Did you know there is a simple way to enrich your quality of life, and it's the easiest, and best thing you'll ever do? October is 'National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month,' and adopting a homeless animal is exactly what you should do.

I say this with a very heavy heart. On April 15, 2010, I adopted a little black chow from Roice-Hurst Humane Society in Grand Junction. On September 29, 2017, after a short but brutal cancer battle, I had to have my little boy put to sleep. The seven-and-a-half years in between... I wouldn't have missed for the world.

I remember the day I adopted him. I walked out of Roice-Hurst saying to myself, "What have I done?" My decision to adopt came complete with responsibility, commitment, expense, headaches, and more. At that time, I was a 39-year-old career minded individual swimming in an ocean of unmanageable debt.

Adopting my little boy didn't complicate those matters. Just the opposite - it made dealing with them worthwhile. You've seen the bumper stickers, little paw-shaped signs which read "Who Saved Who." Trust me, it applies.

For the last two years I've been without a pet. Ten weeks ago, my mother died unexpectedly. Two weeks ago my dad died following a lengthy cancer battle. With my parents passing, I've inherited three loving dogs. I've gone from no dog to three dogs in an instant. Has it been a nightmare? Not at all. Just the opposite. The dogs coming into my life has made recent events more bearable.

Here are my five reasons (among countless others) why you should adopt:

  • You'll look forward to going home, regardless of the situations your facing in your life
  • You might find yourself getting out and doing things you never considered before
  • There's no such thing as loneliness when you have a loving pet
  • You'll begin to focus on those things that really matter rather than life's inconveniences
  • You'll consider and experience things you never could have imagined without a pet

Grand Junction is home to several shelters, including Roice-Hurst, CLAWS, and the county shelter. Those animals, every one of them, need a home.

Not everyone is a pet person. I get that. If you are, or even if you think you might be, consider adopting from a local shelter. All of the factors you're worried about, things such as vet bills, getting up early for walks, and the need to get home to take care of your pet; these are all blessings, not burdens. It may not seem like it looking from the outside, but trust me, they are.

You have to take the first step. There will always be dogs and cats needing a home. Turning a blind eye doesn't make them go away.

Chances are you don't know me. It's possible we've never met. That having been said, I would ask you to take me at my word. Believe me when I say adopting a pet from a Grand Junction shelter will be the best decision you'll ever make.