WENDY VICTORA: Top 10 reasons not to get a pet

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I asked PAWS Director Dee Thompson to share a list of the reasons pets are surrendered.


Every day I go to PAWS is a sad one.

I’m not there to adopt an animal, and really, that’s the only truly happy reason to be there. I walk in and am assaulted by the sights, sounds and smells of too many animals, all of whom wish they were somewhere else.

During my semi-regular visits, I occasionally see a happy ending. A family cradling a new member or leading him or her carefully out on a leash. But if I’m there for longer than a few minutes, I’m more likely to see someone euphemistically “surrendering” their pet.

Surrender is a strange word, in my opinion, for what takes place. It’s accurate, in that someone is giving up. But while surrender has a ring of nobility, dropping off a pet who is no longer convenient feels less admirable.

On my most recent visit, a woman led in a large white dog who was clearly terrified to be there. His tail was between his legs and his hindquarters were shaking as his owner answered questions on the surrender form.

When the PAWS employee asked why she was surrendering the dog, the woman replied that he was “too big.” They’d gotten him as a puppy and he just kept growing.

She signed a form and walked out, leaving the now homeless dog to meekly follow a PAWS employee to a crowded kennel and an uncertain fate.

Then a young man surrendered a “pit bull mix,” whom he claimed he’d found. As the worker filled out the surrender forms, the young man explained that the dog doesn’t get along with other dogs. And then he asked, “You won’t euthanize him, will you?”

The worker gave him an answer that wasn’t an answer. What else could he say?

The shelter, which is at the far end of Lovejoy Road, isn’t big enough for all of the animals discarded at its doors. The workers, no matter how hard they try, can’t find homes for many of the dogs and cats and rabbits and horses and pigs and birds that people no longer want, for whatever reason.

I asked PAWS Director Dee Thompson to share a list of the reasons pets are surrendered. Here are the top 10, in no particular order: Destructive. No time. Moving. Cost. Disobedient. Too big. Hyper. Gift. Landlord. Divorce.

All good reasons not to have a pet.

Even better reasons these folks probably shouldn’t have gotten one in the first place.

Managing Editor Wendy Victora can be reached at 315-4478 or wvictora@nwfdailynews.com

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