Avoid surrendering your dog: Resources & suggestions

Avoid surrendering your dog: Resources & suggestions

Unfortunately, Forever Loved continues to see a high number of dog owners interested in surrendering their dogs.

The demand is too great for us to say yes to each inquiry, and we sometimes must make the heartbreaking decision not to help a dog.

Many pet owners have been impacted by the economy. Approximately half of surrender inquiries at Forever Loved are financial-based. Other scenarios we see leading to surrender involve a change in circumstance. 

Here are some of the current trends we are seeing. If you or someone you know is considering surrendering a dog, please read on for some helpful information.

Problem: MOVING

Pet owners are having to move to smaller places and many are on a fixed income. A lot are moving to places that don’t accept pets. 


Renting a home with a pet can be a challenge. Pet owners facing a move should scour online resources, including Lost Our Home’s pet-friendly rentals list, Arizona Pet Project for pet-related rental-issue assistance and for suggestions including making a dog resume. A private facebook group dedicated to pet-friendly rentals in the Valley may be helpful too.

If no assistance is available, and a move to a place not permitting dogs is unavoidable, read below about re-homing.


Sometimes people experience a change–a divorce, perhaps–that results in a shift in economic circumstances where they can no longer afford the pet. Others, simply due to an increase in the cost of living, are now having trouble stretching their income to cover pet food and vet care, both of which have become more expensive.

Suggestion: FIND AID

Those pet owners who are feeling they can no longer afford a pet are encouraged to:

  • Contact pet food banks as well as human food banks. Always call ahead. Many Valley food banks and soup kitchens often offer pet food, including Vista del Camino in Scottsdale. You can also request aid from the Arizona Humane Society.
  • Contact the Senior Helpline or 211. It’s possible the pet owner may qualify/be able to receive other aid that could save money and thus free up funds for pet ownership. These resources include food banks, food box delivery, food stamps, government-subsidized home-delivered meals and discounts on utility and internet bills. If you are a senior, contact the Senior Helpline at 602-264-4357. If you are not a senior, reach out to your local government or call or search online for 211.
  • If none of the above helps, read below about re-homing.


Roughly a quarter of Forever Loved’s owner surrender inquiries are due to the owner passing away.

We have always seen a troubling pattern where someone’s dog outlives them and there is no plan in place. Each year, more than 500,000 pets are surrendered to U.S. shelters because their owners passed away and had not made plans for the continued care of their pets.

A similar scenario occurs when a dog owner must go to assisted living or otherwise change their living arrangement based on their health. Both situations are sad and could be prevented altogether or at least made much easier for the humans and dog(s) involved.

Suggestion: CREATE A PLAN 

We understand that facing the prospect that your dog may outlive you can be an uncomfortable topic, but doing so helps your dog and also your loved ones. 

Your plan can be simple. Reach out to family, friends, neighbors and the like to determine who might be able to take in your dog should you be no longer able to. Memorialize the details in a written plan, and be sure to include the full names and contact information of individuals and also include details about caring for your dog. 2nd Chance 4 Pets has a lot of good tips. 

Tell your family about your plan and keep a copy with your important papers. Better yet, give a copy to whoever you think will be handling your estate. If you cannot find someone willing to adopt your dog, consider Forever Loved’s Legacy Care program, or choose someone who could keep your dog while a new home is found. See discussion below about re-homing.


The remaining quarter of our owner surrenders come from those who simply seem to have lost interest in their dog. Sigh 😔. This includes cases where the dog has grown old, and the owner would prefer a puppy or the owner is now more interested in a different hobby. 

Suggestion: RE-HOME

If someone has determined they cannot keep their dog, and the above resources have been exhausted, then they must try to re-home. This is extremely important. 

When the owner re-homes their dog, they get to control first-hand who will be their dog’s next caretaker. They can best explain their dog’s temperament and needs and feel good knowing their dog will go to someone they have met.

Re-homing also benefits rescues like Forever Loved because we are spared the manpower, expense, and space of caring for the dog and finding a new home. Further, it saves your dog from having to endure living in a shelter, which — no matter how nice it is — is still stressful for dogs. Besides, the County and many rescues are full.

FLPS doesn’t formally endorse any re-homing sites but some popular ones include:

We hope this information is useful and that you’ll keep it in mind for future reference. Thank you for all you do to support the pets in your home and the ones in our care!

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