What To Do When You Have To Give Up Your Dog

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

The idea of giving up your dog is as horrifying as parting with a family member. Dogs are a lifetime commitment but for some people it is a reality. People sometimes give up a dog because of a medical condition that will prevent them from caring for the dog, death, divorce, or they simply cannot handle the responsibilities of caring for a dog and the dog would truthfully be better off in another home with someone who can take better care of them. If it’s in the best interest of the dog that you find another home for him or her, we’d like to help you do it the right and responsible way.

(Photo by Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

(Photo by Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

We here at DogTime always encourage people to think very carefully about getting a dog in the first place. Dogs are not trendy accessories that you can simply give up when you feel like they aren’t a convenient fit for your life anymore; they are living creatures who will be devastated when you are gone from their life. We can’t explain to them what is happening and all they know is that everything they have ever known and loved is gone and that they are in a strange place, with strangers and unknown sounds and smells and that is a very scary situation for any animal. However, sometimes life happens and there are things you can do to help ease the transition.
(Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

(Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

If it is trully in the best interest of the dog that you re-home your pup, here are several things you can do but it’s going to take work and effort.

1. You Are Not Going To Drop Your Dog Off At The Local Shelter

I hope this goes without saying to any DogTime reader, but dog pounds are like a doggy prison for which no crime was committed. Many pounds are overpopulated, full of disease and illness, cold, hard and frankly, your dog has a better chance of euthanized than adopted. If you care about your dog at all, you will find another way. You wouldn’t drop a relative off at the Goodwill because you couldn’t support them, and you’re not going to do that with your dog.

2. Do Not Put Post Your Dog On Sites Like Craigslist Or Give Them To A Stranger You Know Nothing About

There are bad people out there who really do collect dogs and sell them for animal testing. Your dog deserves better than this. Free dogs advertised on the internet often end up in bad situations. This is not a responsible way to find a home for your dog. There are other things you can do and we’re going to talk about them right now.

3. Find Out If There’s Any Way You Can Keep Your Dog

Reach out to local rescues, animal shelters, trainers, veterinarians (anyone who will listen) and tell them your reasons for why you can’t keep your dog and ask for their advice or assistance. If you are having financial hardships, there are organizations who will help you with dog food and medical care. If your living situation is changing, there may be a friend or family member who could take your dog temporarily, while you get back on your feet and into a stable living situation. Search the internet to see if there are any other options. You may be surprised at the help a sincere dog owner will get with they reach out and do everything that they can to keep the dog that they love. We all fall on hard times, let people help you if they can.

4. Get All Of Your Dog’s Paperwork Together

Make sure to have all of your dog’s vet paperwork, city registration or license, flea/heart worm medication schedule, and any other important articles together in one place where you can easily find the information you need. Put together a comprehensive list of the food your pup is eating, any dietary restrictions, or anything else a potential adopter would need to know. If your dog has any behavioral issues, be sure to document this as well. The more information a potential adopter has about your dog, the better. Do not feel embarrassed if your dog still piddles inside or gets territorial with his food; hiding this information will only hurt your pup in the long run, especially if he were to be adopted by someone not expecting these habits. Write up a glowing description of your dog and take some awesome, happy photos of your dog looking adorable.

5. Reach Out To Friends, Family, And Rescue Groups

If this dog is a part of your family, chances are you have some friends and/or family who love this pup almost as much as you do. See if someone your dog is familiar with would be interested in adopting him or making him a member of their family. Encourage them to reach out to people they know and trust to try to find a suitable home for your dog.

Reach out to local reputable rescue groups. The truth is that most rescue groups are full to capacity but if you can help to provide a foster home for your dog, the rescue will often help you get your dog listed on sites like Pet Finder or let you bring your dog to adoption events. The rescue group will carefully screen any applicants to make sure they can provide a loving, permanent, stable home for your dog so he or she won’t have to go through this again. A rescue group may be able to help you find a foster home for your dog as well, but finding fosters is the hardest part of dog rescue so don’t count on it. You you literally can’t keep your dog in your home, ask those same friends and family if they can foster the dog while he or she is being networked by the rescue. It’s going to take teamwork.

There are also pet re-homing sites like GetYourPet.com where you re-home your pet yourself. A home visit in person is one of the most important things before you re-home your pet. Be sure that you walk through the entire house and yard looking for holes in the fence, hazards like lawn chemicals laying around, or children who are not gentle with pets.

6. Put Together A “Goodbye Kit”

Once you have a rescue, friend, or family member lined up to take responsibility for your dog, get together a small bag for your dog. Your dog will be going to a new and unfamiliar place, so things like a blanket that smells like your home, a bag of dog food he is used to, and a couple of familiar toys will help make the transition easier for him.

The decision of giving up your dog should never be taken lightly. A dog’s bond with their human is very strongly and breaking that bond will be devastating to a lot of dogs.

7. Stay Positive And Be Supportive

Also, you need to remember the emotional toll this is going to take on you as well and that your dog can sense that something is wrong. Often a family that has to give up their dog is in turmoil and going through trauma. Please seek help for yourself as well, stay positive and supportive. Things will work out. Do not stress out and add more tension and drama to what is already a difficult situation. Give your dog as much love as you can and trust the universe that this is going to workout for the good.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

If you have a friend or family member who is facing this difficult situation, please be as helpful and supportive as you can. Provide assistance and love however you can. Help them to stay positive. You can help by sharing the dog on your social networks and reaching out to rescues as well.

Please share this post with anybody who is considering giving up a dog.

Have you successfully re-homed a dog of yours?

Do you keep in touch with the adopter?

Share your experience in the comments section or hit me up on twitter @maggieclancy