VANCOUVER, October 1, 2002 - The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) would like to remind people that October has been declared Adopt A Dog Month and Adopt A Shelter Dog Month.

"Dogs are very important to many people. Besides performing a variety of important tasks and functions, canine companions provide friendship, love, loyalty and affection for their human guardians," says Al Hickey, Western Regional Director for the Humane Society of Canada (HSC). "Unfortunately, we haven’t been as kind, caring or loyal to our canine friends as they have to us. Every year millions of healthy, adoptable dogs across North America are killed because there are not enough homes for them".


HSC Executive Director Michael O’Sullivan has been adopted by several canines in need including Sionnaich, a three-legged mixed breed dog, who had suffered terribly before being welcomed into the O'Sullivan home.


O'Sullivan says that adopting dogs in need is a rewarding experience for many reasons. "Saving an animal’s life and providing him/her with a good home is a nice thing to do," says O’Sullivan. "But this good deed is returned many times over by the grateful canine who is a wonderful friend and much loved family member. All of the animals who we have taken in have given us so much and asked for little in return".

The Humane Society of Canada is asking that people take time to consider dogs (and cats) who have no homes and help them in any of a number of ways. The following is a list of some things that people can do that will truly make a difference in an "unwanted" dog’s life.


  1. If you are have been considering adopting a dog, then giving a canine in need a good home is a great way to help the dog overpopulation crisis and get a wonderful family member as well! Some things to consider before taking on this lifelong commitment include:

    • Many dogs live for 15 years or more. Are you prepared for this long-term responsibility?
    • Raising a canine family member is not inexpensive. Can you afford it? To find out what many of the costs associated with raising a dog are you might contact a pet supply store employee and a veterinarian. Remember, these will be the items/costs you can expect to have; there will likely be some unexpected costs along the way that you should also be prepared for.
    • Are you allowed to have a dog where you are living? Many pets are dumped at shelters and pounds (or worse) because their human guardians are not allowed animal companions where they are staying (or where they are moving to.)
    • If you already have animal companions, are they likely to get along with a dog and vice versa? If possible, you might try to introduce the dog who you are considering for adoption with your current four-legged family members. Remember that it often takes a period of time for animals to get used to one another.
    • Does everyone in the family want to adopt a dog at this time?
    • If you have never lived with a dog before have you done your research into what their needs are? Many dogs are returned to holding facilities because their human guardians did not know what was involved in properly raising a canine companion.
  2. Inform others of the friendly dogs who are available for adoption in shelters and pounds. Adopting dogs from these facilities not only saves lives, but it also means that you’re not supporting the puppy mill industry by buying dogs from pet stores. Too many people are unaware of the wonderful dogs who are waiting in shelters or pounds or the cruelty involved in the pet trade.
  3. Volunteer at a local animal shelter or pound and spend time walking, grooming and socializing the dogs who are there.
  4. Donate money or supplies, such as towels and blankets, to your local animal shelter.


Some Reasons Why it is Good to Adopt Dogs in Need

  • You are saving a life.
  • Dogs in shelters or pounds are friendly and many even have some basic training.
  • You are not supporting cruel puppy mills.
  • Dogs from shelters are inexpensive to adopt compared to those purchased from breeders and pet stores.
  • Dogs at shelters have typically been vaccinated, wormed and many have been neutered (spayed/castrated.)
  • You are helping, and not contributing to, the dog overpopulation crisis.

Recommended Books on Adoption

  • The Adoption Option: Choosing and Raising the Shelter Dog for You by Eliza Rubenstein and Shari Kalina ISBN: 0876054254
  • Nobody’s Best Friend: Loving and Learning With Adoptive Dogs by Lorraine Houston ISBN: 0964891360
  • Choosing & Caring for a Shelter Dog: A Complete Guide to Help You Rescue & Rehome a Dog by Bob Christiansen ISBN: 1884421555
  • Second-Hand Dog: How to Turn Yours into a First-Rate Pet by Carol Lea Benjamin ISBN: 0876057350
  • The Chosen Puppy: How to Select and Raise a Great Puppy from an Animal Shelter by Carol Lea Benjamin ISBN: 0876054173
  • Saved! A Guide to Success With Your Shelter Dog by M. L. Papurt, DVM ISBN: 0764100629

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The only organization of its kind, seven days a week, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works across the street, across Canada and around the world helping people, animals and the environment.

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns that protect animals and the environment please make a donation here. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty and violence, we don’t give up. Ever.