The following post was written by Ashley Dickerson, the Judges' Choice Grand Prize Winner from our Adopt-a-Dog Month Photo Contest.

I have always been an animal lover, and I mean always. There was never a time when we didn’t have pets. So it just seemed incomplete when I moved into my first apartment my sophomore year of college alone, with no pets. Right away I decided to go to the local animal shelter to adopt a dog. I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, so I started walking though the section with the adult dogs. I took several outside to play and see if we hit it off, but I didn’t really feel a connection with any dogs that day. So I decided to go home and come back the following week to look again. As I was leaving, however, I walked by a kennel and heard a faint “sigh”.

I looked over and there was this little white dog sitting at the front of her cage. Her tail starting wagging, but she still looked so sad. As soon as I took her outside she couldn’t stop licking my face and pulling me towards the parking lot, as if she was saying “Ok, let’s go home now!” Immediately I knew she was the one. So a week later I got to take Bunny home. At the time I wasn’t sure what kind of dog she was, or how old, but I was told she was found chained up, used for breeding, and abandoned by her owner. All of that was in the past now, and it was clear we were meant to be together. She was so sweet and happy all the time, and quickly adjusted to her new home (and my couch).

Once I learned that she was an American Pit Bull Terrier, I quickly became a fan of the breed. She is a great ambassador for the breed, and anyone who meets her quickly changes any negative perceptions about pit bulls. Throughout the past 8 years, she’s been my running partner, my roommate, my traveling companion, and my best friend. I have always been inspired by how she is so able to forgive, to trust, and to love so naturally. She has helped me become the person I am today, and has even helped me start my own business.

When she started having health issues that were related to food allergies, I began to research what I could do to help. I learned so much about pet food on the market today, that I decided to help others do the same. I now own a pet boutique called The Spotted Dog, and of course it is named after Bunny!  Through my business I am able to help other pet owners, local shelters and rescues, and promote adoption. I bring Bunny to work with me every day and she does a great job greeting customers as our store’s mascot. People even stop by just to see Bunny!  Adopting her has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, and she will always be my best friend, my baby, and my inspiration.

By Play Admin on Nov 24, 2012 at 12:00 am 0 Comments

October is Adopt-a-Dog month. If you're thinking about adding a new furry friend for your family, here are 5 reasons why you should adopt one.

  1. You're saving two lives. The pup you adopted and the one taking his place at the shelter. Millions of dogs are put down in the US every year. It's a heartbreaking reality, but too many people give up their pets or don't spay and neuter; and not enough are adopting. By adopting a dog, you are giving two dogs the opportunity for a better life. The one you rescued now has a new loving family and another homeless pet will now have access to food, warmth and medical care at the shelter.
  2. Unconditional love. Okay, so this really goes for any kind of dog. But many shelter dogs are down on their luck and are experiencing some heartache (loss of their home and family - or even worse, they've never experienced love or compassion at all)  this makes them that much more thankful to their forever family. It definitely takes time and patience to transition a new member of the family - but trust us, it's worth it.
  3. You'll feel better. Yes, you feel great that you've adopted a dog. But pets are also shown to be great for physical and psychological health. Studies have shown that dog owners are not only more active (dogs do need to be walked after all) but also have less stress and are happier in general.
  4. Your new pup will be healthy. Many shelters and rescue groups do all that they can to make sure the animals are as healthy as possible before being adopted. In additional to vaccinations and spay/neuter programs, many shelters also assess temperaments to find the right family for a pet's personality.
  5. You won't be supporting puppy mills. Puppy mills are notorious for the horrible treatment of their dogs. Seen as dollar signs and not loving animals, these pups receive poor (if any) medical treatment and are often riddled with many ailments. The pets used for breeding spend their entire lives in filthy cages with little to no socialization or affection. The people who purchase from pet stores often are unaware that they are supporting these horrible operations. By adopting a dog, you are helping put a stop to puppy mills.

These are just a few reasons why adopted pets rock! Got something to add? Leave a comment below. If you're not looking to add to your family, you can still help a dog in need! For every pet bed purchased on our website, we'll donate a Chill Pad to a homeless pet through our Warm Bellies Intitiave with the Petfinder Foundation.

We want to hear your adopted dog stories! Submit your photo for a chance to win one of three great prize packs from P.L.A.Y.! To enter, visit our Facebook page.

By Play Admin on Oct 03, 2012 at 4:20 pm 0 Comments