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Reasons Why People Surrender Their Pets — 4 Comments

  1. I have to surrender my puppy tomorrow to a shelter because the guy I bought her from lied to me when he said he’d take her back unconditionally if necessary. I love all animals but always wanted my own dog – I even moved to a townhouse in October just to have one. Unfortuantely, I’ve only had the pup for a week and am coming down with sudden serious health problems for the first time in my 51 years. I got her to keep me company because I’m lonely, but since I don’t have anyone to help take care of me, I don’t have anyone to ask to take the puppy either. I dread what I have to face medically, compounded by the fact that I have to give up my puppy. I think shelter people are a little too harsh and judgmental about why people turn in their animals to a shelter. Realize they are leaving them with people they know will take better care of them than they can themselves. I believe if you didn’t ask at all, or didn’t grill or belittle people, there will be less abused and abandoned animals.

    • Thank you, Robin for your excellent comment. You make a very good point that sometimes people do have to relinquish a companion animal for the best of reasons. Sometimes, I myself, can be too harsh on people who relinquished their companion animal and I accept that and if I am I apologise. I wish you the very best of luck, by the way, in respect of your health and your future and I of course the best of luck to your puppy as well.

  2. I volunteer at a mostly no kill shelter – the only time we euthanize an animal is if someone brings in one that’s too badly injured to save, or they are very ill with a painful terminal condition such as kidney failure or cancer – the types of things that come with the elderly critters that a loving pet owner would take to the vet to have them end the pain after treatment options were exhausted. We have plenty of 3 legged dogs and senior dogs and cats that have a permanent home at the shelter until they get adopted, and they are welcome to live out their lives there if no one adopts them. This isn’t a horrible shelter where the animals are stuck in cages 24 hours a day. Most of our volunteers are there to take the dogs for walks, and to let the cats out in groups -some just don’t get along with other cats, so we have to take turns with them, but all the cats get at least 4 hours out of their cages each day to be played with, loved on, and for the ferals that come in, socialized and worked with to get them used to being around people. Before we close up for the day, we go down the list and 3 or 4 cats in each of the cat rooms get to stay out of their cages over night. Puppies and smaller dogs that are recovering from their spay or neuter or healing from surgery after being hit by a car are kept in the cat rooms while they heal so that both the cats and dogs can get used to being around each other – they’re easier to get adopted in case someone has a cat or dog at home already and is worried that the pet they are thinking of adopting won’t get along with their pet at home.

    When I decided to start volunteering at a shelter, I looked around and visited quite a few shelters. Some of them were downright disgusting, many others said they wanted volunteers, but really just wanted donations of money. I’m on a fixed income, but have plenty of time to offer. When I found the shelter I volunteer at, I was amazed at how awesome they run things – and when a cat or dog gets adopted, it’s common for everyone to get tears in their eyes and gather around to see them off as we’ve grown to love these animals during their time with us. It’s especially rewarding (yet equally heartbreaking to see them go) when an animal came to us in such terrible shape that they were so terrified of people it would take months of coaxing them to get them to come out of their cage to enjoy the play yard for the dogs or for a cat to finally crawl on someone’s lap to be petted.

    Having said all that, surrenders that don’t bother me are the death of the owner, or an owner who has been diagnosed with a terminal disease and is trying to make arrangements for their pet to be taken care of when they reach the point they’ll be no longer be able to care for their pet themselves. We have a man come in once in a while, he manages an old folks apartment complex where many of the residents have cats. When a resident passes away, he will first try to re-home them with another resident, but when he can’t find someone to take the cat, he’ll bring them to us.

    I dislike when someone surrenders because they can no longer afford to keep the animal, but I’d rather they surrender them than put them out on the street. I may be more sympathetic to people having real hard times than most, as I had some health problems that kept me out of work for a year and had to consider rehoming my cats. Luckily I have some wonderful friends who also love animals who pitched in and bought me several gift cards to Petsmart so I could keep my cats in food and litter, and my vet let me do a very generous payment plan for their annual exam, which my friends also helped out with.

    I think my most hated excuse for dumping an animal in a shelter is “my new boyfriend/girlfriend hates cats/dogs and I have to get rid of it or they won’t move in with me”. In my opinion, how a person treats animals says a lot about the character of the person. If your new boyfriend hates your dog, keep the dog and find a better boyfriend.

    Allergies are a pretty weak excuse too – I’m allergic to cats, but I grew up with cats and have never not had at least one cat – usually 2 or 3. I vacuum several times a week, and keep them out of my bedroom. If one of my cats wants to cuddle on my chest while I’m watching TV or something, when they are done napping on me, I simply change into a clean Tshirt. Nobody dies from sneezing.

    Another excuse I don’t like is “I’m moving and I can’t have pets at my new place”. Why not look for a different land lord that allows pets or cough up the extra money for the pet security deposit?

    We had one woman that adopted a boxer, and within a couple months she brought him back to the shelter because he had too much energy – she and this dog were actually on Ceasar Milan’s show – I think she thought it was cool to be on tv, because she sure didn’t learn anything from Ceasar. She still wanted another dog – and we tried to steer her to a calmer breed, but she left with a cute puppy. Which she brought back for having too much energy a few months later – said she was scared the dog was going to hurt her kids. Puppies have a lot of energy, we tried to get her to take an older calmer dog, but she just had to have the cute puppy, and was too stupid to understand that puppies are playful. She’d lied on her adoption application and said she had no kids. She wasn’t getting another dog from us, and she raised hell about getting her adoption fees back, threatening to sue if we didn’t refund her and she would just go to another shelter and get a dog – while she was carrying on like a fool, we were using every phone in the building to call all the other shelters in the area to warn them about this crazy twit. Over the next few weeks, we heard back from most the shelters and rescue groups we called and warned – she carried on like an ass at each place that denied her application. One place she walked into and said she didn’t want to be shown “the old lazy dogs” and only wanted to see the puppies, or dogs like a young Husky or another Boxer, she couldn’t grasp that these dogs she thought looked “cool” were all going to be high energy dogs that need a lot of attention and exercise. I can only hope she gave up on the idea of getting a dog, or that someone beat it through her skull that puppies and many grown dogs have a lot of energy that she didn’t have time time or patience to deal with.

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