Weekly question: Have you ever given up a dog?

I have never given up a pet, and it is something I can’t imagine doing. I would rather live in my car than give up my dog or cat due to financial trouble or apartment rules. But still, people “re-home” their pets every day. So many of us dog lovers – slightly different than dog owners – believe responsibility to a pet is for the animal’s whole life. We can’t imagine giving a dog away or dropping it off at the pound. We think reasons for giving up a pet like “new baby in house,” “moving,” “divorce situation,” “allergies” and “not enough time for pet” are inexcusable.

Then again, sometimes finding a pet a new home is the best thing you can do for that animal or for others in the family. If I had a child who developed bad allergies to my cat, maybe I would find my cat a new home rather than medicate my kid. If I had so many life changes that I no longer had time to train and exercise my dog, then finding him a new home might be the best choice.

Of course, there are better ways to go about re-homing an animal than posting “free to good home” ads on Craigslist or leaving it up to chance at a shelter. If I had to find a new owner for my mutt, I would give him to someone I knew, or I would interview his potential new owner to make absolutely sure of a good fit. I’d probably even ask to see that person’s home and pay for a background check. There’s no way I could just hand him over to the first person willing to cough up $50.

Have you ever had to find a new home for a dog?

14 thoughts on “Weekly question: Have you ever given up a dog?”

  1. Fortunately, I’ve never had to give up a dog. I’ve always assured whatever happened, I would have my dog (and cat) with me. My parents had to keep my cat for a few months once, but he’s been with me otherwise for all of his 16 years.

  2. I haven’t re-homed a dog, but I have, recently, a cat. My Luna had to find a new home. Long story, but she was picking on Miss Girl. Luna was the one who could be re-homed easily. (Miss G is high needs and wouldn’t be so easily placed!)

    Luna is in a new home and is reportedly doing quite well. It about killed me to give her away, but I had to make the decision that was the best for everyone – Miss Girl, myself (sanity) and I think Luna in the end too. It was so hard to come to the decision, and it took many months before I was ready to let Luna go.

    Tammys last blog post..Dogs and Cats Get Political

  3. I remember when you blogged about Luna and finding a new home for her. You made a good choice. If I had to re-home my dog or cat, it would more likely be my dog because I know he would adapt easier to a new home. My cat on the other hand is a little, shall we say, special. Ha.

  4. I’ve never had to re-home one of my dogs. My hubby and his family once had to find a new home for a collie they had because she barked constantly. She was wearing herself out barking at the fence, and they found a home out in the countryside for her, and she did much better there.

  5. Well, years ago I could never have imagined rehoming an animal. And the six dogs I have now, I have bonded with so much that there’s no way I’d give any of them up.

    However, I had a greyhound for a while, when I was doing greyhound rescue… and we didn’t really fit together so I placed him in a home. And the cats, well, I’m not sure I’ll ever really bond with our cats, because I do so much with the dogs, so I could probably rehome them if I absolutely had to.

    I used to be really down on people who had to rehome their animals, but I’m not so much anymore. I have seen dogs go from a home that wasn’t a good fit, to one that’s a great fit, and I’m so glad the dog was rehomed. So it really does depend on the situation. 🙂

  6. Hi Lindsay, you bring up a really important issue. I agree with Cynthia. Sometimes all the wanting and commitment in the world cannot overcome a bad fit. Or, for example, a family where one of the caretakers has a chronic illness or finds that they are traveling for work much more than they’d anticipated. After 9/11 my husband was deployed indefinitely (turns out he was gone for 3 months) and I was traveling coast-to-coast weekly for my job. My dog at the time was 12 and manageable with lots of kennel time – it was ok even though it was ridiculously expensive. But if my job didn’t pay enough for me to do this, or if he was having issues at the kennel, or was hard to handle … who knows?

    I don’t say this lightly, because I am totally with you that there are too many irresponsible pet owners who don’t fully realize the commitment when they decide to get that cute puppy “for the kids” and then don’t socialize it or manage it properly.

    But I did want to point out that sometimes all the commitment in the world can’t overcome certain issues. For example, Biggie is GREAT with babies and small children. He is super sweet and protective and gentle with them and we’ve taken pains to introduce him to lots and lots of kids since we’re thinking of having kids ourselves. We have every reason to believe he’d be great with our own kids. But what if he isn’t? I’m not saying that re-homing would be the first “answer” but I could definitely imagine situations where it would be better for the dog and the people if the dog were rehomed.

    Which brings me to my last point – and then I’ll stop with all this long-windedness! – most *reputable* breeders of purebred dogs will promise that they will take their pups back, no questions asked, if it ever comes to that. They would rather take their furbabies back than risk them getting euthanized or put up on craigslist or end up at the shelter.

  7. I remember when my house had been sold and there were hardly any houses to rent and even fewer that would let me take our Cocker Spaniel Mozart, we had decided on putting her in a kennel and trying to manage seeing him as often as we could.

    Around the same time my mothers friend (2hrs from us) lost her dog to old age and mum suggested Mozart went with her…it was a bloody hard decision.Moz was 6 at the time and we’d had him from a pup.

    In school holidays my son got to see Mozart as often as he wanted and he was living the life of a spoilt lap dog… in reflection it was the best decision, but at the time it was gut wrenching for us all…

    Mozart has since died of old age, happy content and loved.

    Abz & Chelss last blog post..Our Pup

  8. When I got started in rescue I could never have understood someone giving up their pet. In the last 8 years, I have softened that opinion. I think that there are cases where the pet is not in a home that is the best fit for either the people or the pet. In that case I do understand re-homing a pet, but not ever by means of a “free to a good home” type ad.

    That having been said, I still feel like most pets that are given up by their families are given up for stupid reasons.

    Maries last blog post..Wordless Wednesday 09-24-08

  9. castocreations hzk

    I cannot imagine giving up a pet for any reason other than death of my spouse or some other horrible life changing event. And even then I’d be loathe to let them go. My dogs are my family!!!

    Then again, I did give my cats to my mother in law but I felt much less attachment to them as I do for my dogs. I love my cats, don’t get me wrong. But my dogs are my babies. My companions. My friends. My partner in agility in the case of Trooper. 🙂

  10. I know what you mean, Casto. I can’t imagine giving up my pets, not even my boyfriend’s annoying cat. They are our responsibility.

  11. Good post. This speaks a lot to the education that should be happening from a young age with regards to animals. As a dog trainer for a living I come across a ton of people who should have never got a dog in the first place. Perhaps they don’t have the time, the space, or the level of commitment that one should have when bringing a living creature into their home. If people understood commitment and responsibility many would never get the dog in the first place and then no need to re-home.

  12. Hi Ty. Yeah, lack of commitment is the biggest problem in my opinion. Not that commitment can prevent all problems, just most.

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