What to do when you have to give up a beloved pet

We take on the life of a pet, but rarely do we think about what we’ll do if we have to give it up for adoption or to death. In spite of a person’s best efforts, sometimes unforeseen events arise and the animal we’ve given our home and heart, must be left behind. Giving up Rover or Midget or Jocko is never easy and the after effects may be devastating. Whether through death, financial hardship, or a move to an area that proves unfriendly to pets, there are several vital steps throughout the process.

Should the death of a beloved pet be from natural causes, some are startled to find they grieve almost as though a relative or friend has been lost. For most of us, our pets ARE our friends. Though people realize pets seldom have a life span the length of a human, it is no less difficult to lose them. Should the occasion arise when a decision must be made to put a pet down due to illness, an additional decision comes into consideration. Will the owner stay with the pet when it receives the shot or wait to receive the body once the death is final.

If the former is chosen, hold the animal and talk softly while the shot is administered. Your closeness will make his dying easier. If you chose the latter, do not let guilt overtake you. Many people simply cannot see their pets die. The shot acts quickly and is more humane than letting its suffering continue unabated. A third option is to leave the pet to be cremated or disposed of by the vet.

Sometimes finances can no longer include pet care, or perhaps, due to work requirements, a move is made to a neighborhood where pets are not allowed. What are the best steps to ensure a happy new home for your friend?

1. One solution is to put an ad in the paper. Check out the new owner. Get references and, if possible, check the home where the pet will live. Is there a fenced yard for running and playing? On hot days, is there a shaded area for the pet to get out of the sun or would it be brought inside? If it snows, will he be brought inside or is appropriate shelter provided outside?

2. Or, contact the humane shelter and put the pet up for adoption. Ask about their rules for euthanizing animals. Do they keep them for a short time or, if overcrowding occurs, do they try to find a new shelter for them? If they hold on to them for a week or two and then euthanize them, that’s not the place to choose.

3. Is there a rescue group available in you neighborhood, such as Scotty Rescue or Greyhound Rescue, that might take the pet?

4. Check with friends who may be looking for a friend for their own pet. Check out a friend just as carefully as a stranger. Great friends don’t always make good pet owners.

Do not put a dog or cat out beside the road, figuring someone will give it a home. There are a number of problems with this scenario. Not all people are looking for a pet to feed and snuggle.

1. Someone may decide it is worth selling to a lab for testing.

2. Someone may be looking for a dog to put in the dog fight arena, or used to train the dogs he already has fighting.

3. Fido may get hit by a car while crossing the street.

4. Fido, having been fed by you all his life, may be incapable of feeding himself.

5. Fido may go feral or find a feral pack. Either of these are dangerous to people.

6. If Fido has not been spayed, more homeless puppies may be the end result.

Give your pet’s new home the same consideration you gave when bringing him into your own. Your friend’s life and happiness depend on your love at that moment more than any other.

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