Please Consider Adopting an ‘Owner Surrender’

What is an ‘owner surrender’? You probably already know, but just in case: being classified as an ‘owner surrender’ is one of the most heartbreaking conditions an animal can find itself in. These are the dogs, cats, horses, birds, and other animals who have been given up by their owners for adoption. They are abundant in our shelters and humane societies. Many are quite aged, and many have health conditions. Others are just thrown away because someone gets tired of them or they’re going through a difficult growth spurt. Whichever it may be, the term ‘owner surrender’ has come to carry connotations that are not valid. People still may tend to see that classification on a dog or cat’s card at the shelter and think to themselves, “Uh oh, this one will have big problems. No way can I consider him!”

Not so. Please keep an open mind. Here are some facts I recently came across  from a 2007 Pethealth Inc. study as reported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

The top 10 reasons for canine relinquishment

1. Moving
2. Landlord issues
3. Cost of pet maintenance
4. No time for a pet
5. Inadequate facilities
6. Too many pets in the home already
7. Pet illness
8. Personal problems
9. Biting
10. No homes for littermates

The top 10 reasons for feline relinquishment

1. Too many cats in the house
2. Allergies
3. Moving
4. Cost of pet maintenance
5. Landlord issues
6. No homes for littermates
7. House soiling
8. Personal problems
9. Inadequate facilities
10. Doesn’t get along with other pets

If you’re reading these lists like I am, at least 8 out of 10 of the top reasons for surrendering dogs and cats relate directly to the owners or peoples’ issues, not to the animals themselves. And even then, if the animal does have a problem, like biting or soiling outside the litter box, those types of behaviors are often linked to larger issues in the household or the environment to which the animal is reacting instinctively or normally.

What is so sad to me is the emotional toll being abandoned takes on a loyal pet. You can see it on their faces as you walk through your local shelter viewing the animals up for adoption. Besides the confusion you will see on most, the owner surrenders are often severely depressed and sad, and it surely shows.

In my experience as an animal communicator, these rescues are usually the most grateful of any you can take home. They DO understand what has happened, and when you take them into your heart and treasure them it lights up their life and they are able to turn their love and allegiance to you 200%.

I’ve taken several rescues in my lifetime who were in the owner surrender category and can only say they have been among the most loyal and devoted animals I’ve ever had.

So please, if you’re considering adopting an animal from a shelter, don’t rule out the ‘owner surrenders.’ Know that they are in dire need of reassurance and affection — and yes, possibly medication and special attention. But they are well worth it. No. They are MORE than worth it.

And for those happy pups in the shelter who haven’t a care in the world and want to go home with everybody — well they deserve great homes too, so don’t pass one of them up either if they’re your cat’s meow!

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