Save a life: adopt your Fido

beagleWherever you live, there are likely dozens, perhaps even hundreds of dogs, cats, and other pets waiting right now to be adopted from an animal shelter or rescue group near you.

The reasons they ended up in a shelter or foster home vary dramatically: some were lost, some born as strays, some rescued from abuse, and some turned in by an owner who developed allergies, had to move, passed away, could no longer afford to care for their pet, or whose lifestyle was a mismatch from the beginning.

All these animals have one big thing in common: they desperately need a home. Could it be yours?

Why adopt?

The shocking reality

More than a quarter million dogs and cats enter Canadian animal shelters every year. Over 100,000 are euthanized – that’s about one every 5 minutes.

While some of these animals have to be put down because of painful, fatal illnesses, in many cases they are perfectly healthy, lovable pets that just don't get adopted.

1. Reward. An obvious benefit is the rewarding experience of having saved an animal’s life.

2. Value. The cost of adopting a pet at an animal shelter is a fraction of what you’d pay to buy from a breeder or pet store. In fact, it’s often “cheaper” than getting an animal for free! That’s because the adoption fee usually includes spay/neuter, a complete veterinary check-up, vaccinations, and microchip. These services would cost you at least $500  if you had to pay for them yourself.

3. A match made for you. All reputable humane societies, SPCAs, and rescue groups conduct temperament tests on the dogs to ensure they are safe to be adopted out, and many also have programs to match up adopters with the dog whose personality will best fit their lifestyle and preferences.

4. Making a difference. Adopting from a shelter means you are helping, and not contributing to, the pet overpopulation problem.

5. Adult = less hassle! While shelters do sometimes have puppies up for adoption, adolescent or adult dogs are more common. Adopting an adult dog means that you don’t have to go through the demanding stage of house-training and raising a puppy.

 6. What you see is what you get. Unlike a puppy, an adult dog’s personality and temperament are already well-established, and its full adult size, hair coat, etc. are  already apparent, so you get a better idea of what it would be like to live with the dog.

To learn more, check out these common myths about shelter dogs.

Here’s how to get started:

BC Front desk dog-woman

Learn all about the adoption process here.

Click here to find humane societies and SPCAs that are members of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.

Or check out It’s a comprehensive database of pets up for adoption from humane societies, SPCAs, and animal rescue groups throughout North America. You can search for Fidos by age, breed, sex, and more, so this is a useful site if you have your heart set on a particular breed of dog. (Note that not all humane societies and SPCAs post their adoptable pets on this website; nor do most municipally-run animal shelters.)

Call your municipal government and ask if there is an animal shelter in your city, town, or county. They should be able to tell you where to find the closest municipal shelter, humane society, or SPCA.

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