Adopting a Dog is the Ultimate Repurpose

Photo: jeffreyw/flickrHow often do you get to make a difference to the world and save a life? Adopting a homeless dog is the perfect opportunity -- you don't even have to put on your Superman cape to be a hero. The Humane Society reports that a shocking 2.7 million unwanted dogs and cats in good health are euthanized in the US every year. That number can be reduced by good-hearted people like you. Even if you adopt from a shelter with a no-kill policy, your dog will be infinitely happier as the center of attention in a loving home.

Spiritual Benefits

Animal adoption is the ultimate repurpose. You already know how important reusing and repurposing material objects is in order to prevent waste and keep our world clean and healthy. This applies so much more to living beings! By adopting a homeless dog, you'll be teaching your children about responsibility and the importance of every creature in the grand scheme of things … but be resigned to tackling most of the physical care yourself!

You, in turn, will learn that life is not perfect. You may end up falling in love with a dog that is different from what you originally expected -- perhaps a bit older, a little traumatized, not as sleek or fluffy -- but full of the capacity to give and receive love.

You'll become a VIP, as an informal spokesperson for animal rights, every time you go for a walk with your four-legged friend. When people stop for a pat, mention that your adorable Fido or Biscuit is a rescue dog.

Practical Benefits

Shelter residents are in good health when put up for adoption. They have been screened by a vet, vaccinated, and microchipped. Physical problems such as worms or fleas, cuts, and rashes have been taken care of. If they are old enough, adoption candidates are spayed or neutered by the shelter, saving you a great deal of hassle.

If your new friend previously lived with another family, he or she may already be socialized, as well as leash- and house-trained.

You'll know what you are getting into. Shelter personnel will be honest with you about the size that cute little puppy is likely to grow up to be, and will also share information about any behavior or health problems. A puppy mill manager interested in making a sale may not be so forthcoming. You can also try fostering to see how owning a dog would fit into your lifestyle -- or just to enjoy having a furry friend on a part time basis.


Please prepare in advance for your adoption so it will be a positive experience for both you and your new BFF. Learn as much as you can about pet care and find a well-recommended veterinarian in your community before heading to the shelter. Get recommendations for reliable dog sitters also; if you want to go away without your dog occasionally, he or she will need responsible care.

Be ready to walk your new pet three times a day, rain or shine, for a total of at least 45 minutes -- longer for more active breeds. You might plan to keep the dog outdoors while you are at work; however, this is not such a feasible option unless you live in a year-round mild climate like Colorado's. Even then, you will need to install a secure Denver fence, a large doghouse or other shelter and a non-tip water container.

The best time to bring your adopted dog home is when you will have a stretch of relaxed, quiet days to help the animal adjust to the unfamiliar surroundings, for example before a long holiday weekend when you are not planning on entertaining any human guests. Some supplies you should have on hand are a collar, leash, and nametag; dog food; dishes for food and water; a few safe chew toys for the pooch to gnaw on (a great canine stress reliever), and a bed. These items are often available at the shelter for a minimal price.

Laura Firszt writes for

Get Free Quotes

Looking for a Pro? Call us at (866) 441-6648

Get Free Quotes
  • Service Needed
  • Zip Code
Get quotes from qualified local contractors