10/23/2012 09:01 am ET Updated Dec 23, 2012

Adopt A Shelter Dog. It Could Save Your Life.

My family has always been dog people -- growing up we had a boxer, a few cocker spaniels and even a chihuahua. At one point, Phil and I had three golden retrievers named Huey, Dewey and Louie. I have always been touched by how compassionate my pets were. It's as if dogs and humans have an intuitive understanding of each other and that's why the bond between pet and owner can be so strong.

Dogs are such special creatures, which is why it is so sad to think about how many homeless pets are sitting in shelters, just waiting for the right person to take them home. October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month and I'd like to encourage anyone who may be considering getting a pet to visit a nearby shelter to see all the beautiful faces just waiting to be taken home. Given all the terrible stories out there about the deplorable conditions of puppy mills, I think it's more important than ever to look at the option of adopting a shelter dog.

Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions that shelter dogs are all deeply damaged or unmanageable, but the truth is that most adopted dogs make wonderful companions for their new owners. In fact, we found so many inspiring stories of adopted shelter dogs that have done amazing things -- from saving lives to detecting cancer -- that we decided to put together a collection of stories. These tales really warmed my heart, and I hope you'll be touched by them too. Take a look and see if they don't open up a little space in your heart that might be filled at the shelter.

Find a shelter near you at

Shelter Dog Heroes