Three million adoptable dogs enter shelters across the United States each year, making overpopulation a serious issue. Unfortunately, this means many lost, abandoned, rescued, or stray pets who find their way to a shelter are in danger of euthanasia to combat the staggering overpopulation.

These pets are patiently waiting to meet their new families and receive a second chance at life! Opening your home to a rescue dog comes with several benefits, some you may have never even considered.

#1 Existing Training

Puppies can be hard work. They require constant supervision, basic obedience training, and house-breaking. These tasks require hours of dedication and hard work on the end of the owner. Conversely, many shelter dogs have already matured past the puppy stage, spent time in home settings, or have already had other families. So, they’re used to living in a family setting and could already be house-trained, crate-trained, or have experience riding in cars. They may also have some basic obedience commands down-pat, making an easier transition into your home. Although, you will likely have to refresh commands, and you will need to make new boundaries clear, your rescue dog will learn much faster than a new puppy would.

Additionally, there’s a good chance that your rescue dog has spent significant time with other dogs, meaning they’ve been socialized and are comfortable with other pets. This is good news if you’re introducing your rescue to a home that already has a four-legged family member!

#2 Shelter dogs are eager to please

Dogs love unconditionally, and that is twofold for shelter dogs. When you bring a shelter dog home, you provide them a new pack, a comfortable setting, and personalized attention they probably weren’t receiving before. They don’t just love you for being their person, they love you for giving their life stability.

While in shelters, dogs typically have fewer interactions with humans and limited personalized interactions. Therefore, they are more likely to have a social drive to interact with people. Studies have shown that human interaction and enrichment reduce a shelter dog’s stress and aggression. You can be sure that your new rescue pup will be eager to show you how grateful they are that you chose to bring them home.

#3 You are saving more than one life

When you adopt a shelter dog, you are saving their lives and preventing the possibility of euthanasia. However, you also open up a spot for another pet. With space in shelters limited, this means you’re giving that second dog a much better chance of finding their forever family. Additionally, by rescuing a shelter dog, you remove the need for the shelter to supply food, medical, grooming, and daily care, saving the organization thousands in expenses which can be used to assist other animals in need!

Another great benefit to supporting shelters rather than purchasing through a breeder is creating less incentive for puppy mills to continue operating.

#4 It can be cheaper

Beyond the upfront cost of a new puppy, they’ll also include a long list of required vaccinations on a strict schedule. Completing this task could mean spending upwards of $1,000 in the first few months of your puppy’s life. This amount can seem significant, especially when compared to the cost of a shelter dog.

While costs can vary depending on your location, adoption fees for a shelter dog hover around a few hundred dollars. The fee usually includes a spay or neuter, all required vaccinations, and microchipping. This means you’ll be able to safely get straight to cuddling and socializing your dog with others without having to worry about booking initial vet appointments to ensure they are up-to-date on vaccinations.

#5 Any breed you like

Sometimes when you’re looking for a new dog, you have a specific idea of what you want. We get it. However, if you are patient and a little flexible with your search, you can find any breed you desire to adopt; there are even rescues that specialize in specific purebred dogs.

Adopting a shelter dog also presents the opportunity to find a distinctive-looking pup! Many shelter dogs are the results of uncommon breeding pairs, which could result in a mixed-breed dog with a unique appearance. It’s important to remember that mixed-breed dogs are just as healthy as purebred pups!

#6 Important information

The staff at shelters spend time with each pet that comes through their program; this means you can get insight into a dog’s personality before you adopt them. They can also provide vital information regarding medical history, making it even easier to determine which dog is the right fit for your family.

And even if your rescue pup is having a hard time adjusting, many shelters and adoption agencies offer a support system! They want to see your new dog succeed just as much as you do, and will often be available to answer any questions or provide pet care advice.

#7 Your health will benefit from it

Adopting a new dog means increased physical and emotional health. Your new dog will need plenty of exercise, which means you will also get plenty of exercise! More physical movement helps to combat symptoms of depression and high blood pressure. Your pet will also require socialization, allowing you the opportunity to meet new people and expand your social circle.

And of course, a new pup means a new best friend, companion, and snuggle buddy. Playing with and petting your new four-legged family members gives both of you an elevated level of serotonin – meaning lower levels of stress.


Adopting a shelter dog can be a rewarding experience, leading to a life-long bond with a new four-legged family member. The benefits of saving a dog’s life are beyond count and contribute to a happier, healthier life. Take a moment today to celebrate the rescue dogs in your life or contribute to your local shelter.