I received this forwarded email message tonight, and responded directly to the original sender. You may find my response harsh – especially if you’re not an animal lover – but the person in question had indicated a willingness to euthanize this poor dog Roz – described as “my baby, truly the best dog in the universe” – because of a planned move. My only interests are this dog’s interests. When you adopt a pet, it is supposed to be a lifetime commitment.
If you are willing to adopt or rescue this poor dog Roz, I will be very happy to connect you to this person.
Here’s the email I received:
We are leaving the country next week. We had a new home for our dog, but he called today and has a true family emergency and can’t take her anymore. Had I known, I would have made plans for her months ago.
I called every shelter and humane society. Same answer from all of them ‘can’t take her, too little time to place, YOU left it too late’ like we could have known this would happen. One woman said she would help if I gave her $30 a day until she found her a home and she wanted my credit card number.
My only options now are a miracle or Euthanasia.
Her name is Roz. 4 yr old lab/border collie mix, 55lb.
She was a rescue, I have had her 2 years, the foster home we got her from are no longer Fosters (old now) and don’t want her back.
She is spayed. All shots and screenings done 2 weeks ago. Microchipped. House trained, calm,
Her name is Roz. 4 yr old lab/border collie mix, 55lb.
Great guard dog, barks once to let you know someone is close or something is wrong, otherwise quiet.
Does like to chase cats, squirrels, chipmunks and deer. Probably wouldn’t know what to do if she caught one, it hasn’t happened yet.
This is my baby, truly the best dog in the universe.
Please, please help me find her a loving home.
And this was my response:
Your email was forwarded to me through a network of animal rescuers. I am an animal advocate who works on animal welfare and rescue issues throughout Georgia. I’ve talked to other good people who are in a similar situation to yours, and feel trapped by circumstances – when it feels like your pet’s best interests are in conflict with your own. I’m sure you’re a very good person – as a matter of fact, I would not take the time to write this if I didn’t sense that you are. There are too many animals to save to waste time on lost causes. So here it is: You have more choices than you think, though they’re not what you’re expecting. I’m going to offer a perspective shift which requires that I convey to you a few difficult truths.
First – the good news. Your information about the rescue that adopted Roz to you is probably wrong. Most rescues have a clause in their adoption contract that REQUIRES you to return an adopted pet to them if for any reason you can’t keep that pet. It doesn’t matter whether the original foster parent is available or not – the adopted pet must be returned to the rescue. Which rescue group did you adopt Roz from? It will be on your copy of the adoption contract.
Even so, that’s not what I would do. I would take my pets with me. Find the appropriate housing in your destination country to meet Roz’s needs – just as you would if Roz was your human daughter – and adjust your lifestyle and expectations so that Roz can remain your baby. My wife and I are citizens of different countries – I’m American and she’s British – so we understand the realities of international lifestyle and travel, and transporting a loved pet overseas is a perfectly valid option these days.
Now – the bad news. It simply doesn’t matter what has happened up to this point. You must make a choice for Roz – a choice that will say a lot about who you are as a person. The responsibility for Roz’s well-being is yours alone.
Municipal shelters are overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of homeless pets right now – and that’s just in Georgia. Rescues and humane societies are completely overwhelmed trying to save just a tiny fraction of the homeless pets in municipal shelters.
If you dump Roz at a municipal shelter, she will almost certainly be killed. Survival rates for owner-surrendered dogs that fit Roz’s description are abysmal. Not only that, but shelter euthanasia is a truly horrible thing to behold. The dog does not die quietly or gently. Roz’s last minutes will be terrifying and painful. Nearly all shelters use a terrible device called a catch pole, and drag the terrified dog to a room that reeks of death, where they are restrained forcibly by poorly-trained staff, and injected without mercy or care with chemicals that make them defecate and urinate all over themselves as they die while choking violently against the catch pole. Often, their bones are broken as staff try to hold these terrified animals immobile for injection. It is a terrible way to die, and I thought you should know that truth about it before deciding Roz’s fate.
You can’t have it both ways – claiming your only options are a miracle or euthanasia, and then saying Roz is your baby. Human or canine, we don’t euthanize our babies, or dump them at shelters. So unless you’re willing to take Roz with you, find a great home with a loving new parent, or you adopted from a reputable rescue who will accept Roz back, you have a choice to make that will reflect your values and priorities: Is Roz’s life worth enough to you to postpone leaving the country until she is safely and permanently adopted to a loving and trustworthy new parent?
Personally, I would cancel my departure in a heartbeat – even if it meant losing my job. Our family’s pets are worth far more than any other consideration in our lives – financial, career, anything… Yes, it’s difficult, but if Roz is as important to you as your claim, then my advice is the best advice you will ever receive. I hope you make your decision in Roz’s best interests – ensuring that she has a long and happy life.