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— June 19, 2012 —

So you want to give up your dog, huh?
by Amy Kelley

You can’t keep your dog and you want to give it up… it should be easy, right? He’s so cute and has a great personality so someone must be looking for a dog just like him. Before you read further, go to petfinder.com and enter your dogs breed, age and your zip as if you are searching to adopt a dog just like yours. How many come up in your search? Exactly. Many of them have been sitting in cages for a very long time waiting for someone to come along and add them to their family…that is, IF someone finds them before their time is up and they get euthanized. There are far too many dogs available and not enough homes…do you want to risk this happening to your dog?
  • There are 18,000 animals put to death in Chicago each year.

  • Most no-kill shelters are full beyond capacity and have a waiting list.

  • A stray dog is sometimes given as little as 5 days to be adopted… if that dog is not adopted, it could be put to sleep, sometimes as soon as that first day. Your dog (an owner turn-in) could be euthanized at any time and yes, cute, special, happy dogs are put to sleep every day.

  • The shelters are full of young and old dogs, purebred and mixed, sweet and shy… don’t assume your dog will be easily placed just because he’s cute or has a great personality.

  • When you adopted or bought your dog, you took on the responsibility of that dog for the rest of its life. Remember that a dog is an actual life — not a piece of furniture to be given away when it no longer fits. Dogs are such wonderful, compassionate, giving souls… they deserve someone to promise them forever.

Here at Bark Avenue Playcare and K9 4 KEEPS, we share the belief that once you decide to add a pet to your family, that it should be a lifetime commitment. Too many beloved pets are given up year after year for reasons that baffle us. Here are some of the most common, in no particular order:

You’re moving and can’t find a place that accepts pets.

My dog bit somebody. I can’t keep it.

My dog is destructive (or insert other behavioral problem here). I can’t keep it.

I’m having a baby so I need to get rid of my dog.

My dogs don’t get along with each other. I need to get rid of one of them.

I just don’t have time for my pet… or my apartment is too small…

It’s me or the dog

We do understand that there are special circumstances that may require someone to give up their beloved pets: seniors moving into assisted living where their family member can’t/won’t take care of their pet; an owners passing; life-threatening allergies, etc. However, most of the problems that cause people to give up their dogs can be solved with a little thought and effort.


You’re moving and can’t find a place that accepts pets.
Most of the people who have this reason for wanting to give up their pet follow that statement with something like “If you can’t take it, then I’m taking it to the pound”… (and most only have a week or two before they move). There are actually a multitude of resources for people looking for pet-friendly apartments. If you are searching online, many have “dog” or “cat” as a specific search function. Here are a few resources, but don’t forget to also spread the word and network with your family and friends. They may know of an available apartment that just might be perfect!

Chicago Apartment Finders
Craig's List
Chicago Reader
Chicago Tribune
Chicago Dog Pads
Anti-Cruelty
Rent.com
Show Me The Rent
apartments.com
Apartment Finder
People with Pets
The Humane Society
Pets R Welcome

(if you are not in Chicagoland, just google “dog friendly apartment” for your area. Many, many resources will come up.)

If you are moving to a smaller space and don’t think it will be fair to your dog… think about the size of the cage at the shelter or pound that your dog will live in while it awaits its fate. Even a studio apartment is bigger than that cage AND your pet gets to stay alive and keep the only person that ever mattered to them. YOU! And remember, you can always take your dog on a longer walk!

Some places require a pet security deposit. Your dog is worth it!!!

It shouldn’t be an option for you to even consider an apartment that wouldn’t allow your family members. This may take a little more time for you to find the right place that fits your budget and timeframe, but plan ahead. You owe it to your pet.


My dog bit somebody. I can’t keep it.
First of all, most dog bites are caused by mistakes that PEOPLE make. Blaming the dog is irresponsible. Don’t blame the dog for something that you could or should have prevented. If you have a nervous dog or a fear biter, do the responsible thing and seek help from a trainer. If your dog is starting to show signs of aggression do the responsible thing and call a trainer. Many problem behaviors are fixable through training. Are you scared of your dog now? Learn to take the reins and be your dogs leader. What makes you think somebody else is out there looking for a dog that bites anyway? Go back to the first paragraph on this webpage, and do the petfinder search… and add bite history to the scenario. What kind of chance do you think your dog has now of finding a new home? Fortunate for your dog, he/she currently has a home unlike the hundreds/thousands of dogs like him that are sitting in limbo hoping for that home to come along. Keep your dog and work through your problems with a trainer.


My dog is destructive (or insert other behavioral problem here). I can’t keep it.
Seek out training advice. Most of these problems are fixable with training and you will end up with the dog you wanted in the first place.


I’m having a baby, so I need to get rid of my dog.
Do you think one day down the road, you may want to get that precious human child a pet? How about KEEPING THE ONE YOU HAVE!!!! Honor the commitment you made to that pet when you bought or adopted it. It was suppose to be forever, and was a choice you made when you looked into those eyes and took them home. Sometimes we should do the right thing, and live with our choices. Are you going to give your first child to someone when the second comes along? Then don’t do that to the family members you have now.


My dogs don’t get along with each other. I need to get rid of one of them.
If your dogs used to get along and now fight, you may need a trainer to help you sort things out. If you are integrating a new dog, they may just need a slower or more appropriate introduction. We have had dogs that had to be kept apart for weeks while we socialize them to each other. While there are dogs that are simply too dog aggressive to live with other dogs, most of the time it’s a simple matter of understanding how to properly introduce and train them.


I just don’t have time for my pet… or my apartment is too small…
Life always throws us curve balls. What is the norm today won’t be tomorrow. Readjust things. Your pet is much better off staying with the you than the alternative… unless you know the people you give him/her to will give it more than you will. If you aren’t sure of that, don’t risk it.

If you think your apartment is too small and don’t think it will be fair to your dog… think about the size of the cage at the shelter or pound that your dog will live in while it awaits its fate. Even a studio apartment is bigger than that cage AND your pet gets to stay alive and keep the only person that ever mattered to them. YOU! And remember, you can always take your dog on a longer walk!


It’s me or the dog.
Shouldn’t someone respect and love you enough to accept the fact that you have a pet that you love with all of your heart? Ripping out part of your heart shouldn’t be an option. If there are problems with the dog, seek out a trainer to help with the transition, but you and your pet should be a package deal.


I hope we helped you reconsider giving up your pet and that you will promise your current and future pets “FOREVER”.



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