The decision to welcome a dog into your home is life-changing, but even more so when you choose to adopt one. Taking in a rescued dog will undoubtedly have its difficulties. However, once you find the shelter dog that’s meant for you, the rewards definitely outweigh any challenges you might face.
Here are 15 reasons why adopting a shelter dog can be the best decision ever:
1) They enable you to save two lives.
Knighty & Aston the rescued pitties that have tons of fun.
When you adopt a pet from a shelter, you’re giving that dog what might be their first chance at security, happiness, and a sense of family. But your good deed doesn’t stop there. You’re also making space at the shelter for another dog in need. That opens up a chance for another dog to also find a family of their own.
2) They’re very affectionate.
Bronson the rescue pup loves to cuddle with his dad.
Shelter dogs understand when they’ve finally been adopted into a loving home. They’re incredibly grateful for the care and attention they get from you and they won’t be ashamed to show it. They are generous with affection and will show you they love you every chance they get.
3) They’re easy to please.
Toast the former puppy mill mom enjoying a box of plastic eggs.
It doesn’t take much to make a shelter dog happy and it’s always apparent just how happy you make them. Take them out to experience new sights and smells. Better yet, get them a few toys and spend some time playing games. They’ll reciprocate with loyalty, love, and tons of sweetness.
4) They have a zest for life.
Rescued bullies Diesel & Reggie having a grand time with their adorable friend.
Shelter dogs aren’t used to having much both in terms of attention and material possessions. You’ll definitely delight in how excited they get over the simplest things. That excitement and appreciation for everything is contagious. You’ll be surprised at how a shelter dog can brighten your life and change the way to cherish simple moments.
5) They’ve been screened.
Tatum the rescued bully is perfectly healthy, calm, and content.
All dogs that go through legitimate animals shelters are thoroughly screened for any health or behavioral issues. This enables you to be confident that you’re bringing home a beloved pet that you can enjoy and keep happy for a long time. You also wouldn’t be burdened with unexpected vet bills that can often happen when you shop at pet stores.
6) They’re socialized.
Dogs rescued by the Asher House join the pack.
While at the shelter, dogs spend plenty of time with other animals. Although some might be grumpy and introverted, they’re at least used to the presence of other dogs and are less likely to give you a problem when going out for walks or living with other pets. Additionally, shelter dogs are handled by many different human volunteers, so they tend to be good with people.
7) They’re housebroken.
Rescued bullies Noah & Lincoln have excellent manners at home.
Shelters make it a point to teach dogs to be good household companions before they are adopted. You’ll need to teach them the rules of your own home, but they’ll know to wait for potty breaks to do their business in the right spot. They'll also very likely have good leash manners. Additionally, they might even already know the basic obedience commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “down.”
8) They’re neutered.
Luna & Zorro the Romanian rescue dogs enjoying the great outdoors.
Part of a shelter’s mandate to rescue animals is to control overpopulation. Because of this, they spay and neuter all the dogs that go through their care. That means you don’t need to spend the hundreds of dollars that’s usually involved in pre-screening and desexing surgery. Plus, neutered dogs are less prone to urine marking, aggression, and cancer.
9) They’ve received all their shots.
Wesley the rescued pitbull enjoying a snuggle with his feline sibling.
Shelters make sure dogs receive all their mandatory vaccinations before entering them into the adoption pool. This means you’ll bring home a dog that’s already protected from severe illnesses like kennel cough, canine distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. So, as soon as you step out of the shelter, your pup is ready to visit parks and meet other animals.
10) They’re already microchipped.
Polly Waffle the hearing-impaired rescue dog roaming the park.
Many animals that end up in shelters are strays that never made it back to their previous owners. Because of this, many organizations see to it that dogs are microchipped before they are taken home to their new families. This doesn’t only give you additional savings but also gives you the peace of mind that your new dog will never have to experience being a stray again.
11) They’re often older.
Pikelet the ex-deathrow poundpup content just to stay in.
Puppies are incredibly cute, but they involve tons of work. Although many shelters also keep puppies for adoption, most rescued animals are adults. Adopting an older dog helps you skip all the messy and often frustrating parts of puppyhood. They’re typically calmer and more manageable. You might even have the opportunity to care for a senior dog, which is an incredibly meaningful and life-changing experience.
12) They cost less.
Ulysses the rescued American Pittie brightening up everyone’s day.
The pedigree and paperwork that comes with buying a dog from a reputable breeder don’t make much of a difference if you don’t intend to join shows or breed them yourself. So, there’s really no point in spending thousands of dollars on a puppy when you can save lives, support a worthy organization, and champion a cause for much, much less.
13) They’re incredibly loyal.
Baloo the shelter rescue is protective of his mom.
Shelter dogs are filled with gratitude when you give them a chance at a good life. They reciprocate with steadfast loyalty and willingness to protect you at all costs. Consider all the heart-warming stories you’ve read about rescue dogs ending up saving their rescuers’ lives. That’s exactly the loyalty you can expect from a shelter dog.
Remember Sadie, the German Shepherd no one wanted? She was driven not just by her incredible instincts but also by her pure love for the human that gave her a chance.
14) They’re loved on social media.
The wolfgang2242 gang of rescued senior animals has an Instagram audience of over a million followers.
Rescue dogs are well-loved on social media. They get plenty of support and tons of appreciation for their endearing personalities and wonderful disposition. In fact, many shelter dogs go on to become internet celebrities and dog influencers.
Take the animals of senior animal rescuer Steve Greig, for example. They’ve gone on to become legit public figures amassing over 1 million followers on Instagram alone.
15) They help fight animal cruelty.
Casserole the rescued bully and her wonderfully sunny disposition.
We all try to give our pets the best lives we can but, unfortunately, not all dogs are so lucky. There are still plenty of animals that are purposely hurt or deprived of even the most basic needs. Adopting from a reputable shelter will do a lot to help fight animal cruelty. Plus, seeing your dogs thrive might inspire others to adopt shelter dogs as well.
Looking for trustworthy organizations? Check out the dog rescues that Spark Paws supports.
Although it’s always a good time to rescue a dog in need, Adopt a Dog Month is an excellent time to visit your local shelter. It’s the perfect time to offer a furever home to a wonderful pup that’s just looking for some affection. This decision will not only change a dog’s life for the better but also yours as well.
Happy Adopt a Dog Month!