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Why I Won’t Help You “Re-Home” Your Pet

August 1, 2013

Hi there kind rescue person!

I so need your help to find my awesome doggie a new home. He is great, really. He is 8 years old and a great pal. He is really attached to us so it might be a little difficult for him to adjust in a new home, but I am sure you know what to do. He loves belly rubs and long walks in the park. We are moving out-of-state and simply cannot take him with us. The kids so love him though and want to find him a good home before we leave. Can you help us? Please let us know what all you need from us to make this easy for everyone. Oh, by the way, we leave next week so if you can come get him like now that would be great! Thanks so much!

Signed,

Carefree Owner

I get some version of this email almost daily. I can only assume that other states don’t allow you to bring in dogs as this is the number one excuse. Regardless of how many cutesy pics you attach or how much you talk up the adoptability of your dog, my answer is always the same: NO.

I am sure you are saying, “But you are an animal rescuer, committed to dogs like this! Don’t you care?” I care more than you know, and that is why it’s time for some tough love. As much as it pains me to think of this animal in your care, I will not help you abandon your dog. And that’s what it is, no matter how you dress it up to deny it.

I’ll tell you “no” because I won’t cultivate this irresponsible behavior. A dog is not disposable. A dog is not just your responsibility until it doesn’t fit your schedule anymore. You made a commitment to this dog, and I won’t help you back out of that commitment.

I’ll tell you “no” because if I take your dog, another dog who never had a chance will die. Yes, really. I can only house so many dogs at one time, and my rescue group can’t afford to take in your dog and everyone else’s. When I make the choice to take in your dog, a dog at the shelter that could have had his place will be put down. That’s the hard reality.

I may be condemning this dog to an unfortunate end, but likely I have saved at least one more in his place. Hopefully next time you will remember this ordeal and your guilt will prevent you from taking on another dog you will eventually abandon. Or what would make me really happy, is that you learn your lesson, embrace the commitment, and realize a dog is your responsibility for life.

Think about this: a dog will generally live about 12 to 14 years. Are you ready to make a commitment to the lifetime of the dog? He deserves that. He doesn’t want your pity for a couple of years so you can feel good that you gave him some attention for a little while. He wants your love for the rest of his life. He will be your responsibility. And I won’t be there when you tire of him.

33 Comments
  1. When I moved to a different state, drove over 2,000 miles, my Cat came with me.

  2. Reblogged this on Diane Robertson and commented:
    It is your dog for it’s entire life…not just until you get tired of him/her.

  3. hahaha. that would really suck if ‘other states’ actually didn’t allow people to have pets. the last time I moved (from Texas to California) I drove in an Acura with myself, 2 Great Danes, 1 Golden Retriever, 1 Dachshund and 3 cats. my daughter actually had to stay behind and fly there since there wasn’t enough room in the car and we were NOT going to leave any of our fur family behind!

  4. Reblogged this on My Blog and commented:
    amen.

  5. Diana St John-Palmer permalink

    Well said and it is very true, they are not there to be disposed of but are part of your family….would you dump your kid because of a long journey…I think not….well don’t dump your dog or cat, they have feelings and pine for their family too.

  6. I’d like to know WHY these people say they can’t take their dog, cat or other pet with them when they move to a new state. I mean a specific reason that makes it impossible to take their pet with them. What does “we’re moving out of state and can’t take our eight year old dog” really mean? I can tell you, their dog is getting older and is beginning to have some health problems and they don’t want to deal with it. That’s exactly what their lame excuse means. You got the animal and it is your responsibility until it dies. Not until you move, not even until you die. You tool on the responsibility of the animal and that responsibility doesn’t even end when you die. You should have arrangement for the care of the animal until it dies. It should be spelled out in your will. The person you designate to care for the animal that you say you love should be brought on board when your animal is a baby. That person should be willing to sign a document stating that they will care you your baby after you are gone and you should know them will enough to know that they mean it. I’ve found that it is best to choose friends that need someone to care for their pet after they are gone too so whoever goes first can pass without worrying if their loved companion will be cared for. It is also a good idea to have agreements with more that one person. It’s nice to have a backup or two.

    So here’s the long and the short of it. You got an animal and it is your responsibility whether it gets old, or becomes inconvenient etc. You should have considered all of that before you acquired the pet. Now that you have the pet it’s time to suck it up and do the right thing by a living being that that trusted you, gave you love and it’s whole heart and soul. Now take care of that animal because you know it is you that got yourself into this so do the right thing even if it is the first time in your life that you ever have. PETS ARE YOURS FOR THEIR ENTIRE LIFE NOT JUST UNTIL YOU GET TIRED OF THEM. It sickens me that people suck so much.

    • Joy permalink

      We see it a lot where I live.. It has to do with housing usually . A local rescue had to scramble when a person was moving from out of state to here and was originally told she could take her dog… She got here and the landlord said “Nope, dog must go”. The rescue scrambled to re home the dog. I also recently had to guide multiple friends to finding new dogs for their dogs when their landlords said “no more dogs as of this time tonight”. I suspect many of these people moving out of state are moving into rentals or with family members who will not accept the dogs..

    • Lisa Thomason permalink

      Recently helped rehome a 16 year old dog – yes SIXTEEN YEARS OLD – because they were moving and said he wouldn’t be happy in their new home, as he wouldn’t have acres of land to roam. Of course at 16, he was mostly deaf, almost completely blind (to the point of walking into walls), but they were only thinking of his happiness! Of course, their two younger dogs, a 6 y.o. German Shepherd and a dachshund about 3-4 months – yes MONTHS was going with them. We helped because the dog was on Craigslist and probably would have been dumped at the shelter, and he served better

  7. This mentality drives me crazy. A dog is an animal. And the fact is, is that dogs are not people and all of the world is not accommodating to animals as “family members”. Society does not (and never will) view dogs as “people” or “children”. Many apartments and rentals do not allow dogs. So according viewpoints like yours (I see this nonsense on facebook every day: “A dog is a lifetime commitment! Once you adopt one you can never, never get rid of it until it dies!”), if I loose my job and have to move somewhere for a new job, and the only apartments I can afford are ones that do not allow pets, you are telling me that I shouldn’t take that job and provide for my family because I can’t take an animal with me? Or you are telling me that when times are tough, and I am struggling to buy food for my family, that I should never consider getting rid of my animal, who costs hundreds of dollars a year in medication, food, vet visits, and so on, and continue to spend money on an animal even when I cannot afford rent? A dog is an animal, and sometimes life is accommodating to owning animals, sometimes it is not, and there is nothing wrong with that. No one can see into the future 10 or 15 years before they get an animal and decisively know what their life will hold and guarantee that they will be able to care for a dog that entire time. To prioritize a relationship with a dog over providing for your family is repulsive.

    • Terry permalink

      “Dear” EC… U are obviously NOT a pet person. U used the phrases “getting rid of” , “getting rid of my animal” instead of finding a loving home, or taking the responsibility to FIND that loving home in the rare instance that U really can’t keep your “animal” as U refer to “it” speaks VOLUMES about your character. My wish for U is that U find out what UNCONDITIONAL LOVE feels like, & if & when U experience this, it would be impossible for U to even consider parting with a beloved pet. Until then, PLEASE don’t get a dog, or any other animal for that matter. They are all better off without U!

      • Thank you Terry! I agree with you. “EC” should maybe only consider a pet rock…since this person already seems to have them in the head.

    • Justathought permalink

      EC, I agree with you. I know there are plenty of people who are terribly irresponsible with their animals. There are many who are wanting to re-home a pet out of irresponsibility.

      But, as you said, there are many people who simply find themselves in unexpected circumstances. There is simply no way I am going to prioritize my beloved pets above my family. There are so many reasons why you might not be able to care for an animal any longer that you never could have anticipated.

      What if you have your pet before you have children, then you discover that your child has terrible allergies, even asthma?

      What if someone in your family becomes disabled and you cannot spread yourself thin enough to care for an animal, too?

      What if you are a military family and you are moving overseas? Some people cannot afford airfare on top of the lengthy quarantine costs. Should you never have adopted a pet, or never have joined the military?

      If the standard is that there is no room for the changing landscape of our lives, then no one should adopt a pet, no one. Not one of us knows where we will be 10 years from now, or even tomorrow, despite our best laid plans. Would that be better? For no one to adopt? Do you really mean for totally loving, responsible families to avoid adopting because they can’t know what their life will be like in 10 years, even if they don’t expect big changes?

      How about this? All the animals I’ve rescued have as many more years as i am able to give them. If I have changes in my life that mean I truly cannot keep them, it would be better for them to have lived years with me and then died at a shelter then to never have been rescued at all, heartbreaking thought it would be.

      And keep in mind that the excuse people give you may sometimes just be the easiest one handy. Maybe some of those people have no desire to get into all their reasons with you.

    • IF you CANNOT make a lifetime commitment to caring for a companion you have NO BUSINESS having one ! All of your lame excuses have no bearing on the fact that you advocate IRRESPONSIBILITY…. a LIFE is a LIFE, human or animal . And your excuses are as flat & thin as your depth of character . I would hazard a guess that you are also a “disposable society” adherent who depends on Mc Donald’s for 99% of your ” nutrition ” & TV for your “Spiritual enlightenment”… a low baller seeking to bring everyone else down to your level of understanding.. or I could be wrong and you could be another self-inflicted brain damaged person trying to make sense of a world beyond you ability to understand… but I sincerely DOUBT THAT .

      • BTW-… “EC” it was not the”mentality” of RESPONSIBLE animal companionship which “drove you crazy”… you were already imbalanced before anyone ever mentioned the word ANIMAL to you …. a fact that you make quite CLEARLY by your choice of words & your lack of reasoning . It must suck to be in your clothes .

      • Justathought permalink

        Then you should not have a pet either. Unless…maybe you have a secret method for seeing into your future and knowing exactly what is in store for you? What if you were in an accident today, Mr. Fids, and could no longer care for your animals? Would it be best for them to live with someone who could not care for them? Not one person on the planet can be sure they will always be able to care for an animal.

        Let’s shoot for some logic in this discussion instead of shouting fevered insults at people who’ve made reasonable points. Just disagree! There is no need to be ugly toward someone you know literally almost nothing about. There is plenty of room in this world for a variety of opinions. A disagreement does not mean the other person is completely worthless.

    • Seriously. As a person who loves animals, I’ve a difficult time with people who treat them as accessories. When the unfortunate happens, there is almost always a way to work things out and remain a family. There are programs through local rescues that can be helpful to those fallen on tough times. A woman fell ill with cancer, her dogs were fostered and fed until she was able to return home and resume their care. She didn’t have to “get rid of” her loved ones. Another case, a man lost his job and had to move, the same small local rescue helped out and he didn’t have to “dump” his dog. There is almost always a way. Apartments not allowing pets? There are so many options available to those who search, so many places that do allow pets.
      While I believe there are times where it is unavoidable, for the most part the family could stay together with a little more effort. But then again, people for the most part will make decisions based on what they want to put into the situation.

    • I will admit there are times when a person honestly needs help, and I am more than willing to help in those instances. However, the astute reader will notice red flags in the example email. Moving in this case is nothing more than an excuse. The dog is older, likely becoming expensive and not so much fun for the kids anymore. He is ‘very attached’ to the family – meaning he likely already has anxiety or behavior issues that will only get worse after separated from the only family he has ever known. And of course, the move is immediate. It’s interesting that people have no friends or family willing to take the pet and instead contact me, a total stranger 99% of the time, to take in their ‘well-loved’ pet.

    • Tiki Mikaila permalink

      I agree with Just a Thought.
      I don’t appreciate the hatefully motivated remarks made towards someone who simply expresses an opinion. And this goes for either side of the opinion.
      These types of remarks are why I don’t participate in blogs.

    • Nyx permalink

      We went from a small town, with no real job market, but a decent middle income (for the town) and moved to a big city with an incredible job economy. There was going to be an incredible shift in our income, but an even more incredible opportunity for growth and income as time went on. But when the decision was made for my husband to take the new job (at $12/hour!) I came with him (with no job lined up), and so did both our dogs. We moved to an apartment that was under half of the size our house was. When we looked for apartments, we only viewed those that were pet friendly…in fact, that was our only requirement in a new home.

      I took my two dogs on from a kill rescue. My youngest was scheduled, the day I adopted him, for euthanasia. My oldest, well…he has been with me through thick and thin, and been in my life longer than my husband. I made a vow to take them on and care for them when I signed the adoption paperwork. Their lives, health, and care are my responsibility.

      Pets are not a disposable responsibility. You have to plan for things you may not foresee, as best as you can. Just like you have an emergency fund for yourself, or a college fund for your children, you should have a fund for pet care/emergencies. You should have a plan for their care if you are in an accident. We don’t go out of town as much as we’d like, and we always have to find a way home, and sometimes the dog food came before our steak dinner out (but that meal we cooked at home was worth it!).

      I work in the pet care field, and I see all too often people just drop their responsibilities to their pets. You wouldn’t drop your responsibility to your employer, or your spouse, or your children….who all require more time and money than pets do (in all actuality). To some people, those tail wags, purrs, and furry snuggles are worth the hearthache (and headache!) and will take the responsibility they made seriously…like any adult should with any responsibility they take on.

  8. Cher permalink

    Each time I moved, my animals….ALL OF THEM…..came with me. YOU try fitting 6 cats, a pitbull and three humans in a Dodge Durango and driving cross country not once, but THREE times for job moves. I made a commitment to each and every one of them when I brought them home, and if they can’t go, I dont go. Simple as that.

  9. Melissa permalink

    I have moved across the country several times now for military moves. That being said not a single one of my pets where left behind. I have several friends who have moved their families and pets overseas for both military and civilian moves. There is always a way to make things work, it just requires “work”.

  10. Zillah permalink

    I’m sorry but there is always apts that are very cheap that allow pets. I have 2 large breed dogs (one being a husky that is on some aggressive breed list -.- ) and while it takes some searching I have always found an apt or house to rent that will take them. There are apts that dont allow children but I don’t see ads for people willing to give away their kids to move into them.

  11. Terry permalink

    Zillah, EXCELLENT scenario. People don’t give up their children when they have to move, as Meliss a said, there is always a way to make things WORK, but it does require WORK… And… “Justathought” start using that brain of yours & use the energy U used to write a PLETHORA of excuses for why people might have to get rid of their animals to find OPTIONS for your beloved animals/pets/family members…

    • Justathought permalink

      We just have different priorities, you and I. I do not equate my animals, adored as they are, with my children. It is, in my opinion, wicked to do so. I have never, ever re-homed a pet. All my pets come from the shelter, or are re-homed to me. Yet if I had to make a decision that pitted the well-being of my children against my pets’, there would be no choice whatsoever.

      That is not “making excuses”. I don’t need to make excuses, as I am not irresponsible. I am simply pointing out the ultra judgmental attitudes I am seeing in these comments. If you want to pretend your pets are as important as children, that is up to you. But understand that the rest of us aren’t monsters if we disagree with you. There is a pretty wide gap between “there are times when it is reasonable to re-home a pet” and “dump your dog off on others because you’ve gotten tired of it”.

      • Dan permalink

        “I do not equate my animals, adored as they are, with my children. It is, in my opinion, wicked to do so.”-I find that opinion odd. Although, that’s just my opinion, which leads us to a holding pattern of sorts. So, for what it’s worth, think of it this way: do you have any objective way to measure the worth of an animal versus a human child? Keep in mind that dominionism found in the mythical Christian texts do not count as an objective way to measure that.

  12. deputy dog permalink

    Whatever is best for the animal…. Re-home, keep or get help. If an animal is going to get a better quality life then that is all that matters.

  13. Melanie permalink

    I brought my 10 year old mutt from another continent…it works if you put effort in.

  14. Wendy Collins permalink

    I found a dog that was abandoned in my complex and NOBODY would help me find him a home….so while you are so busy being self-righteous…you and all the rest fucked me …I am not having to take care of 2 dogs when I can only afford the one and yet still…NOBODY IS GOING TO HELP,…THERE ARE TIMES I DON’T EAT SO THEY CAN….THE PUPPY NEEDS SHOTS….THE PUPPY NEEDS TO BE FIXED….THE PUPPY NEEDS SOMETHING FAR BETTER THAN I CAN GIVE ….BUT YOU KEEP BEING THE SELFISH ONE IN ALL OF THIS AND DON’T HELP

    • Hi Wendy, I am not certain who the “you” is that you continue to refer to in your post, but perhaps you noticed my previous comment saying that I am very much willing to help people who truly need help. To start, what state do you live in? If you are in Texas and in the DFW area I can give you info for low cost and free vax as well as spay / neuter programs. I am also familiar with an area pet food bank who can help. Last but not least, my rescue group has a guest dog program where we can help you find a suitable home for the dog through networking and other resources if you can agree to continue fostering the dog until that home is found.

  15. Jason permalink

    My Family and I moved from Florida to Wyoming 2 years ago and I can assure you that none of the states we passed through even bothered to ask if we had dogs let alone gave us any problems about having them. It did take an extra 30 seconds on the phone with the hotel people to insure we could have pets in the room but all in all I think the 30 seconds sacrifice of my time was well worth the effort in the end.

  16. lisa permalink

    My yellow lab went to Germany with us when we got orders for there. Was it expensive? You bet it was! Was it a really difficult ordeal, getting him there and then back? Yes indeed! But he’s a member or our family! And if we get orders for another move, guess what? Yep, he’ll go with us again!

  17. Shelly permalink

    This article is ridiculous! I don’t care what you want to say or bash me with after this post because you too are ridiculous!

    Look at our economy, there are lots of reasons someone with a pet may need to find them a new home. I’m sorry but if I had a loss in income and had to choose between feeding my children and my dog, I would find the dog a new home. I absolutely love dogs, all dogs – but not over my children.
    There are so many circumstances I could list but it wouldn’t matter, you guys are going to be judgmental pricks anyway and pretend you know every single situation!

    At least these people are looking to rescuers and trying to find them a suitable home. What would you rather, people to just keep dumping animals? Cause they will.

    I just think before you go on a rant about people, you should maybe walk a mile in some of these people’s shoes! Obviously they want to know the dog went to a good home, for whatever their reasons! So keep ranting and keep watching these shelters continue to stay packed full because people are dumping because others refuse to help!

  18. Dan permalink

    Shelly wrote: “I’m sorry but if I had a loss in income and had to choose between feeding my children and my dog, I would find the dog a new home. I absolutely love dogs, all dogs – but not over my children.”-The fact that you see your human children different than you see your furry children (in terms of value) speaks volumes.

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