October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and is dedicated to finding shelter and rescue dogs forever homes and families! Learn more about this important pet holiday and what you can do to ensure a dog’s second chance at a loving home and family.

Homeless Dog Looking through a Fence
Homeless Brown and Black Dog Looking Through Fencing

When it All Began

In 1981, in response to the growing number of homeless dogs and puppies, American Humane established October as Adopt a Dog Month. Today, along with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), they promote and encourage the adoption of homeless dogs every October.

“Each October, we encourage people to … open your heart
and your home, and be a hero for a pup in need.”
(Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO, American Humane

7 Ways to Celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month!

Adopt a New Shelter Dog

Of course, adding a dog to your home and life is the ultimate way to celebrate our canine friends this month! You can become a “real-life hero” by adopting a shelter dog or puppy into your home and heart while ALSO opening up space for another homeless dog to be rescued and receive a second chance at life!

Learn the most important pet adoption questions
answered by 200 rescues and shelters in
this Ultimate Guide to Pet Adoption!

A Gray Great Dane Puppy Sitting on a Blanket
A Sitting Great Dane Puppy

Become a Foster or Adoption Ambassador!

If you can’t permanently add a new K9 friend to your life, you can still do a lot of good by fostering a homeless dog, especially the large-to-giant breeds that are often overlooked by potential adopters due to their size, energy or strength.

Remember, Sharing is Caring!

Even if you can’t adopt or foster a canine, you can use your social media to give a vulnerable dog more visibility and hope for a new home. Help your local shelters or promote your favorite breed’s dogs who need new homes!


Dog organizations are always in need of help and this only requires some donated time! Do you have special skills like dog training or dog grooming? Can you help walk the dogs at the shelter or rescue? Do you have office skills, website skills or graphic design skills you can donate to a local organization?

Learn other ways you can become a hero during
Adopt-a-Dog Month at American Humane!

Donations are Always Welcome!

Shelters and rescues are often short on funding so donating pet products, old blankets and towels, pet food or financial support for vet care will go a long way to helping a shelter or rescue support more homeless dogs.

Make it a group effort too! Rally and organize people at work, church or in your neighborhood for fundraising! Maybe a garage or bake sale or even a car wash can make raising money for homeless dogs fun for everyone!

An older Woman Cuddling a Small Tan Puppy
A Senior Woman Cuddling a Small Tan Puppy

Help a Vulnerable Dog Owner

Consider helping a local senior, veteran or disabled dog owner. By helping them care for their dog, you can ensure that dog stays in its home and out of a shelter! Walking, grooming, feeding or doing vet visits will help both the individual and dog in priceless ways.

Lead by Example!

Have you adopted a shelter or rescue dog? Share your story with others and you just might encourage them to follow your lead and bring a homeless dog into their life!

Whichever way you decide to celebrate our incredible canines this month, you can rest easy knowing you are making a significant difference for the millions of dogs waiting in shelters and rescues for the forever homes they deserve!

Happy Dog Being Brushed with the EquiGroomer
Happy Dog Being Brushed with the EquiGroomer

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