Save a life: adopt your dog!

Save a life: adopt your dog!


Wherever you live in Canada, there are likely dozens, perhaps even hundreds of dogs, cats and other pets waiting right now to be adopted from an animal shelter or rescue group near you.

Their reasons for ending up in a shelter or foster home vary dramatically: some were lost, some were born homeless, some were rescued from abuse and some were turned in because an owner developed allergies, had to move, passed away, could no longer afford to care for their pet or whose lifestyle was a mismatch with an animal's needs.

But all these animals have one big thing in common: they desperately need a home. Could your home be their new haven?

Why adopt?

The shocking reality

More than a quarter million dogs and cats enter Canadian animal shelters every year and more than 100,000 are euthanized – that’s about one animal every 5 minutes.

While some of these animals have to be put down because of painful, fatal illnesses, in some cases they are perfectly healthy, lovable pets that just don't get adopted.

Here are some key reasons for adopting from a shelter!

  1. Reward. An obvious benefit is the rewarding experience of having saved an animal’s life.

  2. Value. The cost of adopting a pet at an animal shelter is a fraction of what you’d pay to buy from a breeder or pet store. In fact, it’s often "cheaper" than getting an animal for free because the adoption fee usually includes spay/neuter surgery, a complete veterinary check-up, vaccinations and a microchip ID. These services would cost you at least $500 if you had to pay for them yourself.

  3. A match made for you. All reputable humane societies, SPCAs and rescue groups conduct temperament tests on the dogs to ensure they are safe to be adopted out, and many also have programs to match up adopters with dogs whose personalities will best fit their lifestyles and preferences.

  4. Making a difference. Adopting from a shelter means you are helping rather than contributing to the pet overpopulation problem.

  5. Adult = less hassle! While shelters do sometimes have puppies up for adoption, adolescent or adult dogs are much more common. Adopting an adult dog means that you don’t have to go through the trials and tribulations of house-training and raising a puppy.

  6. What you see is what you get. Unlike a puppy, an adult dog’s personality and temperament are already well-established. It has also reached its full adult size and its coat has come in, so you get a better idea of what it would be like to live with the dog.

Here’s how to get started:

To learn more, check out these common myths about shelter dogs.

Learn all about the adoption process here.

Click here to find humane societies and SPCAs that are members of Humane Canada. Or call your municipal government and ask if there is an animal shelter in your city, town or county. They should be able to tell you where to find the closest municipal shelter, humane society or SPCA.

You can also check out It’s a comprehensive database of pets that are up for adoption from humane societies, SPCAs and animal rescue groups throughout North America. You can search for dogs by age, breed, sex and more, so this is a useful site if you have your heart set on a particular breed of dog. (Note that not all humane societies and SPCAs post their adoptable pets on this website. Nor do most municipally-run animal shelters.)

Save a life: adopt your dog!
Save a life: adopt your dog!
Humane Canada (also known as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies) is Canada's federation of SPCAs and humane societies, representing the largest animal welfare community in Canada.