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February 2, 2021

8 Reasons You Should Adopt a Shelter or Rescue Dog

  • What to Expect
  • Adoption
  • Dog
Man kneeling beside Golden Retriever wearing GO! SOLUTIONS bandana on a sandy beach

The decision to adopt a shelter or rescue dog is a big one, for many reasons. Dogs have a huge impact on our lives in myriad ways and adopting a canine companion can, literally, change your life. If you still aren’t quite convinced, here are eight good reasons to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or a rescue program.

1. Adopting a dog will make you feel better

Dogs give unconditional love – they don’t hold grudges, get mad at you or dislike your bad habits. They just love you, no matter what, and that is a huge thing emotionally for most of us. Having a dog also prompts you to get more exercise and to interact with other dog lovers, thereby providing social interaction.

2. There are all kinds of dogs needing love

Because of the nature of what they do, rescue programs and animal shelters tend to have available a huge variety of shapes, sizes, ages and temperaments when it comes to our canine friends. Given time and persistence you can pretty much be guaranteed that just the right dog for you will come along.

3. You are saving a life

Dogs come in to rescue or animal shelters for a wide variety of reasons. They may have been strays, or feral. Or, their owners may have had health issues or fallen on unfortunate times. Each creature has its own story. By providing one of these dogs with a warm, safe and loving home you are literally saving its life.

4. You know exactly what you are getting

Young puppies sometimes turn out to be a surprise in the size and weight departments once they are mature. By adopting an older dog you will know if you can manage him physically because he will be full-size and weight.

Most shelters and rescue programs have an evaluation process that will divulge a lot about a dog’s temperament before he is released for adoption. Anxiety, fear and other personality traits are revealed up front so you know ahead of time what you will be dealing with and can figure out how to cope successfully.

5. Adoptable dogs have often had some training

You may get a leg up in the training department if you decide to adopt from a shelter or rescue program. There are any number of reasons why perfectly good dogs end up in these sad situations. Many of them have been well-cared-for beloved pets who may already have basic training and house manners. If you don’t have the time to put in to a young puppy adopting an older dog may be for you.

6. You are helping to relieve pet over-population

It is unfortunate when intact dogs end up in the hands of the wrong people and are bred and sold irresponsibly. Some dogs in shelters are the result of this practice – puppies who have outgrown their cuteness or haven’t had enough time and love put in to them end up in shelters and rescues. The buck, however, stops there – intact animals are not adopted out, so spay/neuter programs ensure that the dogs that land in shelters don’t continue to add to the pet over-population problem.

7. Vet checks are a part of the adoption deal

Dogs that go through rescue and shelter programs are thoroughly checked out for any underlying health issues. Vaccinations are updated. So, even if you are told that a dog has this or that condition by the adoption agency at least you know ahead and can prepare to deal with it in future.

8. Ongoing support

Many rescue and shelter programs offer ongoing support in the way of obedience classes, advice and hands-on help if you are having issues with your adopted buddy. These programs have vast numbers of contacts in all fields of canine expertise that can prove to be invaluable to anyone adopting a dog.


Shirley Culpin with her two dogs

Shirley Culpin

Dog Owner, Sitter + Trainer

Shirley has been involved with the purebred dog world for 45 years. Her Irish Setters have won many Best in Show awards, top obedience accolades, and advanced agility titles. She remains active in dog volunteer work and with her dog sitting service.