The emails come in daily. ‘Owner lost job, dog needs new home’ or ‘family downsizing due to economy, dog needs new home’. These are newer pleas that can be added to ‘owner moving, dog needs new home’ or my personal pet peeve; ‘divorce, dog needs new home’. While I recognize that upheaval in people’s lives requires big changes, the dog should be valued as a soothing salve at the end of a stressful day. Instead, dog owners often give the dog up in hurry, only to repent later, or worse, get another dog after their lives settle down.
Dogs are scientifically proven to ease stress. Studies show that interacting with a dog lowers blood pressure and releases endorphins that calm us. During times of stress at home, your dog can be the one constant, the living, breathing proof that you are worthy of this unconditional love, at the time you need it most.
In the economic downturn, shelters are overloaded with dogs and cats given up by owners that are moving to smaller digs or have lost their homes and are moving in with relatives. These are challenging situations to say the least, but I offer this: try as hard as you can to keep your dog. Most shelters and many churches have programs to help you with food costs. If you are relocating, check out petapartments.net to search for pet-friendly rentals. The HSUS also has an excellent guide for relocating pet owners. The saddest faces in the animal shelter belong to the older dogs that have been faithful companions since puppyhood, and can’t understand why they were dropped off. Simplify your life, but keep the one piece of it that is always there for you. You deserve some stress relief, and your dog can provide it.