Adopt a Dog:
Find a Friend and Save a Life!

Want to get a great pet and save a life? It's simple. Adopt a dog! There are millions of loving shelter animals just waiting for you to come along and give them a "forever" home.

Animals that end up in shelters are known by many names, such as:

  • Shelter dogs
  • Pound puppies
  • Rescue dogs

But no matter what you call them, these homeless animals need someone like you to give them a second chance to love and be loved. If you adopt a dog, you will truly be saving a life.

dog behind fence

According to the Humane Society of the United States, 3-4 million dogs and cats are euthanized (put to sleep) each year in the U.S. because of a lack of homes.

Most of these animals end up in shelters due to no fault of their own. Their owners simply no longer can – or want to – care for them.


  • Death or illness of the owner
    Often when an owner dies or has to go to a nursing home, no other family member wants to take care of the pet and he ends up at a shelter.
  • Change in owner’s financial or living situation
    The recent foreclosure crisis is a sad example of how family pets suffer from circumstances beyond their control.
  • The pet gets lost
    Every pet should have a microchip in his neck so that if he does get lost and ends up at a shelter, shelter staff can scan the chip and locate the dog’s owner. Unfortunately, many owners do not microchip their pets.
  • “Buyers' remorse
    This is why shelters discourage people from adopting pets as holiday gifts. It often seems like a good idea at the time, but then the reality of the responsibility sets in and the owner gets cold feet, it is the animal that ends up homeless.
  • “Practice Babies”
    This is what shelters call pets that have been adopted by couples and are then abandoned when the couple has a “real” baby.

I get especially choked up when I write about shelter animals and the need to adopt a dog because – as I’ve mentioned throughout this site – I adopted my four-legged “baby”, Chase, from a shelter.

Choosing to adopt a dog and save a life is one of the best decisions I have ever made!

And it is a very good thing for all of us that Chase ended up at a “no-kill” shelter, because he was there for more than SIX MONTHS before my husband and I found this little (or, rather, big) gem and brought him to his “forever home”.

Animals that end up at no-kill shelters are very lucky, because once they are there, they will not be euthanized. No-kill shelters keep animals for as long as needed, until they find a loving home. Even if the animal never finds a home (often due to health problems that nobody wants to take on) a no-kill shelter will give him a permanent home, with lots of love from staff and volunteers.

Like most no-kill shelters, the shelter where I found Chase is a private, not-for-profit organization. (Because of the huge influx of animals they receive, City shelters almost always have a policy of euthanizing animals to make room for new ones that come in).

When we adopted Chase, he was about a year old. Like so many other sweet, loving dogs, Chase most likely did not get adopted sooner simply because of “BBD Syndrome”.


“What on earth,” you are probably asking yourself, is “BBD syndrome”?

Well, take a look at the picture of Chase, below (isn’t he ADORABLE?!), and try to guess what BBD Syndrome might be.

my dog Chase

If you guessed that Chase is a “Big, Black Dog”, then you guessed right. Chase is a big, black shepherd mix. “BBD Syndrome” stands for “Big, Black Dog Syndrome”.

As sad and unfair as it is, many shelter dogs waiting for adoption unjustly deal with the BBD stigma ever day. No matter how sweet, friendly and healthy they are, they are consistently the hardest dogs for shelters to place. For some reason, many people do not want to adopt a dog that is a BBD.

There are a number of theories for why black dogs get a bum rap, including the fear people have of certain black breeds (such as Dobermans and Rottweilers). Black dogs are also often unfairly shown to be aggressive in movies and on TV.

BBD Syndrome is such a problem that some organizations have even started campaigns to educate the public.

Well, lucky for my husband and me that nobody else did take Chase – but lucky for Chase that he was safe at a no-kill shelter until we found him. Otherwise, this sweet, silly, goofy dog would have been put to sleep simply because of his size and the color of his fur.

I tell you this story to hopefully show that dogs, just like people, cannot be categorized or judged by their appearance. They are all individuals, with their own personalities and temperaments, and this has nothing to do with their size or color.

If you are ready to adopt a dog and have the room for a big dog, please consider adopting a BBD.

If you are interested in

big dog adoption, please click here for our article on tips and special considerations.

And if you'd like to open up your home and adopt a dog that is a sweet, lovable BBD, check out these black dog names to get you started.

Chase and me

There are definitely special considerations when adopting a dog, and we want to help you and your new friend set out on your life together as smoothly as possible.

Please visit our

dog adoption page for insight and tips to help your newly adopted companion adjust to life in his new home.

And if you'd like to search for that "special (four-legged) someone" from the privacy of your computer, visit our dog adoption websites page for a list of searchable databases containing more than 10,000 adoptable dogs (and cats) at shelters across North America.

You never know.

The next picture you see could be the one that steals your heart.

So, whether you are looking for a small dog, a big dog, a young dog or a

senior dog adoption , please adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue organization. You will be giving a second chance to a homeless animal that is just looking for the right person to smother with love.

And, trust me, shelter animals have a lot of love to give!

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