October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month - Jacki Skole

Dogland Blog

October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month

by | Oct 12, 2015 | Standard | 0 comments

I’ve seen a number of Facebook posts and news stories about October being Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month. I even shared such a post on my Facebook page. But after I did that, I got to wondering: Who deemed October Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, and when did they do so?

With the help of Google and a few clicks on my keyboard, here’s what I learned:

Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog month—or Adopt-a-Dog Month, as it’s trademarked—was established by the American Humane Association (AHA) in 1981. The group wanted an annual event that would focus Americans’ attention on the plight of homeless dogs, millions of whom were languishing in the country’s animal shelters. Fast forward thirty-four years, and the situation has improved, but far more must be done to end the crisis of canine homelessness. Thus, the continued pressure by animal welfare groups on would-be pet owners to choose adopting from shelters and rescue organizations over buying from breeders or pet stores.

A handsome dog in a Georgia shelter tries to get a passerby's attention.

A handsome dog in a Georgia shelter tries to get a passerby’s attention.

But along with Adopt-a-Dog Month, we need a month devoted to spay/neuter because without focused attention and education on fixing pets, overpopulation will remain a vexing problem. (HSUS did launch World Spay Day two decades ago; it falls on the last Tuesday in February. But the spotlight on spay/neuter needs to shine brighter and longer.)

We also need to make spay/neuter accessible and affordable, because right now it is out of reach for too many pet owners.

I hope that this October, and in the coming months and years, people who want to add a furry friend to their family will take the Adopt-a-Dog message to heart. But perhaps the folks at AHA or HSUS or ASPCA could deem one month of the year Fix-A-Dog Month, because unless we halt unintended litters, shelters and rescues will continue to be overwhelmed with far more dogs than they can possibly care for.

My shelter dog, Galen--the result of an unintended litter.

My shelter dog, Galen–the result of an unintended litter.


Jacki Skole is an award-winning journalist, author and adjunct professor of communication. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, she spent a decade as a writer and producer at CNN before turning to teaching. Jacki launched WRITE Now to assist students in writing the college application essays that will chart their future. Read More...

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