It's Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! Ready to Meet Your New Best Friend?

October is the perfect time to rescue a new pet and support your local humane society.

By: Ryan Reed

It’s hard to put into words the feeling you get when you adopt a pet. Not only are you giving them a fresh start in a loving home, but adopting also supports your local shelter so they can go out and help more animals in need.



Photo by: Grace Chon |

Grace Chon |

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and now is the perfect time to add a new member to the family. I recently volunteered at the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley where I met volunteer coordinator Cera Smith. She explains why adopting from a shelter is the best way to find your new furry friend.

"Your new pet will already be up-to-date on shots, microchipped and spayed or neutered," Cera says.

Choosing a dog is probably the most difficult decision you’ll have at the shelter, but there are two types you should absolutely consider before deciding: older dogs and Staffordshire Terriers (often referred to as pitbulls).

"Adopting an older dog can be amazing!," Cera says. "You get a dog that is generally already house trained and probably calmer than a puppy." Many dogs can live to be 17 years old or more and have a lot of life to live, so never be discouraged by the "senior" label.

Another label people are sometimes afraid of is "pitbull." There is a lot of misinformation about these animals and it would be a mistake to overlook them. "They are loyal, loving, good with children and happy just snuggling on the couch with their human," Cera says. Shelters take in a lot of "pitties" and "pitmixes," so adopting one of these dogs is a tremendous help to the shelter.

Puppies are usually the easiest to find a new home for. If you’re considering bringing one into your home there are a few supplies you should definitely have on hand, such as a crate, bedding, inexpensive collar, leash, ID tag, food bowls, food, toys and treats.

"When it comes to a puppy, you want to be prepared for anything," Cera says. Cera doesn’t recommend potty pads, as they encourage your pet to go to the bathroom indoors. Do your research when it comes to food, and consider training classes to help understand and communicate with your new pet.

To make the transition into a new home easier for your dog and to help you maintain a chic and pet-friendly environment, check out the tips below:

Pet Adoption Tips

Bringing a new pet into your home is a big commitment, make sure you and your family are ready.

Canine Clean Zone

White Tiled Pet Shower

White Tiled Pet Shower

Cleaning your dog is easier with a floor-level pet shower. The large opening takes the hassle out of luring rover into the shower. Splash-friendly flooring also make this an ideal area to clean pet dishes and toys.

Giving your dog a bath is one of the most challenging duties you'll have as a pet owner. Create a safe and efficient space where cleaning your pet will be a breeze. A floor-level shower is the ideal situation, as it will make getting in and out easier for your pup.

Pet Feeding Station

Salvaged box dog feeding station

How to Make a Pet Feeding Station

Create a custom feeding station that will make eating and drinking easier on your pet. Old wooden crates, boxes or stools can all be converted into a piece that's functional for your best friend and will look great in your home.

Consistency is key with a new dog, and setting up a place where they know where their food will go is important.

Stylish Mats



Feeding station mats are often afterthoughts meant more for keeping splashes of water off the floor, rather than adding style to a space. Instead of basic rubber mats or novelties, stick with indoor/outdoor 2X3 patterned rugs. Many styles such as this blue and white zig-zag are made from recycled materials which breathe easily and are easily washable with a garden hose.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

My dogs love to drool after taking a big slurp of water, so mats are crucial. It minimizes the amount of water that ends up on the hardwood floors and they look great, too. Go with whatever style fits your decor, but make sure the material is easy to clean.

Banish the Bags



Banish those dog food bags from the home completely! Not only are dog food bags big, bulky and attractive to pests, dogs are likely to try to break into them if left within reach. Check out for classic, oversized tin canisters excellent for storing your dog’s food in style.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

Store your dog's food in style with a canister. This will minimize pests and keep your dog from trying to sneak in an extra meal.

Doggie Front Door

Decorative leashes

Dog Leashes on Hooks

While plastic retractable leashes can be considered eyesores, graphic traditional leashes are more decorative. Stash them near the door for a pop of pattern and to inspire you to head outdoors with your best friend.

You'll be going on a lot of walks with your dog, so keep the leash by the door you use the most. You'll always know where it is, and you won't keep Fido waiting.

Think you're ready to meet your new best friend? Check out some of our editors with their furry BFFs.


Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

Intern Katie Friedman with her dog Milo.

Photo by: Katie Friedman

Katie Friedman


Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

Managing editor Camille Smith's two dogs, Sophie (left) and Phoebe.

Photo by: Camille Smith

Camille Smith


Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

Managing editor Shannon Petrie's two dogs Freckles (left) and Mya.

Photo by: Shannon Petrie

Shannon Petrie


Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

Intern Maria Conti with her little volunteer, Theodore.

Photo by: Maria Conti

Maria Conti


Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

Editor Ryan Reed's two dogs, Blair (rear) and Beau, in Charleston, South Carolina.

Photo by: Ryan Reed

Ryan Reed

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