Rehoming Your Pet?
In the early months of coronavirus lockdowns, a lot of people found themselves with extra time at home so they welcomed a dog or cat into their family. But unfortunately, with lockdown restrictions lifted, children headed back to school and many employees headed back to work, lots of people are surrendering and rehoming their “pandemic pets”.
Various animal shelters across the US are reporting increased rates of people surrendering their dogs and cats this summer. The pet abandonment statistics are quite shocking, but if you did get a pet during the pandemic that you can no longer handle, there is an ethical way to go about rehoming your pet.
Why are people returning pandemic pets?
There are many reasons people surrender their dogs and cats — and pandemic restrictions lifting is a key reason for pet returns this year.
For instance, many people who have returned animals to the shelter over the past few months said that they can no longer keep their animals because of financial aspects, such as job losses.
The adoption process looked a lot different early in the pandemic since many shelters were temporarily closed to visitors, who had to adopt animals without getting to do a traditional in-person visit first. Not having gotten to properly get to know a dog or cat before taking them home could have made for a few incompatible matches.
Many people are now returning to offices and taking vacations, and subsequently realizing a dog doesn’t fit into their new social lifestyles. A lot of people bought puppies very early on in the pandemic. Those puppies have grown into adult dogs now and some of those behaviours may become a little bit more challenging now. People may be thinking now that it’s getting too difficult.
Sometimes people don’t really think through or understand how serious a commitment it is to take care of a life, whether it’s a dog or cat, and that stress is too much for them, so they return the pet.
Surrendering dogs and cats will be stressful for the animals.
It’s important to remember that dogs and cats are living beings who want to experience love, family, and security just like humans do. Surrenders can be really difficult on the pet, who does not understand why their family has suddenly left them and handed them over to a shelter.
It is very hard for the dogs and cats who get returned. They get used to a routine pretty quickly, they get used to the family, they get used to their space. To be brought to a new place, typically in a carrier or put into a crate, and to have their leash, their collar, their ID tag removed and to watch their humans walk away from them is very stressful Many times they go to a brand new home with new people, new canines and / or felines, new routines, etc. if they are lucky enough to be placed with a foster family. All of this is really scary for them.
Not only are surrenders hard for the animals, but they also put additional strain on the shelters, which need more resources such as money, food, space, volunteers, foster parents, and more, for each animal they take in.
How to go about rehoming your pet respectfully
If you or someone you know is having issues with their pet and is considering rehoming them, there are a few ways to make the process more respectful to the pet.
Before rehoming, consider hiring a trainer if your pet’s behavior is part of the reason you don’t want them anymore. Additionally, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recommends bringing pets with behavioral issues to the vet to see if a medical problem is causing the behavior.
If the issue is that you’ve returned to your office and cannot afford a dog walker, ask your boss if you can bring your pet to work, or consider going home at lunch to walk your dog.
If keeping your dog or cat is not an option for you, HSUS recommends working to rehome your pet on your own by posting flyers around town, posting on social media, and talking to your neighbors, family and friends. Surrendering your pet to a shelter or rescue group should be a last resort. However, if you have exhausted all other options and still need to rehome your pet, consider donating to the organization as a thank you. Also, make sure it’s a no-kill shelter, as euthanizing a perfectly healthy animal would be heartbreaking. Here’s a list of some of our local shelters near Elk Grove
To avoid having to rehome a pet, make sure to do all the necessary research and budget projections before welcoming a pet into your family to make sure you are prepared to handle and love the animal for the rest of their life. If you need a daily dog walker, please contact Karla’s Pet Care, LLC. We can help ensure your dog gets the exercise they need and your cat gets the attention they deserve do you don’t need to make the difficult decision of rehoming your pet.