How to surrender your pet (or find a shelter)

Why surrendering your pet to a shelter is an option you should consider.

While surrendering your pet to a shelter is a difficult decision, it’s an option that you should seriously consider. If you’re struggling to provide even basic care for your animal, the best thing you can do for them is get them into a shelter where they’ll receive food and medical care.

If you can no longer afford to feed your pet or are moving into a new place that doesn’t allow animals, contact your local shelter to set up an appointment. They will be able to help you find an alternative living situation that allows pets, or they may have resources available to help subsidize the cost of feeding and caring for them. Your local animal shelters would rather take in one pet than have it be left on the street without food or water.

Your pets depend on you as their caretaker; if circumstances make it difficult for you to continue caring for them, surrendering them to your local animal shelter is better than abandoning them somewhere else. There’s no reason why you should feel guilty about admitting that your current life situation doesn’t allow space for taking in another pet.

How to find a shelter in your area.

Locating a shelter or rescue organization in your area can be easier than you might think, but it does take some research.

To get started, look up shelters and rescue organizations in nearby cities or counties by searching on Google with keywords like “animal shelter” and “animal rescue.” You can also use the ASPCA’s search tool to find shelters near you. If you have friends or family members who have adopted pets, talk to them about where they got their animals—those people may know of places that don’t show up in online searches.

You may also want to search on Facebook or Instagram for shelters and rescues near you; many animal organizations are active on social media and will include contact information and other details about the groups within their profiles. You can also check local Facebook groups to see if there’s one dedicated to animals who need homes. Finally, consider using a local directory like Yelp or Google Maps to find nearby animal welfare organizations that aren’t necessarily tied to a specific city, county, state, or region, as long as they’re located close enough for you to travel there relatively easily.

Why surrendering your animal might be hard for you, but what you can do to cope with the difficult feelings you may have.

  • Get help. If you can’t afford to keep your pet, or your landlord won’t let you have the animal, it may seem like surrendering is the only option. But consider talking to a counselor, family member, friend, neighbor, or veterinarian about your situation. They can often offer advice on how to solve problems such as affording vet care and convincing landlords that pets are good for tenants (hint: rent increases are one of the biggest reasons landlords choose not to allow them).
  • Hire a pet sitter instead. If you’re giving up your pet because they’re too much work to care for while you’re away at work all day, consider hiring a pet sitter who can come by and feed/walk/play with them during the week. You might be surprised at how affordable this is compared to having someone take full-time care of your furry friend while you’re gone.
  • Make some modifications to make life easier for yourself and the animals in your household. Is there a way we could modify our homes so that pets won’t be stressed out? For example, if someone has allergies but still wants dogs around (like me!), maybe we could install an air filter system that would catch most allergens before they get into our lungs? Or perhaps we could turn one room into a cat-only space where dogs aren’t allowed under any circumstances? The possibilities are endless!

How to prepare yourself and your animal for the transition from home life to shelter life.

Your animal will be going through a lot of changes, and you’ll want to make sure she has everything she needs to feel safe and secure while the shelter staff helps her adjust.

Finding the right shelter can be tough, so we’ve created a guide to help you get started.

How taking this step may save other animals, too.

And while giving up your pet may seem like the ending of a chapter in your life, it’s important to know that this step could ultimately save other animals as well. That’s because overcrowding at shelters often leads to euthanasia: according to the ASPCA, more than 670,000 cats and dogs are euthanized each year in the U.S., simply because there aren’t enough homes available for them.

Taking one more step in the surrender process can help reduce these numbers even more: making sure your animal has been spayed or neutered before you drop him off at a shelter is essential. By preventing your cat or dog from reproducing, you’ll prevent any unwanted litters that would otherwise end up as homeless strays—or on death row in an animal shelter.

As difficult as it may be to say goodbye to your pet, know that by doing so and taking these extra steps, you’ll be making a positive difference for other animals just like yours who deserve loving homes of their own.

If you no longer have the financial or emotional resources to care for your pet, surrendering it to a shelter is a good decision that can benefit everyone involved.

If you are no longer able to care for your pet, surrendering them to a shelter is a good decision that can benefit everyone involved. Surrendering your pet means it’s no longer your responsibility to give them financial or emotional care. Your furry friend will receive this in the shelter, and they may even be adopted by someone who has more resources to provide a happy life. Plus, when you surrender your pet, it opens up space at the shelter for another animal who needs help. This can also benefit the community by reducing strays.

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