I love you, but I can't keep you

This is Ella.

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We adopted her in March of this year, and immediately upon adopting her we realized that she was a dog heavily suffering from PTSD.  She was terrified of men, taller women, and anything louder than a whisper (which in my household is very rare).  She walked around with her tail between her legs, and you could tell that she was a traumatized dog.  Along with the trauma, she had a lot of physical ailments, such as a permanent limp.  The thing is, because she was abandoned and never surrendered properly we aren’t able to pinpoint why or how these things happened to her.  Did she have a good home, and was abused after abandonment?  Was she hit by a car causing her to limp? There are so many questions that exist in shelter dogs because many of them are just abandoned by their owners out of fear, embarrassment, or just the lack of knowledge in how to surrender your pet.

I know this is definitely not a topic people want to talk about but, best put, shit happens.  Sometimes we run into unavoidable problems with our pets, whether those be behavioral issues we weren’t ready to handle, unexpected medical problems, or even just inadequate housing.  Anything can happen, and when you have run into problems that can negatively affect your pet’s health, sometimes you need to make the tough decision to let them go.  There are so many options for rehoming your pet that can be suitable for the situation you are in.  What should never be an option is abandoning your pet, even if you don’t want to face the guilt of the in person interactions of surrendering your animal.

  • Animal Adoption Organizations

Almost every single city in the United States has a multitude of organizations devoted to finding homes for pets.  These organizations also have a list of fosters for their adoptable animals.  Many of these organizations even allow you to surrender your animals to them, ensuring they will have a foster home to stay with and start their adoption process right away.  These are a great resource, especially if you have an older pet that may not have the same adoption potential in a shelter environment.  If you need any help finding an organization near you, ask me!

  • ASPCA/ACC/ Animal Shelters

Large humane animal rescues and shelters are a great place to surrender your pet if you believe that they have a high adoption potential amongst new pet owners (young, good behavior, healthy etc.).  These organizations will provide your animal with housing until they are adopted.  The only issue with shelters is their high occupancy.  Because there are so many homeless animals in the U.S., and because many people have misinformed prejudices against certain species of dogs, many shelters tend to be overpopulated.  Because of this overpopulation, if your pet is not “adoptable” based on the criteria that each specific shelter has for itself, there is a chance that your pet can be euthanised.  If other options do not exist, the shelter is a great place that will ensure your pet is taken care of for a short period of time, however I would do some research before surrendering my pet in these places.  Also, shelters and large rescues do have the most formal ways of surrendering your pet, so if you’d like to avoid paperwork I would steer clear of them.

  • Social Media

Honestly, Facebook can be your best friend if you’re just looking to temporarily move your pet.  Put up a facebook post, get some shares, and chances are you will find someone who can house your pet while you’re unable to.  If that doesn’t work, you can start posting in facebook groups and on different facebook pages (such as the biganimalslittlevet facebook page) where a community of people can help you to relocate your pet for the time being.  If facebook isn’t your thing, twitter can also be a great place for finding a home for your pet, and by sharing it publicly with people you know you’re more likely to find someone you trust to take care of your animal.

  • Foster Homes

For those of you who only need temporary housing for your pets, looking into foster homes for animals would be a great resource.  Many organizations have people who foster for their organization, however a lot of other people do fostering services on the side as well.  A quick google search, an ad on facebook, craigslist, or anywhere really, can help you find a place that would be perfect for your pet.  Plus, these fosters are more than willing to allow you to visit your dog while they’re away from you.  With temporary foster homes, they may ask you to provide food and other goods for your pet though, however considering this is in return for taking care of and housing your pet it is a very small price to pay.  I would definitely look into foster homes to ensure that your pet is in the best environment possible!

 

Our situations are different and things change.  Sometimes your pet just becomes unfeasible due to life circumstances, and while sure that sucks, it’s fine.  The worst thing to do is be too embarrassed to properly surrender your pet and instead leave it on the street.  Not only would this leave you with a guilty conscience, it creates pets that face PTSD, trust issues, and if they’re found, it’s almost impossible to properly help them without knowing their history.  You’re also making it harder for your pet to find a new home, because most of the time these animals will need more socialization due to their trauma.  Look at Ella.  Ella is the sweetest and most loving dog I have ever met (with some bias as she is mine), but it took time and work to get her there.  Chances are, if we hadn’t adopted her she would have been put to sleep due to behavioral and socialization issues that many people don’t have the training or time to deal with.  If she would have been properly surrendered she may not have had the same trauma she experienced upon being abandoned, and we would have a complete medical history on her that would make treatment for her future ailments so much easier.  In general, I think that if you can find other options to surrendering your pet you should (and if you ever need help considering these options don’t be afraid to send me a message).  However, I’m aware that life doesn’t always work out this way.  I just ask that you make the transition for you and your pet as easy as possible.    

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