We always tell our adopters that there are no hard feelings about returning a dog… “if it’s not a good fit for you, it’s not a good fit for the dog, either.” As long as the dog is surrendered back to us, it’s fine, we will get it vetted again and get it back into a home.
This baby, who we called Beaker and the adopter called Bentley, wasn’t returned to us, unfortunately, he was surrendered to Arlington Animal Services so we had to go pick him up. If a dog is going to be returned, 90% of the time it will either be in the first week or (like Beaker/Bentley) around a year later.
That’s the tricky thing about puppy adoptions… a large number are returned or surrendered at around 1 year of age. That’s why our city shelters are full to the brim with 1-year-old large mixed breed dogs: they aren’t as cute anymore, they’re large enough to cause some chaos in the home, likely haven’t had much training to stop that behavior, and they are adolescents that, like human teenagers, test their boundaries.
So when people ask why a dog is surrendered, I usually tell people “because the owner probably didn’t have a very positive relationship with this dog.” All the reasons that people write on a surrender form pretty much boil down to that one reason. Most people find the ages of 6 months to a year to be the most challenging time to own a dog, and so the shelters are full of them because “moving” or “allergies” takes a lot less time to write on a surrender form than “this is a lot harder than I expected.”
The fact is that most of the problems owners find hardest to deal with can be solved with a $60 crate or kennel, and when you suggest that solution people tell you “I could never do that” while ignoring that a kennel is exactly where the dog is going to be living when they are surrendered to the shelter.
Beaker’s not a poorly behaved dog, he’s just an energetic teenager. But now he’s one of the thousands of large breed 1-year-old dogs in the metroplex that’s looking for a home.
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