A young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kitten
Barks & Mewsings

The Trupanion blog

May 20 is National Rescue Dog Day

By: Brianna Gunter

A happy tricolor dog looks at the camera with his tongue out

Did you know there’s an entire day dedicated just to rescue dogs and the people who love them? National Rescue Dog Day takes place on May 20 in the United States, but it’s a great time for prospective pet owners around the world to consider adopting a furry friend in need. For those who already have a rescue pet in their family, this is a day for appreciating how far they’ve come and continue to go.

Read on to learn some cool facts about rescue dogs and the history of the day that celebrates them.

How did National Rescue Dog Day get started?

Inspired by a real-life rescue dog named Cooper, Tails that Teach started National Rescue Dog Day over 10 years ago to shine a spotlight on the countless numbers of dogs in shelters awaiting adoption. Tails that Teach is a non-profit organization that promotes humane education for children and the wellbeing of animals everywhere.

Shelter dog statistics

  • According to ASPCA data, approximately 3.1 million dogs enter US animal shelters annually.
  • About 2 million shelter dogs are adopted every year.
  • Almost 23% of pet dogs come from shelters while 34% come from breeders and the rest come from other sources.
  • Approximately 390,000 dogs in shelters are euthanized every year.
  • According to BestFriends.org (an organization that collects shelter data), Texas and California have the highest animal shelter kill-rates in the nation.
  • The term “no-kill shelter” doesn’t equate to no euthanasia—it means 90% or more of the animals are placed in homes.

6 reasons to consider adopting a rescue dog

A white dog lays on grass with an adopt me sign

Wondering why you should go with a rescue dog over a pet from a breeder or pet store? Here are six points worthy of consideration:

1. Adopting a rescue dog saves lives

Not all shelters will automatically euthanize animals if they aren’t adopted after a designated time period, but welcoming a rescue pet into your family will save more than one life regardless. In addition to giving your new dog a second chance out in the world, you’re allowing his former space in the shelter to open up for another pet that needs it.

2. It helps keep demand away from puppy mills

While there are many reputable dog breeders out there, others practice irresponsible and unethical techniques to keep churning out pets to meet demand. The dogs in these puppy mills are at increased risk of illnesses and congenital defects, and they are often not properly socialized. Though greater intervention is needed, choosing to adopt from a shelter is a small but significant step toward making a difference.

3. They’re often healthy

In order to stay in a shelter, dogs need to be current on their vaccines and are typically spayed or neutered. Shelters typically have a veterinarian on staff and try to treat any other issues a dog may have when they arrive. Many people who adopt shelter dogs only need to worry about setting up follow-up appointments and are given details of their new pet’s health upfront.

4. Microchips are common

An increasing amount of animal shelters will assign dogs a microchip if they arrive without one. In these situations, the only thing you’ll have to do is have the chip updated with your current information. Having this microchip will help locate your dog in the future if she becomes lost.

5. Most dogs are not in shelters due to behavior

Some people are hesitant to adopt a rescue dog because they are worried the dog was surrendered due to behavioral issues. But a study by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) shows this isn’t the case. In fact, only one of the top 10 reasons people relinquish dogs to animal shelters has anything to do with behavior:

  1. Pet owner moving
  2. Landlord not allowing the dog
  3. Too many animals in household
  4. Pet maintenance costs
  5. Pet owner personal problems
  6. Inadequate living facilities
  7. A litter mate who was not adopted
  8. Pet owner having no time for the dog
  9. Pet illness / unexpected veterinary costs
  10. Biting (It’s worth noting that this is only in 3% of cases)

6. Rescue dogs are worth the challenge

Depending on your new dog’s past experiences, he may come with challenges that will need to be overcome. For example, a dog who was abandoned or lived in a place where he received little-to-no attention will have to learn to trust you and his new environment. But the happy truth is that the majority of pet owners keep their rescue dogs and are able to overcome any early issues.

Give it enough time and patience, and your rescue dog can become an irreplaceable member of the family.

Protect your pet on Rescue Dog Day

As seen with the top reasons people surrender dogs to pet shelters, many pet owners are not prepared to handle unexpected pet illnesses or veterinary costs. Whether you’ve recently decided to adopt a rescue dog or already have a beloved pet from a shelter, this Rescue Dog Day is a great time to consider pet medical insurance coverage if they’re not protected.

The right pet insurance will help cover unexpected veterinary costs and enable you and your pal to keep enjoying each other’s company for years to come. Learn more about how Trupanion dog insurance works and how it can protect the life of your rescue pet.

A dog and cat snuggle

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Welcome to the Trupanion blog. A place to celebrate pets, pet health and medical insurance for cats and dogs.

This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Trupanion. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.

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