Giving Up Your Dal

Due to the number of Dalmatians currently in shelters we do not accept owner surrenders however we can assist you with re-homing your Dalmatian and will work with you to try to keep your Dalmatian. Before you decide that you can no longer keep your Dalmatian, please read the following:

Do You Really Have to Give Up Your Dog?

There are circumstances when a dog must leave its life-long home: when an owner becomes physically unable to care for a dog or the owner is terminally ill; when a dog has shown unprovoked aggression. These are “GOOD” reasons. “BAD” reasons are: the dog won’t listen; we can’t housetrain he dog; the dog chews; we’re moving and can’t have a dog anymore; no one takes care of the dog but me; the dog is alone too much; the dog growled/snapped at my child/me; we’re having a baby/my wife is pregnant and we have to get rid of the dog.


A sad dal :(Shelters and humane societies were created to care for stray and abused animals. They weren’t meant to be a drop-off for people who don’t want to be bothered with their pets anymore. Shelters, on average, take in 100 new animals or more each day. Unfortunately, there won’t be enough good homes for all of them. Even the best shelters can’t boast much more than a 50% adoption rate. Only the youngest, friendliest, cutest and best-behaved dogs are going to be adopted.

By law, stray pets must be kept several days for their owners to reclaim them. They may not be destroyed until that period is up. These laws don’t protect dogs given up by their owners. They may be destroyed at any time. Shelters don’t want to kill animals but they don’t have a choice. There just isn’t enough room for all of them. Shelters today are so overcrowded that a dog could be killed the same day it arrives.

Being a purebred won’t help a dog’s chances of adoption either – almost half of the dogs in most shelters are purebreds. If your dog is old, has health problems or poor attitudes towards strangers, its chances of adoption are slim to none. True “no-kill” shelters are few and far between. Obviously, no one wants to see their pet killed so the demand for no-kill shelter services is high. So high that they’re forced to turn away many pets because they don’t have room for them all. Sometimes they have to choose only the most adaptable dogs to work with.


Breed Rescue services are small, private, groups (or individuals) run by volunteers dedicated to a particular breed. Most of them operate out of the volunteer’s homes. Rescues survive on donations from private individuals. Like no-kill shelters, demand for their services is high. They may not have room to take possession of a dog. A breed rescue can still help to place a dog by providing referrals to persons interested in adopting a dog, but you must give them the time. They are not large organizations! They don’t have full-time staffs. They don’t get paid to do this. THEY DO NOT HAVE THE PROVERBIAL FARM WHERE THE DOG WILL SPEND ITS LIFE RUNNING FREE AND BEING CARED FOR. Rescue volunteers love these animals and try to do their best to save the animals they feel are “adoptable”.

Think about it: if YOU can’t keep your dog, why should another family take responsibility for it? If there’s a “good” reason for giving up your dog, then by all means call a rescue. Just remember that you may have to keep your dog until an adoptive family is found. There is rarely an “adoptive family” waiting line in breed rescue.

Some Common “Problems” and Possible Solutions

The Dog Won’t Listen

Have you taken your dog through an obedience class? Have you followed through and continued to spend a few minutes a day reinforcing the commands so your dog continues to learn? Most of the “chain” pet stores and often the local SPCAs and Animal Welfare Leagues have obedience classes for a very nominal fee. There is no such thing as a dog that cannot be trained to be a well-behaved member of the household. Most canines thrive when given basic obedience training. Dogs have been bred for thousands of years to be a “help” to humans, therefore, it’s only a matter of a few hours of your time and a little money before your dog is the “good dog” you’ve always wished for. Please give your dog the benefit of the doubt and take them through a basic obedience class before you give up on them.

We Can’t Housetrain the Dog

While this can be frustrating and a challenge, it can be done! First, consider crate training. There are numerous books and articles on the subject. This is not “mean” to the dog, as they are den animals by nature and often like to have a crate for their own space. Next, consider your dog and its habits. Are you giving your dog free access to water at the wrong times or too much water? Are you paying attention to the “timing” of accidents? If your dog drinks a cup of water, then urinates in the house 30 minutes later, begin taking the dog out after watering. Practice lots of positive reinforcement and consistency. Take your dog outside on a regular basis and when he/she does go, praise him/her like crazy. If there is an accident in the house, don’t rub your dog’s nose in it – instead make sure you remove the mess and all of the smells associated with it. Remember, dogs have a much more acute sense of smell than we humans. Perhaps you haven’t gotten the doggie “scent” out of the floor or carpet. All pet stores sell special odor killers that, used properly, are both safe and effective. If you have questions about house training or crate training contact a trainer or rescue in your area. They will be happy to help you through.

The Dog Chews on Everything

All dogs chew. Whether they chew on the appropriate item is up to you. A puppy must chew (as any baby cutting teeth must). It is up to you to provide the appropriate item for that chewing. Your vet can recommend the best type of chew items for your pup. An older dog can be trained to chew on the proper items as well. Again, you must provide these items for your dog. Finally, crate train your dog. If you allow the dog “free reign” of your home without supervision you are asking for trouble. Most dogs are safer in a crate when you are not at home.

We’re Moving and Can’t Have a Dog

There is housing in virtually every city and town in the United States that will allow dogs. Before you’re so sure you can’t find affordable housing that will accept pets please look in the local newspaper, or speak with an apartment broker in the area. Also, check out this helpful website for more Tips on renting with Pets

When taking this dog into your life, you made a commitment that you would love and provide for it the rest of its life. Would you be so quick to move into housing that would not take your children? Then why are you so quick to move where you can not take your dog?

We are Having A Baby

Congratulations!  You now have 9 months to prepare your dog for the arrival of your newest family member.  There are many wonderful websites and publications which give tips on how to prepare your dog for the day the new baby comes home.

Check out this site for some wonderful information: Doggone Safe

There are also two great DVD’s called Dogs & Storks by Jennifer Shryock and Dogs, Cats & Kids by Donald Manelli.

For this and other great information go to the Dog Meet Baby website

With some time and preparation, you can welcome home your baby and still keep your dog!

No One Takes Care of the Dog

You have our sympathy. This often happens in households where all members are not committed to the upkeep of an animal. No one wants all of the responsibility. However, this is hardly the dog’s fault, and a very poor reason to have a dog destroyed. Make no mistake-if you take the dog to a shelter, it will probably be euthanized for the unpardonable sin of being a member of the wrong family. You will be killing the dog because you no longer want the responsibility. Make sure this is the kind of person you want to be and the example you want to set for the rest of your family.

The Dog is Alone Too Much

We all want to spend as much time with our animals as we can. Many dog owners leave their animals for 8 to 10 hours while they’re working or at school. While this is not the best of all worlds, it certainly is better than the alternative of taking the dog to the pound. Many cities have several options to provide dogs some play time during the work day. There are pet sitters ( who will walk your dog and spend some time giving him/her attention and many cities now have Doggie Daycare centers.

The Dog Growled/Snapped/Bit

This is a tough one. Whether the dog is actually aggressive or not is a judgment call that you, and only you, can make. Did the dog growl or snap without being provoked? Were you attempting to take something from the dog? Did this happen when food was involved? Was the dog protecting itself from unintended abuse by a child? Ask yourself these questions. If you can honestly say the incident was unprovoked then you have very little choice but to take the animal to your vet and have the dog euthanized. You can not, in good conscious, allow this dog to be adopted by some other family where it could injure another human being (especially a child). It is far more humane to make the arrangements with your vet, take the dog to the vet, and allow the dog to end its life without the fear and confusion “dumping” the dog at a pound will cause. This is the act of a loving, caring, and responsible person.

If you still decide that you must give up your dog, please read on…

If you must place your dog in another home, you are in a better position to do this than most shelters or rescue groups. Knowing the dog’s temperament, you can screen potential families and identify the best match for your dog. And you can ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible, without any time spent in strange and traumatic circumstances.

Screening Potential Families for your Dog

You are in the best position to find your dog a new home that is right for him (and be sure his new family feels the same way). By being honest about your dog and asking a few questions, you’ll be sure that your dog and his new family are a good long-term match.

Beware of running a “free to a good home” add in the local paper. Many cities have several individuals who abuse and neglect animals. There is an active network that funnels hundreds of pets from “free to good home” fliers and ads into laboratory research and dog fighting rings, where they suffer slow agonies and a painful death. YOU OWE IT TO YOUR DOG to get him/her spayed/neutered before they leave your care. Don’t add to the problem of overpopulation that rescues are fighting so hard everyday. And by spaying/neutering your dog, you decrease their health risks.

For anyone who is interested in adopting your dog:

  1. Visit their house, making it clear that this is just a visit. Do not plan to leave the dog! This allows you to see the conditions that your dog will be living in.
  2. Ask questions! Keep in mind that this not only gives you some additional information, but it also makes sure that they have made a thoughtful decision. Ask:
    • Have they ever had a dog before. If so, what happened to the dog(s)?
    • Do they have a fenced yard. If not, how will the dog be controlled when outside?
    • Where will the dog sleep? Where will the dog be when alone in home?
    • Have they considered the costs involved (food, medical bills etc.)?
  3. Give potential families a realistic picture of the dog’s temperament and history, and be sure that you are comfortable with their ability to work with it. Consider:
    • Activity level (and any unusual habits like bolting or jumping)
    • Level of training
    • Health history (and be sure to provide a vaccination record)
    • Good with children? Other pets?
    • Other habits (chewer, likes to sleep in bed, etc.)
  4. Verify their contact information. Try to get a home and a work phone.
  5. Ask potential families what veterinarian they have used in the past, and call him/her. Ask if the family has consistently provided required health care (vaccinations, spay/neuter, etc).
  6. If the family rents, contact their landlord to verify that dogs are allowed.
  7. Charge a fee (if you’d prefer, donate it to a rescue/shelter). This helps ensure that the potential adopter isn’t a buncher (a person who collects free dogs and sells to research) and the person/family is willing to pay for necessary medical expenses, food etc.