If the option of rehoming or relinquishing your pet is under consideration, please prioritize safety and responsibility.
It's crucial to be truthful and forthcoming about your pet's current issues and behavioral concerns, and fully disclose their health and behavioral history to potential rescues or adopters. Providing a thoughtful and comprehensive history is the best way to set everyone up for success, and attain your ultimate goal - a stable, humane, long-term placement.
Please be fair to your pet, future caretakers, and future guardians by compiling an honest and open list of all incidences, concerns, and diagnoses. Think of criteria, situations, or environments where this pet will be most successful, for example, "only dog in home;" "no children under the age of 18;" or "prefers a quiet, country setting." All of these details help to identify and maximize opportunities for your pet to be successful.
Additionally, estimate any costs associated with ongoing treatment, such as monthly expenses for special diets, medications, or other ongoing medical/behavioral interventions.
Where do I start?
If your pet is purebred:
Breeder. If you have not already, now is the time to contact your pet's breeder, if applicable. Responsible breeders will ALWAYS take one of their pets back with no questions asked.
If your pet is a rescue:
Original adoption source. If you have not already, now is the time to contact the rescue organization that facilitated your pet's adoption, if applicable. It's likely that you even signed an adoption agreement or contract, and it's possible that contract stipulates they be notified in the event you are no longer able to care for or keep your pet.
Who we trust
If the above are not viable options, there are a select few local organizations we entrust to safely and responsibly evaluate and potentially place our patients:
Please keep in mind that certain behavioral problems may disqualify pets from being safely placed into a rescue, foster, or home setting. In order to uphold standards of safety and responsibility, we must always remember to consider the safety and well-being of the pet, future guardians, and the community.
What about pet sanctuaries?
The idea of a pet sanctuary may sound appealing if you're feeling desperate for a solution. But, please think about what a pet "sanctuary" really is:
highly stressful, and, scary for your pet
void of future human interaction
a sterile, often impoverished, enviornment
In other words, pet sanctuaries are inhumane. Think of pet sanctuaries as a life sentence in solitary confinement without the possibility of rehabilitation or parole. No beloved companion should be committed to this fate.
Humane behavioral euthanasia
The topic of behavioral euthanasia can be difficult to consider. However, when other options have been exhausted, behavioral euthanasia is a humane option that ensures your pet the peaceful transition they deserve, in the arms of the only beloved companions they have ever known. We have compiled an extensive set of educational and support resources regarding behavioral euthanasia for your consideration.
What if my pet is on behavioral medications and they get rehomed or placed into a rescue?
If your pet is currently on a behavioral medication protocol, it is highly recommended they remain status quo on that protocol for at least 3 months after they are adopted into a new, permanent home setting. If after 3 months in a new home setting, the pet is stable and the new guardians would like to explore making adjustments to the pet's medication plan, they can begin working with their veterinarian to make adjustments, if warranted. NEVER discontinue any medications without consulting a veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist. Doing so can result in serious medical complications, and/or new or worsening behavioral problems. Do your best to ensure the pet's new caretakers are aware of these recommendations, and, are willing and able to continue treatment, as directed.
Have I failed?
We know that if you are viewing this page, this may be how you feel. You are not alone, as this is the most common thing we are asked at this crossroads. You have not failed. Your pet’s brain has failed them, and all of those involved in this process. While we never want to end up at this crossroads, many pet parents are left wondering “Was there something else I could have done?” or “Someone else who could have helped?” Please know that your feelings are heard and understood by our team of experts. We know how hard this decision process is going to be for everyone, and are here to support you through it. There are human therapists and social workers who specialize in helping you, and your children, navigate all of these emotions. We have compiled an extensive list of human support resources for your consideration.