We often receive emails and phone calls from people wanting to release a pet. We realize that sometimes there are very unique circumstances that might cause you to have to give up your pet.
However, many cases of owners relinquishing pets may be resolved with some time and commitment. Below we offer suggestions below that may enable you to solve whatever problem is making you want to release your pet. If you are still unable to keep your pet, we also provide links to various shelters and rescue groups.
The first things we always say to people wishing to relinquish an animal are:
(1) Please DON'T place an ad in any paper or publication saying "Free to Good Home". That is because people that sell pets to research laboratories for animal tests often obtain pets this way. Your best bet is to get in touch with one of the rescue groups that have adoption applications and which screen potential homes to insure that your pets are going to a good place.
(2) Most animal control facilities (e.g. the city pound or shelter) are "kill shelters". Around the DFW area, most of the local animal control facilities can only keep an animal 72 hours before it is euthanized. Please don't relinquish an animal to a "kill shelter", the city pound, or animal control.
Before we give the shelter and rescue information, we always like to make sure the owner has considered other alternatives to relinquishing their pet(s).
(1) If the issue is behavior problems, you may want to consider training. The book 'The Power of Positive Dog Training' by Pat Miller can work wonders. If you need help on behavior issues, the following web site has a hot-line and email contacts as well as articles on several behavior related issues: http://www.ddfl.org/tips.htm
If you are local to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, click here for local trainers that we really like.
(2) If you are moving and/or landlord issues are the reasons you can't keep your pets, you may find the following page from the HSUS useful, which has tips on finding pet-friendly rental housing.
(3) If a new baby is the issue, you may want to read the articles listed below. We also have to say that we think it is a shame the number of couples that have a pet for years that has given them unconditional love and companionship, and then when a baby comes along, the pet is discarded, forgotten like an old toy. Yes, it's more work to have both a baby and a pet, but we think it's worth it. We also believe babies and young children should always be watched by a responsible adult and not left alone with a pet until they are old enough to understand how to properly interact with that pet. Many times when a family pet bites a child, it is because of one of the following: (1) The child was left unsupervised with the pet. (2) The child had not been taught how to act around the pet. (3) The pet had not been properly socialized. With responsible parenting and responsible pet ownership, a pet can teach a child about nurturing, caring, and responsibility.
(a) Introducing your pet and new baby: http://www.hsus.org/ace/13946
(b) Family pets may prevents allergies: Babies who grow up with multiple cats or dogs less likely to develop allergies:
(c) Researchers: Bad Dogs Hard to Find: Discovery Channel News reports on the breed bans and misleading statistics: "As for statistics used to support the idea that some breeds are more dangerous, the numbers are misleading, said Anthony Pobderscek of the University of Cambridge Veterinary School. "There's a problem getting records," he said. "Golden retrievers bite, Labrador retrievers bite, but don't get reported."
(4) If financial issues are a problem with keeping the pets, you may want to contact local and national humane and rescue organizations, such as HSUS, SPCA, MAC, or IMOM to see if they can help. Many of these organizations will offer low-cost/no-cost vaccinations/spay-neuter, or will help put you in touch with an organization that may be able to help. Many people that say they can't afford to keep their pet need to look at their entertainment or vanity expenses and decide if those things are really more important than a living, feeling feline or canine companion. Just by cutting a few corners, many people could afford the pets they think they have to relinquish.
(5) If time constraints are a problem with keeping the pets, you may want to re-evaluate. Do you really not have the time, or is that an excuse? A majority of Americans spend at least a few hours a day watching television and many Americans are overweight. How about playing with the kitty or taking the dog for a walk instead of sitting on the couch watching tv? Walks are also a good way to spend family time together - take the kids and the dog to the park and get some fresh air. If running around taking the kids to soccer practice, band practice, cheerleading practice has you running ragged, then taking a few minutes to pet the dog or cat may be just what you need. You may also want to consider the message you are giving to your children when you give away the family pet because you're too busy. What does that say about commitment, responsibility, and compassion to them? Actions often speak louder than words.
(6) If lifestyle changes (e.g. divorce, marriage, relocation) are a problem with keeping the pets, you may want to re-evaluate before making any other major changes, such as giving away the family pet. Your pet can be a very good listener and a great source of comfort during difficult times. Their unconditional love and acceptance can be "just what the doctor ordered".
(7) If allergies are the problem, you may want to consider the following:
- Family pets may prevents allergies: Babies who grow up with multiple cats or dogs less likely to develop allergies:
- Although this may not be a good long, term solution, we have many customers with pets that take Claritin, Zyrtec, and even over the counter allergy medicines that seem to take care of the problem. For a long term solution, allergy immunotherapy shots may be a good alternative.
- Consider Allergy Imunotherapy Shots. These worked for us and have worked for many others! It's a simple concept. They test you for various allergens by lightly sticking your skin with those allergens. Then, when they determine what you're allergic to, they create a solution of those allergens and over the next two years, they inject you with increasing amounts of those allergens. Eventually, your body builds up a resistance to what you're allergic to. It sounds complicated and expensive, but our health insurance covered all of it and they have extended hours. It was easy for us and now we don't have allergies. For information here in Texas, we used the Texas Regional Allergy and Asthma Center for our shots.
- Purify the air in your home. "Cat allergen, the allergy causing material from cats, isn't cat hair, but rather a protein present in the dander and saliva of cats. These cat allergens become airborne as microscopic particles, which when inhaled into the nose or lungs can produce allergic symptoms. The most important determinants of an allergic reaction to a cat is the amount of airborne allergen in the immediate environment and the individual's sensitivity to the allergen." (from AllergyBuyersClub.com). Many good air purifiers will remove these allergens.
(8) Realistically, it is very difficult to find homes for adult pets, even purebreds. It's even harder to find homes for larger or senior pets. Thousands of pets, including purebreds, puppies, and kittens, are put to sleep across this country every day because there aren't enough homes. But that doesn't mean it can't be done. You just have to be willing to work at it. And, if you're going to relinquish a pet that has given you unconditional love and acceptance, we believe you owe it to that pet to work hard at finding them a good home.To see a small sampling of the pets in your area that need homes, visit petfinder.com
Below are rescue and shelter contact pages and info:
(1) If you still can't keep your pet and it is a purebred, you might try one of the breed rescue groups:
Canine Connections Breed Rescue Contacts
AKC Listing of Breed Rescue Groups
Cat Breed Rescue and Adoption
(2) If you are trying to place a mixed breed or the breed rescue contacts are unable to help, you might try each of the shelters and foster home groups on the pages of our web site listed below. Always insure a shelter is still "no-kill" before releasing any animal. If the shelters don't have room for your pet and you can foster it for a while, many of the foster home groups will enter your dog into their adoption program, including putting their photos/info on PetFinder.com, holding adoptathons at PetCo, PetSmart, etc.
Animal Welfare Organizations on PetFinder.com
Metroplex Animal Coalition (resources for the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex - excellent list of shelters, members organizations, and low-cost/no-cost spay neuter)
(3) If you have found a colony of stray/feral cats, one of the feral cat rescue groups may be able to help.
(4) If you have a well-trained, well-mannered dog that you think might make a good assistance dog, a few of the assistance dog organizations will train shelter dogs. In most cases, the dog to be considered as a service dog needs to be within a certain age range and have a certain temperament. Of those with the right age and weight, usually only 25% or less qualify.
If you are truly unable to keep your pet(s), we hope this information helps you in finding a good home for them.