Once there was a time when you were thrilled to have a Siberian Husky puppy, or adopted an older Siberian for your very own. You never dreamed you would be thinking you may need to give your companion up someday. Even if you decide you can no longer keep your Siberian anymore, it still depends on you to do what’s best for him/her, just like he/she depended on you up to this fateful moment. Now, more than ever, your Siberian needs you to make the right choices for its future.
Throughout this article, we will be direct and honest with you. Your Siberian is your responsibility. It has no one else but you to look out for its interests. If you absolutely must give up your Siberian, it will take effort, patience and persistence to find your Siberian the right home. Your Siberian deserves your best efforts. Finding a new home involves several steps. Before you start, there are some important things you should know:
Animal Shelters and Humane Societies were created to care for stray and abused animals. They were not meant to be a drop-off for people who no longer want their pets anymore. Shelters take in large numbers of and different kinds of animals each day. Face it, there are not 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 Siberian Huskies are going to be adopted. By law, stray pets must be kept several days allowing for their owners to reclaim them. They cannot be destroyed until that period is up. Dogs given up by their owners are not protected by these laws. They may be destroyed at any time. Shelters don’t want to kill all these animals but they may not have a choice. There just is not enough room for all of them. Some shelters are so over-crowded; your Siberian could be killed the same day it arrives.
Regardless of all the good intentions, and any kindness a volunteer at a shelter may extend to you and your Siberian when you drop him/her off, the reality is that shelters are part of a governmental bureaucratic system which is not usually animal friendly. Being a purebred will not help your Siberian’s chances of adoption either. Almost half of all dogs in many shelters are purebreds. Because Siberian Huskies are so popular in many areas, and shelters get in a number of purebred Siberians, some shelters may not put your pet up for adoption at all. Your Siberian may be as good as dead when it walks in the door. If your Siberian is old, has health problems, or has a poor attitude and aggressive issues toward strangers, its chances of adoption are slim to none. Sending your Siberian to a shelter in hopes that it find a good home is wishful thinking. It is more likely that you will be signing your Siberian’s death warrant. A shelter should be your last resort, only after all your best efforts on behalf of your Siberian have failed.
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 are forced to turn away many pets because they do not have room for them all. Sometimes they have to choose only the most adoptable dogs to work with.
Rescue organizations are private groups run by volunteers as an alternative to shelters, humane societies, or worse. Most of them operate out of the volunteer’s homes. Like no-kill shelters, demand for their services is high, so high that your Siberian may be turned away for lack of fostering capabilities.
Breed specific rescue organizations are dedicated to a particular breed. These organizations can help you place your dog by providing referrals to persons interested in adopting your Siberian. You will have the most success if you follow the rescue organization’s advice to the letter. Being able to hold onto your Siberian until a new, loving home is located increases your Siberian’s chances of being placed with the “right” family.
Soul Searching. Do you really have to give up your Siberian Husky? There is a big difference between being forced to give up your Siberian and wanting to “get rid of it”. Search your heart for the real reason why your Siberian can no longer live with you. Be honest with yourself. Your answer will probably fall into one of two categories: “PEOPLE PROBLEMS VS. DOG PROBLEMS”.
People Problem: “We’re moving and we can’t find a landlord who’ll let us keep our Siberian.” Affordable rental homes that allow pets are out there if you work to find them. Most people give up too easily.
People Problem: “We don’t have enough time for the dog” As a puppy, your Siberian Husky took far more of your time than he/she does now. A Siberian doesn’t really take that much time. A Siberian’s requirements for attention are often less than those of many other breeds. Grooming need only take an hour a week. Often a couple walks per day, or a fenced area to run in, can be sufficient exercise for your Siberian. Are you really so busy you cannot devote this small amount of time for the security and happiness of your four-legged family member? Can other members of your family help care for your Siberian in a pinch dog? Will getting rid of your Siberian really make your life less stressful? When they look closely at their lives, people often discover that their Siberian is not cramping their style as much as they think! As a matter of fact, a loving relationship between you and your pet will reduce stress in your life and having a beautiful Siberian can enhance your social life.
If you got your Siberian as a puppy and he/she now has what you consider a behavioural problem you cannot live with, you must accept the fact that you are mostly responsible for the way your Siberian is now. You have four options:
1. You can continue to live with your Siberian the way it is;
2. You can get help through training to correct the problem;
3. You can try to “dump” your problem on someone else;
4. You can have your Siberian destroyed.
Obviously the first option is out or you wouldn’t be reading this article. You’re probably most interested in Option 3, so let’s talk frankly about that for a moment. If you were looking for a dog and could select from all kinds of dogs and puppies, would you deliberately choose one with a behavior problem? No, certainly not. And neither would anyone else. To make your Siberian desirable to other people, you’re going to have to take some action to fix the problem. Most behavioral problems are not that hard to resolve. We can help you with them if you’ll give it a try. Think hard about Option 2 before deciding it won’t work for you, because the only option you have left is number 4, having your Siberian destroyed. That’s the bottom line. If you, who knows and loves your Siberian Husky best, will not give him/her a chance, why should anyone else? Think about that!
Dog Problem: “Has your Siberian ever bitten anyone” If your Siberian is aggressive with people, or has ever bitten anyone, you cannot in good conscience give him/her to anyone else without correcting the problem first. Could you live with yourself if your Siberian hurt another person, especially a child? Can you deal with the lawsuit that could result from it? You could lose your home, and everything else you own. Our society today has zero tolerance for a dog with a bite history, no matter how minor.
A dog that has bitten, whether or not it was his/her fault, is considered by law to be a dangerous dog. In some states, it is illegal to sell or give away a dog with a biting history. No insurance company will cover a family with a biting dog. And to be perfectly honest, no responsible person in his right mind would want to adopt a biting dog.
If you love your Siberian, and he/she has ever bitten anyone, you have two responsible choices: (1) Take him/her to “obedience training” to determine if through “behavior modification” you can eradicate the problem; or, if this fails, (2) Take him/her to your veterinarian and have your Siberian humanely put to sleep. Don’t leave it at a shelter where it will be frightened and confused putting other people at risk. Don’t pass your problem off to a breed rescue organization or another family who will be forced to make the same decision you should have reached. As hard as it is to face, putting a dangerously biting dog to sleep is the only safe and responsible thing to do. But first make the effort with option (1). Your Siberian deserves your patience and willingness to help him/her be a better canine citizen and companion.
Call Your Siberian’s Breeder If you purchased your Siberian from a breeder call the person you got your Siberian from and ask for suggestions. Even if several years have passed, responsible breeders care about the puppies they sold and will want to help you resolve the issues you are facing. They may even take your Siberian Husky back. At the very least, they deserve to know what you intend to do with your Siberian and what will happen to it. If you cannot remember the breeder’s name, look on your Siberian’s registration papers. If you got your Siberian from an animal shelter or rescue organization, read the adoption contract you signed when you adopted your Siberian. You may be required by the contract to return your Siberian to that shelter or rescue organization.
Evaluate your Siberian’s adoption potential to successfully find a new home, you need to be realistic about your Siberian’s adoption potential. Let’s be honest, most people don’t want “used” dogs, especially if they have health or behavioural problems. Your Siberian will have the best chance if he/she is healthy, friendly to strangers, obeys commands and adapts quickly to new situations. Look at your Siberian as if you were meeting him/her for the first time. What kind of impression does he/she make with you? Would you want to adopt your Siberian Husky? You already know that Siberian Huskies are special dogs for special people. Those special people can be hard to find. A lot of people interested in Siberian Huskies today have never had one before. They want a dog that will greet them with a wagging tail or will at least be willing to be petted. If your Siberian is aggressive to strangers, is “temperamental”, or has ever bitten anyone, finding him/her another home may be difficult.
Where To Go? The best guarantee for finding your Siberian Husky the right home is to place your Siberian with a Siberian Husky Rescue Organization in your area that will take great pains in placing your Siberian into a loving home that understands the breed.
Getting your Siberian ready, your Siberian will be much more appealing if he/she is clean, well-groomed and healthy. Take your Siberian to your veterinarian for a “wellness check-up”. Be sure to tell your veterinarian about behavioural problems, if any, so he/she can rule out physical causes.
If your Siberian is not spayed or neutered, do it now! Don’t waste your time trying to sell your Siberian as “breeding stock” even if he/she is KUSA-registered. Frankly, no reputable Siberian Husky breeder will want your Siberian unless it came from a well-known show dog fancier or sledding kennel in the first place. The only kind of “breeder” who’ll be interested in your Siberian will be a “puppy farmer” or a “dog broker”. Brokers seek out unaltered purebreds for resale to “puppy mills” or “research laboratories”. That’s not the kind of future you want for your Siberian. Spaying or neutering guarantees that your Siberian won’t end up in a puppy mill. It’s the best way to ensure that your Siberian will be adopted by a family who wants him/her only as a best friend and member of the family. If you can’t afford the cost of surgery, check with your veterinarian, local shelter or rescue organization for information about low-cost spay/neuter programs that are available in your area. Having your Siberian neutered or spayed is the best going-away present you can give him/her. It may save your Siberian’s life! If your Siberian has never been micro-chipped, this is a great time to do it. It’s not unusual for newly-adopted dogs to get loose and become lost trying to find their way back to you.
A permanent identification method will help your Siberian get back to you or his new owners. You want your Siberian to look beautiful and make a good impression. He/she needs to be clean and well-dressed! Get rid of any mats and tangles and give him/her a bath. Make sure he/she is neatly trimmed. If you can’t do these things yourself, take your Siberian to a groomer. Get rid of old collars or harnesses and buy a nice, new, strong walking harness and lead. Most rescue organizations will NOT take dogs from individuals who are trying to place their own dogs for free of any kind. Some may not take an “owner surrender” dog unless it has already been spayed or neutered, or they may require you to donate the cost, or part thereof, for the surgery. Most rescue organizations request a donation for the efforts they expend placing your Siberian.
Saying Goodbye. Put together a package to send along with your Siberian:
1. Your Siberian’s Husky’s medical records, including the name, address and phone number of your veterinarian;
2. Any paperwork from the breeder, pet store, shelter, rescue organization, or person you got your Siberian from;
3. Your Siberian’s toys and belongings (dog bed, blanket, etc.) and any unused dog food and special treats he/she loves;
4. Your Siberian’s collars and leashes;
5. Any identification tags, microchip tags, rabies tags or other medical tags your Siberian may have.
6. Any other “comfort” items you know your Siberian will appreciate having in his/her new home. Set aside a special time for you and your Siberian to take a last walk together and say goodbye. We know you’ll be upset. Do it in private, so you’re clear-headed when it’s time for your Siberian to leave. He/she may be confused about being left with strangers and you won’t want your emotions to upset him/her even more. Your Siberian will go through an adjustment period as he/she gets to know his/her new family and people, learns new rules and mourns the loss of his old family. Most Siberian Huskies adjust within a few days, others may take a little longer, but in some cases Siberians have been known to a get so homesick and emotionally distraught they refuse to eat and slowly let go of life. Most rescue organizations will have you fill out a “Release” or “Surrender” agreement incorporating the information discussed herein, and other important information to enable it to place your Siberian in a loving, caring, Siberian Husky appropriate home.
Moving is the most common reason why people give up their pets. It doesn’t have to be this way!
1. Most people give up too quickly in their search for rental property that accepts pets. Don’t be too quick to jump on the first rental you see. There will probably be a better one available soon.
2. Use various search tools. Most people only look as far as the classified ads. Many landlords list their property through real estate agents or rental associations rather than the classifieds. Take advantage of rental services that help tenants find rental homes. Ask friends, relatives and co-workers to keep an eye open for you. Many rentals are rented via word of mouth before they are ever advertised in the papers.
3. A home that allows you to keep your dog might be in a different neighbourhood than you would prefer. Expand your geographical search area. Don’t get stuck on one area. It might be a few more miles from work, so what! It might not be as luxurious as you would like. It might cost a few Rand more. Aren’t you willing to compromise if it means being able to keep your Siberian?
4. “No Pets” doesn’t always mean no pets, period! Many landlords automatically rule out pets because they don’t want the hassle. Many of these landlords are pet owners themselves. Just because the ad says “no pets” doesn’t mean you should not go see the rental anyway. During the interview, ask the landlord, “Are pets absolutely out of the question?” If he answers, “well….”, you have a chance! Even if the landlord says no, ask if you can introduce your Siberian to him/her. You will be surprised how even the most adamant landlords may melt when they see the love and concern you have for your Siberian. You will have better luck asking this question in person rather than over the telephone. It is harder for people to say “no” to your face. To help encourage a landlord to let you keep your Siberian(s):
A. Bring your well-groomed, well-behaved Siberian to the rental interview. Show the landlord that your dog is well-cared-for and that you’re a responsible owner.
B. Bring along an obedience class diploma or Canine Good Citizen certificate if your Siberian has one. B. Offer an additional security deposit or rental amount to assure the landlord that you will be responsible if your Siberian damages anything.
C. Bring references from your previous landlords and neighbours. Invite the landlord to see your present home to show him that your Siberian has not damaged the property nor been a nuisance to the neighbours.
D. Bring a dog crate. Landlords are much more receptive to dogs that appear to be crated when their owners are not home.
5. In difficult times, people often have to move in with relatives or friends who don’t like dogs. This does not have to be an impossible situation. Use a dog crate when you’re not home or when your family does not want your Siberian underfoot. A portable kennel run can be set up in the yard for exercise, and can be sold later when you have your own place and don’t need it anymore.
6. Don’t think you’re being unfair to your Siberian by moving into a smaller place than what he/she is used to. Siberians are very adaptable; they can often adjust even faster than people. Where your Siberian lives is not as important to him/her as whom he/she lives with. Your Siberian Husky wants to be with you and does not care where that is.