Suzy Deppa, a Registered Veterinary Technician at Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center, has always adopted her pets instead of purchasing them from a breeder.
"There are plenty of sweet, loving, amazing animals in shelters, waiting for good homes," she told News4 in an email.
Deppa loves her job in the shelter and considers herself lucky to help animals recover from illness and injury, eventually finding a family that loves them.
About 2 years ago, one of those animals — a dog that was roughly 8 years old — arrived at the shelter where Deppa works.
"He needed extensive medical care after his alter, so he lived in the medical suite for a long time, and we all got to know him well," Deppa said of the dog, now named Oliver.
Deppa already had her own dog when Oliver arrived at her workplace. But about a month later, her dog passed away.
"I was devastated," she said. "Then it hit me one day... Oliver (not his original shelter name) was exactly what I needed. It turns out I was right."
Deppa adopted the tan-colored pooch with pointy ears and gave him his new name. They've been together ever since.
"He's an old man now, 10 years, so he's mostly calm, but also 80 pounds of super silliness," Deppa said.
Oliver is "a super happy boy," who is gentle with everyone from children to the elderly, and all he wants is to be around people. And he loves his stuffed toys.
"He insists on carrying one of his stuffed toys on all of his walks," Deppa said.
He also has a fair number of doggy costumes, including a lion mane and reindeer antlers. Deppa said he's a great sport about wearing them all.
"Oliver, thankfully, doesn't have an opinion on any of his costumes or jackets," she said. "He's very tolerant of all of them."
Deppa had a number of reasons to consider looking at shelter animals.
"They are here through no fault of their own, and giving them a second chance at a loving home is an amazing gift," she said.
And while puppies and kittens may be adorable, Deppa said that she would tell those who are unsure not to rule out older animals or ones with special needs.
"Older animals are often calmer and more settled than youngsters. Not having to potty train a puppy is priceless! As for special needs animals, I think it's very rewarding to be able to give them a loving home for whatever time they may have left."
As for Oliver, Deppa thinks he's amazing.
"I'm a very lucky doggy mama."
NBC and Telemundo stations across the country will team up with shelters nationwide on Aug. 17 for the fifth annual Clear the Shelters animal adoption drive. For a map of participating shelters, tips on how to adopt a pet and more, check out our page on the event.
You can help motivate adoptions by sharing a picture of your adopted pet on social media, tagging @nbcwashington and #CleartheShelters, or hitting "interested" on our Facebook event.