We sit around and talk about some recent surrenders and the people who surrendered their pets to the shelter. We paint the owners either black or white because it's easier that way.

There are the necessary surrenders, the ones which were necessitated by concerns for the health and safety of the humans and/or dogs involved and you can't really fault anyone for that.

And then there are the convenience surrenders. We go over the list of excuses.

We're moving.

We've got no time.

We're getting divorced.

We're getting married.

We're getting divorced again.

The dog sheds too much.

The dog pulls too much.

The dog doesn't listen.

The dog scratches the floors.

We didn't know the Old English Bulldog was going to cost so much money to raise.

We didn't know the Great Dane was going to grow so big.

We didn't know the Border Collie would have so much energy.

All those excuses from people too oblivious to even feel the least amount of guilt over the abandonment of their dogs.

Some people who might be more inclined to feel guilt or want to avoid censure when they surrender their dogs, often just lie about their situation. The easiest lie is to say the dog isn't theirs and they just found it. We know these lies happen a lot because there are computers and microchips and vets' records and all that CSI stuff and background checks are pretty easy to do. Like the person who turned in a "found" dog a couple of weeks ago and when TAS brought it to the vet clinic for a health check, the vet was like, "Hey I know that dog," and it turned out the vet knew the owner who happened to be the person who dumped the dog at the shelter.

What a douche.

But then I hear about something like this (Ditching of dog in Milton schoolyard was caught by security camera):

Footage from security cameras at J.M. Denyes Public School shows a car pull up near a fenced-in play area, a passenger get out of the car carrying a dog, and drop him four feet over the side of the fence, says humane society spokeswoman Brenda Dushko.

That was on Feb. 24., a rainy, snowy, and blustery night, with temperatures below freezing, according to Environment Canada historic data. Winds were gusting up to 65 kilometres per hour.

“He was left there basically in the cold to die. There was no way he would have survived the night,” Dushko said. The dog, a white, year-old male boxer had been seriously neglected, with a fractured hip that had never been treated. He also had a skin condition and two different infections that caused him to lose more than 85 per cent of his fur. He was in “terrible shape” and required emergency vet care.


Suddenly, all those people who brought their unwanted dogs to the shelter, even with all their stupid excuses, aren't so bad.

It's easy to paint people in black or white but we're really all splashed with grey.

We pay the puppy miller $50 to rescue the old breeding dog who has never seen the sun.

We are courteous with the owners who are giving us their dog because they are going on vacation and don't want to pay for boarding.

We smile at the hoarder for letting us take a couple of his shit-caked, semi-feral pups.

We shake hands with the devil so sick dogs don't get dumped in the middle of a winter's night into a schoolyard and left to die.



9 Comments to “Surrender”

  1. Well put. Best to judge people silently lest they dump their dogs in school yards in the middle of winter to avoid being judged out loud by shelter and rescue workers. It's tough, but the best approach really is just to grit your teeth and smile, and thank them for their cast-offs. The alternative is much worse than biting your tongue now and then.

  2. The Dog Rescuers Inc says:

    Well said.
    When you do rescue every week you make deals with the devil...
    ...and Karma becomes your hero!

  3. deva says:

    Great post - all true. But...how do you prevent it from happening again? And again? At TAS, the animals have a chance. At some shelters, owner surrenders never even make it into adoption, and their death may not be particularly humane. Education is important. And sometimes that means speaking up and saying something in a way that will be understood.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good article! Unfortunately, I DO tend to judge people black and white. I can't change that. I am tired of seeing any animal abused, abandoned...I have seen signs at the dog park where people are GIVING AWAY their 8 year old dog because they are going on a trip. He is a member of your family....how do you do that? Heartless people who will pay for it one day. That is my hope. I sponsor two rescued horses because I don't have the space. They are two of the friendliest most affectionate and easy to ride horses you can imagine. I am sure their owners had some story...but I can't imagine just dumping them. The cruelty of people has ceased to amaze me. :(

  5. What happened to the dumped boxer? Anyone know?

  6. GoodDog says:

    So the day i read the post about the owners who are surrendered their dog because they were going on vacation and didnt want to pay for boarding was the same day I met a dog at our local shelter who had been dunked in acid. I mean who's to say which is worse or who is more heartless and cruel. All I know is that poor little dog at the shelter wagged her tail at me and wanted nothing more than from me than some cuddles and some gentle scritches on her bare skin. This is why dogs are amazing, she can trust again - me I'm still stuck on what jerks people are.

  7. Fred says:

    Tigerspirit, according to the article, he is at the Oakville and Milton Humane Society awaiting surgery, presumably for his hip.

  8. Lynn says:

    It's just a sad sad business and I'm afraid it always will be. There will always be people and animals who are abused because they don't have the power to control their own lives, and there will always need to be people who try and help those souls. We just have to be strong, take a minute to celebrate our successes, and keep going. I'm glad Chance was rescued and I hope he has a chance at a much happier life from here on out.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Good words Fred ! Sudden undiagnosed "allergies" are high on my list. Having just had my heart broken yet again by the death of Buddy the dog shot in the face and left to die in St. Charles ( The thought that he though terribly wounded was desperately trying to get home as he left a blood trail along the high way haunts me). My anger and hatred of animal abusers is without bounds. The dedicated rescuers and animal shelter people who have to bite their tongues and make deals with the devil to make sure that a dog is given another chance at a good life are people to be admired to the utmost. It must be awful for them, but because of them and people like the two women who went to so much trouble for Buddy the world is a better place and we should all admire and thank them for their efforts and their compassion. I certainly do!

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.
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