A local animal shelter takes in 10,000 animals a year, necessitating this month of awareness.
There are still a couple of weeks left in October, and that means there are a couple of weeks left to adopt a dog from your local shelter!
October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. American Humane, a non-profit animal welfare organization, began celebrating this event in 1981 in an effort to help the “3-4 million animals waiting in shelters” find their forever homes, according to their website.
Many animal welfare organizations across the country have used this month to promote the adoption of shelter dogs, as well as to share the importance of adopting dogs from shelters or rescues in general.
Although the number of animals euthanized in U.S. shelters has declined over the years, the ASPCA reports that about 1.5 million animals (670,000 dogs) are euthanized every year.
In Oklahoma, this month is particularly important, as the state is overwhelmed with thousands of unwanted dogs. Tulsa Animal Welfare (TAW), one of the many municipal animal shelters in the area, took in around 10,000 animals last year. Around half of those animals were dogs.
Despite Tulsa’s plans to improve conditions at TAW, their intake numbers don’t seem to have slowed down. A quick look at their Facebook page, where they post intake numbers regularly, reveals that they have been taking in around 30-50 animals a day.
Their most recent post from Oct. 11 said they had 23 new dogs dropped off that day.
Skiatook Animal Shelter is much smaller than TAW, but they also have to deal with many unwanted animals every month. Kirsten Williams, an animal control officer for Skiatook, said that “on average, our shelter takes in roughly 50 animals a month.”
Williams stressed the importance of adopting a pet from an animal shelter. “When you adopt, you’re not only saving one life, but two. You’ve created a space for another animal or given more time to an animal still waiting to be adopted. Adoption means saving lives.”
That is why Adopt a Shelter Dog Month is such a special month, particularly for government-run shelters, who are often overwhelmed with all kinds of unwanted dogs on a daily basis.
If you are not in the position to adopt right now, shelters always need more fosters or volunteers. Fostering gives an animal more time to find their forever home, and volunteering helps the shelter, which is often understaffed, operate more smoothly.
Williams also suggested a few other ways to help, such as “sponsoring an adoption fee, supplying the shelter with donations [and] sharing posts on social media.”
Animal shelters — especially large ones like TAW — have all kinds of dogs, from true Heinz 57s to purebred dogs. If you’re looking for a dog, now is the time: visit your local animal shelter. You just might find your new best friend.
To adopt a dog or see how you can help, visit Tulsa Animal Welfare’s website at www.cityoftulsa.org/government/departments/working-in-neighborhoods/animal-welfare/.