We should always adopt a dog with the intention of keeping her forever! Til death do you part! This is usually the dog’s death since people live longer than dogs, but sometimes this is the owner’s death. There are times, though, when you need to give your dog away.
Why It Is Necessary to Give Your Dog Away?
You may need to give your dog away because you no longer have the means to properly take care of your dog. You may have lost your job or a family member who provided income to the family, and now you no longer have the funds to provide food, veterinary care, or exercise that your dog needs to live a happy and healthy life.
You may have moved to a location where you are not permitted to have pets, and you have no other options available for being able to keep your pet. This frequently happens to military members who are single or who are a dual-military couple when they deploy. There is actually a way for you to keep your pet through the organization Dogs On Deployment. This organization matches volunteers who will watch your dog, cat, parakeet, or other animal while you are deployed!
Moving to an assisted living or nursing home also requires people to give up their beloved pets. This can be particularly traumatic if both the owner and the pet have been together for a long time. The owner may have suffered an illness that precludes them taking care of their dog, and they must give their dog away.
We see stories of people who have hoarded animals who are then living in horrendous conditions. These people must give their animals away because they cannot take care of them and they are suffering from a mental illness that precludes them from being able to take care of their pets.
There are also people who neglect or mistreat their animals. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) works with hoarders and others who neglect or mistreat their animals and try to persuade them to give up their animals. Sometimes they resort to court orders in particularly egregious cases.
Reasons You Should Never Give Your Dog Away
- You dog has grown up out of puppy hood, and you are tired of her. Puppies are definitely cute, but owning a dog means owning the puppy, the adult and the senior dog. It is a 15-20 year commitment to that dog. Dogs are NOT accessories – they are souls that require a committed relationship.
- Your dog is sick. This is when your dog needs you the most! If you are having difficulty with the cost of treatment, work with your veterinarian. There are also resources through the ASPCA or your local shelter that can help you pay for treatment for your dog.
- Your dog is old. This is the most unconscionable reason to give away your dog. He has given you everything over his life – his love and companionship. Your dog may be sick (see above), but that is no reason to give away your dog.
These last two reasons are based in the fear some people have of death and dying. They may want to keep death and dying away from their children or themselves. If you really love your dog, just half as much as your dog loves you, then you will use your dog’s aging and eventual death as a blueprint for aging with dignity that you can use to teach your children.
The individual who treats their dog as a fashion accessory displays a completely narcissistic personality that is not suited for pet ownership. In my opinion, they should be limited to owning plush toy dogs!
Making the Decision
The decision to give your dog away is a difficult one. You should first examine your motives to ensure that you are giving your dog away because it is in the very best interests of the dog.
Your first option should be to find a relative or friend who already knows the dog, and who would be willing to take him. Many times this will work, but sometimes it doesn’t.
You can work with your veterinarian or shelter to see if they know of someone who could take your dog. Whatever you do, don’t place an ad in your local newspaper or online stating that you have a dog who is “free to a good home”. These ads are usually answered by someone who looks alright but is really looking for dogs to use as “bait dogs” for dog fighting rings!! Don’t let your dog die this way!
You can also surrender your dog to your local shelter. Make sure that your shelter is a “no kill” shelter. There are still many shelters that euthanize dogs and cats because they have too many. Approximately 3.9 million dogs enter shelters annually. Of these, 1.2 million are euthanized. That should be a sobering statistic.
Don’t ever dump your dog by the side of the road. She won’t survive in the wild because she is a domesticated animal.
How You Should Give Your Dog Away
If you are surrendering your dog to your local shelter, they will help you with giving her up.
If you are giving your dog to a friend or relative, make sure that you bring all of your dog’s toys, food and waters bowls, crate, bed, and blankets to help your dog understand that they are moving, but that things will still be familiar for them.
Resist the urge to visit your dog, at least for two weeks. Give your dog time to settle into his new surroundings. If you don’t, you will just confuse your dog and make the transition more difficult.
It’s up to you if you want to have a last night party for your dog. Just be sure not to feed your dog anything that will make her sick. That is no way to start a new life.
Coping With Your Loss
In the meantime, you will have to cope with the loss. If you were really close to your dog, it is like suffering a death and you can expect to go through the same stages of grief. It is important that you allow yourself the time and space to fully grieve for the loss of your dog. You were friends and gave each other part of yourselves. You need to honor that and recognize it in some way. This is the way to move on.
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