Be a hero to dogs young and old | Opinion

By Robin Ganzert

Special to the Sun Sentinel

Oct 22, 2021 10:22 AM

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Robin Ganzert

Robin Ganzert (American Humane / Courtesy)

For thousands of years, dogs have been our best friends, our protectors, and often our personal heroes, improving and even saving our lives. That is why each October for the past 40 years, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization and the nation’s leading first responder for animals in need, encourages animal lovers to repay the favor by adopting a dog from a local shelter or rescue group during its annual Adopt-a-Dog Month.

Throughout October, visit to find tips on preparing your home for a new four-legged companion, including vital information, social media campaigns, and pet blogs to help build a better world for our best friends.

Here are a variety of ways to celebrate Adopt-a-Dog Month:

Adopt from a shelter or rescue group

When you’re ready to open your heart and home to a new best friend, adopt from your local animal shelter or rescue group. Talk with shelter staff to find the perfect dog for you and your lifestyle, and remember that older dogs make excellent pets, too.

Have your dog spayed or neutered, thus preventing the possibility of unexpected, and potentially unwanted, puppies. Spayed and neutered animals have been shown to lead longer, healthier lives and have fewer of certain behavioral problems than animals who have not been spayed or neutered.

By putting identification on your dog, either in the form of a tag, a microchip or both, you will reduce the possibility that your pet will become one of the presumably “homeless” dogs that end up at your local shelter. Only 15% to 20% of dogs who enter a shelter are reunited with their owners. Make sure your dog is one of the fortunate few by outfitting him with proper identification.

Support your local shelter

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Show the pets at your local shelter or rescue group that you care by donating time, money or supplies like pet food, leashes, beds and toys. Call the shelter to see what supplies or services are needed most. Even the smallest effort can make a difference.

Consider adopting an older dog

There is a great need to provide safe, loving homes for the thousands of older pets who often face the highest risk in animal shelters. Each year, an estimated 670,000 dogs are euthanized in the nation’s shelters. Many potential pet adopters overlook older animals, but there are so many reasons why dogs over the age of 6 or 7 make ideal furry family members and friends: They tend to be less rambunctious than younger dogs; they’re often already house-trained; they’re a great fit for people with busy lifestyles; they’re so grateful for a second chance and will give you lots of love and thanks. “Senior dogs who get adopted from shelters just might be the most grateful dogs on the planet,” says writer Laura Coffey, author of “My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts.” “And don’t let their age fool you! It’s amazing to see how much these dogs still have to offer and teach us.”

TV personality Carson Kressley will be master of ceremonies for the 11th annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards Gala.

TV personality Carson Kressley will be master of ceremonies for the 11th annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards Gala. (American Humane / Courtesy)

Join American Humane at the Eau Palm Beach Resort in Manalapan on Nov. 12 for their glittering 11th annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards Gala. The evening’s master of ceremonies will be television personality Carson Kressley, along with other celebrities, a special performance by Grammy winner Lisa Loeb, and more. Visit or contact Mari Harner at

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