Adopt a shelter pet

Adopt a shelter pet

October 6th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

On Thursday morning I set a pizza box, filled with almost an entire pizza, on the kitchen counter to eat for dinner. When I came home that evening, I found the pizza box lying open and empty on the living room floor.

Needless to say, I was curious as to why Sarah (my significant other) had decided to eat most of a pizza and then toss the box on the floor two rooms away.

That's when Sarah came in the room and pointed to a chair where Nola Mae - our beagle basset mix - was passed out like grandpa after Thanksgiving dinner.

That little dog had eaten my pizza. All of it.

It's not first thing that Nola Mae has eaten. There was the (already dead) frog, the two pairs of Sarah's prescription glasses and the bag of Twizzlers.

Oh, and there was the loaf of bread that we had sitting on the dining room table while we ran to Bi-Lo to get bacon and lettuce to make BLTs. I have to admit, the BLT salad we had for dinner after Nola Mae ate most of the bread - and licked what she didn't - wasn't half bad.

Despite what a pain in the neck Nola Mae can be sometimes, I wouldn't trade her - or the times Sarah and I have had with her - for anything in the world.

Nola Mae has given us an opportunity to explore the area and meet new people. I certainly never would've met the folks who bring their pups to Heritage Park without her. And we would've never found all the beautiful little places we've discovered on the shore of Nickajack Lake or along the bank of South Chickamauaga Creek if it weren't for her love of swimming.

She's my jogging buddy every morning before I come to work. She's at the door, excited to greet me when I walk in the house after a long day. She's always happy to give me five or roll over. She'll even get on her hind legs and dance - provided I bribe her with a Pup-Peroni.

Nola Mae isn't some fancy AKC registered dog. She's just a dog we got from a shelter last year. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. Animal shelters across our area have gotten in the spirit by offering discounted adoption fees and other incentives to help find dogs (and cats) good, loving homes.

Here's the best incentive of all: By adopting a pet at a shelter, you are saving the life of a dog or cat. Approximately 10 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and an estimated 4 million are euthanized.

In addition to adopting a pet, there are other ways to support the local shelters that work so diligently to find homes for dogs and cats. Most shelters need volunteers to donate a few hours here and there to perform tasks ranging from grooming and walking pets to taking animals to adoption events. Foster families are also needed to temporarily care for puppies and kittens that are too young to be adopted into a permanent home.

You may also support shelters by donations of money, or items such as pet food, toys, towels and grooming supplies. Check with your local shelter to see what they need.

Most importantly, if you already have a dog or cat, please have your pet spayed or neutered. The easiest way to ensure that fewer pets are euthanized is by reducing the number of unwanted animals that come into the world.

If you're interested in adopting a pet or supporting a shelter, it's easy to get a list of reputable shelters online at websites such as and Both of these sites provide contact information for nearby shelters, as well as pictures and information about dogs and cats available for adoption.

Adopting a shelter pet is not only one of the greatest acts of kindness you can perform, it will be one of the most rewarding decisions of your life - even if the little rapscallion does occasionally decide to eat the pizza that you were hoping to have for dinner.

- Drew Johnson