Dogs Are For Life, Not Just For Christmas!

A dog is not a toy. When adoptions fail, you break a dog's heart: many times, beyond repair. Here’s what happens when people realise that having a dog is a lot more than just cuddles and selfies!

You saw him, you thought it was love at first sight, your eyes met and you just knew… but a week later, you realize you have over-committed and having a dog is a lot more than just cuddles and cute selfies! So, what do you do? You send him back and become another statistic of an adoption gone wrong. You move on, work gets hectic and life keeps you busy. 

Image Courtesy- fotorince-Shutterstock

Every single day, dogs are returned, and even worse -- abandoned -- because of this exact scenario! Dogs are social animals, which means their pack is of primary importance to them. It is the epicentre of their lives! 

Ever wondered what happens to this dog? 

  • To be removed from a family abruptly leaves dogs uncertain and extremely wary. They lose confidence and many times develop nervous dispositions due to their circumstances. Multiple environmental changes can result in drastic changes in a dog’s behaviour.
  • Many dogs even develop separation anxiety, OCD and other psychological disorders.
  • When stress levels increase, a dog’s heart rate, respiratory functions, and levels of stress hormones such as cortisol are also likely to rise, so you aren't only affecting this dog's psychology, but also causing physiological suffering. 
  • Most abandoned dogs develop trust issues and become too scared and/or aggressive to be able to live with humans again.

    Image Courtesy- KtD-Shutterstock

  • Your hasty decision means this dog will find it harder to settle into another home. So besides the short-term pain, it could also mean that your heartless act has possibly ruined a dog's future! 
  • Dogs that develop behavioural problems because of abuse or abandonment are almost never re-homeable again. Very commonly, these dogs have to be euthanized. 

Image Courtesy- KYNA STUDIO-Shutterstock

All of the above holds true even if you adopt a dog and then fail it on other levels: tying or confining a dog all day, not having enough time for a dog, not giving it the proper health care it needs, are all recipes for a definite adoption failure, if not immediate, then in the long run! 

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 can legally punish anyone who: “Being the owner, without reasonable cause, abandons any animal in circumstances, which render it likely that it will suffer pain by reason of starvation or thirst.” While the enforcement of this act is still weak, that means abandoning an animal is actually a CRIME. 

Image Courtesy- FREEDOMPIC-Shutterstock

Whether you are an organisation, adoption group or an individual that is taking on an "abandoned" dog, ensure that:

  1. You have made the individual or family that is giving up the animal sign a Legal Surrender Form which states that they cannot claim the animal back in any way. 
  2. For an organisation or Adoption Group, do not reveal the adopting family's details to the previous owners. Do Post-Adoption Checks yourself if you must, but interactions with the previous family/ individual that abandoned the animal, can gravely upset the animal.
  3. Be extremely careful about re-homing an abandoned dog. You/the organisation is already the second home he or she has, and the adopter you find will be the third. In many ways, three changes are the outer limit of what is considered a lot of turmoil in a dog's life. Repeated adoption failures end up meaning a minimum of 4 to 5 environment changes and this can be highly detrimental to a dog's mental and physical health. 
  4. Ensure that the Adopting Individual/Family signs a Legal Adoption Form, so you can take back the animal in case there is any cruelty involved and so that the Adopting Family cannot make re-homing or life and death decisions for the animal without your knowledge and consent. 

Image Courtesy- hedgehog94-Shutterstock

When adoptions fail, you break a dog's heart -- many times, beyond repair. 

So think before you adopt, a dog is not a toy or a gadget... a dog does not come with a switch you can turn off. 

Dogs are for life, not just for Christmas!

Tanya Kane

Tanya Kane

Jeevoka member since Jul 2019

Ever since I can remember, I have always loved dogs! What started as a learning journey during my teenage years moulded into a full-time job in adulthood. 12 years ago, I shunned my Master’s degree to set up The Pawsh and RESQ Charitable Trust and have since then never looked back. A trained Canine Behaviourist and Hydrotherapist, I am very passionate about inculcating responsible pet ownership and working on dogs that need a second chance at the RESQ Rehoming Centre. When I am not working with animals, you will find me championing the sustainable life — another cause very close to my heart!