Letters to the Editor

Pet mistake

December 23, 2009


To the editor:

Our heartbroken family brought two spayed, 9-month-old German shorthair pointer/ Labrador retriever dogs to the Lawrence Humane Society this past weekend. Had they done anything wrong? Were they bad dogs? No. They are eager, quick to learn, good with other dogs and young children. So why did we give them up? Because we made a mistake.

We thought it would be good for our kids to grow up with a dog. We thought we were prepared — a fenced yard, a loving family, lots of supplies, training books and videos.

It was overwhelming. Turns out we did not have enough time and attention to give our dogs. Although we love them very much, it became obvious that we were not a good match for them.

I hope if you are thinking about getting a pet this holiday season that you consider that a young dog takes as much time as a small child.

Our children pray every night that Shaster and Jeetse (rhymes with “pizza”) find a better home with someone who has time to train, walk and play with them.


sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

I agree with this statement. Hopefully in the future if you got other animals you don't say the same thing again. I have seen people adopt animals like its a style and say the same thing... They just give them up... oh they didn't have time for them. Well then when they want another animal or its a popular season (such as bunnies for easter) animals are being sold for a short time and then end up in the humane society. I have a better idea. If your going to give up an animal... Don't give them to the humane society. Do one last responsible thing and interview the families yourself because most societies do not have a no-euthanize policy. If you bought the pet, you owe them that. Giving them to a humane society is a cop out. I bet the family didn't even check to see if they were adopted or euthanized. I have been a foster parent in situations like this so an animal wouldn't be put to sleep. And as a parent of 2, honor college student and a husband in med school (While I work in the ER as well) I can tell you it can be done if you care. Even if they are in a healthy caged situation (no worse than the humane society) they are better off not being euthanized.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

One last thing. If you happen to dump your pet off at a shelter or humane society, donate money and food for their care. They will have a better chance at a longer stay and thus more time at the possibility of being adopted.

BrianR 8 years, 6 months ago

A dog is a huge commitment, we completely changed our routine when dogs entered the mix. One of our dogs was adopted and returned twice before he came to live with us almost 3 years ago. He is a high-energy boy and requires a lot of roadwork. Also, it is astounding what walking dogs daily does for one's metabolism so if you can find a way to create the time it's a win/win for you and the dog.

ivalueamerica 8 years, 6 months ago

Thank you for your letter, a true inspiration.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 6 months ago

It is better to take a dog to the shelter than to discard them to the yard which is what some do. The Lawrence Humane Society is a low kill shelter which means they will do their best to place the dogs rather than kill them. I disagree with the personal placement rather than taking them to the shelter. The LHS screens applicants to ensure safe placement. Indivduals cannot always do that. When a animal is adopted from the shelter a agreement is signed that allows staff to check on the animals so if there is a problem with placement the shelter may retrieve the animal. If a induivdual tried this they would have no legal leg to stand on. I have no doubt the LHS will find wonderful homes for these dogs and they they will live full happy lives.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

That is not true. You can screen these people just as well. People just dont want to do the work. You can have them submit to a background check even. People who breed dogs and take careful pride in giving them good homes to just this much work. I agree that they are better off than being in the street but I also say that there are plenty abusing it

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

And breeders have the same legal contracts. Write one up silly. You can then have it signed and notarized. Duh!

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

And full happy lives until they get brought back three times first like the Brian R stated before he gave his dog a permanent home.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 6 months ago

I doubt the writer is a breeder( at least there was no indication of that) I do not think you should blast this family for trying to do the best thing they could. If they didn't have the time to care for the animals why would they have time to draft legal contracts and interview possible placements? Lighten up on these people. I imagine the choice to give the animals up was hard enopugh without having to listen to someone on a soapbox.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

I meant in the humane society 3 times before being adopted...oops :) For everyone who doesn't know you can write contracts and have people who agree submit to background testing. You can even have dogs micro chipped should they ever end up in a shelter again you will be getting a call if they run off and such... Please take the responsibility if you can to find your animals a home... and if the first round of applicants aren't good enough keep trying. Only use the humane society if it is absolutely necessary. A dog is a social animal who's life should have much more value than we narcissistic humans give them. Please think twice before getting an animal and maybe even volunteer to foster a parent for the humane society first to see if owning an animal is really a good thing for you.

brujablanco 8 years, 6 months ago

Now, now, choke - sk8in wasn't blasting anyone, just suggesting some other options. I would be more likely to listen to a complete stranger than one I KNOW has not been a good owner. YOU lighten up why don't 'ya?.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

Im not blasting the family. Im blasting those out their who may repeatedly use this excuse as I have seen. Im glad they posted the article. The conclusion was a great one!

Amy Heeter 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm just saying that the average person does not have a clue how to do background checks. This family made a difficult choice. There are shelters who kill dogs daily but the LHS is not one of them.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 6 months ago

my only question is, why did you adopt TWO dogs??....

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

And I'm just saying if you care enough youll search for clues. Has it ever occurred to the average person the humane society might help you screen them while you continue to foster your own animal. Let me know when you actually have some good advice instead of bashing it. Hello! " Humane society, since you help animals find homes, can I ask you a few questions to help me find my animal a home?"

Amy Heeter 8 years, 6 months ago

The humane society requires that any animal be signed over to them before they become involved in placement.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

Maybe so but they can ask how to do a background check. For heaven sakes, if you were trying to find daycare for your child, are you telling me that a walking talking human being just wouldnt do a background check because they dont know how. Get real lady and give the human race a little credit and make them accountable for needing to be responsible. A person with a functioning brain can figure out what they want to if they really want to. And anyone out there reading this knows that for a fact. If it matters enough youll figure it out. If it matters enough, youll make room for it-and even you know that artichokeheart.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

Hey while your at it artichoke heart, why dont you google search how to do a background check so they will have that missing piece covered. Then maybe if someone asks around that needs to know they will run into someone who saw your post. Then youll be useful.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 6 months ago

Because when I think of responsible pet ownership, arti comes to mind (not).

brujablanco 8 years, 6 months ago

sk8in - I appreciate your willingness to give other options. I wonder, does the LHS take complaints of animal abuse, or is there another agency one needs to call to report neglect and abuse?

"...and my mom is a prime example of that. she refuses medical attention. she only goes to the hospital for a stroke or heart attack when someone else calls the ambulance. she doesnt take care of herself....she hardly eat...even when she has food. all she give a crap about is her animals that she cant take care of alone. she has too many dogs....that she is afraid to take outside because she cant control them. they are almost alway chained up or in a cage. thay all need a bath but yet she wont get rid of them. now she wants to gert rid of my pets that i take care of. i take them to the vet. i feed them. when i can get into the bathroom...i bathe them. i...arrrgggg!!!...."

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

If you suspect animal cruelty The Lawrence Humane Society investigates about 500 cases of cruelty and neglect each year. If you suspect cruelty, PLEASE immediately call the Humane Society at 785-843-6835 or e-mail us to report it. If you suspect dog or cock fighting (yes, it does happen in and around Lawrence), also report it immediately.

All reports remain confidential. Outside of the shelter’s regular business hours, you may contact the Lawrence Police Department’s dispatch number (785-832-7509) or the Sheriff’s dispatch number (785-242-3800) for non life-threatening situations. For life-threatening situations dial 911.

HOW CAN YOU SPOT CRUELTY? These are symptoms to watch for:

  1. Tick or flea infestations. Such a condition, if left untreated by a veterinarian, can lead to an animal’s death.
  2. Wounds on the body
  3. Patches of missing hair
  4. Extremely thin, starving animals
  5. Limping
  6. An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
  7. Animals repeatedly left alone (indoors or outside) without food and water
  8. Dogs often chained up (in Lawrence dogs can be chained for a limit of one hour at a time, three times a day).
  9. Animals left in cars in hot or cold weather.
  10. Animals without adequate shelter and shade
  11. Animals who have been hit by cars, or are showing any of the signs listed above, and have not been taken to a veterinarian
  12. Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners

When you report a cruelty, provide as much information as possible. The details you provide are vital in assisting the investigating officer. It helps to write down the type of cruelty you’ve witnessed, who was involved, the date of the incident, and where it took place.

HOW ELSE CAN YOU HELP? *You can set a good example for others. If you have pets, be sure to always show them love and good care. And it’s more than just food, water, and adequate shelter. If you think your animal is sick, take him or her to the veterinarian. Be responsible and have your animals spayed or neutered. And give your pets lots of hugs when you get home!

*Talk to your kids and other children you know about how to treat animals with kindness and respect. Let kids know their dog or cat really needs adequate food and fresh water every day. Ask if they spend time every day playing with their pets. Explain that animals need a warm place in the winter and a cool place in the summer, “just like you do.” Suggest families watch “Animal Precinct” together, which can help children understand that animals are living creatures who have the ability to feel pain, joy, and sadness.

*Support the Lawrence Humane Society or your local shelter. Find out how you can volunteer at an animal shelter. It’s a great way to make a difference.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

I hope that helps... Sometime hoarding animals is a mental illness. That person may need therapy and counseling because even if they have their animals taken and they are ordered not to have more, they usually cant help but obtain more animals.

MeAndFannieLou 8 years, 6 months ago

Adopting two dogs is actually a very good strategy - two dogs are often easier to deal with than just one. They're such social animals that they do better left in pairs than alone for even short periods of time let alone a work-day.

As much as we all love puppies and kittens, dogs and cats are better companions for most people with busy lives. In addition to Ms. Myers' good suggestion, I would add to please consider adopting a grown animal instead of a baby. You'll still have to do some training, but it will be a matter of making the rules of the household understood, rather than short attention-span and lack of bladder control.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

Well I am off my graveyard shift in the ER. I got to go. Take care. Happy Holidays everyone. And if you see someone who needs help with placement of their animal and they dont know how, help them out. Please try to only use those humane society funds for necessary last minute resorts. Cause even if the society doesnt euthanize many pets, the less money they have the more they must and it is not as humane as you would think mechanizing them. It just isnt cost efficient.

brujablanco 8 years, 6 months ago

It did help, sk8in, thanks. I think you are probably right about the mental illness.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

and it is supposed to say euthanize... dang auto spell is so not working. :)

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

You're welcome. Glad to help out humans and animals alike.

been_there 8 years, 6 months ago

I imagine they got two dogs so they could play together and keep each other company. Many people do that with other animals as well.

tomatogrower 8 years, 6 months ago

I think this letter writer is trying to warn others about taking on a pet that they have no time for. I think it is nice the admitted that they had made a mistake. Obviously sk9infreeee1 isn't familiar with the wonderful shelter we have here in Lawrence. I may get a dog when I retire, until then I'll stick with cats. They don't require a lot of time, but are happy to cuddle up with you on a cold winter's night. The only downside to cats is scooping the poop and shedding season.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 6 months ago

Got our last dog from them and she had been there 3 months glad they kept her there that long she is a great dog.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 6 months ago

The point is this person did the best thing for the animals. The LHS does a good job finding homes for animals,

Bucker00 8 years, 6 months ago

Wise decision here, as opposed to letting them continue to develop bad habits and become even more troublesome. Many people, with pure intentions in their hearts, adopt dogs with little understanding of what it takes to raise a healthy, happy pooch. The problem they make is attributing a human frame of mind in a canine body, which only results in frustration for the human master, and is unfair to the dog. While you may cherish your beloved pet, it is not a child, and will not respond properly to most methods we would employ in raising a child. Moreover, Fluffy didn't poop in your slippers because she was mad at you for not being home when you acquired your new job, she committed her horrible transgression (the error of which was described to the dog in painstakingly detailed english to avert a reoccurrence), she pooped in your slipper because she had to go, you weren't there to let her out at her regular time, and your slipper smells like you, who she was looking for to let her out. It's good the author saw the error of their ways and did what was right. I see far too many instances of the opposite.I can only hope their pets find as good a home as they had wished to provide for them. Our family always loved our pets, and considered them part of the family. But only in the capacity that a dog or cat can provide.

kujayhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Instead of trying to get them adopted yourself, you gave them to the Humane Society where they could potentially be euthanized? I can't stand people like you. Giving them back because "you don't have time" is a cop out.

BrianR 8 years, 6 months ago

Bucker00 (Anonymous) says… "Our family always loved our pets, and considered them part of the family. But only in the capacity that a dog or cat can provide."

Wadda mean? Our German shepherd does our taxes, he's a genius.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

I would like to say tomato, I never said anything about the humane society being inadequate. Read the posts more carefully and be careful not to put words in peoples mouths. You and chokeheart are missing the point. It is clear when you seem to be unable to realize that I also gave the author credit. There are two sides to every story and just submitting your dog to the humane society everytime it gets tough is an ugly truth for some people as is the chance they will be euthanized. All I am saying is if you really trying to do whats best then do it. Give your animal a better shot and not forcing the humane society to find them a home. Every penny you use for your dog is a penny lost for another. You do the math. Each dog in means chances for another dogs or cats death.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

In my opinion the humane society should be a place for rescued and abused animals or animals of deceased peoples to get a second chance first. Provided they are sociable. Well lights out for me. There are also adoption agencies for breed specific dogs too that can be an option for some before the humane society. Rescue agencies do not euthanize.

gphawk89 8 years, 6 months ago

'Sometime hoarding animals is a mental illness."

Yep. We always noticed several cats running around outside a house about a block away from ours. A seemingly nice retired couple lived there. After a few complaints, the county visited and found around 200 cats in the house, about half of them dead. The cats were taken away; the couple had to move out; the house has to be razed for rather gross reasons I won't describe in detail. I would have never believed that something like that was going on just down the street.

Basically polar opposites from the Myer's story, though. I agree that they should be commended for making the right, although very difficult decision. And even more for sharing their story with the world in an attempt to prevent future abuses.

meggers 8 years, 6 months ago

I believe the humane society rarely euthanizes and then, only if the dog is aggressive, or is older and/or has health issues that make adoption very unlikely. While rescue groups provide a valuable service, they typically work with specific breeds, rather than "mutts".

I think this family did the right thing in recognizing that they could not handle these dogs and returning them while they are still young enough to have a good chance at adoption. I'm with Pywacket, though, in wondering if they they might have managed better with a different breed. German shorthairs tend to be pretty active- some would even say hyper. In addition to not thinking through dog ownership in general, a lot of folks make the mistake of choosing dogs without fully researching the needs and personality of the breed.

garyr 8 years, 6 months ago

German Shorthairs also require alot of excercise and running. If you're not willing take them to a field, to throw a ball for them, or take them to dog parks, you will find most of your furniture in ruins from them being bored and needing someway to funnel their energy. Shorthairs are not for people who are "homebodies" or "don't have time to take them out". If you don't want to waste energy on your animal, you are better off getting a smaller breed or bigger breed of dog that is not very active.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 6 months ago

When you write a letter, a blog or a comment you make yourself vulnerable to others. I think this is a great letter and I commend Diane. She made a bad decision and admits it and she writes that she is heartbroken. It is a wonderful letter Diane, and something that everyone should take to heart before adopting an animal of any kind. Thank you for writing it.

ferrislives 8 years, 6 months ago

Just so you know, the Lawrence Humane Society doesn't euthanize for space. I know this from personal experience. We found a dog who had been dropped off by someone near our home, and LHS let us know that they don't do that. That was a concern before I handed the dog over, and I was relieved to hear that. So don't jump to conclusions.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 6 months ago

hey right on Multi, Diane also showed some courage in sending in this letter.

yes, in retrospect maybe she should have done some research on dogs, breed characteristics, and their needs before taking any dog in at the beginning.

GSP's are high energy but the most wonderful dogs. labs mostly are mellow. of course these two generalizations are just that, generalizations.

I'm pulling for these two dogs.

Brianr is right: check the energy/exercise requirements of the dog before you choose to adopt. but that daily walk/exercise is very ood for the humans. and your dog is a wonderful encouragement and companion for your exercise.

my dog, Gnomedog, serves that role. our walks together are precious. the exercise, the peace, the time we share.

kafeman 8 years, 6 months ago

I think this letter may make this person feel better about herself, but what about the well being of those dogs. They are now locked up in a pin with a cold cement floor. Waiting for there owner to come back, lost and confused, because she wouldn't take care of them. I wonder when this lady gets tired of her kids if she will give them away?

Amy Heeter 8 years, 6 months ago

There is heat at the shelter and they do give the dogs blankets. Volunteers excersie the dogs and they have contact with people daily. Again I have no doubt these dogs will have a good home soon.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

People are so clueless... Don't worry, the human society will take care of the responsibility, why should I? However, if you absolutely can't, yeah thank god people donate money so you can drop them off. Obviously weight weather or not the dogs need to be there. I think the author has a great conclusion to the story. I think that they also could have found homes themselves and went with the easiest solution.

Don't take advantage of those limited LHS funds if you can take the time to do find new placement yourself. I am sure they had been thinking for a while they didn't have enough time...so they should have been trying then to possibly find them new homes. Why can't people see " THERE IS A CHANCE OF EUTHANIZATION."

If a mother wanted to put her child up for adoption and they said their is a chance of euthanization, would they put their kids up anyway. And even if your reading this and you live in LHS. There are may other shelters and human societies that euthanize a ton. And for finding homes, many of those dogs do com back several times before finding a permanent home, "why if we don't like them we can just take them back. " like its a product. Clueless people. Like I said before, you can agree to be a foster parent and volunteer your home for puppies until they find adoptive parents in which you will then have to bring them back in. Consider it. If your dog is in danger of being thrown out on the street (which we assume is not the case with the author) then take them to the shelter. Don't use the human society willy nilly because its there.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

I have worked and fostered there. I myself have dropped off a dog a very long time ago when I was in the military and had to move across country. "When I came back to town shortly (4 weeks) guess what, they euthanized her. She was a beagle puppy, almost a year. They had no space (I actually rescued her from a neglectful family, she had behavior problems but was not hard to manage at all). Luckily I had found temp homes for my many other animals. I came back and got them and while my husband and I had just started college, (with two kids) we took the time (both of us) Poor and tired and interviewed every applicant to those animals. They interveiwed at our house, submit to a contract and background testing, and if we even considered them we looked at their home and financial situtation. We explained the common problems and health issues that can arise with these animals and provided books and all supplies for the animal to ensure a better start. Now you all can go to hell if you didn't take the time to do that for your animal, since there is a CHANCE that they can be "killed."

Which by the way they give them an injection that makes their brain bleed. They cannot afford to give them a heavy dose of pain killers which basically makes them sleep while their brain bleeds out. So if you feel good about that chance. Be my guest. At least my conscience is clean. I have since volunteered, and rescued myself. When I can I always provide foster care and even sometime when it stresses my brain out. When they run out of room the animals go into tiny cages (instead of a roomier concrete floored cage) But as you say its better than your home till they find a new one... Nice.

Conclusion, yes use the human society. They are a great resource, just dont use it willy nilly. Dont weigh the decision to find them a home and more lightly that how hard it is to decide to get rid of them.

By the way, my mother and law has rid 2 animals to the humane society. One euthanized for biting (a shizu) which is typical of the breed when they are stressed. Before then she never bit anyone. Also her husband took in an older cat (also euthanized) it wasnt sociable. It was a very shy cat and only came to his daughter. HMMMM people. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY I AM FLUSTERED.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

By the way, everything I did for finding my animals a home was FREE. All it took was my time. My time to give to the animal that would law down their life for me because it is in the nature of a dog we so take for granted. The books and supplies were things we have always obtained for every pet we have owned to ensure we knew what we were getting ourselves into and ensure best chance for a happy pet and pet owner.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

I just want people to understand if you have more options, use them! The animals deserve it. Thank God I am a human being making decisions for other species. If I were an animal I would hate to think what narcissistic family had decided for me and how they justified it.

Maybe if they had to come in and volunteer their own time before the animal was adopted and euthanize it themselves if it needed to be, people would think twice before adoption. They wouldn't simply take back a defective product or one they didnt have time for.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

And multi... I value human life just as much. When my husband finishes med school and I finish my PhD we are quite considering foster care. We do what we can when we can ALWAYS. Like donating to Salvation Army "wheather the door greeter looks the part or not" the money goes in the bucket. I also volunteer time at the YMCA and my husband does it for the free MED-clinic. I work in the Emergency room, graveyard. Somebody has to do it. I sure do pity those people who had to be around my free services. How sad that they seemed to appreciate it.

sk8infreeee1 8 years, 6 months ago

I am so glad this woman posted this letter this holiday. It did take courage and if she is ever this enlightened again dont get discouraged to enlighten others again.

KansasPerson 8 years, 6 months ago

Geez, alright already sk8infreeee1. We got it!

BrianR 8 years, 6 months ago

Gnomedog, I love it, that is priceless.

Escapee 8 years, 6 months ago

When I lived in Lawrence, we found a dog running loose with a leash on it on Wakarusa one summer night -- about 11pm. Stopped and looked for someone who might be looking for him -- but no one came forward. Took him home. Bathed and fed him. He was in terrible shape. Severely malnourished and patchy coat. But he clearly was someone's pet and the sweetest thing ever.... Thinking he belonged to someone, we called LHS and they kept him about a month and nursed him back to health and updated his shots. Then they called us back. (I'd told them to call before doing anything desperate.) We ended up adopting him. Upon taking him to the vet, found out he'd been left that night in a broken kennel at the Wakarusa Vet Hospital by someone who was giving him up and could no longer care for him. They'd left a long note and all his belonging on the stoop after dark...and (Houdini that he was) he escaped! Destiny seemed to have brought us together and then reunited us with our beloved 'Ernie'. We loved him so, and he'd made a move to Lawrence that summer almost survivable! Ernie was about five years old at that time. He moved again with us about three years later, and continued to be our much loved family member for another couple years. He finally was taken with cancer and tumors that made his life miserable. We did everything medically possible to save Ernie before finally letting him go.... I think our experience with LHS was a very positive one. They can't save them all without our help. They thrive on small budgets and limited staff. Humane Societies are much like the shelters and missions we provide for people -- not as good as they should be...but better than nothing. I commend Midge and her people for what they do in Lawrence. She's a very caring person. As are others who work and volunteer there. Rescue and foster clubs for abandoned pets are absolutely the answer for these animals. If you can help...please do. So rewarding. So necessary. So important.

storm 8 years, 5 months ago

A great letter Diane - you know what you're talking about especially since you fostered dogs on their way to permanent homes BC (before children). Hopefully others will heed your advice during this holiday season.

acg 8 years, 5 months ago

This is a common mistake that people make. At least she was willing to admit that she made that mistake and I bet she does thorough research in the future before getting another pet. I want to add that it is horrible to give pets as gifts, too. That's assuming the receiver wants to deal with all of that responsibility and doesn't assure the pet is going to be in a loving environment. I don't have the time for pets so I don't have any. My kids are constantly whining about not having a dog and I just remind them of the fish, turtle, gerbils, hamsters and lizard that they didn't take care of and it shuts them up.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.