Friday, March 8, 2013

Pet Owners in Crisis

It’s a scenario that happens far more often than anyone would like. For whatever reason—personal, lifestyle-related, or something else, pets are surrendered to Animal Friends every day.

The reasons for surrendering a pet vary. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), there are five primary reasons for pet surrenders: pet behavior changes, family allergies, changes in the family constellation (including divorce or the addition of a new family member), relocation and financial difficulties. Many pet owners find themselves in such a crisis that they find that they must surrender their pet. Although other options may exist, many are unaware of the alternatives to giving up a pet.

The crisis of animals without homes is nationwide, and shelters across the country are pressed to find humane solutions. But, solutions can be easier to find that many pet owners realize.

Pet owners who are troubled by a canine behavior problem can usually benefit by seeking the assistance of reputable trainers. Animal Friends offers training sessions and obedience classes that address a wide range of challenges, from basic manners to specific behavior problems. An advantage of attending an obedience class with your pet is the potential for camaraderie with others in a similar situation. To learn more about Animal Friends’ obedience classes, call 412.847.7071.

Sometimes a cat, dog or rabbit comes into the house and a member of the family begins to sniffle and sneeze. Many allergists now know that if a doctor tells a mild to moderate allergy sufferer to get rid of the pet, the patient may keep the pet and get rid of the doctor! Allergists and animal welfare associations alike recommend that the animal lover begin to work towards a solution by minimizing exposure to allergies. Hypoallergenic pillowcases and bedding are available to reduce distress from allergens, and washing sheets in hot water can lead to relief. Brushing your pet outside while wearing a mask will minimize shedding and the release of dander in the house. The allergy sufferer should not sleep with the pet, and his or her bedroom can be kept off limits to the pet.  Hardwood floors and washable throw rugs can replace wall-to-wall carpet. Using HEPA air cleaners, available at home stores such as Lowes and Home Depot, can reduce the presence of allergens in the house. Finally, the allergy sufferer may benefit from immunotherapy or allergy shots to reduce reactions to allergens such as animal dander. Of course, you will want to consult your doctor regarding any of these suggestions.

Sometimes parents feel that they must give up their pet when a new baby is born. It’s important to remember that new families are not alone when trying to fit their pet into a changing family constellation. This is a situation that should be carefully considered, as many pets prove to be more adaptable than their owners expect. The folks at Animal Friends as well as other agencies in the community can offer great advice to help the pet fit into a changing family.

Changes in our lives sometimes necessitate a move. Prior to giving up a pet, investigate safe and cost-effective strategies for moving a pet along with you. Pet-friendly apartments are becoming easier and easier to find. Often, a landlord will allow a pet with a reasonable pet deposit. Major cities often have agencies which will help a pet owner find pet-friendly housing. 

In many cases, pet owners have several options besides surrendering the pet who has been with them through thick and thin. Of course, there will still be situations in which keeping a pet is not possible. We hope, however, that those who must consider surrendering their pets will know that they are not alone and that the staff at Animal Friends can point them towards resources that can help.



  1. I need to find a foster home for six months for a cat that I am taking care of. Can anyone help?

  2. Informative article, just what I was looking for. Thank you so much for taking the time for you personally to share such a nice info.
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  3. My 3 year old was diagnosed with autism and the cats are really bothering him. They are brothers a year old and I must give them up NOW I don't want to take them to a kill shelter it not their fault please help me!

  4. Hi can someone help me im in the process of surrendering my pets and i been coping ok with it until today. Im in real bad need of suport with my emotions and dont know who to reach out to. Any suggestions please.

    1. I placed my dog in emergency placement due to malicious vandalism of my home inside and out. I surrendered him due to safety reasons. I am missing him so but he couldn't even go outside without sick neighbors releasing him from his lead. Numerous police reports have gone uninvestigated and his safety was priority. Love you Milo.

  5. I have a 9 year old grey cat she small, though. I am moving across the street from my house and I'm not allowed to have pets in there. She's been with through thick n thin. I got her for my daughter, who then had a go with her dad so I promised I would take care of her. now I have to give her up this is the 3rd or 4th hardest thing ive ever had to do in my life because I keep crying it hurts so bad. So if anybody knows anything or would like a cat she does need a spade, I didn't have the money to do it like I said I been on my own. I'm not alloud to work so it's really hard right now. but she's inside cats she's really good you just got to give her time and space until comes you and she will i promise or even work with you with her, dont matter. I'll do anything. Sorry for long message. Please let me know.

  6. I am in need to find a home for my 7 year old cat. If we can not find a home for her, we will be forced to take her to a shelter that might kill her. Please someone help. It is only for a few months

  7. I am helping a friend who was been hospitalized and now is in nursing care. She is unable to return home as her apartment is being condemned due to hoarding. She has four cats, the oldest one I have brought home as she was still inside the hoard. The other three are now outside and I have been going there twice a day to feed them. The only transportation I have is a bike and I am a senior. I just need the three outside kitties to be surrendered and I am running into blank walls. I have gotten some help thru Animal Friends in the way of a shelter type thing which they have put on the porch. This place is to be shut down shortly and they will no longer be able to live on the porch. Please I need help and don't want to hand them over to a kill shelter.

  8. My mother has been faced with surrendering her Zuchon who is not quite a yr old due to harrassment by neighbors ...she lives in a condo and has been told she must remove her dogs in 11 days . My Mom has early stages of dementia and I don't know if I can put her thru a fight with the condo association. The zuchon is active and doesn't overly bark but does bark for attention . These neighbors have a history doing the same with others however the other folks harrassed were renters and just chose to move. I want a safe , loving , and patient home for this pup . I do not want her to go to a home that isn't a positive one .

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