I know for many of us, these things really do go without saying. Many of us do view animals as the huge commitment that they honestly are. We understand that they have feelings, just like we do, and they have needs, just like we do. For many of us, our pets are our kids, and we act accordingly. However, I also understand that sometimes there are things beyond control that may mean having to rehome a pet. (I’ve yet to find any, personally, but, I’m given to understand that there are.) While I may have strong opinions on this subject: I would rather pass along some solid information that may help someone make the transition as easy on the pet as possible than just make a nasty comment.
Local laws regarding taking pets to shelters will vary. If in doubt, CALL THE SHELTER FIRST. Don’t be a jerk, don’t argue and above all else, understand that the shelter staff is ultimately not the one responsible for the fate of your pet: you are.
Even if it’s one of those situations that may be understandable: it’s still your responsibility. You got the pet in the first place.
Whatever they have to do or whatever they tell you- they’re not telling you to be an asshole, they’re not telling you for any reason apart from it just being the way that it is. It may be that whatever it is, is out of their control. It may be that they think you considering “her feelings and just wanting her to be a mother once!” is dumb. It is. (I’m sorry, that’s the stupidest shit, ever. If you don’t think it is, have a walk down any kill shelter’s death row. It’s not only stupid, it’s irresponsible as hell.)
It may be that they fully understand you are having to make an incredibly hard choice you don’t want to. Whatever the case: they may or may not understand but they will still have to do whatever it is they have to do- and if you’re releasing your pet: it’s not their “fault”, it is yours. I would use “responsibility” here, to be kinder.
Now, if you’re bringing a stray into a shelter, just doing a good deed- this sucks, but it’s NOT THEIR FAULT: many local rescues have been hit very hard by stupid legislation that makes this process that much harder. Try to understand that is not their fault. It’s not. Our local shelters got hit with a “rabies vaccine proof before release” legislation- meaning, you cannot drop a pet off without it having proof of vaccination, regardless of how it was obtained. This sucks ass. Again, it’s not their fault, they hate it as much as you do. This is what I mean by call first. Things you may not even think of may be in play- and you need to know before you go.
So, what happens if you can’t or don’t want to take it to the shelter?
Re-homing. Craigslist makes me want to vomit explosively, then turn around and throw that vomit at people.
I believe in a reasonable rehome fee, in most cases. I believe this because there are assholes and irresponsible people out there. If you charge $50-75 or whatever, and they complain: run. Run away. Do not give your pet to that person. They’ll say they can get a pet for free- they’re right, let ’em. But do not give them yours. This is because 1. The jerks who do dog fighting often get the bait or even fighters this way. 2. So do asshole facilities that test on Animals. (Uh, WashU- SHAME ON YOU. Bob Barker’s going to give you the resources. Use the dummies, not the cats.) And then, number 3. People who want a pet, but don’t want the responsibility. Look at it this way- very base level. We’re coming up on flea and tick season. How much does Advantage cost? So, they balk at the reasonable rehoming fee, but they’re going to afford that? Vet care? I doubt that.
Note I said reasonable rehome fee. If you have a purebred and you’re rehoming fee is NOT reasonable: you’re a piece of shit. That animal was NOT an investment. If you care about it, and not the money- find the best home. Recouping your losses is for investments and betting, not pet ownership. You are not an underfunded rescue or shelter, you’re a private individual and if you’re rehoming at an exorbitant rate, you’re real close to backyard breeder status.
INSIST ON REFERENCES. First- a vet reference. Second- several personal references. Check them. If at all possible, visit them at home, bringing the pet with you. Try to make the transition as easy as possible for the pet, not yourself.
Does this all sound like an awful lot? It is. But so is owning a pet.