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"Do you take donated pets?" AKA, what do people REALLY think is going to happen?

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  • "Do you take donated pets?" AKA, what do people REALLY think is going to happen?

    Caller: "Do you take donations of pets?"

    Me: "I'm sorry, do you mean you want to surrender your pet?"

    Caller: "Yes, we can't afford to treat him anymore, our cat is 12, has X medical condition that we can't really manage because he doesn't take his meds well and we can't afford them anyway, he's peeing and pooping all over the house and we'd like to give him to someone who will take care of him."

    While I totally feel for these folks and can imagine that it's been difficult calling around to every vet clinic and rescue in the area, it was honestly kind of difficult NOT to say "Honey, if your family, who loves this cat, can't find a way to get the meds down him and/or can't pay for it, what makes you think some complete stranger walking through a shelter is going to want to sign up for that?"

    As it turns out, euthanasia was something she had considered but her husband seems to think that surely SOMEONE wants to pay for the treatment and besides, they don't want their kids to know the cat got euth'd.

    In the end, we had a very long convo along the lines of "better a day too soon than a moment too late" and about how stressful it can be on cats to change environments, as well as the likelihood of the cat actually being adopted rather than euth'd at a shelter given the expense and condition of the kitty and wouldn't she rather be there at the end rather than worrying that kitty died in a shelter.

    I HATE that people end up in a position where they can't care for their pets even if they're making their best effort. I hate it for them. But I really do think that euth is the best option for THIS particular case.

    The caller was not a client of ours, admitted that she'd called at least 20 places already today and no one had really talked through all of that with her, that she appreciated it, etc. But I was honestly a bit worried I would terribly offend her with that truth and logic.

    What do people REALLY think happens to pets they surrender that have major medical issues? Especially in this economy? No responsible rescue would take something like this on. No shelter around here is going to even TRY to put the cat up for adoption. The cat would be euth'd pretty much on the spot. Like I said, I feel for these folks, but I feel for the kitty more and really wonder what people are thinking.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

  • #2
    Interesting that it doesn't dawn on these owners to just have it done, and tell Susie & Johnny about the nice family in Florida that is going to take care of Bootsy. What so many of us were told way back when...

    ...especially when it came to a palomino, chestnut, or bay 4-legged friend.
    But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

    Comment


    • #3
      Yeah, I work in a small no-kill shelter. It's amazing (and sad) the calls I get...

      I have a 3 year old dog. He's super nice and sweet, but he doesn't get along with my other dogs. He attacked my new puppy and I had to spend $100 at the vet to fix her up. Oh, and he's not good with kids. And I have to keep him tied in the back yard because he jumps the fence and my neighbors are afraid of him. No, he's not neutered. And he had puppy shots, but hasn't been to the vet since then. Can you take him? What? You charge an intake fee? Oh, I can't afford that.

      Then there is "I'm moving and I can't take my 14 year old cat. She's healthy though, and I know someone will really love to take her home". These people get absolutely outraged when I explain how a 14 year old cat is going to be in a shelter environment.

      My favorite one was the people who brought us a shih Tzu/ poodle mix that they paid $800 for a pet store 6 months ago. She was 8 months old. They just bought new furniture and the dog didn't match. I'm not kidding. I wish I was kidding. Dog was awesome, cute, fluffy, and just needed some basic training. We took her as a kindness to the dog, as the people were obviously stupid.

      We took in three animals one day, one purebred French bulldog, a purebred peke, and a purebred Maine Coon (PRETTIEST CAT EVER!!!). We had the receipts, it was more than $5000 worth of critters. Their excuse? We don't have time for them any more. I hear that all the time.

      "I don't have time", "I'm moving and I can't take my pet", "I can't get him housetrained. Oh, and no, it's cruel to put him in a crate (but a shelter is ok????)", "this great dane got bigger than I thought he would", "I can't handle this 9 month old dog because I never bothered to teach him manners while he was young", etc, etc....

      I hate the excuses, especially since they all come down to one thing....

      "I am too lazy to properly train/exercise/socialize this dog I got, so now I need you to take my problem and fix it"

      Comment


      • #4
        The cat in the OP, the owner probably had an idea. Maybe not a certainty, but some vague sense that the cat was probably not going to a loving new home if given to a shelter. But for the owner, it would be less definite than euthanization and with people under stress - and a person with a sick, messy old cat who's considering euthanizing her is under lots of stress - I can understand indulging some escapist fantasies like "Maybe someone else is a better person and will be able to do this." Poor cat.

        Comment


        • #5
          Poor cat. I hope they do right by her.

          Incidentally my parents never hid that side of animal ownership from us. One old cat started messing in the house when I was about 5 or 6yo - they explained to us that she was old and in a lot of pain and the vet would put her out of her pain. I remember being sad about it but not 'omg they the cat killed!'

          My mum was a farmer's daughter though and we used to spend lots of holiday time at family farms so there was no hiding the facts of life from us.

          Comment


          • #6
            I don't understand lying to the kids. Man up and tell them the truth.

            We told DS about the vet helping his hedgehog die because she was old and sick and hurting and couldn't be fixed. He was very sad and misses her very much, but I don't think he hates or blames us and he's three.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you for "speaking the truth in love" to her. Yes, it's hard. But you choose your words carefully, use a loving tone of voice and pray that they "get it." Well done.
              <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Just playing devils advocate here, but what do you expect to do if the family absolutely cannot afford a pet because of its problems. Some vets won't put down "healthy" animals who happen to have problems. Just curious what you think a family should do then?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've encountered this with horse owners, too. "I need to find a new home for my 25+ year old hard-keeper OTTB, he really isn't sound for much besides light trail riding, but he's not a beginner horse and will need an experienced rider. He's herd-bound and hard to handle from the ground, too. Oh, and he's on a bunch of meds and needs corrective shoeing. I'm sure I can find a rescue home that will take him though, he really is a sweet horse!!" Really? Really?!?!

                  It drives me up a wall and back, that people seem to believe there are lines of kind-hearted people just waiting to give good homes to high-maintenance castaway pets. Truly drives me batty.
                  *friend of bar.ka

                  "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BuddyRoo
                    What do people REALLY think happens to pets they surrender that have major medical issues?
                    There are a ton of delusional people out there. I know some people that are otherwise intelligent who have their panties totally in a bunch because the local shelter immediately <gasp> euthanized a feral kitten someone (to use their word) donated. These people are posting all over how the shelter is evil for doing this and how they should have rehabilitated the kitten and found it a home. Because somehow there are not enough not-feral kittens in need of a home? Oh let us ignore the fact that life in a shelter is not a fun place for a kitten petrified of humans.

                    Originally posted by GucciJumper View Post
                    Just playing devils advocate here, but what do you expect to do if the family absolutely cannot afford a pet because of its problems. Some vets won't put down "healthy" animals who happen to have problems. Just curious what you think a family should do then?
                    If the animal has tons of medical issues that reach the level of not being able to afford them then I am guessing there are not many vets who would refuse to euthanize, since clearly the pet is not "healthy".


                    Buddyroo, good job explaining things to this owner. Hopefully they did the right thing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's why, for the most part, don't even look at the Giveawy Forum

                      On this very BB. Too many old, unsound horses that people want to "make sure get a loving home". Yes, life and circumstances change, but for heaven's sake, why can't people put on their big girl panties and do the right thing for the horse, not for their own "I believe, I believe" feelings.

                      I'm not saying that there aren't good reasons to have to rehome and older horse. I'm not saying that there aren't some wonderful people who will be glad to spend money and time on something that will have lifelong (and not much life) issues, just for the satisfaction of doing a good thing.

                      But reading most of the adds, makes it seem like it largely inconvenience and personal goals that lead most of the situations the horses find themselves in. Gotta make room for my new horse, sorry about your luck Dobbin.

                      I guess they live in the "oh well "I" found him a good home, I can't help what the next guy does with him" world.

                      Delusional.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by GucciJumper View Post
                        Just playing devils advocate here, but what do you expect to do if the family absolutely cannot afford a pet because of its problems. Some vets won't put down "healthy" animals who happen to have problems. Just curious what you think a family should do then?
                        A healthy pet doesn't have problems that cost a lot of money. So it's kind of a non starter with regards to your scenario. If someone needs to rehome a healthy pet, I'm happy to help. In the last few years, I've helped rehome quite a few horses, several dogs, and a few cats. Rehoming a healthy pet takes effort and time, but it's not that difficult. Even when you have to consider transporting the pet quite a distance.

                        I'll take it a step further. I worked at a clinic all through HS and college. Our policy was that we would not euthanize a pet with a (reasonably) treatable condition. We did offer options. So for example, we had a dog come in with a bacterial skin infection secondary to flea allergy. The O's didn't want to pay for a 10 day course of cephalexin and some flea treatment. Wanted to euth. It was a 4YO, otherwise healthy lab. Practice owner had them sign over the pet, we paid for the treatment and then we rehomed the dog. We DID have a policy that we would not euth a pet with a (reasonably) treatable condition but we didn't just leave people flapping in the wind either.

                        But an elderly pet with a chronic condition that is expensive and critical to QOL of the pet? No reasonable veterinarian is going to refuse to euth.

                        I truly do not fault the folks I spoke of in the OP for having some hope that maybe, just maybe someone out there would be interested in taking their cat. There may well be someone like that. Not likely, but maybe. And obviously, the lady was TRYING to find a solution--not just dumping the cat in a carrier at the doorstep of the shelter..which people do.

                        But it seems to me that more people need to have some of those tough convos with people--not just say "No, we don't do that". A little empathy and education can go a long way. If someone else had answered that same call at my clinic, they would've just been told that we don't do it. And like I said, that's what she had been told about 20 times already. People don't always *think* when they are feeling like they are in crisis I guess, but goodness, I would've thought someone would've pointed out the rather obvious at least 18 calls prior--12YO sick cat in need of major medical with a lousy prognosis and expensive treatment? Not that adoptable.
                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 2ndyrgal View Post
                          On this very BB. Too many old, unsound horses that people want to "make sure get a loving home". Yes, life and circumstances change, but for heaven's sake, why can't people put on their big girl panties and do the right thing for the horse, not for their own "I believe, I believe" feelings.

                          I'm not saying that there aren't good reasons to have to rehome and older horse. I'm not saying that there aren't some wonderful people who will be glad to spend money and time on something that will have lifelong (and not much life) issues, just for the satisfaction of doing a good thing.

                          But reading most of the adds, makes it seem like it largely inconvenience and personal goals that lead most of the situations the horses find themselves in. Gotta make room for my new horse, sorry about your luck Dobbin.

                          I guess they live in the "oh well "I" found him a good home, I can't help what the next guy does with him" world.

                          Delusional.
                          It is funny that I find small animals vets in my area are more willing to put down a healthy pet that is not suitable to re-home. (aggressive, poorly trained and older, older cats). But many of the horse vets will not euth a horse that is older, only pasture sound and would not make a good companion horse.

                          I am wondering if many small animal vets figure it is better for the animal to be euth'd than dumped at a shelter, be stressed for a few weeks and then euth'd or worse, placed, returned due to issues, then euth'd.

                          Especially with the economy I don't always understand the hard-line stance of not euthing an older animal, especially a horse that is pasture sound only, when the owner can no longer afford. What exactly are they supposed to do with a horse nobody wants and they can no longer afford?
                          Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            I've had almost the exact opposite experience so I guess that's part of the challenge, eh? One of the horses I helped rehome a few years ago was so bloody psycho about getting into the trailer that the vet was ready to euth--and that horse is now owned by a COTH'er and is packing around kids and trailering just fine.

                            My experience has been that large animal veterinarians, especially equine veterinarians, are actually pretty hip to the idea of euth in ways that small animal vets are not.

                            My operating theory on that has always been that they know there is no "shelter" for an owner to drop a horse off at like there is for smaller companion animals.



                            Originally posted by SonnysMom View Post
                            It is funny that I find small animals vets in my area are more willing to put down a healthy pet that is not suitable to re-home. (aggressive, poorly trained and older, older cats). But many of the horse vets will not euth a horse that is older, only pasture sound and would not make a good companion horse.

                            I am wondering if many small animal vets figure it is better for the animal to be euth'd than dumped at a shelter, be stressed for a few weeks and then euth'd or worse, placed, returned due to issues, then euth'd.

                            Especially with the economy I don't always understand the hard-line stance of not euthing an older animal, especially a horse that is pasture sound only, when the owner can no longer afford. What exactly are they supposed to do with a horse nobody wants and they can no longer afford?
                            A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                            Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              yeah, I had to quit working at a shelter. It was either that or murder someone.
                              The worst, though, was the time I met a friend's neighbor (now ex-neighbor)- they bought a puppy every year from a pet store, then took it to a really nasty high-kill shelter to be gassed when it hit about 8 months old. I was standing there aghast as the guy explained "we like puppies but not dogs" and didn't even seem to care their "beloved" pet every year spent a week in terror and then died horribly.
                              Every single year, year after year. I wonder what the kids learned from this and how they turned out.


                              However, I have some sympathy for the OP's cat owner- they probably really didn't want the cat to die, but just couldn't cope and were hoping someone, somewhere, would help. At least it's not one of the bogus "moving", "had a baby", "Didn't match the couch", "got too big" excuses for dumping pets. Those reasons are inexcusable.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Today, as a nice note...I checked in a lady with a new to her pup who had been "donated" to a shelter. Nice little pup. Going to be a great fit as she just lost her dog a few weeks ago. The owner of the pup decided that he just didn't have time for her. She is in a good home as of last night.

                                And then there was another shelter kitty, 6YO, had been pretty well cared for but really freaked out when the couple had a baby and introduced other pets so they surrendered. I mean "donated". Anyway, the new owner is coming in tomorrow with the kitty and is happy as pie that she has an adult cat who will be the only pet in their home.

                                THere are lots of good stories...I don't mean to harp on the sad. But again, these were otherwise well pets.
                                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The worst story I was ever privy to was from a friend of a friend who told me that when her chow got pregnant again she had her son take it out to the woods and leave it. She must have seen the shock on my face because she said, "What was I supposed to do?"

                                  I was speechless. This had happened some time in the past.

                                  Paula
                                  He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I loathe people like the original person who wanted to dump a sick, older pet on a rescue or shelter because when the animal was put to sleep, then they could blame the 'awful people at the shelter who killed my cat'. Some people just want someone else to be the bad guy, and want to blame someone else.

                                    When I picked up my last boy at the pound a lady brought in an older lab, and turned him in to be euthed. (I was sitting for a while in the waiting room waiting to pick up my new boy, and overheard this). The woman did not want the dog adopted out, but PTS. She then went puppy shopping. The shelter intake person looked so sad, and from what I eavesdropped the woman just didn't want the older dog any longer. That shelter had a policy of putting down animals on request, but the poor dog's apparent crime was he got older, and she wanted new.
                                    You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My dad and his SO did this with their child my 1/2 sister. Get a female kitten ,have a litter of kittens, let child pick a kitten from the litter (of course female) Dump mother cat and kittens, let picked kitten get pregos, keep kitten, dump mother and litter, repeat, and so on. Yeah, real good life lessons there.

                                      I also can not stand the ads for the old useless horse looking for a good home. That one totally boils me. Come on people, really?
                                      Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Several years ago, I had a wonderful elderly horse whose early years had been nothing but constant and severe abuse (he couldn't be ridden the entire 12 years I owned him due to fractures in his spine from being beaten; he had a cracked skull; and he got off the trailer with severe untreated rotation of his front coffin bones). I'd kept him happy, healthy, and pain free for those 12 years by spending roughly $40,000 on his vet bills alone. I should note that they could have been much, much higher had it not been for vets donating their time and care due to the severity of what he had experienced.

                                        A week after my mother died from a protracted and horrible illness where I was the sole caregiver, the old guy foundered again. It was treatable, but would require a level of care from me that I simply didn't have emotionally left to give after the stress of my mom. My vets weren't thrilled with the idea of putting him down, pointing out that he would recover as he always did, but I'm so thankful that they understood the full situation and did what I asked. Scoobie died peacefully on a beautiful summer day, surrounded by his horse friends and someone who loved him. But I know some vets who consider it a violation of their "do no harm" oath to put down a "non-critical" horse.

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