Unwanted Pet–What Do I Do?

Yesterday, a news story broke about six, day old, kittens being left in a cooler and found in Surrey, still with their umbilical cords attached. They were left exposed to the heat, dehydrated, and without their momma for nutrition and care. The SPCA has said that had they not been discovered they would have died within hours. I’m sure the SPCA is in need of donations for the special formula that will be required to feed these babies, but more than that they need leads to track down the sick mofo that did this.

Two of the six kittens, likely only a few days old, that were abandoned in a camping cooler on a Surrey street. They have been taken in by the SPCA.

The reason for this post isn’t actually about these kittens, mainly its intention is to bring awareness on how to do the right thing when you need to, or want to, give up a pet that you no longer want. If you find yourself in the position where you have no love for the pets in your home, you cat had a litter of oopsies, or you can no longer take care of your beloved pet, your pet (wanted or unwanted) depends on you to protect them when you can no longer take care of them. It is your social responsibility to make sure that you make the best decision for your pet for their future.

Firstly, people should know that shelters and rescues were not created as a dumping ground for irresponsible people who don’t want the pet that has been placed in their care. They were intended to help strays and abused animals find recovery and safety within a new home.

The second thing people should be aware of is roughly only 25% of all animals in shelters are adopted..the rest are euthanized. Senior animals have a very low adoption rate, and if they are cranky in their old age then that small percentage falls to an even smaller percentage.

People should ask themselves, “Am I getting rid of my pet because I don’t want it,” or, “Am I giving up my pet because I can no longer give it the proper care and attention it deserves?”

The 10 most common reasons for people wanting to get rid of a pet are:

  1. We just got a new baby!
  2. We have allergies
  3. Dominance or marking behaviors
  4. We’re moving!
  5. Litterbox or house breaking problems
  6. Aggression
  7. Our old pet doesn’t get along with our new pet
  8. Destructiveness in the house
  9. I’m elderly and unable to care for my pet
  10. We don’ have enough time for our pet

There are many things you can do to ensure you are giving up a pet you dislike, or a pet you deeply love, a better chance in the future. Responsible breeders and rescues may be able to offer you help should you need to rehome your pet. CALL or visit the person(s) you adopted/bought your pet from and ask for help/advice. The next think you need to do is GET REAL. Is your pet adoptable? You need to be aware that a dog over 10 is generally much less adoptable than a 4 year old with 6+ years left in it. Is your dog un-kept, needs grooming, or has a bad behavior problem. Easy things like having your pet groomed or having a vet check prior to re-homing will greatly increase it’s chance of finding a new home. You should also NEVER re-home a pet that is intact. PLEASE SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS. If you can’t afford this, there are MANY different programs and places that will HELP you do this. Just a note to add to this overall subject, very young kittens being given up to a shelter should be left at the shelter with their mother until their can be weaned from her. The shelter will allow you to have the female back if you would still like to keep her.  If you choose to use an advertising media to re-home your pet, make and ad that will give them the best chance of an amazing future.

Example of a bad ad:

“Free to good home, 10 year old black labrador”.

Example of a GOOD ad:

“Adult black labrador, sweet, gentle, and loves children is seeking a new home with no other pets and a fenced yard. Has had a vet check and grooming recently. $50 please contact Jane Doe at 555-5555”

You need to outline what your pet needs in a home, or what is important for you. Do you care if they go to an apartment or do you want them to go to a large home with a yard? Is your dog good with other pets or children under a certain age? NEVER say “free to good home”. Free opens the doors to brokers, puppy millers, or bad owners. If someone can’t afford a small adoption fee for your pet they probably can’t afford your pet anyways.Adoption won’t happen over night, sometimes it can take a month, so have enough respect for your pet not to give up on them. You can also contact GOOD friends on facebook to see if they’d like to give your pet a new home. DON’T give your pet to the first person that calls in. Interview them, ask them questions like:

“Where do you live, what is your name and phone number?” If something ever happens to your pet you know who to contact.

“Does your strata, landlord, or spouse approve of you having a pet?”

“Do you have any other pets or any children? How old?”

“Have you had a pet before, how long did you have them for?”

“Where will this pet spend most of it’s time, how long will it be alone for during the day?”

“Do you have a fenced yard, if not do you lives close to any parks, how much exercise can you give the pet?”

“What kind of pet are you looking for?”

GET REFERENCES, ask them for their vet’s phone number or for two friends or co-workers numbers.

If you decide this person calling in seems to be a good match, VISIT THEIR HOME. Make sure they are who they say they are. If you are physically unable to do so, ask someone for help. Tell them your expectations and ask them to do a home-check for you. Allow the new person to meet your pet and spend some time with them. If in a day or two they still want your pet–GREAT. Supply them with the pet’s vet records, the name and phone number of your vet, your name and phone number, instructions on any special dietary or medicinal needs, and inform them of any identification on the dog (microchil #, tattoo #, etc). Inform them that any pet going into a new home will have an adjustment period and should it not work out to CONTACT you. After they have had their first few days or first week with the pet call them to see how things are going–it’s the least you can do.

And just know that you have done your best for the future of your pet, and you gave them a better shot at a great life rather than dumping them in a cooler on the side of the road.

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