By Becky Holland, firstname.lastname@example.org
(First published when I was doing the free blog on the Marshall News Messenger website earlier this year. Resharing due to a reader’s question about the issue of giving away animals. If you have questions, contact the Pet Place of Marshall or the Marshall Animal Shelter)
Surrendering your dog or cat is not easy. Sometimes, it is just not possible to keep a pet.
I know. I have been there twice – once several years ago, and now. As a child, we had lots of pets, many have lived for long lives and others may have run away or had an untimely accident or some sorts. No matter if there was a bond with the pet or not, a piece of my heart always fell away when one died or went missing.
In 2001, I moved several hours and one state away from my “comfort zone” of home. While I was there, I became the companion of not one, but two cats. For four years, it was just me and the cats – Millie and Lucky. What was ironic was that for years, I had been allergic to cats – eyes get watery, red splotches and wheezing type of allergy.
For some reason, though, that was not the case with Millie and Lucky. When I moved back to Georgia, to my new job, I was around friends and family, and in a familiar place. The cats were with me, and everything seemed OK. Then, all of a sudden, the allergies came back. My doctor couldn’t explain it.
After a month of fighting it, and researching all sorts of options, it was decided the best thing for me to do was to surrender them for adoption. So I did. That was probably one of the hardest things I had ever had to do in my life. I remember walking away from the local Humane Society where I had left them, eyes watering so much from tears that I could barely see the parking lot where my car was.
In the end, it was probably the best decision for Millie, Lucky and myself.
In March, Carter, the youngest of my two dogs, will be going to a new home. He came to live with me and Toby, my oldest dog, last year. When he came, he was matted, skinny and a little shy. Today, he is a little weight-challenged, not so shy and has the happiest expressions. Reasons for his new adventure in life as someone else’s companion are personal, and we exhausted all possible options so that he could stay with us.
I got in touch with the right people – experts in the field of finding dogs good homes the right away – and they were very understanding, and talked me through it all.
Though we are sad in our house – and we feel a little like we have lost a piece of our family – we know this is the best. Ironically, I believe Carter will be the king of his next castle, and that is what this precious boy dog deserves.
Before you think surrendering him or her is the right thing, look into every option of being able to keep him or her. There are resources available to help you continue to give your pet a home – you can Google your questions, visit the local Humane Society or talk to your veterinarian.
Once you have looked into those options, and the only answer is to give up your pet, I ask you to do the right thing.
The following are don’t’s and do’s when you have to give up your pet from the national Humane Society:
Don’t drop off your pet in the woods or countryside, assuming that it can take care of himself or herself. Pets lack the skills to survive on their own and may die of starvation or injury. If relocation is the reason you can’t keep your pet, don’t leave him or her in the house or apartment or yard after you have left thinking someone will find him or her. That is not always the case. Don’t give your pet away to a stranger. You don’t know if that person is a responsible owner or even honest. Pets that end up in the wrong hands may be abused or sold to research laboratories. Don’t put down a pet just because you can’t take care of it anymore.
Do try to place your pet with a trusted family member or friend, one who you are confident will love and care for your pet properly and will keep you informed of its welfare. Be sure the friend or relative understands the commitment of time and resources your pet requires and that they would like the pet because it will be a good fit for their home. Shelters receive many pets from people who knew the previous owners and wanted to help them by taking in a pet, but who did so without realizing the efforts involved in keeping the animal. Do call your local animal shelter or Humane Society. If they have room, and can, they will take the pet, or help you find a “sister” shelter or society nearby.
When you give up your pet to an animal shelter or humane society, do bring your pet’s medical records and a list of important things to know about your pet, like a personality profile. Also, bring a few familiar items with you so that the transition won’t be as stressful or hard on your pet.
Until next time, keep wagging your tail.