August is National Dog Month, with the monthlong celebration culminating in a special commemorative 24 hours, National Dog Day.

Shelters and rescues across the United States celebrate our canine friends the entire month, often holding events and offering specials.

This year, National Dog Day lands on Saturday, Aug. 26, and Utah shelters are celebrating man’s best friend by aiming to get as many homeless pooches as possible adopted into loving homes.

Dogs in shelters throughout the U.S., including in Utah, are at the highest risk of being killed since 2017, according to Utah-founded Best Friends Animal Society’s latest data release, the Deseret News recently reported.

“In 2022, 1,700 dogs and cats were killed in animal shelters across Utah,” Best Friends’ site reads. Not all of Utah’s shelters are no-kill, but supporting your local animal shelter can help it accomplish or maintain no-kill status.

For Utahns that are in or around the Salt Lake Valley and looking to welcome a furry friend into their homes, National Dog Day may be the perfect opportunity to adopt from two local shelters in need of adopters — West Valley City Animal Shelter and Salt Lake County Animal Services.

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West Valley City Animal Shelter

West Valley City Animal Services operates a municipal no-kill shelter that serves residents in both West Valley City and Taylorsville, Utah.

Hannah Wright, a volunteer who runs West Valley City Animal Shelter’s Instagram page, is hoping for a good community turnout at the shelter’s National Dog Day adoption event — where 29 of the shelter’s adoptable dogs will be in attendance.

The event is being held on-site at the shelter on Saturday, Aug. 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., giving prospective adopters the opportunity to meet animals on a weekend when the shelter is usually closed. Potential adopters are also welcome to bring their pets to ensure a proper fit, according to Wright.

“A lot of the dogs are pretty kennel crazy right now, it’s just such a stressful environment for them,” Wright says. “But once you get them out, they’re amazing dogs.”

All of the dogs up for adoption come spayed or neutered, microchipped and up to date on vaccines, according to Wright. The dogs also come with a collar, harness or leash.

For the remainder of August, the adoption fee for a dog from West Valley City Animal Shelter is $20, or adopters can donate school supplies for local schools in lieu of a fee, Wright says.

“We have a range of small to large, young and old — we have an 8-week-old puppy all the way up to an 8-year-old Cane Corso mix,” she says. “We have a big range of dogs right now that we would love to find homes for.”

Screenshot from West Valley City Animal Service’s Facebook page

Salt Lake County Animal Services

Salt Lake County Animal Services is also a municipal operation, and the Salt Lake County Animal Shelter is the largest no-kill municipal shelter in Utah, according to the organization.

“We serve the citizens and pets of Bluffdale, Holladay, Midvale, Millcreek, Murray, Salt Lake City, and the Salt Lake County Metro Townships: Brighton, Copperton, County Islands, Emigration Canyon, Kearns, Magna, and White City,” the organization’s site reads.

What differentiates both Salt Lake County Animal Services and West Valley City Animal Shelter from animal rescues is that, because they are municipal operations, the bulk of their dogs were abandoned or found as strays.

If the animals are still at the shelter after the mandatory five business day hold, they legally belong to the shelter, according to Jami Johanson, development coordinator at Salt Lake County Animal Services. At that point, the animals are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped by the shelter’s in-house veterinarian, and placed for adoption.

Salt Lake County Animal Services is open on Saturdays, and individuals can browse adoptable pets and finalize adoptions from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For the remainder of National Dog Month, “we’re doing pick your price adoption fees, and the minimum is a dollar,” Johanson says. The shelter also offers a foster-to-adopt program, where potential adopters can take a pet home to see if it’s a good fit before officially adopting.

“Right now we’re just full — we’re in the triple digits,” she says. “We’re just out of space, we need adopters.”

Screenshot from Salt Lake County Animals Service’s Facebook page