IN ALMOST EVERY CASE OF PET SURRENDER, a bad dynamic is unavoidable. No matter what the circumstances are, pet owners who find themselves in the challenging position of needing to find a new home for their pet feel devastated and embarassed. Weighed down by guilt, they seek help at their local animal shelters and pet rescues only to have their distress compounded by poor treatment and endless judgment from the shelter staff. It’s terribly unfair, but I understand both sides of the story. Let me explain.
ON THE FLIP SIDE
STAFF WORKING at the front desk at the shelters experience the flip side of the surrendering pet owner’s problem. All day, every day. It’s exhausting, endless and defeating. Many of these staff members, like myself earlier in my career, started working in the animal welfare industry because they wanted to help animals. Watching pet owners bring their dogs and cats in to languish in the shelter is just the opposite. In fact, it’s definitely not what these hardworking, compassionate animal welfare technicians intended.
REASONS FOR PET SURRENDER
WHAT THE FRONT DESK staff members face can be frustrating too. They’ve heard everything. It’s not right, but reasons for surrendering a pet vary from a family member’s death or a family divorce, to “not enough time,” “new baby,” “landlord issues” and “too many to take care of.” Many, if not all, of which cause the staff members’ eyes to roll and heads to shake. You can imagine how that makes the pet owner feel.
FIXING A BAD DYNAMIC
IT IS AN UNFORTUNATE DYNAMIC on both sides of the situation. In most cases, the person surrendering their pet has arrived at the shelter as a final step. What else can they do? There are no other options if you cannot find a friend or family member to take the pet.
HOME-to-HOME PET ADOPTION
I SPENT LAST TUESDAY with the “First Line of Defense,” aka the Client Service Representatives and Call Operators, of Pennsylvania’s largest open admission shelter, ACCT Philly. The team there is simply incredible, and they all agreed that they have a difficult time expressing appropriate sympathy to people who surrender pets.
They know what will happen to the pet.
I’M NOT JUST TALKING about the risk of euthanasia, I’m talking about the extraordinary stress and high likelihood of illness that the pet will face inside the shelter.
FINDING ANOTHER WAY
WHILE AT ACCT Philly, we spent a fair amount of time talking about this very issue. The most inspiring aspect for me was how sincere these folks are about wanting to keep pets out of shelters. They want to help people who can’t keep their pets but couldn’t offer a meaningful solution that would help people re-home a pet on their own. Until now.
LUCKILY, they now know of an alternative. They believe Get Your Pet is a service that will finally let them help thousands of people who need it, in a way that won’t put the pets they love at risk.