Top Three Reasons to Adopt a Shelter Dog

By: Tyler Foreman, DVM

TVMA Member
Rowlett, TX

Published August 2017

Throughout the world, there are more than one hundred different dog breeds to choose from when deciding on your new family friend. Each breed has its own unique set of positive attributes, making the decision a tough one. No matter which breed your family chooses, consider adopting your next pet from your local animal shelter. Below are the top three reasons why the local animal shelter may be your best resource for your next family member.

1. Adopting from the Shelter Helps the Local Community

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 3.9 million dogs enter animal shelters nationwide each year. In Texas, many regions have grappled with thousands of stray dogs for the past several years. Local animal shelters are a community’s main defense against the dog and cat overpopulation problem. Not only are shelters rescuing neglected and abused animals and finding pets caring homes, but they also are reducing the numbers of unwanted pets through spay and neuter programs and humane education. Adopting from the shelter is truly a life-saving event.

2. The Best Temperament for Your Family

When searching for your newest family member, it is easy to base the decision on the breeds you have known your whole life or those that have the best reputation. Keep in mind that regardless of breed, you never know how a dog will behave until you spend time with it in your home. Your local animal shelter will help you find the right dog for your lifestyle. Not only do shelters have the largest selection of breeds under one roof but they also have dogs with every personality type under the sun. Before you adopt a dog from the shelter, you can interact with it and get a sense of its behavioral characteristics. More importantly, the shelter staff usually has done some basic legwork for you and will report how a dog will interact with other animals and people. Therefore, if you already have a couple of furry friends at home, you will have a good idea of how it will behave around your current family prior to adoption.

In addition, foster-to-adopt programs allow you to host the dog for a few days to determine whether it is a good fit for your family and vice versa.

3. You Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

Adopting a dog does not come without financial responsibility. Not only will your new friend need food and basic equipment, e.g. a leash, collar, kennel, etc., but it also will require basic veterinary care. Having your new family member spayed or neutered and vaccinated is a modest financial burden new families incur when adopting a dog. However, at many local animal shelters, those costs are included in the adoption fee. For an approximate cost of $100, which varies from shelter to shelter, you not only get the dog of your choosing but you get the assurance that its preliminary medical needs have been met when you take it home. With your local breeder (who may charge hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the breed), your dog will likely only receive one set of vaccinations, and you will be left to cover the rest of the immunization series as well as the cost of spaying or neutering your dog.

You have many options when selecting a furry friend. When adopting from the shelter, you are choosing a loving companion and making a difference in your local community.

Tyler Foreman, DVM, is a graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine who lives in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Foreman practices at Rowlett Veterinary Clinic in Rowlett.