Animal lovers everywhere can attest to the fact that pets are good for our own physical and emotional health, filling our lives with companionship and a sense of wellbeing.
Numerous studies have documented the healing power of animals, but people who have pets don't need scientific proof. Everyone in the family gains from the unconditional affection and bond that pets and humans share.
Children with pets have added incentive to go outdoors and engage in physical activity; caring for a family pet teaches responsibility.Adults with busy schedules find that spending time with a pet eases stress and anxiety; it's hard not to smile at the end of a long day when greeted by the wagging tail of a dog or the purring of a kitten.Seniors with pets feel more involved and positive; many nursing homes have visiting pet programs to cheer lonely residents.Pets are a terrific ice breaker, creating opportunities for socialization for people who are isolated or shy.
October is a big month for animals, particularly shelter animals. If you visit a shelter, you might find it difficult to pass up those big beautiful eyes and eager "take me home" faces.
Adopt-a-Dog Month: American Humane Association
Right this minute, dogs of every type, size, age, and personality are living in animal shelters, just waiting for someone like you to take them home. One of those dogs could be your next best buddy, your child's playmate, or the cheerful greeter at the end of a long day.
The American Humane Association is dedicated to protecting children and animals from abuse and neglect through public policy, education, and services reaching a wide network of organizations and advocates. The organization is also known for the "No Animals Were Harmed," ® disclaimer at the end of films and television programs.
Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
"All shelter dogs, all the time," is the motto of the ASPCA, but October has been designated to highlight the plight of shelter dogs.
The dogs who end up in shelters are victims of circumstances that uprooted them from their homes. Whether they are purebred or of mixed breed, young or old, most of them are healthy, affectionate animals, and most are already spayed or neutered. ASPCA shelters have lots of cats looking for homes, too.
National Feral Cat Day, October 16: Alley Cat Allies
Most people don't have any idea what to do about stray and feral cats, but they are not a new phenomenon -- they have been living on their own alongside people for 10,000 years!
This year marks the tenth anniversary of National Feral Cat Day. Cat advocates around the country will reach out to their communities to spread the word how Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) improves the lives of feral cats. The cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and returned to their outdoor home.
Feral cats are not social animals, at least not when it comes to humans, so they are not good candidates for adoption. Alley Cat Allies asks that you help by educating others about outdoor cats and the TNR program.
World Animal Day - October 4
Started in 1931, World Animal Day began as a way to highlight the plight of endangered species, but has grown into a worldwide celebration of animal life in all its forms, and the human relationship with the animal kingdom. It is a day to acknowledge and appreciate the many ways that animals enrich our lives. Regardless of nationality or culture, World Animal Day unites all organizations in the animal welfare movement in celebration of animal life.
September 19-25 was celebrated as Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week, but anytime is a good time to offer a home to less-adoptable pets like those who have special needs or are old. Some languish for years waiting for someone like you to take them home. Maybe you have what it takes to adopt a high needs pet.
Sharing Pet Adoption Stories
Years ago, when our home got a bit too quiet, my husband and I went to our local animal shelter in the hopes of injecting some new energy into our home. Our intention was to come home with one cat, but we ended up with a cuddly brother-sister duo named Smokey and Bandit. We gave them a home; they gave us companionship, smiles, laughs, and cuddles. We haven't regretted it for a moment. Just who rescued who is still up for debate.
Do you have a pet adoption story to share? Tips on adopting a shelter pet? Use the comment selection below and become part of the conversation.
Ann Pietrangelo is a freelance writer covering a wide range of issues, most notably multiple sclerosis patient advocacy, health care policy, and healthy living.