By Jenny Anderson
Special to Today’s News-Herald
October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and is promoted by animal shelters throughout the country. “What better time than now to march down to your local shelter and take home a canine in need?” says the ASPCA web page. There are just so many ways an adopted dog can enrich your life. The Western Arizona Humane Society hopes you will consider adoption from our local shelter your first option when interested in a companion animal.
A dog not only makes an excellent family companion, it can alert, even protect you, to a potential intruder. A dog is a faithful buddy, eagerly greeting family members when they return home. My dog helps encourage us to get daily exercise when she coaxes us out for a morning walk. She also provides companionship to residents in the assisted living facilities we visit each week. Many other dogs have been trained to assist their handicapped human companions.
One of the most important advantages of the canine/human relationship is the mood-elevating benefit. Dogs can be so entertaining and engaging. It’s hard to stay down in the dumps when your pooch is begging to play. This often has additional health benefits, for example, lowering blood pressure and calming anxiety. Many individuals with anxiety disorders even keep a therapy dog as a companion.
There are still nearly 4 million dogs surrendered to shelters each year, yet just 40-80% of these animals find a “forever home”. The homeless dog statistics are very sobering. Most reputable shelters report adoption success using the Asilomar Accords to determine the live release rate (LRR). The statistics report total intake, adoptions, number reunited with the owner, and euthanasia cases (including those requested by owner). Using these statistics, WAHS reported (westernarizonahumane.org) an 89% live release rate in the first quarter of 2014. Thanks to our supportive community, this is better than the national average. But, with effort, we could make this even better. There are many ways individuals can support the big picture.
Of course, not everyone is in a position to adopt a dog, so consider just a few other actions you might take. Sponsor an animal at the shelter to make adoption more affordable for someone else. Volunteer, foster, or donate to the shelter. Shop at Wags to Riches. Support local shelter fund-raising efforts, including the upcoming Duck Derby. Any of these actions, however large or small, helps the shelter move forward in its mission. Together we can make WAHS more effective in its mission.
The Western Arizona Humane Society is open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with kennel hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 855-5083 for details. For found or lost pets, call 855-4111. View animals found at www.lhcpd.com.