October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month – Red Bluff Daily News

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month – Red Bluff Daily News
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As the end of September approaches, many of us are beginning to get ready for the forthcoming holidays and look forward, eagerly, to upcoming festivities and more enjoyable times. Each year across the United States, an estimated 3-4 million dogs wait in shelters for someone to give them a safe haven where they, too, can experience more enjoyable times. Unfortunately, less than half will ever find someone to adopt them. Because of this appalling fact, both The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the American Humane Association (AHA) have deemed the coming month of October as Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and Adopt a Dog Month, respectively. The terms, though slightly different, have the same ultimate goal. Both are about getting as many dogs as possible out of shelters and into the loving homes they truly deserve.

However, for many of these shelter dogs obtaining that good life is not easy as many of us would like. The hurdles they face are sometimes quite daunting simply because they must overcome the public’s misconception that something is wrong with them. Understand, most are at shelters through no fault of their own. They are only there because their human guardians failed them in some manner. They are there because they are victims of situations over which they have absolutely no control.

Unfortunately for the animals that end up at the shelter, it is often because their guardians’ expectations and the reality of the dog they obtained did not agree. The reasons they become wards of the county are as innumerable as the types, sizes, and colors of the animals, themselves. The shelter is filled with dogs that have relatively minor behavioral issues, most of which could have been easily prevented through a bit of forethought, some training, and patience. Other explanations often given for surrendering to a shelter are, “We do not have enough time”, “ It’s too expensive”, “We are moving, having a baby, changing jobs, etc.”, all of which are the human’s foibles and not the animals’. And sometimes, it is that their guardian simply could not physically care for them any longer, because of age or infirmity.

Regardless of the reason understand, when you adopt, that many of these dogs most likely have been through hell. In addition, they have had their previous world, whether good or bad, turned upside down. They are scared, confused, and stressed. They will not immediately comprehend that the new home you are bringing them into is the salvation that both they and we hope for. For some, a few days or weeks may be all the adjustment time they need. For others you may, throughout the rest of their lives, deal with a result from an earlier history. Our past plays a significant role in the way we think and feel. Why, then, would we even consider that an animal’s past has no bearing on the way it perceives and responds to various circumstances.

However, every animal I have adopted, or have come in contact with at the shelter, has been extraordinary in its own unique way. They give unconditional love when there is no reason for them to do so. They show us how to live with gentleness and joy in the midst of adversity. They teach us how precious all life is. So, do not be put off about adopting a shelter dog. Any relationship takes work and, just like any other relationship, adopting a shelter dog requires caring and commitment. If you are patient, the rewards of sharing your life with one of these wonderful companions far outweighs, in my opinion, any initial challenges you might face.

If you cannot adopt, there is no reason why you cannot help this month and all the months that follow. I cannot say this often enough, “Spread the word.” The more people that are aware of the shelter and the dogs within, the better the chances are of getting them adopted. Update your status on Facebook, let everyone know that it is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog month and provide directions to where they can find remarkable canines. Tweet, retweet and tweet again messages about adopting a dog, and provide a link, to either the Tehama County Animal Care Center’s page (https://www.co.tehama.ca.us/adopt/adoptable-dogs ), or to Petfinder (https://www.petfinder.com/search/pets-for-adoption/?shelter_id%5B0%5D=CA255&sort%5B0%5D=recently_added ), or to Adopt-A-Pet (https://www.adoptapet.com/shelter83860-pets.html ). Share dog-related articles on your social media sites to assist potential adopters in choosing the appropriate dog to fit their lifestyle and to help educate them on various aspects of care. Talk to your children and others about animal shelters and the role they play within the community, and why pet adoption is so crucial to both the community and to the animals. Anything you can do will help these animals find homes.

A common mantra among those of us who strive to improve the lives of homeless animals is “saving one animal won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal”. What we fail to add is that it also changes our world. And, in more ways than we could ever express, it is for the better.

Our shelter, and the animals cared for there, depend on all of us. So, during this month, why not go out to 1830 Walnut Street, Red Bluff and seriously consider sharing your life with one of these amazing dogs. You will not regret it.

Ronnie Casey has been volunteering with the Tehama County Animal Care Center since relocating in 2011. A retired R.N., she strives to help animals in need within Tehama county. She can be reached at rmcredbluff@gmail.com. 

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