Coming from a background in animal shelters I understand all too well that sometimes rehoming is the only option. I’ve seen the shame in the tears that are associated with these decisions.
I understand that there are times where for whatever reason a family runs into a situation where they could no longer keep their family pet. There is always embarrassment and guilt associated with this.
It is not a trainers responsibility to judge, it is simply their responsibility to help.
Sometimes the trainer will agree it is for the best especially in cases with aggression and minors in the home.
If you are faced with the decision to rehome your dog no matter the reason here are some people you should contact before you consider the shelter.
Most breeders want to be contacted if living situations change or problems arise with the dog. Many breeders even have it in the contract that they be contacted in case of rehoming. Good breeders consider themselves responsible for the lifetime of every puppy.
Like breeders if you adopted through a reputable rescue it’s likely in the contract that you must contact them before rehoming. Good rescues consider them self responsible for the lifetime of the dog.
A trainer has a good idea of what a great home for your dog is. They understand your dogs energy needs, Behavior struggles and can likely help you screen potential adopters to make sure they’re good fit. They may even be able to send potential adopters your way. They can also help to work to ensure that the new adopter doesn’t run into problems. Many will post the dog amongst other dog training friends.
Your veterinarian is another good resource. He sees dog lovers all day and may have an ideal placement in mind for your dog. While they see new puppies daily they also see people who have lost their pet. They are often keeping an eye open for a client’s next dog.
If you’ve been using the same groomer it’s likely that they’ve been seeing him since puppyhood. Your groomer has a long list of clients who care deeply about their pets needs. Just like the veterinarian their clients are lifelong which means they see people who lose their pet and may be interested in finding another match for their home.
While animal people can rarely agree on much I think that there is one thing that they can agree on…. animal professionals have the best interest of the animal at heart.
If you come to a place where you need to rehome your dog don’t forget to contact the animal professionals that have watched your pet grow up too!
If you must place the task of rehoming in someone else’s hands and a animal care professional you work closely with is unable to help then consider the following factors when deciding how to surrender your dog.
Choosing where to surrender. Not all shelters and rescues are created equal.
Some animal shelters and rescues have more resources for medical treatment than others. Yet there are some that specialize in behavior modification. Keep in mind what your pet’s specific needs are when you’re deciding.
Many animal shelters and rescues have a surrender fee. This can range from a small donation to $200. While it may seem like a no-brainer to pick a place that doesn’t have a surrender fee keep in mind that the surrender fee often correlates with the live release rate, not always but most of the time. Surrender fees pay for the care of your pet will receive while with the shelter, although it rarely pays for all of it.
There are also breed-specific rescues. If you have a breed that is considered difficult or is it unusual breed then you might consider a breed rescue. For example and Malinois rescue May interview people more in-depth to make sure that they understand a high drive dog.
Be one hundred percent honest when you surrender your dog and ask that they be honest with you as well. Sometimes owners won’t want to disclose information such as a dog not being fully house trained. It’s important that you disclose this information so that the shelter or rescue can share it with the adopters. Some families are perfectly willing to work on house training while for others it will be a deal-breaker. Provide that information so they can make their own choice. This will make it less likely that your dog is returned to the shelter or rescue. The more information that the shelter or rescue has the better understanding they will have of what kind of home your dog needs.
Why I wrote this
I decided to write this one day while volunteering at the animal shelter.
While dog walking one day I saw a man at the counter that I recognized, but I couldn’t quite place where I knew him from. I continued about my business until I was walking through the kennels and I saw a Cane Corso.
As soon as I saw this dog I knew where I knew the man from.
This dog had been a student of mine. His owner had signed him up for a six week training course almost 8 months earlier. He stopped attending classes after the third week and I never heard from him again.
I walked over and greeted the dog, he was so scared. I went into the kennel with him and ask him to do some of the obedience that I had remembered he had learned. He performed sit, down, focus and even a leave it without hesitation.
When I went and asked the kennel staff why the dog was there they explain that the owner was moving out of state. I couldn’t help but wonder to myself don’t my students know that I’m here to help them? Did he not know that I would have assisted him in finding placement for his dog? Why wouldn’t he reached out to the professionals in his life like his dog’s veterinarian or trainer?
Here are some photos of shelter dogs..