Only when attitudes toward companion animal parenting change, and potential caregivers understand that they are making a life- long commitment to the care of an animal, will there be fewer “We have to get rid of our dog” incidents.
In the ideal world, every dog would have responsible FOREVER homes. However, when circumstances beyond your control seems to make it necessary to find a new home for him, it is important to take specific steps to make sure the animal finds a loving, forever home.
DON’T advertise “free to a good home.”
Most people have good intentions when they do this, but there are many dishonest people across the country who routinely obtain animals by answering “free to a good home” ads. Some simply impulsively take the animal because it’s free, without considering the cost and work of caring for a companion animal. These animals usually end up neglected or abandoned, because it’s no big deal to dump a “free dog.”
Others have plans that are worse than a death sentence, with intentions to use as bait to train fighting dogs, or money from a research lab, or simply a free animals for malicious pranks. These people are very persuasive and friendly, and know all the “right” answers to your questions because they do this sort of thing on a regular basis. PLEASE don’t offer your companions “Free to a good home” unless you just don’t care what happens to them. Volunteers who work endless hours to save pets from abuse and homelessness have many horror stories of what happens to “giveaway” pets.
DO contact rescue organizations or area animal welfare groups for help in placing unwanted pets.
Remember that while most rescue groups are legitimate, there are some rescues whose primary concern is not the welfare of the animal. If you have any doubts at all about a group, check them out with LOCAL neighbors, LOCAL vets, and even the local law enforcement. Remember that scam rescue groups will have all the “right” credentials, and will appear to be “very nice people”. If you purchased the animal from a responsible breeder, he/she will take the animal back, or help re-home him.
DO interview prospective adopters carefully before you consider entrusting the future of your dog to them.
Stress that for unavoidable reasons you are not able to keep the dog and that you want to make sure that the next home is permanent. Ask for vet and personal references, and check them out. If the people are uncomfortable about being checked, they are not the right match. Visit the new home where your pet might be living, making sure all members of the household are present. Take the dog along and see how he interacts with the potential new family. Is there a loving atmosphere? Are the adults patient with their children or other pets? Ask probing questions about the family’s current or previous pets, to ascertain the strength of the family-pet relationship.
Our loyal four-footed companions deserve from us the same love and dedication they give, and nothing less. If the decision has been made to relinquish a dog, proceed with caution and make absolutely sure that her new life is more than a patch of dirt and endless loneliness.