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Re-homing should not be an easy way out


Sadly, I have been in a position where I have had to advise people that the best course of action would be to find another home for their dog. This rarely happens, but there are a few genuine circumstances in which it is really the best option:

1. The dog is clearly and unavoidably in danger from another dog in the home or presents an unavoidable danger to another animal in the home, but would do well away from that specific other dog or animal.

2. The dog poses an unavoidable danger to children in the home, but has no other behaviour problems and would thrive in an environment with no children.

3. The environment is unavoidably stressful for the dog and the dog is living with constant anxiety or fear, but would do well in another, reasonably obtainable environment.

4. The person is ill and physically incapable of looking after themselves and their animals.

These are all fairly RARE circumstances and in all cases every effort would first have been made to adjust the environment or use behaviour modification to resolve the situation. Only if there was very real risk of physical or psychological damage to the dog or other animals or persons in the home, would this be put forward as a solution. If the dog would be no better off or continue to pose a danger to others in a new home, re-homing would not be a viable option.

Clients are generally devastated at the idea of parting with a dog. It is one of the most excruciating things for a loving dog owner to face. It is an absolute last resort.

And then you get the "Dog looking for a home - has had all his shots. We don't have time for him anymore because....." Insert reason:

A. We now have a baby B. We moved C. We changed jobs D. I've decided to travel E. Life is just so busy... he'd be better off with someone else And my personal favourite: F. She preferred living near the beach, so maybe someone who still lives there could have her

These casual excuses make a mockery of the pain and trauma that anyone who legitimately has to re-home a dog experiences. Good homes do not grow on trees. Rescue organizations will say that there are not enough homes for all the dogs out there. I would argue that there are enough homes, but not enough decent people living in them. Most of the dogs I see looking for homes were never homeless - they had homes, they were bought or adopted by someone. Unfortunately it turned out that the someone simply didn't care enough. That someone regarded the dog as disposable. That someone refused to live up to their responsibility to the dog they brought into their lives and MAKE time for them.

Good homes are hard to find and shelter life is no life for a dog. Saying that it is kinder to re-home your dog because you're too busy is a cop-out. Yes, your dog may actually be better off if they happen to be one of the lucky few to actually find a genuinely decent home with committed people - but what does that say about you?


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Kommetjie Canine College

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Cape Town

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