Rehoming a dog and different attitudes on pet ownership
December 19, 2014 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Some family members have a dog that they can no longer care for. Their lives have gone through a lot of upheaval in the last year. At some point I guess getting a puppy seemed like a good idea? Well it wasn't and now they have an approximately 9 month old dog that is not trained, he barks a lot, and is basically chewing everything and anything including the walls. He is medium sized maybe 40 lbs. A poodle pomeranian shih zsu mix. But kind of looks like an all white lab. I don't know much about dogs.

My grandfather is in his 80's and had to go live with them and he has a bunch of problems including some symptoms of dementia. The barking gets to him and he tries to hit the dog. From what I have been told the dog will get hit when it barks or just behaves as a dog would. I've contacted shelters but they are full. I have a home full of cats and can not take him in myself. I'm concerned for the dog. I'm sure some people hit their dogs but it bugs me and I don't see how it will stop it from barking. Especially when they aren't taking it out for exercise or putting any time in to train him. What are some other options or resources? They will probably be surrendering the dog to the aspca very soon if I can not find a no kill shelter.
posted by mokeydraws to Pets & Animals (16 answers total)
Have you already asked friends (and friends of friends) on Facebook?
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:47 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

At that age, it should be very easy for the shelter to place the dog.
posted by Melismata at 1:49 PM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

At that age, it should be very easy for the shelter to place the dog.

OP says: "I've contacted shelters but they are full."
posted by schroedingersgirl at 1:51 PM on December 19, 2014

More substantively, I often see people rehoming pets on Craigslist. Obviously Craigslist is full of both excellent honest people and creeps, so use your best judgment, but there is definitely someone out there who would be delighted to adopt this pup.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 1:52 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, no kill shelters are full. Is there an option to take the dog to a regular shelter, explain the situation, and have them contact you if the pup's time has run out so you can try to come up with a different solution? If it is in fact easy to place the dog, he may well still find a home through this route.
posted by rainbowbrite at 1:57 PM on December 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

You want a rescue organization, not a shelter. At 40 lbs, the dog sounds more poodle than shih tzu or pomeranian. So Google up "[your general area/state] poodle rescue".

Call them and explain the situation. At the very least they'll be able to find a foster placement for the dog, which will be better than being benignly neglected and occasionally abused by your family members.
posted by suelac at 1:57 PM on December 19, 2014 [11 favorites]

You could try contacting any dog trainers in the area. They may know of resources you don't, such as local families who may be looking for a new dog or who may be able to foster this puppy temporarily (rather than send him to a regular shelter). Or they may be directly involved in fostering dogs.
posted by Meg_Murry at 2:02 PM on December 19, 2014

You could also ask local veterinarians, or do some focused googling for options like Pilots and Paws, or Good Dog Rescue, which transport dogs from areas where shelters are overbooked, to parts of the country where spay-neuter practices mean less crowded shelters. Good for you for trying to help. Or maybe an adoption group could post to Petfinder for you.
posted by mmiddle at 2:14 PM on December 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Can you find a rescue to take the dog on if it stays in it's home or with you while they try to find it a home using their connections, Petfinder etc. It might mean taking it to some adoption events until it finds a home. This time of year is hard to find new fosters as people are travelling etc.
posted by wwax at 2:24 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, look for non-shelter dog rescues. Perhaps you could pitch in for some initial obedience lessons for the pup if you can afford it.
posted by quince at 2:26 PM on December 19, 2014

Where did they get the dog? Assuming it was a breeder or a shelter, they should start by contacting them. I once had to rehome a dog, and I did this, and the whole thing worked out beautifully resulting in my dog finding pretty much the ideal new home.

If they got it from somebody's backyard or a puppymill pet store, they should start by contacting their vet or any trainers they've worked with in the past (including puppy obedience classes and the like).

If they never did anything with the dog and there's no vet, no teacher of the puppy kindergarten, etc. they should start contacting breed-specific rescues. It being a mix might be a harder sell, but surely in their area there is someone who doesn't want animals to be abused. They should keep making calls until they find someone.
posted by Sara C. at 2:52 PM on December 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

The dog is barking constantly and destroying everything because it's bored out of its brain. Young dogs need a LOT of attention and exercise. If you don't get on to this now, the dog is going to be a neurotic mess as it gets older (especially with the hitting - NOT okay!!)

If they're not going to walk it themselves, your relatives need to pay a dog-walker. They also need to take him to the vet and make sure he is up to date with all vaccinations and procedures for a dog that age (I'm presuming the dog is desexed?).

Contact every dog rescue organisation in the area. Explain the circumstances as you have here. Someone will take him if the other option is staying in a home where he's being abused and ignored.

Unfortunately, I think you will have to organise all this, as your relatives sound as if they don't have the resources or motivation.

I don't want to guilt-trip you when you've done the right thing by coming and asking advice, but...that poor little dog. Dogs are companion animals. They need companionship, exercise, and food/water/shelter to be happy. This dog is sadly lacking in the first two, through no fault of his own. Please help him out.
posted by Salamander at 4:58 PM on December 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

If the dog is in Illinois or southern Wisconsin, please let me know. I could probably help out you out with some contact info.

There are probably a lot more rescues in the area than you think. Petfinder is a good resource. Also call the local Petsmart and Petco and ask them about the rescues that hold adoption events in their stores.

Rehoming a dog is like networking for a new job. If someone doesn't have a place for the dog, ask them for the contact info of someone else you can call. Word of mouth is strong in the rescue world.

Leave your contact info with anyone you call so they can contact you if they end up with space to take the dog sometime in the future, or hear of someone looking. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to call again in a few weeks. I mean, don't be a pest, but a polite follow-up call is fine.

A temporary foster home might be the way to go for a while. I fostered a dog once while his owner was in long-term rehab. It came about because someone knew someone who knew someone else who called me. Even if the foster home is not in the same geographic area as the dog's current home, transport can often be arranged through a rescue, even if they aren't the one taking the dog on.

Don't forget to get cute dog pictures to show around, and try to get vet records, especially if the dog is healthy and up-to-date with all shots. Nobody wants to take on yet another dog that needs expensive vet care. It would be a point in your dog's favor if he came pre-vetted.

Good luck. It's awesome of you to want to help this dog!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:07 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just want to mention that you want to be careful about handing a pet over to the first "rescue" you encounter -- some are unfortunately just a person with a pet-hoarding problem. Calling a local vet (maybe your vet?) is a great idea for finding the good ones.
posted by susanvance at 7:13 PM on December 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another side to this problem may be that your father's committing a felony crime when he hits the dog and deprives the dog of necessary care. In my state, Washington, it is a felony, punishable with jail time. I am not a lawyer - my pet was a victim and I witnessed how seriously prosecutors take it. The situation is endangering your father as well. It's not just morally offensive - if, say, a neighbor sees your father hitting the dog multiple times and documents it, he could be arrested. If it hasn't hit the point where he'd be arrested, good. But it sounds like it's escalating. Keep both the poor pooch and your dad safe, now. Like, the dog shouldn't be there another day. This is a powder keg of a situation.

When you talk to rescue and no kill shelters, emphasize that you don't know the extent of your father's behavior difficulties but you do not believe the dog is safe from harm there. Emphasize that is the reason you are placing the dog, the aggressive behavior toward the dog. I bet that will change the conversation dramatically from the usual spiel about wait times because of the economy, etc. This isn't usual. I know there are such programs for battered women or those whose partners begin to direct violence toward pets and that such requests often escalate getting the animal out safely. I think as long as you center things on that part of the situation, rescue and shelters will help you out more readily; you can do a bit of line jumping. memail me if you want.
posted by sweltering at 5:46 AM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you for all the replies. I am really trying to help them and not overstep any boundaries at the same time. I went over there on Friday and tried to get some pics as well as any vet info. I spoke to them about hitting the dog. Since the dog apparently loves the person who is doing the "disciplining" I guess they didn't think it was so bad. He seems to want to try to keep the dog and my aunt said that she will give it approximately a week. Either way if anything is going to be done I'll probably be the one doing it as far as finding a new home or shelter. They are in Brooklyn, NY and I'm in Queens just in case anyone has location specific recs.
posted by mokeydraws at 9:19 AM on December 22, 2014

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