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Thinking of rehoming Fido?

Posted by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 7:50 AM
  • 9 Replies


I think our society needs a huge "Wake-up" call. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all...a view from the inside if you will.

First off, all of you breeders/sellers should be made to work in the "back" of an animal shelter for just one day. Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don't even know.

That puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it's not a cute little puppy anymore. So how would you feel if you knew that there's about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are "owner surrenders" or "strays", that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.

The most common excuses I hear are; "We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat)." Really? Where are you moving too that doesn't allow pets? Or they say "The dog got bigger than we thought it would". How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? "We don't have time for her". Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! "She's tearing up our yard". How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me "We just don't want to have to stress about finding a place for her we know she'll get adopted, she's a good dog".

Odds are your pet won't get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn't full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies. Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don't, your pet won't get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the "Bully" breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door.

Those dogs just don't get adopted. It doesn't matter how 'sweet' or 'well behaved' they are.

If your dog doesn't get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn't full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long . Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don't have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.

Here's a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being "put-down".

First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to "The Room", every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there, it's strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the "pink stuff". Hopefully your pet doesn't panic from being restrained and jerk. I've seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don't just "go to sleep", sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.

When it all ends, your pets corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You'll never know and it probably won't even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right?

I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can't get the pictures out of your head I deal with everyday on the way home from work.

I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much farther than the pets you dump at a shelter.

Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.


Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is. I just hope I maybe changed one persons mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog. I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say "I saw this and it made me want to adopt". THAT WOULD MAKE IT WORTH IT


by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 7:50 AM
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Replies (1-9):
by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 8:09 AM

Thank you for this post!!!  Too many people have the illusion that their once beloved pet will be living happily in someone else's home within the week.    Our shelter has the gas chamber and it is horrible but cost effective for the number of animals they euthanize.  

by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 8:23 AM

I feel bad for the manager of this shelter. I too work at an animal shelter and although we do need to change the way people view thier animals i do not think painting a horrible picture of animal shelters is the correct way of going about it. I have been working in a facility for 6 years we place 98 percent of the animals we intake and rehome around 400 dogs and 300cats a year. We only euthanize for severe behavior and safety issues and health issues (have to be end stage, fatal). We have had many dogs in our care that we have done FHO ,Bilateral patellas,and cherry eye surgeries for we also have done many other treatments for sick animals such as dentistries,HWT positive ,anaplasmosis treatment to name a few. We spay and nueter every animal and vaccinate them all. We have a volunteer pool of almost 200 who visit daily with the animals to provide care such as walks ,grooming, socializing, as well as cleaning. The dogs and cats in our care are loved for as much as any house pet. Although i realize maybe all shelters do not have what we have. It is what you put into it that you get in return.

by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 8:26 AM

1)  This is a great post.  Thank you for posting it.  Sadly, a small few of us agree with this.  Too many people today are so focused on themselves they forget the loyalty that a dog brings to you.  I hope it wakes a few people up.  I work in rescue and the excuse most often we get is, I can't keep the dog because I am having a great one I got was, my new leather couch is white, the dog isn't, the dog has to go.  Yeah, I am serious.  Callous eh? 

2)  I LOVE your siggy, its great.

Only when the last tree has been cut down,
Only when the last river has been poisoned,
Only when the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

— Cree Indian Prophecy

by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 8:30 AM

Thank you for posting this. It truly brought tears to my eyes. My last companion Casey Bear was a shihtzu Poo that we got from the shelter and he was the best dog ever. We were devestated when he pasted away from a heartattack this past October.

by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 8:31 AM

I volunteer at our local shelter behind the scenes, and I can tell you that this is an exaggerated version of what goes least in our case.  We place more animals than we don't.  And extra effort is made to place older dogs and 1/2 price fees.  Our animals aren't crammed into small runs with 25 other dogs either.

Here's what would really help..offer spay and neuter services for free, or at least for what they really cost, instead of $200.  Most of the dogs we receive are just your average mix breed dog, a spay would solve that problem. That, and proper confining of your pets.  Do you know how many females are impregnated behing privacy fences in their own yards because an un-confined male climbs the fence??

I fully agree..everyone should get their family pets from a shelter instead of a breeder.  But it's unfair to paint this picture when shelters do the best they can.  Prevention is worth a pound of cure.

by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 8:49 AM

I have never thought the  animal shelter was to blame,  just irresponsible pet owners.  In Gaston County NC,  our animal shelter euthanizes every animal that doesn't have a current rabies shot even if they are puppies or kittens.   As of December 17, 2008 our shelter has euthanized  7,210 animals.    They use the gas chamber and those animals are packed in as much as possible.   I have even heard of cats and dogs being thrown in together, and yes I heard it from an animal control officer.

by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 8:53 AM

I didn't read your whole post sorry.  But I use to work in a shelter and I have to say if all you want is a pet go to a shelter.  They make great pets.  Mutts are the best I have 2 rescues now and would ahve more if I had more property. hehehe  But I don't think dogs should be breed unless they are registered and it is purely for the betterment of the breed.  This means that they are being breed to do what they were intended to do.  And to make a better speciman of the breed.  not to just make them pretty and sell them for lots of money.  A dog isn't purebreed unless it is accompanied by papers

by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 8:55 AM

I also want to say its awesome our shelter jsut started doing the program where they have prisoners work with the dogs for 2 hours a day.  And this weekend they had an adoption drive and the first 20 approved adoptions were free.  You had to bring pictures of your house and yard and if you had any other pets you had to bring them with you.  The dogs were fixed and given shots and micro chips.  they had a great outcome I was very pleased

by on Jan. 27, 2009 at 8:56 AM

I agree with you about just dropping off a pet. I am right a person who has to get rid of a dog. He is a member of my family but we moved to a trailer park and are not allowed to keep him. I am looking for a home for him, I can't take him to a shelter he does not deserve that he did nothing wrong. Due to finances we could not keep our old home. I am in tears at the thought iof him even having to live with another family.

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