Do You Really Have to Give Up Your Dog?
First, let us understand each other. There are circumstances when a dog must leave its life-long home: when an owner becomes physically unable to care for a dog or the owner is terminally ill; when a dog has shown unprovoked aggression. These are "GOOD" reasons.
Bad reasons are:
- the dog won't listen
- we can't housetrain the dog
- the dog chews
- we're moving and can't have a dog anymore
- no one takes care of the dog but me
- the dog is alone too much
- the dog growled/snapped at my child/me
- we're having a baby/my wife is pregnant and we have to get rid of the beagle
Do not expect sympathy if you use any of the above reasons.
Shelters and humane societies were created to care for stray and abused animals. They weren’t meant to be a drop-off for people who don’t want to be bothered with their pets anymore. Shelters, on average, take in 100 new animals or more each day. Let’s face it – there won’t be enough good homes for all of them. Even the best shelters can’t boast much more than a 50% adoption rate. Only the youngest, friendliest, cutest and best-behaved dogs are going to be adopted.
By law, stray pets must be kept several days for their owners to reclaim them. They may not be destroyed until that period is up. These laws don’t protect dogs given up by their owners. They may be destroyed at any time. Shelters don’t want to kill animals but they don’t have a choice. There just isn’t enough room for all of them. Shelters today are so overcrowded that a dog could be killed the same day it arrives.
Being a purebred won’t help a dog’s chances of adoption either – almost half of the dogs in most shelters are purebreds. A dog may be as good as dead when it walks in the door. If your dog is old, has health problems or poor attitudes towards strangers, its chances of adoption are slim to none.
Sending a dog to a shelter in hopes that she/he will find a good home is wishful thinking. It’s more likely that you’ll be signing the dog’s death warrant. A shelter is a last resort only after all best effort has failed.
True "no-kill" shelters are few and far between. Obviously, no one wants to see their pet killed so the demand for no-kill shelter services is high. So high that they’re forced to turn away many pets because they don’t have room for them all. Sometimes they have to choose only the most adaptable dogs to work with. Be realistic: your dog will be euthanized. Has she/he done something that terrible?
Breed Rescue services are small, private, shelter-like groups run by volunteers dedicated to a particular breed. Most of them operate out of the volunteer’s homes. Rescues survive on donations from private individuals. Like no-kill shelters, demand for their services is high. They may not have room to take possession of a dog. A breed rescue can still help to place a dog by providing referrals to persons interested in adopting a dog, but you must give them the time. They are not large organizations! They don’t have full-time staffs. They don’t get paid to do this.[pullquote_left] They do not have the proverbial farm where the dog will spend its life running free and being cared for.
[/pullquote_left] Rescue volunteers love these animals and try to do their best to save the animals they feel are "adoptable". If you have an older or chronically-sick dog (epilepsy, heart disease, etc.)many rescues must turn them away in favor of dogs that they can place in a home. Think about it: if YOU can’t keep your dog, why should another family take responsibility for it? If there’s a "good" reason for giving up your dog, then by all means call a rescue. Just remember that you may have to keep your dog until an adoptive family is found. There is rarely an "adoptive family" waiting line in breed rescue.
The Dog Won't Listen
That’s what obedience classes are for. Most of the "chain" pet stores and often the local SPCAs and Animal Welfare Leagues have obedience classes for a very nominal fee. There is no such thing as a dog that cannot be trained to be a well-behaved member of the household. Most canines thrive when given basic obedience training. Dogs have been bred for thousands of years to be a "help" to humans, therefore, it’s only a matter of a few hours of your time and a little money before your dog is the "good dog" you’ve always wished for. Please give your dog the benefit of the doubt and take them through a basic obedience class before you give up on them.
We Can't Housetrain the Dog
This is a poor excuse for giving up a dog. A dog can certainly be house trained. First, consider crate training. There are numerous books and articles on the subject. This is not "mean" to the dog, as they are den animals by nature. Then consider the dog. If you are having a problem with urination maybe you are giving your dog free access to water at the wrong times or too much water. Are you paying attention to the "timing" of accidents? If your dog drinks a cup of water, then urinates in the house 30 minutes later, begin taking the dog out after watering. Also remember, dogs have a much more acute sense of smell than we humans. Perhaps you haven’t gotten the doggie "scent" out of the floor or carpet. All pet stores sell special odor killers that, used properly, are both safe and effective. If you have questions about house training or crate training contact a trainer or rescue in your area. They will be happy to help you through.
The Dog Chews on Everything
All dogs chew. Whether they chew on the appropriate item is up to you. A puppy must chew (as any baby cutting teeth must). It is up to you to provide the appropriate item for that chewing. Your vet can recommend the best type of chew items for your pup. An older dog can be trained to chew on the proper items as well. Again, you must provide these items for your dog. Finally, crate train your dog. If you allow the dog "free reign" of your home without supervision you are asking for trouble. Most dogs are safer in a crate when you are not at home.
We're Moving and Can't Have a Dog
There is housing in virtually every city and town in the United States that will allow dogs. Before you’re so sure you can’t find affordable housing that will accept pets please look in the local newspaper, or speak with an apartment broker in the area. When taking this dog into your life, you made a commitment that you would love and provide for it the rest of its life. Would you be so quick to move into housing that would not take your children? Then why are you so quick to move where you can not take your dog?
No One Takes Care of the Dog
You have our sympathy. This often happens in households where all members are not committed to the upkeep of an animal. No one wants all of the responsibility. However, this is hardly the dog’s fault, and a very poor reason to have a dog destroyed. Make no mistake-if you take the dog to a shelter, it will probably be euthanized for the unpardonable sin of being a member of the wrong family. You will be killing the dog because you no longer want the responsibility. Make sure this is the kind of person you want to be and the example you want to set for the rest of your family.
The Dog is Alone Too Much
We all want to spend as much time with our animals as we can. Personally I’d like to spend all day with mine, but that’s not possible (somebody has to work to buy dog food). Many dog owners leave their animals for 8 to 10 hours while they’re working or at school. While this is not the best of all worlds, it certainly is better than destroying the dog and frankly, is that really the problem? Is it that you feel bad for the dog or you don’t want to spend your limited amount of "free" time taking care of it? As mentioned before, you made a commitment to this animal. Now you’re too busy for them? Please rethink what you are considering. Do you want the dog destroyed because you just "don’t have the time"?
The Dog Growled/Snapped/Bit
This is a tough one. Whether the dog is actually aggressive or not is a judgment call that you, and only you, can make. Did the dog growl or snap without being provoked? Were you attempting to take something from the dog? Did this happen when food was involved? Was the dog protecting itself from unintended abuse by a child? Ask yourself these questions. If you can honestly say the incident was unprovoked then you have very little choice but to take the animal to your vet and have the dog euthanized. You can not, in good conscious, allow this dog to be adopted by some other family where it could injure another human being (especially a child). It is far more humane to make the arrangements with your vet, take the dog to the vet, and allow the dog to end its life without the fear and confusion "dumping" the dog at a pound will cause. This is the act of a loving, caring, and responsible person.
This is a time to do some cold, honest and candid soul-searching, not a time to be optimistic or to "look on the bright side"; there likely isn't one.
Should you truly find that you cannot keep your dog, make all efforts to find it a loving, responsible home yourself. What makes this animal unsuitable for you may make him/her perfect for someone else...
Author James Herriot wrote a story of a dog with terrible gas who's original owner simply could not tolerate this quality. The owner found a rural farmer who was quite willing to take the dog on. After some time, Dr. Herriot checked in on his patient & new Father, and casually asked if the dog's 'condition' was becoming a problem.[blockquote1]The farmer replied that, No, he hadn't noticed anything; he'd lost his sense of smell in his youth.[/blockquote1]
Your dog deserves the same happy ending.