|Melody: Owner Surrender|
Pet owners make this decision for many different reasons: pet has behavioral issues, pets aren't getting along, puppy grew up, new baby on the way, family is moving, not enough time, allergies, and on and on. Nine times out of ten, these issues can be resolved with just a little time and effort.
But sadly, these owners --who are so quick to dump their family pet at the animal shelter-- are rarely willing to do anything to fix the problem... nor are they willing to admit that they are actually part of the problem. And far too often, the "problem" is nothing more than an excuse.
Our society makes it very easy to "get rid" of your pet. Honestly, it's even considered acceptable by many, which is highly disturbing. But I often wonder if this happens because people don't understand or accept the heartbreaking reality for the surrendered pet... and what it does to them.
|Penny: Owner Surrender|
Other times, an abusive past may be to blame for your rescue dog's issues. But even still, you can't completely absolve yourself of any guilt, because it's your job to help them work through these problems. An unwillingness to do so... well, that's your fault, too.
Okay... so sometimes, behavior is the problem, but there are many other reasons for Owner Surrenders. For example, maybe there's a new baby on the way. This is a common excuse... that makes about zero sense. Why in the world does having a new baby mean that you must dump your old baby?? When you have a second child, do you dump the first? Do you really only have enough love in your heart for one other living being at a time? Honestly... all your pet wants is love...is that really too much to ask??
There are so many Owner Surrender excuses; it'd take hours to list them all. And again, most could be resolved with just a little effort... or even a lick of common sense. But for now, I'd like to focus on the dogs... on what "Owner Surrender" means to them...
I've rescued a lot of dogs. The neglected, the abused, the sick, the maimed, the elderly. In short, the walking dead. But some of the saddest cases I've ever witnessed... are the Owner Surrenders.
When a dog is taken from a horrific situation and brought into a loving environment like Lucky Dog Rescue, it's honestly like Heaven for them. Suddenly, they have warmth and food and joy. Playtime and walks and fun. For the first time... they know love, and they love it.
|Rufus: Owner Surrender|
These dogs are waiting... for their families to return. They're waiting... to go home. They're waiting... to go back to the forever they were promised.
With every day, every hour, and every minute, they're waiting for their moms and dads to come back for them. With every car, every visitor, and every walk outdoors, they're certain they're going home. With every breath, every blink, and every sigh... they're wondering where their families are. What's taking them so long?
In their eyes, there's the undying wish for home. In their smiles, there's the unwavering hope that their wish will soon come true. And in their tiny bedtime whimpers, there's the slow realization... that they may never go home again.
In the early stages, most surrendered dogs never doubt for a second that their families will come back for them. So... they sit, they watch, and they wait. But over time... that wish becomes nothing more than a dream... and that dream becomes their worst nightmare.
It's beyond heartbreaking to watch them wait, day after day, for a family that won't be back for them. Especially when I can't help them understand... and even if I could... I couldn't bear to tell them.
|Mimi: Owner Surrender|
Even though these dogs realize what's happened-- their devotion never wavers. They'll still wait, every single day, for the very family that dumped them. When anyone walks through the animal shelter, these dogs will eagerly press their faces against the cage... tails wagging... to see if their family has come back for them.
Then, the hope in their eyes is replaced with despair, as they realize that it isn't their family after all. They'll slowly walk back to the corner... the corner they now call "home" ... head hung... heart broken. And they'll repeat that same process... every single day.
In no-kill animal shelters, these dogs have all the time in the world... to wait for a family that will never return for them. But in kill shelters, Owner Surrenders are often killed immediately. Why so? Well, stray pets must be held for a certain number of days, in order to give their families time to reclaim them. But with Owner Surrenders, there's no mandatory hold time, which means they can be killed immediately. And trust me, if space is limited, Owner Surrenders will be the first to go.
Other pets may be given days or weeks... which will be spent waiting for their families. And when their time is up, they'll cry out for those families... as they are killed.
Sure, you can sit back and blame the kill animal shelters all day long, but they didn't dump your pet. You did. Basically, you handed them a very heartbroken dog, and said, "Here, you deal with this." Then, you turned and walked away, convinced that your dog would find a good home. All the while, millions upon millions of pets are being killed in shelters every year. You're certain that your pet will be the exception? Are you willing to bet his life on it??
|Diamond: Owner Surrender|
Maybe you "feel bad" about dumping your pet. Maybe you even said, "I'm sorry" before you left them. But your dog doesn't need to hear "I'm sorry"... they just need "I love you." Because even after you dump them... they still love you. Every minute, they'll think of you. Every day, they'll wonder if you ever think of them, too. Every night, they'll dream of you... they'll wish for you. And believe me... they'll wait for you... until their very last breath.
They'd never believe, for even a second... that you actually left them to die. But even if they knew... they'd still love you anyway. I bet there isn't a single person in your life that loves you that much. So if you've got that kind of love in your life, fight for it.