10 Reasons to Adopt a Dog

10 Reasons to Adopt a Dog

If you’ve considered adopting a dog from a shelter, you could be opening a door to an amazing life for both you and your new furry companion. If you still aren’t sure, here are 10 reasons to adopt a dog.

Please note: I’m not against responsible breeders (actually, I love them). If you require a specific breed for one reason or another, please just do your homework. I have huge respect for those working hard to protect and improve a particular breed of dog.

1. You could be saving a life

Many shelters end up euthanizing dogs if they don’t get adopted, or if they have a more complicated history. When you adopt a dog from a shelter, you just might be saving his life.

Consider asking shelter staff which dogs have been there the longest. Those pups often have had a harder time getting adopted, perhaps due to age or other complications. By adopting a dog from a shelter, you could be giving him a second chance at life.

2. You’ll have a new best friend

It’s no secret that dogs are loyal to their humans. By adopting a dog, you’re gaining a friend who will love you unconditionally. Shelter dogs can be really sweet and friendly, so don’t be afraid to visit your local shelter or rescue organization. 

Puppy at Safe Harbor Humane Society Kenosha Wisconsin Shadow Dog Photography

3. You’re helping the shelter

Adopting a dog from a shelter frees up more space for other animals in need. Unfortunately, there are many dogs who need help and a home. By adopting a dog, you’re opening up a spot for another dog to receive shelter and care, and hopefully a loving home as well. 

4. You may make an unforeseen connection

Sometimes when adopters go into a shelter, they have a specific type of dog in mind whether it be size, breed, or age. But occasionally they connect with a dog they weren’t expecting to. Keep an open mind when you go to the shelter.

The shy senior dog may be loving and cuddly once she warms up to you. The energetic mixed-breed might make a fantastic running buddy. You never know what dog you’ll connect with, and a shelter is a great place to find that new best friend!

Adopted Pitbull Shadow Dog Photography

5. Fight against puppy mills

By rescuing a dog instead of going to a chain pet store, you’re breaking the cycle of irresponsible breeding. Pet stores often don’t have the full history of a dog’s origins, and many have been linked to puppy mills.

Along with puppy mills, there are also backyard breeders to be wary of. These folks may breed dogs purely for profit, and not to protect a breed’s standards. The health of these dogs is often not a priority.

Fighting against puppy mills is one of the most important of the ten reasons to adopt a dog.

6. It’s easier on your wallet

Purchasing a dog from a breeder can be very expensive. This is understandable when reputable breeders are investing in health checks for parents, pre-natal care, vet visits, and more (for both parents and puppies).

Just do your homework to be sure the breeder you’re working with is responsible, and is aiming to preserve or improve the breed.

Paying the adoption fee from a shelter or rescue organization can be much more affordable. These places also work hard to ensure dogs are in good health before going to a new home. Please understand that shelters and rescues invest a LOT of money into the health of each dog. Especially if there are any specific medical needs. And the shelters have to feed, house, and care for the homeless dogs too. 

So please don’t give the organization a hard time for charging an adoption fee for a “mutt”. These places are doing their best to save lives without going bankrupt.

Adopted Dog at Alberts Dog Lounge Whitewater Wisconsin Shadow Dog Photography

7. Shelter dogs have lots of love to give

Many shelter dogs have had a rough life. Perhaps they were abused, abandoned, or mistreated. When you adopt a dog who has past trauma, the safe environment you create for them can really help them grow. These dogs often become the sweetest companions because they feel safer with you than they did in their past situation. Once you bond with a shelter dog, you may be opening up a whole new world for him (and you).

8. You have a reason to get active

Dogs require a fair amount of exercise, and adopting one may give you one more reason to get outside. Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, a hike in the woods, or a jog through the park, your dog will be happy to accompany you on your ventures. When you’re picking a dog from the shelter, you can find one that best suits your energy level, as there are generally lots of pups to choose from.

Reasons to Adopt a Dog Shadow Dog Photography

9. You’ll have someone to spoil

If your kids have grown up and moved out, you might miss the feeling of shopping for someone other than yourself. Adopting a dog from a shelter and giving her a brand new life might mean some retail therapy. If you have the means to spoil your dog, do it. Of course love isn’t a material thing, but you can go all out to show your rescue dog she’s appreciated. 

10. It’s an opportunity to make some human friends too

The last of the ten reasons to adopt a dog is a social one. There are tons of ways to connect with other rescue dog parents. Social media, dog-friendly restaurants, and dog parks are just a few ways to meet other people who appreciate dogs just as much as you do. There is a vast network of people who love rescue dogs and you could fit right in. 

One thing’s for sure: your life will change when you adopt a dog. Visit your local shelter or rescue and give a pup a second chance. Here are three of my favorite places to find a new friend:

If you’re ready to celebrate your best friend (adopted or otherwise) with meaningful photos and gorgeous artwork, contact me to learn about your very own custom dog photography session.

This post is part of a blog circle with other fabulous photographers around the globe. Up next: Nicole Hrustyk of Pawtraits by Nicole shares her favorite treat pouch.

Keep clicking at the bottom of each post until you end up right back here in the Shadow Dog pack. Enjoy!

Hi, I'm Jan

I help dog parents celebrate their best friends with adventurous portrait sessions and extraordinary artwork for their home. Tail wags and smiles guaranteed! Based in Whitewater, WI.


  1. Nicole

    I love this. Such a great list, and all so true!

  2. Darlene

    What a great list to share! Rescued dogs make the best dogs for sure 🙂 Thanks for sharing some of your favorite rescues that. you support, too!

  3. Tracy Allard

    This is a great list. Love, love, love saving a life, gaining a new best friend, a reason to get active and making more human connections. Yes to all of these, the others are just a bonus for me (and that’s a pretty strong list too!). Terrific images to support all the reasons too, well done Jan!

  4. Elaine

    Most of our crew come from rescues or through shelter adoption. Great points!

  5. Courtney Bryson

    I love adoption – all great reasons to adopt a dog!


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