal shelters. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- You can make an appointment to have your pet spayed or neutered. This is the sure way to prevent the birth of unexpected and unwanted litters. Shelters will never be able to adopt their way out of euthanasia as long as we experience pet overpopulation.
- Have your pets microchipped to provide positive identification if they should become lost. Avoid the possibility of your pet ending up in an animal shelter, or suffering a far worse fate while roaming the streets.
- And last, but ever so important, please support your local humane society by donating money or needed supplies. You even can consider becoming a volunteer. Adopting a pet or not, you can help make a difference.