What should be on every rescue and shelter answering machine..,

Hello: You have reached… (123) 4556-7890.

Due to the high volume of calls we have been receiving, please listen closely to
the following options and choose the one that best describes you or
your situation:

Press 1 if you have a 10-year-old dog and your 15-year-old son has
suddenly become allergic and you need to find the dog a new home
right away.

Press 2 if you are moving today and need to immediately place your
150 pound, 8-year-old dog.

Press 3 if you have three dogs, had a baby and want to get rid of
your dogs because you are the only person in the world to have a
baby and dogs at the same time.

Press 4 if you just got a brand new puppy and your old dog is having
problems adjusting so you want to get rid of the old one right away.

Press 5 if your little puppy has grown up and is no longer small and
cute and you want to trade it in for a new model.

Press 6 if you want an unpaid volunteer to come to your home TODAY
and pick up the dog you no longer want.

Press 7 if you have been feeding and caring for a “stray” for the
last three years, are moving and suddenly determine it’s not your

Press 8 if your dog is sick and needs a vet but you need the money
for your vacation.

Press 9 if you are elderly and want to adopt a cute puppy who is not
active and is going to outlive you.

Press 10 if your relative has died and you don’t want to care for
their elderly dog because it doesn’t fit your lifestyle.

Press 11 if your cat is biting and not using the litter box because
it is declawed, but you are not willing to accept the responsibility
that the cat’s behavior is altered because of your nice furniture.

Press 12 if your two-year old male dog is marking all over your house
but you just haven’t gotten around to having him neutered.

Press 13 if you previously had an outdoor only dog and are calling
because she is suddenly pregnant.

Press 14 if you are calling at 6 a.m. to make sure you wake me up
before I have to go to work so you can drop a dog off on your way
to work.

Press 15 to leave us an anonymous garbled message, letting us know
you have left a dog in our yard in the middle of January, which is
in fact, better than just leaving the dog with no message.

Press 16 if you are going to get angry because we are not going to
take your dog that you have had for fifteen years, because it is
not our responsibility.

Press 17 if you are going to threaten to take your ten-year old dog
to be euthanized because I won’t take it.

Press 18 if you’re going to get angry because the volunteers had the
audacity to go on vacation and leave the dogs in care of a trusted
volunteer who is not authorized to take your personal pet.

Press 19 if you want one of our PERFECTLY trained, housebroken, kid
and cat friendly purebred dogs that we have an abundance of.

Press 20 if you want us to take your dog that has a slight
aggression problem, i.e. has only bitten a few people and killed your
neighbor’s cats.

Press 21 if you have already called once and been told we don’t take
personal surrenders but thought you would get a different person this
time with a different answer.

Press 22 if you want us to use space that would go to a stray to
board your personal dog while you are on vacation, free of charge,
of course.

Press 23 if it is Christmas Eve or Easter morning and you want me to
deliver an eight week old puppy to your house by 6:30 am before
your kids wake up.

Press 24 if you have bought your children a duckling, chick or baby
bunny for Easter and it is now Christmas and no longer cute.

Press 25 if you want us to take your female dog who has already had
ten litters, but we can’t spay her because she is pregnant again and
it is against your religion.

Press 26 if you’re lying to make one of our younger volunteers feel
bad and take your personal pet off your hands.

Press 27 if you have done “everything” to housebreak your dog and
have had no success but you don’t want to crate the dog because it
is cruel.

Press 28 if you didn’t listen to the message asking for an evening
phone number and you left your work number when all volunteers are
also working and you are angry because no one called you back.

Press 29 if you need a puppy immediately and cannot wait because
today is your daughter’s birthday and you forgot when she was born.

Press 30 if your dog’s coat doesn’t match your new furniture and you
need a different color or breed.

Press 31 if your new love doesn’t like your dog and you are too
stupid to get rid of the new friend (who will dump you in the next
month anyway) instead of the dog.

Press 32 if you went through all these ‘options’ and didn’t hear
enough. This press will connect you to the sounds of tears being
shed by one of our volunteers who is holding a discarded old dog
while the vet mercifully frees him from the grief of missing his

Author Unknown, but much appreciated!

Please remember that if you can not commit to fur-always or at least the next 13-17 years, DON’T BUY A PET! it is not a shelter or rescue’s obligation to take on your commitments, they do so out of fear that you will kill them if they don’t, and dumping them anywhere, even alone on the side of a road is abuse!


About apitome

I am a mother, a pit bull advocate, but mostly I am just like any of you, I am passionate about politics, the environment and dog advocacy. I want possitive changes within the judicial system as well. I want my children to grow up in a country where we are not told what breed of dog we can own. I want to see BSL put in the trash where it belongs! I want to see the constitution protected but not manipulated *see anything on the mosque near ground zero (USA) or changing Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays (Canada)* I am not racist in any way shape or form against any ethnic group, I do however have prejudices against bad behavior! If you abuse our laws, kids, the elderly, or animals, If you move to a new country and then demand that country to change everything about it's laws & way of life to suit your own agenda, If you blatantly break those laws with no regard and show no repect for them, if you engage in dog fighting or any other forms of animal abuse, torture or neglect, or if you are a pedophile, Than yes! You are on my radar for sure, and I will do EVERYTHING within my power to see you stopped and brought to justice! Furthering that goal, I have no qualms about publishing the names and faces of convicted abusers. I am not trying to change the world, I simply want to see things improve not backslide, Mostly for my children and these wonderful dogs futures! I may say things you agree with, and I may say things that you won't agree with, I may anger you, challenge you, or just plain piss you off, but in my book that's ok as long as long as it inspires some form of action on your part. This is not a popularity contest, If I have said anything about a group or person that you don't agree with please feel free to leave a comment or simply don't come back. If You have been mentioned in my blog it is for one of two reasons, you are either an advocate or you are an abuser loser, if you are the latter I could care less what you think! I value the opinions of trash about as much as I do that of a slug! Everything in print here is a matter of public record, or came from a trusted source, with that said, I am certainly willing to print both sides of any story, in an effort to be fair and always print the truth! View all posts by apitome

130 responses to “What should be on every rescue and shelter answering machine..,

  • Julia

    This would be funny if it were not true..

  • Pamela Ellmer

    Amen to EDUCATION!! This should be taught and talked about in elementary schools by grade ONE!! You can’t rid the world of people who are not compassionate, but you can educate others so at least folks would be embarrassed to do any of the things mentioned. They don’t have to love animals, just NOT HURT THEM. LOVE. Adults are responsible for getting this message out!!

    • imnohbody

      Unfortunately, there are a growing number of people who refuse to accept any education or responsibility, who refuse to consider anyone’s viewpoints other than their own, and are immune to shaming because they have no shame to start with. These people also vote and have children, who take up their attitudes, making things worse.

    • Erica Callais

      Education is key! Start early and plant the seed! I founded a non-profit called PEP! The Pet Education Project. We are educating kids from the start. We have to break the cycle! We can no longer continue trying to clean up the mess everyone has left for us. We need to stop the mess before it starts! Check us out at http://www.ilovepep.org. We will launching a new experience soon, where people can begin using our program for free in schools everywhere! Great article by the way!!! Awesome! So well said!

  • Frank Orlando

    press 99 if you have no other alternative but to bring an animal to a shelter, feel terrible about it, and understand the stress you are under, but it’s your job to either find an animal a home or put it to sleep. Or if you would like I could hang up and just leave the animal someplace in the middle of no where to starve.

    • apitome

      Its not a shelters job to take on your responsibilities they are vastly overloaded and it easy far too easy for people to dump their animals on a shelter doortstep and say “But its your job!” What a load of garbage! They are there so people wont dump dogs or abuse them that said dumping all responsibility on shelter staff because you were too stupid to see that a pet is forever, not just until its no longer convenient, shuld be criminal! The emotional abuse suffered by dumped and forgotten pets is immense! Your statement clearly shows that you are or could be part of a huge problem created by irresponsible people that do not understand what responsibility is and means!

      • Bruce Zoldak

        Thank you apitome….. I’m one of those volunteers that has to deal with some of the lamest excuses from completely insensitive people.

      • apitome

        I have personally held a mangy dying dog that a man dumped out of his car on the side of the road because as he so eloquently shouted as he sped off “The shelter was closed.” Excuses and asshats aside, I only hope is that people stop and think! That they don’t place “free to good home” adds and that they take it upon themselves to do their very best for their pets, if they can give us such total and complete loyalty and devotion, than we have damn well better be ready to do the same or DON”T get a pet. If I have to hear one more, “well I had a baby” or “I’m just to busy to give him the attention he needs” there is a strong possibility that I will either puke, or soak them with a bucket of water and go after them with a cattle prod and zap some sense into them!

    • Helen Walton

      What makes you think it is a shelter’s responsibility to take your dog in after you no longer want or need it. Was it the shelter’s responsibility to see that you just had have a dog? If it has to be PTS, “MAN UP” and take it to a vet and if it meant anything to you, stay with it until it peacefully goes to sleep. In the past 4 years I have taken about ten dogs into my home from the pound that has been discarded by their owners. I have had to have four of those dogs PTS in the last couple of years, not because I no longer wanted them, but they were old and in pain. I paid the vet from my bank account,not the tax payers money which is used when the dog pound has to have them PTS. If you have to chain a dog, you don’t need or deserve a dog.

      • Mary Ann

        If it’s not the responsibility of a shelter to take in an unwanted animal. What is the responsibility or purpose of a shelter?

      • apitome

        Shelters were only created to stop people from starving or killing pets, it was never the intention that it be used like abortion (Dear lord, that’s a whole other discussion right there, I digress), The point the author is trying to make is that it has become less about personal responsibility and more about making the shelter do their dirty work.

      • Nippersmom

        Hear, hear!

      • Nippersmom

        The primary responsibility of a shelter is to provide a haven for animals who are neglected or abused, to temporarily house lost animals until they can be reunited with their owners, and to provide a place for stray or feral animals to be brought who may pose a threat to the public. The purpose of a shelter is not to absolve irresponsible jerks of their duty to care for their animals, including making the difficult decision to have the animal put to sleep if medically necessary, or to try to find another home for their pet if circumstance make it impossible to keep the animal themselves. They certainly don’t exist to take your animal off your hands just because you decide you’re bored with it, or it’s inconvenient.

      • joanne

        I hear you Helen! I have 16 dogs I found abandoned over the last few years. Yes financially ive been strapped. Just a few months ago one of my year old pitbulls suddenly contracted Parvo. God must of been on my side that only 1 out of all of them and including a litter of 8 newborn pups from a stray came down with this awful virus.I had to resort to taking out a title loan against my truck to pay for his treatment at home. He survived thank God( and yes he was up-to-date on shots) but I would of went to any extremes to pay for him. The vet suggested putting him down but NO WAY! These are my children…I cant take vacations, I have to rush home right after work, nobody wants to visit because of the barking. These poor dogs are so grateful to be rescued, they show me love like you wouldn’t believe lol. To rescue a dog is the most rewarded feeling a person can have.

    • TLS

      How do you not have another alternative? OMG do you think you are the only person today that is under stress? No body but YOU are responsible for the life and well being of a pet that you have had. Tell me again how terrible you feel about it again as you threaten to leave it in the middle of no where to starve. You are definitely part of the problem.

      • fostermom

        Absolutely agree with you!!! People have the lamest excuses for why they want to dump their pets at shelters, then they have the nerve to blame the shelter???

    • Nippersmom

      If you have no alternative but to give up your pet, you still have the alternative of finding it another home, or if that is not possible, having it euthanized yourself, in your presence with your your love and comfort, rather than passing the buck for that decision to someone else and making them the bad guy. If you’re the type of person who’d choose leaving an animal in the middle of nowhere to starve rather than taking responsibility for giving it a peaceful death, you have no conscience and no moral compass. It is not anyone’s “job” to make your life easier for your and spare you from having to make difficult choices.

    • Nina

      “No other alternative”…what could possibly happen that you didn’t have the foresight to consider BEFORE adopting your pet? If you take responsibility for a pet, it means they are yours until they die. And please don’t say money is the issue – since you’re clearly sitting on your butt using your computer/internet service to send this comment.

    • Chill

      “press 99 if you have no other alternative but to bring an animal to a shelter, feel terrible about it, and understand the stress you are under, but it’s your job to either find an animal a home or put it to sleep. Or if you would like I could hang up and just leave the animal someplace in the middle of no where to starve.” – Frank Orlando –

      I have to say this is one of the sorriest piece of shit things I have read in, oh, about 48 hours.
      What we ALL would “like” is for people like you to
      – spay/neuter your dogs and cats, as there is NO REASON ON EARTH that they need to be bred, especialy “by accident,” with all the abandoned and abused and suffering animals we have now that can’t find homes and are “put to sleep” by the thousands every day,
      – be responsible for the animals’ well-being for its entire life,
      – be an emotional grown-up and actually care about the needs of the dog or cat, including its food, shots, bedding, potty and other training so you can stand to have it around, its cleanliness, socialization, and I could go on and on (see, it’s like a real creature, not a lawn ornament or something to be left outside or in a cellar or a room – try to relate),
      – and, last but not least, understand that this is a living, breathing being that feels pain, suffering and loneliness and needs love and care most likely more than you do.

      The biggest problem is that you don’t even know that you are the problem.

    • Robyn O'Malley

      Bet you don’t feel as terrible as the pet does. Oh and by the way, you just gave away the best friend you’ll probably EVER have.

    • Reisa Stone

      Frank, you’re a schmuck.

    • Anonymous

      Hmmmmmm….life doesn’t “happen” to you. Your life is a direct result of your life choices. Starting with “large dog in my studio”…see the problem? As your dog didn’t spontaneously materialize in your studio, and one or the other came first, either a) get a small dog, or b) don’t live in a studio. Likewise your newborn, either a) don’t get pregnant, or b) find a home for the companion you no longer have time or the inclination to keep now that your “real family” has arrived. And finally, with regards to working full time- a very large percentage of us manage to work full time, have families, and hold on to the pets WE are responsible for bringing into our lives. Yours, my dear, is the load of crapola that the people like you, who are part of the problem, not part of the solution, spew to make themselves feel like theirs is the only exceptional circumstance for DUMPING an animal at the shelter and making it someone else’s problem. Next time, get a pair of shoes instead!

    • CatClawz

      If you are happy to give up your human child to a shelter because of this ‘stress’ you purport to be under, then I would consider hearing you out. But if your pathetic excuse is that you needed to find your dog a home because you didn’t want to dump him, then you are clearly disconnected with reality!! Leaving your animal at the shelter because that animal has become an inconvenience in your life is DUMPING an animal you silly woman! WAKE UP FFS!!

    • Danny

      This was written for you and you responded just as expected. Look past yourself and put yourself in the shoes of the other parties involved like the shelter volunteers or employees or your dog!They are looking at the reality of the situation not your “poor me”version.As I sit here I have a foster dog on my lap that has lived its entire 5 month long life in a cage and was deemed unadoptable.I estimate it will take two months to turn him around.I also want to mention that as I sit here,within a 25 mile radious,there are 800-1000 dogs that need homes.Within two weeks half of those dogs will be euthanized.

    • JLizHazTheFacts

      You’re basically putting it to sleep anyways. Shelters are at 95% kill rates right now… Or you could use this newfangled thing called Facebook to try and place your personal pet with a trusted friend. Or some other social network.

    • hergieburbur

      Frank, I think you meant “Press 99 if you are an irresponsible d-bag looking to absolve yourself of responsibility by making the animal someone else’s problem.”

      “…but it’s your job to either find the animal a home of put it to sleep.” DOES NOT translate to “dump it in a shelter”.

  • Susan Blais

    This speaks volumes…Also wish they had a message machine that went through the spay/neuter facts. Too many people believe that a dog or cat’s life is not fulfilled if they aren’t allowed to have at least one litter or sired a litter before spay/neuter. Even if all animals are spoken for before birth. If anyone did the math it’s beyond astounding and staggering numbers. This topic alone could help reduce shelters. If anyone needs proof just watch Facebook posts from all over the World and read what others post and try to make others agree that it’s for the better welfare of the animal.

    Thank you I just can’t do this alone and need some help.

    Susan Blais

  • Guss

    Phones only have up to 9 buttons to press. 😉 But I here you. And totally agree. Too many people get pets for show. To make them appear a certain way to others. Just like a child, a pet is a full-time commitment. They rely on you to take care of them. And in return, they give something that can’t be repayed. Their loyalty and unconditional love. That is more than most people will ever give you. People need to understand what it feels like to be accepted and loved, and then suddenly left to the curb.

    • crow

      that whole part about getting pets for show reminds me of this quote from the movie I Heart Huckabees where the french woman tells off the bitchy, insensitive mom and says the only reason why she had a kid was “So he could be an ornament to you, not a person”. it is sad but true that so many people out there do this with animals and kids.

      I knew this girl who volunteered at this place that bred these huge wolf dogs. she wanted to get one because it would be cool to have and she was all about trying to be as “cool” as possible in her giant truck four wheeling all the time to get it dirty and crashing her mountain bike so she could show off the bruises. she never did get the dog though, i doubt she’d have been able to find a place to rent that would allow a huge dog like that.

    • David Harris

      10 buttons, Guss. There is a zero.

  • Alan Jones

    This was a great post. I have the ashes of 4 dogs (average age 15 years) and 3 cats(average age 18) they lived long lives in my house. The current 3 dogs and 2 cats are doing well all have been rescued because they were someone else’s problem. With a little love and time they know they were in the wrong home and now will live out their lives with good food and a roof over their heads. IF YOU CAN’T MAKE THE TIME FOR YOUR ANIMALS THEN DON’T GET ONE! I am getting up in years and the only pet I will adopt will be the old guys because they are the best friends ever!

  • Pebbles

    Every person that tries to dump their dog at a shelter should have to read this beforehand…It may not stop them but I hope it makes them feel something, even guilt.

  • jennifer

    this is great all people should read this before they are able to adopt an animal. especially the parts about animals growing up and getting old they are still your family not something you can throw away because the animal is old and not cute or playful as it was when you got it.

    • rescuerecover

      How would they know not to do that with a dog? Look at how many elderly people are “dumped” each year for no other reason than they are old and therefore a nuisance. If they would do that to their own father and/or mother or grandparents why would they even stop to think about an animal?

      I serve as a foster parent for a group. I also do some private rescue. When I lived in a mobile home community I was only allowed two small pets. So I kept two cats there. Last fall when two kittens needed to be rescued and bottle fed I braved the risk from my rental office and would have told them I was only watching over them for a few weeks. This was true because I was determined to find them homes when they were old enough. Two very loving families in separate parts of my state adopted them and they are still doing well even now. I made sure they not only wanted them but had the means to care for them.

      Monday I rescued a boxer/American staffordshire terrier mix from the county animal shelter in my area. I went to check on their low cost $5 rabies shots for my two puppies that I got since I moved in May. The dog chose me! I had just wanted to visit with their animals because they need socialization. However, Rex wouldn’t let me leave without him! It was like he peered through a window in my heart and straight through to my soul!

      We went to Petsmart later that evening and the whole staff there fell in love with him! I was able to rescue him for $15!!! They charge $65 but refund the $50 when you bring proof of spaying or neutering. So for $15 I rescued him (a trip for one to the movie theater costs more!). Rex came with a rabies shot and microchipping. Around here that was less than just the rabies shot to get him out. There is a low cost spay and neuter mobile unit that will arrive back at the animal shelter Friday a week from now. They will neuter him for $100. It also includes rabies (if needed), parvo-distemper shot and a pain shot. They offer other services at a very low cost also.

      After we got back home that evening Rex insisted on a short walk. So, despite my extremely aching feet, we did just that. I am still meeting my neighbors since I have only been here since May. Well, we met a very nice one who offered a crate (much needed and gratefully accepted). It turned out to be like new, excellent quality, and the correct size.

      Rex loves people. I mean absolutely loves people. We started out this afternoon by going through the CVS drive through and he got a Milkbone. We went to Lowes home improvement and they all enjoyed meeting him. I used a shopping cart and had him on a leash walking in pace with the cart through their extra wide aisles. He did excellent! He went up to absolutely everyone he met there. All of the employees I met said bring him back to see them anytime. I am hoping to train him to get used to noises well enough that I can bring him to nursing homes or elderly retirement homes. After leaving Lowes we went to Petsmart. He won over every person he met there too! He still needs to put on more weight (he was found wandering and half-starved as a stray) so all the employees throughout the store were offering him Milkbones (enough for almost half a box! lol). Both my front pockets were full when we left! His most favorite is freeze dried real chicken liver treats! He was so thrilled with it that the cashier dumped out her whole pouch for him and he ate it all! I am feeding him puppy food (dry and canned). He is around 9 months old.

      I know this is a very long post but that is because so much has happened in such a short time and Rex’s story deserves to be shared with everyone.

      He loves to cuddle and watch tv or go run around in my little fenced in back yard. He loves to play with my other animals. His most favorite thing is to be near me no matter what I am doing. He comes over to me and leans in. Then he looks up at me with those soulful eyes that just draw me in. That is the love and trust of one very beautiful rescue named Rex! It could be your story too but with a different dog and a different name.

      Please feel free to share this story!

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget my personal favorite–someone needs security and has no intention of socializing, loving, or properly caring for a dog. A DOG IS NOT A DOORBELL!

  • No Paws Left Behind.

    Reblogged this on No Paws Left Behind. and commented:
    I’ve never reblogged before but I thought this was certainly worth sharing!

  • Cat

    I really had someone tell me it was against their religion to spay/neuter their dogs. I was filling in at the front counter of our shelter while the clerk was at lunch. I laughed, I thought it was a new joke I hadn’t heard before.

  • xbridgeyx

    Reblogged this on Bridget Dean and commented:
    Couldn’t of put it better!

  • Pauline Rusinich

    I have one more for the Adoption agency… ALLOW ppl to adopt your pets and not have to fill out 8-10 page forms. #33 We will put u through a rigorous, invasion of your privacy, and then tell you u can’t adopt the old sick dog that no one wants but ME.

    • Karen Taylor

      The forms you fill out are NOT ‘invasion of privacy’. The shelter is trying to determine if this is the best fit for the dog you have in mind. There are many factors you may not be aware of, and it is the shelter staff’s job to find a home that the animal will be able to live out its entire life in – no more ‘returns’. We can’t simply hand out animals to everyone who comes in the door. Try to see this from the shelter’s point of view.

      • Nippersmom

        Unfortunately, there are a lot of “returns” to shelters despite this rigorous screening process because people just don’t bother to think through the ramifications of adopting a pet- especially very old or very young dogs, who may have health or training issues. Not to mention the dishonest scumbags who are actually adopting animals for fighting or to use as test subjects. There are reasons for these questions and investigations.

    • Anonymous

      Get over yourself! If you don’t have time to fill in an application you might not have time for a sick old dog either. Worse than euthanizing an animal is placing it in the wrong home because someone didn’t take into account its financial physical or emotional needs. If you want to be of any help you need to smarten up and stop fighting against the people who are trying to help these animals. If that was your attitude towards them Im not surprised you didn’t get the dog, there are enough jerks out there dumping animals that these people have to deal with, they certainly don’t need your attitude.

    • rumpydog

      Sadly that is a problem for some rescues.

    • JLizHazTheFacts

      You’ve got to be kidding. I filled out paper for 3 rescues and they were 3 pages maximum. I’m sorry the rescue wants to know if you have a landlord and if they have approved this pet. Do you even KNOW how many pets are dropped off because the landlord said to get rid of it? They want to check your house? Oh boohoo they want to know you’re not a hoarder and don’t have poisons all over your home that YOU didn’t even know was poison! Get over it, if you really want it then no amount of paperwork should deter you. Looks like you’re a petowner pf convenience too. Shocker.

  • LoveMyDarlingBluetick

    And then there’s this one (true story)… “I saw the story in the newspaper about the raid on the puppy mill and I thought it would be cool to have one of the puppies. However, now I’ve brought the puppy back to the city, I find it doesn’t “match” my Komondor (Mop Dog) when I take them both for walks and so I want to return it.”

    • apitome

      There’s no easy answer for a bad match, sadly it does happen that two dogs don’t get along, if it was a puppy mill dog you got there are many rescues that may work with you to rehome this puppy before you go to a shelter, you have to remember that once that responsibility is taken on you must follow through and do all you can to find a suitable replacement home, shelters are most often a death sentence for way too many dogs and cats in the USA and Canada.

      • LoveMyDarlingBluetick

        In the case mentioned, I was a foster home for the puppy, working with the Humane Society, and NOT the person who adopted the poor animal. This situation had nothing to do with the dogs not getting along. The person who adopted the puppy didn’t think the effect was esthetically pleasing when she walked her dogs together since her Mop Dog was obviously a purebred and the poor puppy-mill puppy was only a humble cross-breed. I only posted this because it is another example of human stupidity and disregard for the welfare of the animals of this world.

  • Kim

    I agree w/all except #10, that happened to me. I did not have the means to care for a large dog in my studio w/a newborn & fulltime job. The shelter told me what a horrible person i was, but i did not have any choice, truly.

    • Karen Taylor

      You had no choice? No family members, friends, or co-workers could take your dog? Did you advertise in local papers and at local vets? Did you research breed rescue organizations? There are many options other than a shelter. (And having a large dog in a studio apartment – especially while working full time – even without a baby – is not forward thinking, just sayin’….)

      • Nippersmom

        I doubt Kim did any of those things. After all, that’s the shelter’s job (just ask Mary Ann). I’m really tired of people making their animals pay for their own poor planning.

    • kk

      Kim, you certainly did have a choice. You had multiple choices. You chose to get a large dog. You chose to move to a studio. You chose to have a baby despite space and financial limitations. Then you chose to dump your responsibility towards your dog because you were too stupid to see the corner you were painting yourself onto, and too lazy and uncaring to work hard in order to honor your obligations to your dog. Now you want to play the ‘poor me’ card when your dog is the one paying the price for your selfishness and short-sightedness. You suck!

      • kk

        Oops, I see now that scenario #10 is a dead relative’s elderly pet, so it was not a pet of Kim’s. Wow, nice to turn away the dead relative’s best buddy at his time of greatest need. Kim could have found it a home with some effort, or euthanized the elderly dog at her own vet. But no, it was easier to dump at the shelter.

    • Anonymous

      You had no idea puppies grow and studios are small?

    • Natalie

      I agree with all but #10 as well. If I adopt an animal I will for sure love and care for it for its lifetime (have had my dog for 17 years) but I don’t feel responsible to adopt my relatives animals upon their deaths!

      • apitome

        That’s weird because I would! but then again I do admit that I love all their babies too, and I simply could not allow their pets to die because they did!

    • ironsizzle

      Did you consider giving up the baby as it didn’t fit your current lifestyle?

    • Alejandra Portela

      Should have taken the baby back to the hospital, the dog was in the apartment first!

  • Selmada

    There are many, too many, people who get a pet for the wrong reason or even those with the best intentions but not enough education on the subject. They end up wanting to ‘leave’ the animal at the shelter for many of the reasons above. While they should not have gotten the pet in the first place, their options now are what they are trying (the shelter), abandon on the side of the road, keep the animal and resent it (which will turn to at the least emotional neglect and at the worst abuse) or try to find a new home. Personally, if they didn’t know enough to get the pet for themselves, how do you expect them to ‘pick’ the right person for the next family. Take the animal at the shelter, lecture them or whatever, it wont matter, what matters is the safety of the animal.

    There are also those who get a pet with best intentions and enough education on the subject who then find themselves in the future with a life change they did not plan for, schedule or possibly even want, They are in a turmoil because of the change already. They love their dog/cat, who is not sick or ailing and has many great years left. They cry daily over the thought of not being able to care for their animal anymore. They spend days/weeks/as long as they can safely do so trying to find a new home. They exhaust all resources. They are miserable; they are torn apart. They reach out to a shelter for support to care for the animal until a new home can be found. They are mocked, ridiculed and lectured about how irresponsible they are how dare they get an animal and not be able to predict the future accurately.

    • kk

      If you worked in a shelter or rescue, you’d know the kind of guardian you describe is very infrequent. So many just cannot accept responsibility for their own role in the situation, and the lies are incessant. Like the lady who came into the pet store to our rescue event, and dumped off 3 six week old kittens that she “didn’t know” her cat had had “under the sofa”. No offer of funds to help care for them, or even shame for their flea covered, skin and bones condition. They turned out to be FELV+ kittens to top it all off. (Two made it and are still doing well.) Now what do you think are the odds that she got the poor mama fixed?

  • Cheri Burnett

    Agree with each and every one!

  • Anonymous

    Pets are forever not just till they grow up or old.I have a 30 year old horse,2 dogs & 2 cats they will be with me till they die.

  • Mary Ann

    I’m the odd woman out here. If shelters are not in business to deal with all of these issues, #1-#31, then why are they around? No matter how many animals you spay or neuter, no matter how much you educate, there will always be humans who give up their animals. But what if the shelters were different – they weren’t killing institutions. What if they tried to help #s 1-31 with their issues, maybe reducing the intake, and what if killing were taken off the menu. No Killing. What if the shelter had to come up with creative ways to SAVE these animals lives. Isn’t that really the solution? Not to continually bash the people who take their animals to shelters. What does this criticism solve? What does this list solve? How does that help the animal live and find a new home? Shouldn’t that be the focus?

    • apitome

      Amen Mary Ann! Sadly in way too many cases I will admit, and have a petition against shelters that sell dogs out the back doors to labs, to shelters that DO NOT advertise their charges, and do not do enough outreach before killing innocent animals, so you make a wonderful point! Thank you for your comment!

    • Nippersmom

      Mary Ann, most “shelters” are actually government run facilities. They have very limited resources and depend on volunteers to enable them to save as many animals as they do. They aren’t allowed to “reduce the intake” because they are required by law to accept animals brought to them, even if they are already at capacity. Shelters try to educate potential adopters as to the needs of the animals they are adopting and they work to educate the public about animal welfare. Many shelters require animals adopted from them to be spayed/neutered to try and reduce the number of homeless pets (and catch untold grief for that requirement). Are there bad shelters? Of course, just like there are bad examples of everything. But most shelters, and especially the volunteers who work with them, don’t want to euthanize animals. Unfortunately, when they have no more room, no more foster homes, the local rescues are at capacity, taxpayers refuse to provide more funding, and people insist on leaving their animals anyway, they really do run out of options. I “share” dozens of animals on facebook everyday, trying to find foster homes, rescues, or pledges that will enable rescues to board animals on death row. There are many dedicated people out there working tirelessly to try to connect abandoned animals with new homes. I’ve had as many as 12 dogs (I have 4 now ) and as many as 5 cats (currently 3)- all who have been rescues; most of whom were dumped by the side of the road or showed up starving on my doorstep. Unless you are actively doing something to help rehome these animals yourself, please be a little less judgmental of those who are.

      • Mary Ann

        Ok, Nippersmom, I was willing to have a conversation about this until your last line. Why are you assuming that I don’t help re-home animals? Why is it that people think that those of us who believe in a better way are doing NOTHING for animals? I have every right to be judgmental of the system of sheltering in this country. I have every right to despise the excuses that are given for killing animals. I have every right to be tired of the excuse that there is no choice. There are shelters all over this country that are making big changes. And I can guarantee that those shelter that are, would never post something like this article nor would they put this garbage on their answering machine. One of our local city shelters is now managed by a private group and they are working hard to change the way that thing are done despite the fact that this shelter was built in the early 70s and is a nightmare of a building. So, I will never believe that there is not a way to work around problems and find creative solutions. I choose to believe that we can make no kill shelters happen all over the country.

      • apitome

        Okay look, I am willing to entertain perspectives and thoughts on my posts but fighting back and forth on a my blog will not be tolerated, period and end of story! take it to another forum please!

      • Nippersmom

        Mary Ann, I apologize if you are in fact trying to help solve the problem. And I do agree that more can and needs to be done. Unfortunately, most of the people I hear/read complaining about how shelters should reduce intake/ all become no-kill/etc. have no understanding of the legal mandates many of them are under and assume all shelter workers don’t care about animals and are eager to euthanize as many as possible- while doing nothing to help themselves. I shouldn’t have painted you with that same brush without knowing you or your situation.

    • ironsizzle

      Unfortunately Mary Ann shelters are not government funded, rather rely on donations from those who care and typically aren’t considered “businesses”. There is not enough money to house the hundreds of thousands of animals thrown away on a regular basis and yes, the sick ones and sometimes the ones there the longest are euthanized. You should visit a local shelter sometime and ask some of these questions. It’s certainly not the party for animals that you must think it is. Shelters are a temporary home to provide animals a safe place to live and food until the volunteers can help them find a loving home. People who take an animal to a shelter that they promised to care for should be shamed. They should be fined for animal cruelty and publicly outed as a person without values, heartless and as irresponsible trash. The desire to give up and make your problems someone else’s is cowardly, lazy and entirely immature. It shows no perceivable positive human characteristics when you just dump the animal off instead of at the very least – finding it a new home. I’m curious why you think this behaviour should be condoned by society? Sadly I fear for us as seniors when we become an inconvenience. Where will we get dumped?

      • Nippersmom

        Thank you, Ironsizzle. I don’t know of any shelters that are businesses. Even those that are government funded are always underfunded and understaffed, reliant on generous volunteers who not only give of their time and love but often also donate food, toys, etc. as well. And the people who run the non-government shelters have to provide for all of the animals needs out of voluntary donations or their own pockets. I don’t know what world Mary Ann lives in, but she’s either extremely naive, appallingly self-absorbed, or both.

  • Reisa Stone

    I was volunteering at a shelter when a family came in to dump their old dog. They applied for a puppy the same day.

  • shel

    sorry kim, but you ALWAYS have a choice. you made a choice to bring it to an overburdened shelter when you could have re-homed it yourself. what’s it like to have a dog AND a child? that’s unheard of! must be sooo crazy. bet no one’s ever done that before!

  • Kristine

    You forgot

    Press 33 if you will SHOOT your pet dog, cat, horse, rabbit oh just insert any animal immediately if I don’t take them.

  • Angela

    As true as all of the above statements are and I agree with all of the ‘reasons’, there are also improvements that could be made by most animal “services” to HELP citizens too.

    Perhaps a proactive approach to why animals are being surrendered and other alternatives presented to these ‘irresponsible’ people might result in a different outcome. The first thing would be to NOT have to leave a message. Perhaps actually TALKING to someone at animal services would help those that are desperate. The link if permitted here offers other solutions to those who are about to surrender an animal.


  • Patti

    I am older, live alone, and I have 4 dogs and 2 cats, all recuses, and all came with issues that caused them to be considered “unadoptable”, and all were adopted as adults. I have been one of those volunteers you speak about. They are not disposable, however, at my age it is possible illness or injury could make it impossible for me to care for them. I have tried to make arrangements for that possibility. I do not want, and would not choose for them to be returned to a shelter, but I can see a circumstance where it could happen.

    • apitome

      I agree patty unfortunately, that is a very real possibility for many people and their pets, and I do wish I had all the answers. Thank you, all of you, who have added your thoughts the response has been amazing! Things like this inspire and often help force or create change, or at least this has been my hope all along in having this blog. To create positive change, not just for pit bulls but animals in need or discriminated against.

  • rumpydog

    It’s timely and it’s true. But here’s the thing: animal rescuers and advocates have been shaming people for years and it hasn’t worked. Maybe it’s time to stop playing the shame game and try a different tactic.

    • apitome

      Well Although I would agree some what, I will say that people should be ashamed! The only other tactic left in my mind is making people be present when their pets have to be euthanized, instead of getting to simply dump and run. Let them be the ones to have to take an animal that was five minutes ago wagging its tail, happy, a life cut short by their shortcomings and irresponsibility. Let them be the one to lift that dead body off a table and walk to a garbage can and dump it in the trash! Maybe then these idiots would get it and grow up!

  • tmg

    I’m realizing more and more every day that humans are the stupid ones, not the animals.

  • Michelle Segade

    #10 would be the ONLY case I would argue with. If I dont have a pet to begin with I certainly don’t want a spontaneous pet now that grandma has passed!

  • martie13

    I wish to God we didn’t have this issue to discuss, debate, or look in the eye. But unfortunately a long time ago in the distant past a group of animals that became domesticated became so irresistible to humans that we couldn’t get enough of them so we bred, and cross-bred, and didn’t think about the consequences down the road, until lo and behold we created an overpopulation of cute, cuddly, loving animals that we couldn’t care for. Now we are face to face with a problem that we created and because the human race is made up from many moral and ethical personalities only a fraction of us is equipped to see and meet the responsibilities of trying to deal with and hopefully fix it. Such an overwhelming undertaking needs vast amounts of resources, creativity, people, time, money…well, everything, just to get a handle on it. There will always be irresponsible people who will add to the problem. But there will always be us advocating for solutions.

  • peekablue

    Very nice blog. Adopt don’t shop and take full responsibility of your pets. The older they get the more they need you. They gave you unconditional love so now it’s your turn to give them the affection they need.
    Just sharing with you this. Please share too: http://peekablue.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/rehabilitating-your-rescued-dog/

  • Martha Jones

    Absolutely agree. Just one suggestion, last line needs especially instead of even.

  • Cee

    Yes, they likely have heard all these, but putting negativity on your answering machine would be bad customer service, no? If someone has a non-profit group, every caller could be a potential “customer” – someone who might be able to adopt, foster, donate or volunteer.

    If the Red Cross put something like “Press one if you’re calling because there was another disaster because your municipal officials allowed you to live or build in a floodplain…, ” what would YOUR impression of them be? Would that make you want to help out or run the other way?

    Can you imagine any other non-profit group outside of animal rescue putting this kind of info on their blog or website and expect the public to rush in to help them?

    There are often ways to turn things around and still save the lives of animals. Some calling with pet problems can be helped out so they can keep their pets. Some might be able to foster an animal, with assistance, or ask friends and relatives to help out some way until a transfer or new home can be arranged.

    It IS the responsible thing to seek help rather than abandoning an animal somewhere. It’s a big responsibility to be in a position to help people with their animals. Shelters and rescues need to build good relationships with the community so they look to them as examples and for advice.

    If a shelter or rescue needs ideas or assistance to meet these challenges, seek out others who are putting innovative programs in place so they can be copied.

    Badmouthing “customers” (the public) is bad customer service = fewer adoptions, fewer volunteers, fewer donations and fewer animals saved.

    • apitome

      I think you have completely missed the point.

      • Cee

        Is the point to save more lives, or make people feel better when they kill animals by shifting the blame elsewhere?

        “This press will connect you to the sounds of tears being
        shed by one of our volunteers who is holding a discarded old dog while the vet mercifully frees him from the grief of missing his family.”

        Do you want to put it on TV? Actually at least one “shelter” did exactly that – while a TV news crew was there . (http://yesbiscuit.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/fl-shelter-receives-visit-from-tv-news-crew-kills-puppy/)

        (Another killed a dog on TV. News video has been removed from site. Regressive attitudes will keep some shelters stuck in the past, blaming the public instead of finding out what successful communities are doing. Nice looking buildings don’t save lives when you pull stunts like killing a dog on the air instead of appealing to the public for assistance. Example: Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, http://bullmarketfrogs.com/blog/2011/07/killing-them-with-kindness/)

        The article you shared is something like what PETA would say to justify their killing of animals they acquire by “freeing” them from life and blaming others for their killing. They have admitted they take in some perfect, healthy, adoptable animals but kill them when they “can’t find them homes”. Pretty shameful considering their huge advertising budget compared to other smaller groups who do a better job at adoptions. It’s bizarre that a group claiming they support “rights” doesn’t support the first right – the right to live. All other rights after that are useless if the first one is not observed (a dead dog does not need protection from abuse or neglect). The human equivalent would be if Amnesty International supported political prisoners but called for killing homeless people.

        Why would anyone waste time getting people to witness the killing of adoptable pets when that precious media exposure can (and does) help get several pets adopted? Does that even make sense?

        Many people don’t even want to go look for their lost pets or adopt from places that kill pets or have terrible customer service. I don’t blame them.

        Is it more difficult to get some animals adopted? Yes. Good marketing, sales, customer service skills & more opportunities to adopt are needed.

        No matter the reason an animal ends up in a shelter, if someone in charge of adoptable animals refers to them as “discarded”, they should be educated on marketing or else removed from their position if they won’t change. Language matters. (Marketing and Public Relations Articles – http://www.maddiesfund.org/Maddies_Institute/Articles/Marketing_PR_Articles.html)

        (Why be hopeful and change? The homes are there for adoptable pets – http://www.maddiesfund.org/Maddies_Institute/Articles/The_Shelter_Pet_Project_By_the_Numbers.html)

        Look at successful communities and copy what they are doing to keep more pets in their homes, get more lost pets back home, keep feral cats out of shelters, get more animals adopted, more community involvement and support, etc.

        There will ALWAYS be a need to offer shelter (ie: A safe place) for pets. Stuff happens. Pets get lost. People die or get sick unexpectedly. There will always be a small percentage of irresponsible people. (I’ve dealt with some. I do my cursing in private and remind myself there are far more who DON’T think like that. I look for what else can be done in future situations.) If you think that things can’t change until “those people” change, then you will be waiting forever and it will mean more pets die.

        There is no point blaming the majority for problems caused by the minority. The ONLY thing you can change for sure is what YOU do, think and feel. Successful communities found THAT has made a huge difference on the number of lives they can save and get more people involved in helping, not negativity and playing the blame game.

        if the goal is to actually save lives and help the community, If you want change, put good compassionate, accountable leadership in place who believe it’s their duty to put life-saving programs and services in place.

        If you don’t want change, keep doing what you’re doing but don’t expect different results.

        If you change your attitude and find out how to save more lives, you will. Most people agree that pets are not disposable and deserve a chance to get adopted (Polls show 71 percent believe shelters should only be allowed to euthanize animals when they are too sick to be treated or too aggressive to be adopted). Taxpayers and donors deserve better,and so do animals in our communities. It’s not about playing blame games, but accepting the challenge to do what requires even more work than staying the same – change things. That is the point.

      • apitome

        Well I agree with some of what you said, Firstly I did not write the quote I shared it in hopes of waking people up, and I would hardly say, a minority, do you have any idea how many pets each year are dumped and NONE of those people stuck around to even hold the paw of the pet they so casually dumped! I whole heartedly believe they should be forced to be there, forced to see what their lack of responsibility and loyalty ends with.
        However that said, Thank you for your comment, they are always welcome here!

    • Mary Ann

      Love what you said. Thank you.

  • Cee

    This independent blog is tracking communities with a live release rate for shelter animals that achieve 90 percent or better, so they are likely putting many similar life-saving programs and services in place – http://www.OutTheFrontDoor.com

  • Jan Baker

    Yes I must tell our pounds about it….good one…it’s the people that should be locked up…not the dogs…

  • Stephen

    Great blog, but I disagree entirely with point 10. Some choose not to have a pet on account of long work hours, a busy social schedule or obligations beyond those of your typical household. They have acted responsibly by excluding pets from a home where those pets would not receive necessary love and attention.

    Surely this is to be commended, as opposed to ridiculed? Are we no longer able to decide for ourselves whether our homes will house a pet, simply because the circumstances you describe have, in your eyes, forced us to inherit obligations that we never contemplated or agreed to?

    You can’t complain about animals being dumped on a rescue/shelter doorstep, while simultaneously shaming relatives into accepting the same fate.

    • apitome

      I couldn’t disagree more! The key is always “BEFORE” you take on a pet, or inherited charge you have a responsibility to, and must be 100% sure you are ready, willing, and able to make such a commitment. Viewing animals as disposable possessions rather than beings is a disgustingly human trait in my oppinion. Anyone that takes on a pet or even child for that matter had bloody well better be prepared for forever! If not, if you decide to dump do so and then dump an animal, confusing it, causing it great mental anguish and distress, well yes, I would say in that case they should be ridiculed if not held 100% accountable for finding that pet the loving and for EVER home they deserve and should have had all along!
      but thank for your input.

  • Stephen

    Apitome, you clearly didn’t read my post.

    I am talking about households that have NEVER adopted a pet on account of their lifestyle, but who are now being pressured to take on the pet of a deceased relative (your point 10).

    Persons who have never adopted a pet, and who have never wished to do so on account of the lives they lead, should not be pressured into doing so simply because circumstances entirely beyond their control leave someone else’s pet without a home.

    Point 10 removes the right of a pet-free household to choose whether to adopt or not. Shaming people in this fashion is counter-productive.

    • bboymskitty

      I guess there will always be an extreme one way and an extreme another. Seems that #10 has gotten a lot of looking at. This is definitely a questionable on the list. And probably wouldn’t even be on the list if all the others weren’t on the list and a problem. There would then be room for those animals that were from a home where the owner deceased and family members could not take on the responsibility of the deceased pets. The ‘deceased’ should have made provisions. Just like individuals make provisions for their children. I honestly would not be able to take on the two dogs my brother and his wife has if something happened to them. I live in an apartment, 1 bedroom, and I have two cats of my own. They have a large golden retriever and a smaller dog. I would try to find good homes for them but if I couldn’t then what to do? I’m not quite understanding why people were attacking Kim, for the negligence of the deceased owner to make some sort of accommodation if something might happen. So lets work on reducing the amount of litters, by spaying/neutering. So that the shelters can be there for what they were there for in the beginning.

  • bboymskitty

    Reblogged this on Babyboy And Ms Kitty and commented:
    So True

  • Angels 4 Paws Rescue

    How about just telling them that their dear, beloved pet will be executed in 3-7 days by gassing, heartstick, or maybe in a humane manner? If their pet is so loved, is this what they really choose for them? People make me so ill. I get calls every single day from people who “just want me to help them find good homes for my dogs”. Or “I want somebody to come pick up my dog today”, as was mentioned above. It’s no wonder I like animals more than humans.

    • apitome

      You and me both Angels! Thanks for commenting and reading! I have a new post coming soon I need rescues willing to be interviewed for an essay in my dog training class, if you are interested please let me know I would be very interested in your point of view!
      Again… THANKS!

  • Stephen

    Four days later, and my comment is still awaiting moderation? Sounds like you don’t like entertaining valid points that undermine your own position. Not much of a blog, if you are unwilling to accept constructive criticism.

    • apitome

      Not at all Stephen, frankly I am in school for dog training right now while going through a very messy divorce as well as the loss of a very dear friend. Some things take priority over my blog, sad but true, so I am very sorry if you felt four days was too long to share you thoughts. Moderation? yes absolutely it takes me sometimes an entire day to delete all the spam and hackers attempting to link their scams to my blog… very sorry!

  • James Darrough

    My wife and I adopted three dogs in the last 20 years. One was Missy, an American Eskimo (not sure how full blooded) that we loved for 16 years and had to be euthanized due to dementia and (I think) a stroke. Two was Schlogger, a pure-bred (Pet Quality whatever that is) Golden Retriever who was left with us when a family member had to leave to go back to my ex and could not care for him . We loved him for many, many years until last year when he succumbed to cancer. Three was Skippy, my wife’s GrandMa’s dog (a Yorkie) who had bad bladder stones and was on special food for the 10 years we had him. He went through two surgeries to remove stones, and the last incident ended up in his being euthanized (Vet thought he would not survive). We also have a cat who is my pal and who is about 16 now. Kids found him as a kitten, abandoned by some unfeeling asshole on the side of the road. He has had several “roto-rootings” for bad megacolon, and most recently had a colon resection which freed him from the icky medicines he had to take twice a day for 10 years. We have sepnt well over $10,000.00 caring for these animals. We now have a pure-bread Doxie we bought from a local breeder who is the joy of our lives, and who WILL LIVE a LONG and HEALTHY LIFE. We take our animals’ welfare seriously, NO MATTER WHAT.

    Moral of the story: It may be fun to own a dog or cat, but when you are living hand-to-mouth or going to school (aka COLLEGE), abstain. You can’t afford to have an animal when you can’t afford to eat.

    • Mellon

      Generally, yes, your advice would be right. Don’t get a pet if you can’t afford it. But there are exceptions, like myself. I’ve had my cat for 15 years, I got her in high school when she was 4 months old. She’s been diabetic for the past 9 years, which is no picnic (nor is it cheap). Now, I’m a single lady with rent, bills, car payments, insurance and the like. I work 2 jobs and barely have any money left over. The logical person would say I sure as hell can’t afford this pet.

      However, when I first got this cat, I vowed I would do anything I had to, to ensure her health and happiness and that’s what I’ve done. I’d decided to make sacrifices….no vacations, turning down offers to go out so I can be home to give her insulin on time, no cable TV or landline, no shopping sprees or big-ticket purchases. I’d love a remote starter on my car, Calgary winters are hideous! But any extra money goes to her supplies and savings in case of vet emergencies (of which I’ve had a few).

      I’d sell my car first before I get rid of my best friend. Sure, my groceries are minimal but when I get to cuddle with my old girl who still acts like a kitten, it’s so worth it. People need to realize that they have to be in it for the long run, not ‘until they get bored.’

  • Mary B

    I made provisions for my two pugs when I made a will last year, before having surgery. I couldn’t imagine my executor, who is a cat owner, finding a home in order for the pugs to remain together. They weren’t raised together. I got my male from a rescue as a baby puppy, I adopted/rescued the female via Facebook …. she was in four houses in two days until I brought her HOME. They have allergies and other medical needs so I asked a gal who used to breed and show pugs if she would consider being their new mom, if something were to happen to me. She was honored to be asked and agreed to be named in my will. I of course left part of my estate to her for their future care. I wonder how many people do this? I’ve never spoken with anyone else who has but I hope I’m not ‘that’ unique. I am disabled but without my dog(s) I would be even more isolated, and depressed. Vet costs, for unexpected medical issues, have me financially strapped every month now but I cannot fathom relinquishing my ‘babies’ until I have sold everything unnecessary in my home and life. I wish vets would help disabled people with costs as they do with rescues and shelters. My doctor would verify that the dogs are therapy and vital to my well-being, does anyone know if this is a possibility with veterinarians? I was able to afford the dogs when I rescued them but their unknown-at-the-time allergies (special food) and her eye issues and meds have made my ‘budget’ an oxymoron. Somehow we get by but it is added stress not knowing how that will happen, at times. Thank you to all of the volunteers and rescues and shelters for all that you do for the precious animals. I donate items – I picked up baby cribs from three different places and delivered them to our local shelter this month, so the dogs don’t have to sleep on the concrete floor – but I don’t have cash to donate. Thank you for any advice.

    • apitome

      Hi Mary,
      I do know of a couple of options for you;
      Firstly you can get pet insurance (some are more costly than others but “Trupanion” reimburses a fair bit of money I suggest calling them first as mix breeds can be less to insure.
      Second call around to some vets offices but always check with local SPCA’s sometimes they can refer you to special clinics such as free spay and neuter, what have you. Also try the disability association nearest you they may have more resources available to you.
      I have also made arrangements for my dog but I think many people do not think about it, just like many people don’t have wills etc., It is sad though, I would never let my mothers dog end up in a shelter! Thank you very much for your comments they are always welcome here!

    • Nippersmom

      Mary B, I don’t have a lot to add to Apitome’s excellent suggestions. Some areas do have pet “food banks” to help people in financial distress care for their pets; you might check with your local humane society. Thank you for reminding all of us that we need to make arrangements for our pets in the event something happens to us. My husband and I are both in apparent good health, but accidents do happen.

  • Michelle

    Ok I know I am going to get bashed but I am going to say this anyway. There are a lot of judgemental people here. I do volunteer extensively in a shelter environment and there are way too many people using all the stupid excuses listed above that makes you want to hit them. But there are also shelters that are designed to operate as adoption centers as well as a place for strays.

    And there are life situations that come up that are legitimate reasons for a good caring pet owner to surrender a pet to a reputable rescue. What about a military person who was called to active duty and he previously arrange on duty pet care backed out at the last minute. Or the woman fleeing an abusive relationship to a shelter who does not want to leave the animals with the abuser. Or the parents that lost their home to foreclosure and have 30 days to get out and have to chose between non pet friendly apartments or being on the street with their children. Or the senior age owner whose lungs have failed and can no longer tolerate having cat hair around and whose family members have already tried for over 6 months to intergrate the cat into their home but it fights constantly with their cats.

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree that the majority of people bringing pets to a shelter are jerks who just don’t care enough about their pets. But I refuse to allow their stupidity to destroy my compassion towards people as well as animals.

    So even when I hold one of my foster kittens that is weak and barely clinging to life because it was dumped on the side of the road, I try to keep in mind that sometimes the most humane thing that a pet owner can do for a pet they can not provide care for is to bring it to a rescue and give it a chance to find a new home even if it is not with them. So, rant, rail, cry and get angry but don’t let this hard work we do make you lose your compassion for people and their animals. (by the way every single one of the surrender scenarios actually happened at my shelter). Ok- let the bashing begin!

    • apitome

      Michelle, I have no intention of “bashing” you, you make valid points, I am not the author of this, but I did share it because I firmly believe there are far more shitty reasons to dump a pet than good ones. PACT for animals has a military foster program, but that doesn’t mean it can help everyone. There are millions of reasons that people surrender pets however NONE of them cut the mustard for me and I will tell you why, we are the guardians of these precious souls, we made them “ours” through years and years of domestication and though I get things “happen” its just an excuse for negating responsibility and handing it over to shelters and animal control to deal with, NONE, or at best very, very few of these people contacted rescues prior to the “dump” so I feel they should feel shame, they should be called to task, and they should feel like jerks for it, if they don’t do EVERYTHING in their power to find a suitable replacement home. Would they as easily give up a child? I think not, and for me at least there in lies the problem. As I say I do agree and its a long issue that can be debated for a long time to come. Each one of us has our own moral code to follow, mine consists of doing whatever it takes to keep my family together, and I have been placed in some pretty harsh times, I can only speak for myself when I say, those pets are still with me because I loved them enough to fight to keep them, all pets should be so lucky… sadly most are not, but I like the things you said and you do in fact have many valid points for people to consider so thank you very much for sharing and your comments are always welcome here! Thank you for all you do!

      • ziege19

        From your response I see that you feel that it is GOOD to make people feel bad about surrendering pets.

        Well, let me tell you. You have no idea what has gone on in people’s lives leading them to that decision. Many people give up bets because they CAN’T provide a good environment. I’ve been put in the position twice of having to find homes for animals that were left to me to care for. And I know of someone else who adopted a special needs dog from a shelter when they COULD provide a proper home for the dog, but later were unable to provide for this dog due to a catastrophic injury to the husband who wound up paralyzed.

        People can’t predict the future when the adopt pets. If you want a world in which every pet owner MUST be 1000% ABSOLUTELY SURE that NOTHING will EVER prevent them from caring for a pet, well you’re asking for a world in which no one has pets.

        You just want to judge people. If this was about the animals, you wouldn’t try to make people feel like “jerks” for seeking a shelter or rescue, because by doing that all you are doing is discouraging them from trying, which only leads to abandonment or even worse. If you *really* have the best interests of animals at heart, it should be “no questions asked, no judgement, bring us your unwanted pets.”

      • apitome

        Again I must say I am NOT the author of that post, however I do agree with 99% of it. Anyone that thinks there are “unforeseen events” around surrendering, I’m sorry but I’m calling BULLSHIT on that! I have had a lot of catastrophic things/events happen in my life too, the difference is to me commitment means 100% all the time! The same for my kids and pets period! I wouldn’t give up my kids easily or if something happened to me, and I wouldn’t give up my pets either, anyone that does is using life as a cop out for irresponsibility. If you were “Left to care” for animals then someone else left their responsibility on your doorstep, and you took it on! As for injuries, please I know people that have also suffered and they didn’t ditch their pets. I am not trying to make people feel like jerks, although they should… I am trying to make people GET the gravity of pet guardianship PERIOD! So my dear you can sit back and judge me for judging them all you want, I see this garbage, and all the pathetic excuses people come up with, all day every day and NONE of them cut the mustard! I wouldn’t call having the animals best interests at heart by asking no questions and having no judgements, I call that a free dump! I have personally watched these so called shelters and rescues adopt their charges out to almost anyone, three dogs ended up with a hoarder, job well done their gang! great home checks and fact finding on that one! I digress, perhaps you should spend a day at a shelter lady and then tell me how we should be less harsh on people!
        However thank you for your comment, I may not agree but you had something to say, and now you’ve done that, have a good day!

  • Shana

    Reblogged this on The Rubenesque Hippo and commented:
    A rescue friend posted this to Facebook today, and it just about made my cry. This is my life to a small degree. Trying to explain to people why I can’t save THEIR dog this time. Why that dog had to be euthanized instead of that one, and why I feel so strongly about backyard breeders and people who MUST have only pure bred pups for their precious monsterkin to ignore in the backyard. I can’t even image how hard it is to be at the heart of a rescue. I am only on the edges of several GREAT ones here in Texas and it’s tough on me!! Don’t be afraid of telling people what you think when you hear them talk about buying a puppy or breeding little Fifi “Just One TIME”…Don’t be afraid to tell people the truth.

  • purplegr3mlin

    Reblogged this on Through the Looking Glass and commented:
    This is exactly it…

  • badcat

    OK, I love the TAD message and get the point. It would be a good joke, if it hadnt been for so many shelter workers having to hear all that so often, which is a tragedy.

    I also want pets to be safe, happy, sheltered and taken care for forever. I am doing all that is my power to ensure they are in a loving home till end of their days and I hate irresponsible owners and above all puppy-mills.

    Yes, dropping off a pet at a shelter, because someone got bored of it, sucks. It is a way too convenient and often used first solution by many people who should be truly ashamed of themselves and most likely arent.
    I am sure the list of their poor excuses is endless. They mess up and expect the shelters to clean it up. That is surely not OK.

    On the other hand, it does take at least some thought and guts to go to the shelter with the pets compared to the other options. These people didnt make much effort, but at least a some. Perhaps it would make sense, if such owner sould have to pay some money to the shelter (for petsitting). But why condemn them?
    Other people just throw pets out in the open, leave them behind when moving away, torture or kill them. All the people capable of doing things listed in the last sentence should be harshly punished.

    All other folks should stick together to find the best solution and homes for as many pets as possible.
    Why put all people in the same bag?

    Inheriting a pet is a tough nut to crack, especially for people who either really can not have pets for serious reasons (health, finances,landlord, etc.),or simply are not being able to provide for the pet properly. None of us walked the path in the shoes of the other person to be able to say, what is trying their best. Maybe from their perspective they did. Especially serious illness and long-term financial problems may force even the best pet owners to give the pets up. Why beat up such owner? Isnt he/she suffering and punished enough by having the problems and being forced to give up his/her buddies?

    Also, why were people who care for strays attacked during these discussions? Is someone a bad person for feeding stray cats in the neighborhood and not taking them home (if unable to)? Should they simply overlook those creatures then?

    Or at times when someone can not even afford own food and medication, why condemn him/her for not having his/her pet neutered?

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