ASPCA Celebrates National Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month in October

New research confirms adoption is the best option; study shows better experience than pet store purchases
September 28, 2012

NEW YORK—October is officially recognized as Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month and the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is urging animal lovers across the country to commemorate the occasion by doing their part to help raise awareness for homeless animals.

The observation of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month brings attention to the plight of homeless animals in every community and the unfortunate fact that only 20 to 30 percent of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescue groups.

"There are 3 to 4 million dogs living in shelters nationwide who would make a fantastic addition to anybody's family, all they need is a second chance," said Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of the ASPCA Adoption Center. "During Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, the ASPCA encourages everyone to visit their local shelter, adopt one of these amazing animals or help us spread the word to potential pet owners to make pet adoption their first option."   

A newly released poll conducted by Edge Research and commissioned by the ASPCA reveals that individuals who adopt a dog from a shelter are much more likely to be happy with their experience than consumers who purchase a dog from a pet store.  In addition, adopters (77 percent) are more likely to feel that overall bringing the dog into their home has been a positive experience compared to pet store dog owners (63 percent). Shelter dog adopters (74 percent) are also more likely than pet store dog owners (40 percent) to feel that the process through which they got their dog was honest and transparent, and they are twice as likely as pet store consumers to recommend the place where they got their new dog to a friend (71 percent of adopters and 35 percent of pet store purchasers). Further, the research shows that dogs from shelters tend to require less veterinary care than those purchased from pet stores.  

"The ASPCA's research confirms that adoption really is the best option when it comes to adding a new dog to your home," said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign. "Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills, and we continue to urge those who are looking for a new companion to adopt a dog from a shelter so that the puppy mill industry becomes unsustainable."

There are tons of ways to get involved this October, ranging from sending a single tweet to making the commitment to adopt. Here are some ways the public can get involved and make a difference during Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month:

  • Adopt, Don't Shop. Visit your local shelter or rescue organization and give a lucky dog a loving home. Consumers who purchase a puppy from a pet store or website run the risk of taking home an unhealthy puppy in addition to the likelihood of supporting the cruel puppy mill industry. Operators of puppy mills breed dogs in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.
  • Take the Pledge. Join the more than 100,000 people who have already taken the "No Pet Store Puppies" pledge to help fight puppy mill cruelty by refusing to buy anything—including food, supplies or toys—at pet stores and on websites that sell puppies.
  • Spread the Word. Spread the adoption message to all of your friends and followers online! Join the ASPCA in a live Ustream event on October 30 from 7 to 8 p.m. when veterinarians and behaviorists will be chatting and answering your best pet questions. A Halloween costume contest will also be held, with prizes being awarded in several categories. In addition, send a Tweet with Twitter®, post a Facebook® status, shoot a YouTube® video, take an Instagram® photo, and pin on Pinterest® throughout the entire month of October; every mention makes a difference.   
  • Get Active for Animals. Volunteering at your local shelter is a great way to make a difference in the lives of shelter dogs. Volunteers can take dogs for walks, socialize them, make the rounds during meal times, or just offer a friendly face for attention. Rescue organizations are always in need of supplies; gather up gently used blankets, towels and toys from friends and family to donate—just be sure to check first to see what rescue groups and shelters need most.

To learn more about Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, and find shelter dogs who are available for adoption, visit To learn more about the ASPCA’s No Pet Store Puppies campaign and to sign the pledge, visit