The magazine's November issue features an entire section devoted to pets

It’s no secret Martha Stewart is a huge fan of her pets.

There’s Francesca and Sharkey, who run their own blog, The Daily Wag. There’s Empress Tang and Princess Peony, two of the Stewart household’s royalty-like cats. And here, for anyone who didn’t know him before, comes Ghenghis Khan, the chow chow whose fluffy, smiling mug is splashed across the cover of Martha Stewart Living’s November issue.

Okay, so it’s the back of the issue. A cover’s a cover, and Ghenghis has assumed the spotlight for a very good cause, the magazine’s special pets section. It includes recommendations for dog beds and faux-bois cat cabins; instructions on how to make your own dog carrier; and a special feature on things to keep in mind when adopting from a shelter. It is Adopt-a-Dog Month this month, so the timing couldn’t be any better.

Why should you do it? “You’re giving a homeless animal a new home and family, and in some cases, saving its life,” Adam Goldfarb, director of the Humane Society of the United States’ Pets at Risk Program, told the magazine.

MSL also spoke to experts who suggest taking your time when making a decision about a shelter pet. “Be realistic about your needs and those of the animal,” they said. Not only that, know that adopting will take time even on the day you make it out to the shelter –block off at least three hours in your schedule to accommodate the process.

Perhaps most important, experts suggest that you think ahead about what life will be like with your new shelter pet. Consider training and behavior options to ease you both into your new companionship.