This month is National Adopt a Shelter Dog month, as declared by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Surprisingly, some of the most famous dogs were originally adopted from shelters. Shelter dogs have made headlines, saved lives, and even graced the silver screen.
Found in the Burbank Animal Shelter by trainer Frank Inn, Higgins began his acting career in the show Petticoat Junction, as well as appearances in Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies. His most iconic role, however, was when he was 14 and starred in the film Benji.
Everyone knows the classic film, Old Yeller. The beloved canine who filled the role, Spike, was found in a Californian animal shelter by Frank Weatherwax, and animal trainer in the area, when he was just a puppy. Spike quickly became Frank’s star pupil, and went on to star as Old Yeller years later, as well as made appearances on the tv show The Westerner and starred in the film A Dog of Flanders.
Pabst, the World’s Ugliest Dog
Pabst, originally a shelter dog, is the first mixed-breed winner of the Ugliest Dog in the World competition in the last seven years. He was found in a shelter in Citrus Heights, California, and went on to win $1600 for his owner in the competition.
Chanel, the World’s Oldest Dog
Denice Shaughnessy adopted six-week old Chanel from a shelter in Virginia in 1988. Chanel went on the be named the World’s Oldest Dog by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2009 when she was 21 years old. She made appearances on The Today Show and Live! With Regis and Kelly for her title as World’s Oldest, and held the title until she died last late August.
Rin Tin Tin
Rin Tin Tin was found in a French kennel that has been bombed in WWI. A soldier insisted on checking out the attacked kennel and found only a german shepard and her five pups. They were taken back to camp, but the soldier kept two of the puppies for himself, one of which he named Rin Tin Tin. After the war, the soldier put Rin Tin Tin in a dog show where he succeeded in jumping over 11 feet and 9 inches– jump starting his film career. At the height of his career, Rin Tin Tin was receiving upwards of 10,000 fan letters a week as one of Warner Brother’s top stars.
Anyone looking to celebrate National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month with a new friend should consider some things first.
- Before adopting a dog, future pet owners need to be sure that they’re ready for the commitment. A dog will become a member of its new family and could be in their lives for up to 10-15 years or more.
- Pet owners should try to find out the breed of the dog they’re adopting and anticipate any particular health concerns that are associated with the breed. Particular breeds are more susceptible to health risks than others. Owners should be able to get their pets any medical attention they may need (often, people don’t realize that conditions like dementia or seizures in dogs are problems they should plan for down the road).
- Owners should choose a vet and be prepared to get their shelter dog any vaccinations and microchips they need to start out with.
A new dog is a large commitment, but can absolutely be worth it for the payoff: years worth of companionship and unconditional love from a pet and the feeling of satisfaction from giving a shelter dog a second chance at a happy life.