Aside from my day job I also volunteer at two different dog rescues. One has a shelter and rescues dogs and brings them up from the South where there is a giant over population of start and abandoned dogs. The other one is a foster only rescue, meaning we don’t have a shelter for dogs but that all of the dogs we take in go directly to a qualified foster home. This rescue takes in local dogs that people “need” to surrender.
There is Hank the poor dog has been relinquished to the basement for over a year. He does get two walks a day but the rest of the time? He is alone in a partially finished basement. At least he was. Now his owner is now paying to keep him in boarding until he finds a home. I bet he’s lonely and wondering what he did wrong. What the heck? – and the owner wonders why he is sad?
And last night, another owner told me that she, “just doesn’t have time” to deal with the anxiety her dog has now that her toddler son is around – how quickly people change.
I keep telling myself that at least these people are calling us, but it seems like they know they have an out, and they take it – all the while saying “I just want to do what is best for the dog” to make themselves feel better.
I absolutely realize that things come up in life – severe allergies of a baby to the dog, medical illness of an owner that can no longer care for a dog, but right now it just seems like every follow up is a person who never thought about a dog long term – it seems like we are saving dogs from their owners versus really saving dogs that need saving for euthanasia.
When you adopt a dog you have to assume you are still going to have the dog when you have a baby. It’s not a trade – you don’t just trade in the dog when you have a baby.
At the shelter rescue I work at I know we are saving dogs from being abandoned and homeless on the streets and in many cases saving them from being put to sleep. With first local only rescue and those dogs, I feel like we are saving dogs from (often, not always) lazy and irressponsible people who just don’t want to deal.
I cannot remember who it was but one woman actually said, among other things, “I just can’t deal with the vaccuming, now that my son is crawling he is on the floor with the hair all the time.” *Sigh*
So my thoughts for anyone who is thinking about a dog…There are exceptions to every rule – as I said above life happens and things change. I am not saying there is never a reason to surrender a dog, and I am not saying that people who opt to surrender their dogs are bad, but surrender should be a last resort.
- Dogs shed, they always will. It won’t kill you. Invest in a good vacuum.
- Dogs are a lifelong commitment, for the length of their life – not until you bring another life into the house (aka have a baby).
- Dogs cost money – some times it is money you have budgeted, other times it is money you don’t have. Plan for it, be willing to take out a loan for it, or don’t get a dog.
- If you ever plan to travel, and even if you don’t – have an back up plan – again see #3 – you can’t alway rely on family and friends. Find a good dog walker and dog sitter. They will save your life and your sanity.
- If you are ever planning on working 8 hour days – see #4. You cannot plan to leave a dog alone for 8 hours – see #7.
- Puppies are not always better – unless you have A LOT of time, go for a slightly older dog – even a 2 year old dog can save you hours of training and early socialization. That said….
- Dogs are social creatures, you cannot adopt a dog to help it live, you have to be committed to giving it a life.
- Puppies are expensive and older dogs are expensive – don’t forget that.
I am sure there are dozens more. In case you are wondering what some other guidelines are you can check this out.
I guess what I am trying to say is PLEASE think about it before you want a dog. I don’t want to have to be having a call about saving your dog from you.
I just really needed to vent about this because it truly has me more sad than any other rescue work I have done before.
Again it is not everyone – the best story is how we helped the woman who lost so much in a short time and just did not have the money. That’s hardship. Hair on your floor or a busy schedule is just not hardship to me.
OK NOW I am really done venting.