Adopting from a dog shelter or rescue organization

Dog in poundA lonely life that ends too soon

Why is adopting from a dog shelter or rescue organization so important? Well, just imagine this: You’re locked in a cage and you don’t know why. You’ve done nothing wrong. You’ve broken no law. But there you are alone and scared. No one comes to visit. No one seems to care.

And then one day, a person comes and opens your door and they carry you down the hall to another room. In this room, they lay you on a platform. Then, they shave the hair from your arm. After that, they stick a hypodermic needle in the place where they shaved your hair. Within a minute your heart stops. You are dead. Your only crime was being born a dog no one wanted.

Do you realize how many times this happens in just one day, just in the United States? According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 1,835 shelter dogs are euthanized every day. What that means is 670,000 shelter dogs (and 860,00 cats) are euthanized every year. This is an outrage and I think any animal lover will agree.

The good news (if there can be any in this case) is the number of shelter dog euthanasias are down. The number of dogs and cats euthanized in shelters has declined from approximately 2.6 million in 2011. However, even one death is unacceptable.

Animal shelters that euthanize often use a lethal injection of sodium pentobarbital. This is considered humane dog euthanasia because he goes to sleep and feels no pain. However, it doesn’t always happen that way.

Unfortunately, some animals are killed by municipal workers who use cruel methods such as shooting the dog. Further, there are still shelters that use outdated gas chambers. This is a cruel method of killing because dogs can suffer convulsions and die a slow, painful death. Other facilities use electrocution. Especially horrific is the use of decompression chambers which expand the gases inside the animal and cause severe pain.

Here’s the reality. Not everyone is as compassionate as you are. Indeed, there are people in this world who are downright cruel to dogs and other animals and those who are at best, ambivalent toward them.

What you can do to prevent dog euthanasia

A number of steps can be taken to lessen the number of dogs in shelters and thus the number who are euthanized:

  • Adopt from a shelter or rescue organization!
  • When you have a decision about whether to adopt or buy a breed dog, go for adoption.
  • Support anti-puppy mill laws.
  • Reach out to elected officials and encourage them to support stringent breeding laws and laws that prevent cruelty to animals.
  • Contact pet stores and ask them to support shelter and rescue animals. Conversely, ask them to stop selling dogs from puppy-mills and breeders.
  • Donate to local shelters. They always need supplies like blankets and food. Cash donations are also nice.
  • Never let your dog roam free because of the possibility of impregnating or being impregnated.
  • Spay or neuter your dog.
  • Microchip your dog. If your dog is lost he can be found with an implanted chip.

Where can I find a rescue dog?couple with dog

When you consider adopting from from a dog shelter or rescue organization, you have many options. Your local animal shelter is a great place to start. In and around my city of Seattle, there is a host of choices.

For example, we have the Seattle Animal Shelter operated by the City of Seattle. We also have the King County Animal Shelter operated by the county. In addition, there are numerous non-profit organizations with their own shelters that depend on donations from the public and people who are rescuing an animal.

Then there are the various humane society shelters and well as specific breed rescues.

In your area, just google dog rescue or animal shelters and you are bound to come up with quite a few listings. The number of organizations devoted to dog rescue seems to be growing which reflects the seriousness of the problem.

On a national and international level, here are some of the best dog rescue organizations:

  • National Mill Dog Rescue: This organization has pledged to put an end to the cruelty of the commercial dog breeding industry, more commonly known as puppy mills. Since their inception in 2007, they have rescued and placed more than 12,700 dogs. To find out more about them go to
  • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). This was the first humane society in North America and is now one of the largest in the world. Go to
  • Petfinder: A non-profit that operates through the internet and is the largest pet adoption website in North America. It reports a current list of more than 315,000 adoptable pets from nearly 14,000 animal shelters and rescue groups. As of 2013 it had facilitated more than 22 million pet adoptions. Most of these are dogs and cats but other animals such as birds, reptiles, fish, livestock and horses are included. Go to
  • International Animal Rescue: Headquartered in East Sussex Great Britain. This organization saves all animals, including dogs, from suffering – anywhere in the world. They rescue animals as well as educate the public about animal cruelty and other issues. Go to
  • International Street Dog Foundation: This organization is dedicated to saving the lives of street dogs around the world. It provides medical assistance to dogs, spay and neuter services, adoption and fostering. It also seeks to raise awareness of various dog issues. Go to

The chances are there is a dog rescue organization in your country. Go to google and type in “dog rescue” or “animal rescue” then your country name. Compassionate people who love animals live the world over so there is likely a group who has taken up the cause.

Getting a dog from a shelterHappy pooch and guy

Have you ever wondered how to adopt a dog? Adoption is a life saving proposition for the dog and a life enhancing experience for you. There is generally a fee for adopting a dog that helps cover the agency’s operating expenses.

Also, there may be quite a bit of paperwork. The adoption agency may ask questions about you to determine if there is a match between you and the dog you have chosen. After all, they want to make sure he has a loving, forever home!

Here are some tips on adopting a dog:

1. Think about the kind of dog you want. Would your ideal pet be high-energy? Conversely, would she be a couch potato? Think about how your new dog might get along with the other pets in your home.

2. Take your living area into account. For example, a tiny apartment might not be the best environment for a large dog unless you have immediate access to a large outdoor area. However, a small dog might like it just fine. In any case, all dogs need to go outside for walks and to do their business!

3. Think about how much time you can spend with your new friend. A puppy may need lots of training and therefore more of your time. Perhaps not so with an older pooch.

4. Think about the needs of your dog prior to adopting. You have to be financially prepared for food expenditures, toys, clothing, accessories and most importantly, medical issues. Obviously, if you adopt an older dog, you must be prepared for the possibility of frequent veterinarian visits. Also, keep in mind that veterinarian costs can really add up!

5. Buy the items your dog will need. These might include:

    • Food
    • Water dish
    • Leash
    • Collar
    • Tags
    • Toys
    • Travel carrier
    • Bed

6. Find a good veterinarian. The closer the better in case of emergencies. Establish a wellness plan and be sure to vaccinate your pet right away.

7. Make your home dog-safe. In other words, remove potential hazards. How much you do will depend on the size and energy level of your new friend. Here are some tips:

    • Cover trash cans
    • Secure low level cabinets that contain cleaning products or potentially hazardous materials/liquids.
    • Block off areas that could be dangerous.
    • Cover areas with sharp corners.
    • Cover toilets.
    • Remove harmful plants.
    • Block access to harmful foods.
    • Make sure you have a fenced-in yard that is absolutely secure if you are going to let your dog outside unattended.

AdoptMy Opinion

In my opinion, adopting an animal shelter rescue dog or one from a rescue organization is the best way to bring a new companion into your life. Additionally, I must add that I am really not too keen on buying a dog from a breeder, even if that breeder is reputable. This is because I feel that too many people buy pure breed dogs because it is hip or fashionable.

Yes, breed dogs can be adorable. But when you think of all the dogs in shelter and rescue organizations who are “mutts” and waiting eagerly for a new home, why wouldn’t you choose them? After all, for them, it is a matter of life and death.

Also, consider that breed dogs are available for adoption if that is what you really want. Google adoption and the breed you are looking for.

In Conclusion

I know the beginning of this post is a bit shocking but I want to emphasize the seriousness of the subject. If you are going to have a new dog, please, please adopt. There are so many options!

We love comments so leave yours below. Include any experiences you have had with dog adoption.

10 comments on “Adopting from a dog shelter or rescue organization

  1. Lanta Eco News

    It’s so sad and shocking to learn about some of the cruel ways animals are euthanized, and also the high number of animals euthanized every day. In Thailand, they don’t generally euthanize animals – it goes against their beliefs – which is why there are so many stray dogs here. We’re lucky though on Koh Lanta to have a fantastic animal shelter here – Lanta Animal Welfare. They do amazing work and have really improved the lives of the cats and dogs on the island. They run a sterilization and immunization program, treat sick and injured animals, and also have an adoption program. Many tourists who visit Koh Lanta end up adopting a cat or dog and giving them a new life in their home country. The cats and dogs on Koh Lanta are really lucky we have the animal shelter here!

    1. Christopher Mitchell

      I am very happy to know that about Thailand. Is Thailand mostly Buddhist? Hindu? Thank you for letting me know about that and I will check out Lanta Animal Welfare.

      Feel free to update us on the work they are doing!

  2. Sharon Whyte

    The stats you revealed here are just plain awful. But the information is great!

    What I am happy to say however, is our family recently adopted an Australian Cattle dog cross from an Adoption pet centre here in Victoria, Australia. He was one of 9 pups who were found on the side of a country road in NSW which is just awful. But luckily we have these amazing places that take them in and care for them.

    Our kids and my husband and I have a different story to tell each other about our newest addition Rogue. He is an absolute joy and we are thrilled to have another member in our family.

    1. Christopher Mitchell

      Hi Sharon:

      Thank you for adopting!

      9 pups found on a country road – did someone just leave them there?

      Anyway, best wishes with your new addition.

  3. Justin4487

    I agree with this post 100% animals shouldn’t be put down simply because they didn’t find a new owner within the certain amount of time they were given by the center. And alot of times the center doesnt try to get the animal(s) adopted and keep them in the back and dont advertise them because 1 they either don’t like the breed of the animal or 2 they have a list of animals they love and are playing favorites so these animals get the spotlight.

    It is by all means a cruel endeavor. I donate my dogs ( hand me downs so to speak) to shealters along with dog food that my dog wouldnt eat, instead of throwing it out when trying a new brand.

    I honestly think all shealters should have a website with a photo of every animal they currently have in their possession.

    Also alot of people think the animal is in a shealter and may be a bad dog or might bite.
    I have adopted plenty of animals from shealters and yes some times the animal is timid but if given a few days to adjust to it’s new home and shown the love it deserves they become the best pet. For example: i had a mixed dog im not even sure what all he was mixed with, i know golden retriever and german shepherd. This dog when i adopted him would snarl at me and growl at times when i came close, i took it slow and after about a week i was able to touch him without a growl and after about 2 weeks i was able to pick him up and a month later he was my best friend and no one could do harm to me without him getting ready to attack. And if i said ow he would try to bite whatever touched me and made me say ow.

    So yea even if the animal looks like it may bite they are just scared and probably been through hell already so if they do snip at you give them a chance and time and you will probably create a greater bond then if you bought the dog as a puppy and raised it.

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      So true what you say Justin! Dogs and any animal for that matter, need time to adjust to their new situation. That is so great that your adopted dog became your best friend.

      As you say, there is breed discrimination and that is a shame.

      Thanks for your comments!

  4. Newy

    We found our dog Tucker (yellow lab) at a shelter and he has been th the best dog we could ever ask for. I’m not sure how the previous owners were ok with letting him go! But hey it worked out for us. I seriously can’t believe that in this day and age they are still killing dogs. How is this still a thing!? It’s so freaking sad. With all of the dogs that need homes it’s odd there are so many dog breeders out there. Do you think they are apart of the problem?

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Newy:

      Thank you for your comments! I just can’t wrap my brain around how some people will take their family pet to the pound. In my opinion, that dog is a responsibility and a person should not relinquish that responsibility when things become inconvenient. 

      It’s amazing the atrocities that are still committed against dogs and every other species of animal .Yes, I believe breeders are part of the problem and so are the people who buy from them. If a person wants a breed dog, there are many breed-specific rescue organizations to chose from.

  5. Timm Mullowney

    Thanks for sharing!

    We got our pup from the pound and couldn’t be happier with our decision! It’s sad to know that they are locked in cages most of the time. I couldn’t image leaving him there!

    He sure is happy that he gets a big backyard and a family to love him! Thanks for sharing this I really appreciate it 

    1. Christopher Mitchell Post author

      Hi Timm:

      It can be sad indeed to visit a shelter and see all those animals who need a home! What’s even sadder is knowing that often, the ones who aren’t taken, will be euthanized. 

      I’m so glad to hear you got your pup from the shelter! Thanks!


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