The Top Ten Reasons People Surrender Pets

Janette Hamilton (Everydogsmom) with her "Significantly similar" husky/lab cross Nakita, a rescue abandoned at 8 weeks of age because she had too much energy for her owner.

Hey folks! Hope everyone is healthy and doing well   since last I wrote! Our pack is doing well with their training and some of them will be ready to seek forever homes soon. I have become extremely busy in the past few months, so we are retiring from active rescue for a while. We will of course still deal with any emergencies, but we are putting our training program on the back burner for now while I write the book on training rescues to live in the average home. Some of my friends in rescue have been waiting for me to write this book others may not care, but my book is not what I wanted to discuss with you today.

Having been in the rescue business for as long as I have, you tend to meet like minded people. I have a rescue friend in Wisconsin that I speak with regularily. He does things pretty much the same way I do, taking in unwanted, strayed and abandoned dogs and retraining them until they are “bullet proof” in other words training them to live in the average dog ignorant home without issues. He’s good at it and to date they have rehomed many dogs successfully. We talk from time to time and let each other know what’s going on in our rescue work. It was during one of these conversations over this past weekend that we discussed the topic I am about to introduce.

Reasons for surrenderng the family pet. Many people surrender their animals to rescue agencies for various reasons here is a list of the top ten reasons people surrender their pets, and my response to those reasons:

1. Moving (7%) Many people claim that they can not find a place to live that will allow them to keep their pets. I say they haven’t looked hard enough. After all if you have children you wouldn’t take the first vacancy that came along in an all adult building now would you? If you have committed your life to a pet you should seek new accomodation that allows for that committment. Pets are not disposable, and there are many rentals out there that do not mind pets. I don’t know about your area but I do know that here in Ontario landlords can not descriminate against people with pets, it is against the law. The only reason they get away with it is too few people are aware of this.

2. Family member died and no one wants their pet (6%) Seriously? Please can you not understand that your dead relative dedicated their life to this animal, can you really not find it in your heart to care for them until their final days? You loved Grandma with all your heart, yet you can not extend that love to her pet? Don’t you think she would want you to give that pet a home?

3. Too many animals in household (4%) This one really pisses me off, I mean really? You are the one who is responsible for bringing pets into your home. You knew before you brought this one home that you already had more than you could handle, so why did you bring him home in the first place?

4. Cost of pet maintenance (5%) Of course there is a cost to pet maintenance, and you knew there would be when you got your pet. Did you not factor that into your monthly budget? When we decide to have a child (unless it is an accidental pregnancy) do we not calculate the expenses involved? The same should hold true when deciding to bring a pet into your home. Even if your financial situation changes, it is no reason to get rid of a family member, after all you wouldn’t rehome your kids because you lost your job would you?

6.Allergies (14%) Seems that half the world is suddenly allergic to dogs! What irritates me most about this excuse is it usually comes in the form of “we just had a baby and the baby is allergic to dogs.” Now speaking from the perspective of someone who has been allergic to dogs for years (I was tested at the age of fifteen and it was determined I am actually allergic to both dogs and horses two of my most favorite animals) this is a BS excuse no matter who is using it! It is physically impossible to determine the source of an allergy without scratch testing and most people do not have newborns tested. It is generally an excuse used to hide the fact that these pet owners are too lazy to care for both a pet and a baby.

7. No homes available for litter mates (3%) This is such a bogus excuse! If you had of had your dog spayed in the first place you would not be having this problem! Spay and neuter your pets people! It is the RESPONSIBLE thing to do!

8. Having no time for pet (4%) Seriously? I run a media company, work as a photographer, write a magazine, perform live, and still I find time for my eight dogs! Why because I MAKE the time for them. They come before my leisure activities simply because they are family. You have ONE dog and say you don’t have time for it? I call shenanigans!

9. Pet illness(es) or pet has grown old (4%) Honestly this has to be one of the worst excuses I have ever heard! Your pet is ill so you decide to abandon it instead of care for it?  Your pet is a senior so you can’t be bothered to care for it anymore? What is wrong with you? That animal has given you the best years of its life, and now when it needs you most you are walking away? Shame on you!

10. Biting (3%) If your dog has bitten you, for heaven sakes use the tools available to correct the behavior. Use a muzzle and work with your dog until it develops bite inhibition. Surrendering a dog that has bitten to a shelter is merely a death sentence for the dog! If you still feel you must get rid of the dog because you are clueless as to how to stop the behavior, at least seek out a rescue that is known for rehabilitation of difficult dogs. At least that way your dog will have a fighting chance at being rehomed. Besides 9 times out of ten a dog bites because the owner has unknowingly provoked it. Perhaps instead of getting rid of the pet you should learn how to handle it?

Well I guess that’s my rant for the day. Take it as you will. I know some of you will argue my points, but as far as I am concerned, there is no good excuse for abandoning an animal. Many of my rescue friends would agree, and many average citizens would argue that I am wrong, however, I firmly believe that once you add a furry family member to your human family they should be a part of that family for life! No matter what!

Until next time, remember,


Luvs Ya All!


Summer’s Here! Is Your Backyard Safe for Your Dog?

With training my rescues and, attempting to build my media company I have not had time of late to write. However, it is the time of year when I usually talk about backyard safety for your dog. The weather is getting nicer, and the summer will soon be upon us. Do you know what hazards lie in your back yard? Well we are about to tell you!

Danger: Insects Ahead

Fleas and ticks can be more than a nuisance, as both can carry various diseases. Be sure to use a flea and tick preventative for your dog; if you are not sure which to use, ask your veterinarian. You can help reduce the risk of fleas by not keeping piles of yard debris, as fleas tend to like warm, shady spots with moisture. If you have a pile of yard debris such as grass clippings and leaves for compost, be sure to enclose the pile so that your dog doesn’t choose it as a spot to lie down on. Ticks can carry disease such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease. Ticks like longer grass as well as brush, such as woodsy undergrowth. Keeping the grass mowed to an appropriate height will help reduce the incidence of ticks. If your dog is likely to encounter ticks regardless, consider talking to your veterinarian about the Lyme vaccination for your dog.

Some insects are less obvious. Look for other insects that can cause problems, such as wasps and poisonous spiders. Some stinging insects, including some species of bees and wasps, construct homes in the ground, such as along sheds, foundations and fences. Unfortunately, these are areas where dogs tend to investigate often and since dogs often investigate with their nose, they run a heightened risk of getting stung on their sensitive noses. Look for small holes in these areas and if you find any, handle them accordingly.

Poisoning Weeds, Bugs and other Vermin? Don’t Poison the Dog too!

Many homeowners employ herbicides to control weeds and pesticides to control a wide variety of insects, such as grubs and ants. While those products can be applied to a lawn and not affect humans, it can be a different story for dogs. Not necessarily because the product is more poisonous to dogs, but dogs tend to actually lay down on the grass, run barefoot on it and then lick themselves – ingesting the herbicides and pesticides in the process.

Herbicides and pesticides come in a wide variety of formulations. If you must apply them to your property, be sure to not exceed the recommended application rate. If using a liquid formulation, look for those that have a shorter drying time. If your dog tends to nibble on grass (as mine do), consider skipping herbicides and pesticides completely. Never assume that a pesticide can’t be reached by your dog and don’t assume that your dog will be “smart enough” to not gobble down poison such as rat poison. Poisons are designed to be appealing to their intended target; unfortunately, what might smell good to a snake, rat or gopher is just as likely to smell appealing to your dog.

Don’t Overlook the Greenery

Plants can be dangerous to your dog too. This is especially important if you are purchasing a home (or recently purchased a home) where a previous owner may have planted plants that you might not be familiar with – or you might not be aware of. For example, daffodils are often a welcome sight in spring and by summer, they are usually trimmed down. By fall, there might not even be a clue that daffodils are present on the property. Yet if a dog decides to chow down on daffodils, the effects on the dog’s liver can be quite nasty.

Dogs Wear Speedos, Don’t They?

Swimming pools can be great fun but they also carry risks. Be sure that your dog knows how to swim and how to exit the pool; put up a see-through pool fence so you can see if your dog goes into the pool and avoid leaving your dog unsupervised when he can get to the pool. Dogs can and do drown. Be aware that ground temperatures near pools (particularly in-ground pools with cement or pavers as a surrounding feature) can become quite hot. Older dogs and short-nosed dogs can be at increased risk of heatstroke. Be sure to check on your dog frequently if his idea of a perfect time is to lie down close to the pool. Consider putting a raised dog bed in a shady spot close to the action so that your dog has a spot out of the sun and with airflow underneath him. If you have natural water or a built-in pond on your property, the same cautions apply. Of course, be sure to keep fresh water (not pool water!) available at all times

Pretty Can Be Dangerous

Garden mulches and edgings, as beautiful as they are, can also be dangerous. Some mulches, such as licorice and cocoa mulches, can have a negative effect on a dog. Keep an eye on your dog when you put new mulches down in the garden; if you catch your dog eating the mulch, consider replacing it with a different mulch. Garden edging, particularly narrow metal and thin plastic types, can be dangerous to a dog’s soft pads. Dogs might not stop to consider the risk when running after a bird, squirrel or even just during a rough-and-tumble play session with another dog. If you have ever cut your hand on a sharp metal edge (such as the lid from a can), you can appreciate how much that a thin slice into soft flesh can hurt. It is worse for a dog, as they walk on those tender paw pads.

Every home and yard environment is unique. It would be impossible to identify in an article every type of possible danger that could await a dog in a yard. Take the time to walk around your property, even poking around the bushes and plants at the height your dog is, to be sure you identify any hidden dangers in your yard. Your dog might not be able to thank you for your diligence but you’ll know you did the right thing.

Give ’em Enough Rope…

Many people feel it is okay to tie their dog out in the yard and leave them unsupervised. Perhaps your yard is not fenced, and you want Fido to get some air, so you figure it won’t hurt to tie him up outside for a while. This is a big mistake! Tie outs can be dangerous for your dog when used unsupervised. Dogs like to chase squirrels, neighborhood cats, any wild life really. If you are going to tie your dog out in the yard, make sure that the tie out you are using is long enough to give your dog the freedom to roam and find shade. Make sure there is a source of drinking water close by, and that there is nothing the dog can tangle itself up in. Also, (and this is crucial) make sure there are no fences which your dog might jump over in pursuit of the aforementioned squirrel. Far too many dog owners have come home to find their beloved pet has hung itself on a fence.

Well that’s all for today, hope you all have a wonderfully happy and safe summer!

Until Next Time



On living with dogs….

ImageWhen most people meet me and learn that I have as many dogs as I do, the first question they ask is usually “how do you do it?” Most people think this many dogs is too much work and chaos for the average person. They would be correct of course, the average person doesn’t live with this many dogs. Of course I have never claimed to be average when it comes to dogs! But the question still remains, “how do I do it?” Here’s a brief summary of our day…

I was awakened this morning as I am every morning, by a fourteen year old Chi-pom I inherited last winter during one of the coldest weeks of March 2011. Someone had left him taped up in a box and discarded outside a local business. When they found him he was almost dead from the cold. They called me because they knew the little guy would probably never make it out of a shelter alive due to his advanced age. Now he lives with me, and he has found his niche in life as my alarm clock. His name is Chester.

After Chester awakens me and I have seen to my morning toilet, I head downstairs where my husband (wonderful man that he can be sometimes) has already made the coffee, having already exercised the dogs, and supervised the morning run. Coffee in hand I head to the livingroom to boot up my computer. I am followed by an entourage of small breed rescues we affectionately call “Mom’s Minions”. As I sit down at my desk, Harley the Schnoodle sits in front of me wanting good morning pats. Harley is the pack’s “town crier” he keeps us all up to date on what’s happening around the house. No leaf shall blow by unannounced while Harley is on watch! As I sit and give him his required morning greeting he tells me all about the things that went bump in the night. He is happy with this routine, he feels it is his job to keep me apprised of all goings on.

Once Harley has made the morning report, it is Hercules turn to have one on one time with “the Mom.” Hercules came to me over three years ago. He was rescued in a puppy mill raid in March of 2009, and came to me that July. He had been adopted out several times but then returned because no one could touch him. We were his last hope, we took him in without batting an eyelash, knowing full well he would probably spend the rest of his natural life in our home. Three years later, Herc is still unadoptable, but with my husband and I he feels safe and comfortable. He is the pack jester. It is impossible not to start the day out with a smile with this little guy around.

When Herc has finished his morning comedy routine, I spend the next couple of hours answering correspondence, making phone calls, and dealing with the less glamorous aspects of the rock photography business. Then it is time for my daily walk with Phoenix our 120 lb great Dane cross. Phoenix came to us just over a year ago. He’d had somewhat of a checkered past, had bitten a few people due to his fear. Once again we were a dog’s last hope. It fell to us to rehabilitate him or have him become a statistic. That was a year ago and now Phoenix is a happy go lucky dog who loves new people. There is no trace of the old fear in his eyes when you look at him. Phoenix has been reborn.

When Phoenix and I arrive home we let the rest of the pack out into the big backyard for a run. All the dogs run and play together,, we do not seperate large breed from small breed. I have been criticized for this by people who believe that large breed and small breed dogs should be kept away from each other for safety, however I do not agree. I believe that if you are going to socialize a dog properly, it must learn to get along with all sizes and shapes of dog, not just those comparable in size. The Great Dane must learn to play gently with the Chihuahua, and the Chihuahua must learn it’s boundaries with the Great Dane. All in a safe, and controlled, SUPERVISED environment of course!

After the mid morning run, it is nap time. Everyone settles down in their favorite spot, and takes a nap while I practice my music. After an hour or two of practice it is time for another run, then household chores. At the end of the day when my husband gets home from work he takes the pack out for another run. We will then make dinner together, feed the dogs, run them one last time before bed, and call it a night. Tomorrow morning we will do it all over again, and I wouldn’t miss a minute of it!

So next time you meet someone like me, don’t ask us how we do it, ask us why. Because that is really the important question here is it not? The truly important thing about my life is not how I manage, but why I have to. Everyone calls me “the crazy dog lady.” After all who in their right mind would live with that many dogs? I’ll tell you who, those of us that are tired of the disposable way in which companion animals are treated. Those of us who spend our lives cleaning up the messes that less caring people in society leave behind, that’s who!

Until Next Time Remember