Surrendering a Dog to a Shelter

A "friend" that I've known for over 10 years is now looking to rehome her second or third dog within a year. The other one I'm sure of nipped at her kids, so that dog was rehomed. This one is a 6-month-old boxer puppy, who digs, chews, and jumps. Last week, she asked for training suggestions. This weekend, she posted that her "heart is breaking," but they need to rehome the dog, because he digs holes in the yard and keeps chewing things, from the sofa to the walls to his bedding.

It's a puppy!!! Puppies chew, puppies dig, puppies jump, because they don't know not to do that! They need training and exercise! Boxers, when bored or not given enough exercise, dig and chew. Add both together, and you get what she's experiencing.

I first tried suggesting that she go through rescues, if she's determined not to try to keep the dog. Then, when I couldn't sleep last night, because I was that upset over it, I felt the need to really share my opinion.

A friend suggested I be gentle with this friend... I generally fail at being gentle, as some of you know... "Dogs need schedules and routines. Yard time doesn't equal attention and exercise necessarily. You cannot give a dog two days of exercise and expect it to last a week. How is he getting out of his kennel? I have a Houdini here, and when she must be crated in a crate we know she can escape, we use zip ties and/or padlocks to keep her in the crate while we are gone.** How is giving him away any different from letting someone steal him, other than in this case, you get to do a screening of sorts? You can't control what happens if they get tired of his behavior.

I don't know if you adopted Iwo from a shelter, bought him from a breeder, or bought him from someone selling dogs on craigslist or some such. I will caution that if you adopted him from a shelter or bought him from a reputable breeder, before you do anything, you need to check your contract and make sure you can give him away without returning him to the shelter or breeder. In many cases, you are required to give the dog back to the shelter or breeder. In shelter cases, some will simply kill the dog as an owner surrender, figuring it is unadoptable. Even some rescues will do that, because there are millions of healthy, adoptable dogs in shelters, that some rescues figure it's better to pull those and try to place those than place a dog that's been returned by an owner for various behavior habits.

I will say this as nicely as I possibly can, knowing that every day, dogs end up at shelters and are killed because of situations like this. I will try to be as nice as I can, keeping in mind that week in and week out, I drive and monitor transports for dogs who were pulled from high-kill shelters down south, some literally minutes before they were to be killed, because owners surrendered them or didn't care enough to take care of them. Every day, on my news feed, I see dogs in shelters whose time is up, and they will be killed within 24 hours, simply because the shelter doesn't have space for the dogs coming in that day. So, before you get mad at me for saying this, keep in mind that every day, people take dogs to shelters and say, "My heart is breaking, but we need to get rid of our dog. He's a good dog. You'll find a home for him without a problem." You know what happens to most of those dogs? They die in the shelter, wondering why their people left them there. If they are lucky, they get a needle slipped into a vein. If they aren't, they get a needle rammed into their heart, or they get thrown in a gas chamber. That's the reality of getting rid of a dog.

This is the second dog you're getting rid of now in a year or so, right? If you cannot put in the time, effort, and money to train a dog, especially a high energy and high maintenance dog like a boxer, do future dogs a favor and don't own a dog."

**Cobaka, especially when she was younger, loved to try to escape from things. I swear, she's triple-jointed, as she's escaped from harnesses, she's escaped from leashes, collars, multiple crates, etc. So, yes, I've zip-tied crates closed to keep her in a crate while we were gone for a few hours. Now, mind you, when she wants to be in her crate, she goes in there herself and stays there for quite a while.

So, please, if you are thinking of surrendering a dog to a shelter, stop for a minute and realize that, in most cases, your dog will DIE in that shelter. If you absolutely cannot keep your dog, find a rescue for the dog. If you cannot find a rescue, create your own adoption contract, conduct a home visit, check references, etc., and make it part of your adoption contract that if the person cannot keep your dog, they MUST return the dog to you.

Not doing that virtually sentences your dog to death. Your dog wouldn't do that to you, why would you do that to your dog?

If you find you are unable to give your dog the time, training, and exercise it needs, do all dogs a favor and after you surrender that dog, don't get another dog. Get a fish... They don't require much work or money.


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