October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and in celebration of the occasion, the Elk County Humane Society is inviting prospective pet owners to visit them this month and consider what an adopted dog could bring to their lives.
In addition, from Oct. 10 through 29, the Humane Society will be lowering the adoption fees for dogs who have been with the shelter for six months or longer, to increase the chances of their finding a home.
JoAnne Smith, director of the Elk County Humane Society, wants the public to know how an adopted dog can be a welcome addition to their families and lives.
"Whether you want an exercise buddy, a best friend for your child, a partner in agility competitions, a constant companion for an aging parent or simply a fuzzy face to greet you after a hard day at work, an adopted dog can be all of these - and more," Smith said.
She said the Humane Society has approximately 20 dogs currently up for adoption, "everything from Jack Russell terriers to pit bulls...a breed for every personality."
Smith said that the Humane Society is working hard to find homes for the shelter dogs and admits that it is more difficult to place older dogs and larger breeds.
"A lot of people are under the misconception that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. The older dogs have a longer attention span, so they are actually easier to train," Smith said.
"They don't chew, most of them are already housebroken and if they are not already housebroken because they've been living in a shelter, all they need is a little bit of a refresher with crate training for a week or two."
Smith added that many people don't have the time or energy for a puppy, and older dogs can be an easier adjustment and often a better fit.
Regarding the impression some people have of shelter dogs as being unstable or unpredictable, Smith emphasized the shelter employs "behavioral assessments and tests to see how they [the dogs] are with other dogs, people, kids, and little babies" to be certain that a dog has been deemed physically fit and mentally sound before being placed up for adoption.
Smith said that people interested in or considering adopting a pet should come in to the shelter and meet the animals.