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Moving to a New Place and Surrendering the (FAM) Furry Family Member to the Animal Shelter?

More and more people are thinking about us animal housemates not only as a member of the family, offering affection and support, but as active contributors to the household.

Not even counting the important jobs of assistance animals, a doggo like me brings a sense of security, cats reduce pests, and even hens lay eggs. But there’s one very stressful thing that I can’t help with, and that’s paying the rent. In Alabama and all over America and the world, interest rates, mortgages, and rental prices are jumping. It’s really a seller’s market right now, which means humans are having to make the difficult decision to move house.

And this decision is especially problematic for households with FAMs.

One of the most common reasons for surrendering a loved pet to a shelter is that their

tearful human is moving.

Whether it’s having to downsize and losing a dog-friendly backyard, taking on a new lease which explicitly says “No Pets,” or simply having less money left over after paying the price of living, us animals are feeling the economic pinch just like humans.

We know that in these situations you’re trying to make a decision that’s in our best interests as well as the rest of your family’s, and that surrender is a very extreme and traumatic last resort. But there is good news! Responding to the fact that between 65% and 70% of households include furry fam, communities, services, and even realtors are changing to become more pet-friendly. Here are some things to consider before making the choice to surrender that will haunt you.

Any change in space is going to take some adjustment for us very habitual creatures, but a smaller space increases our boredom and decreases our energy expenditure. Experts recommend considering what modifications you can make in your new home, whether that’s fencing for dogs or shelving for cats to climb on, to really make the most of the space you do have. Also important is taking into account that moving house is, often, moving community.

So check out the walking paths, parks, daycare centres and vets in the area before nay-saying the house or your FAMs. Finally, consider that simple training might help us settle in as good housemates and neighbors.

Most rental search websites now allow you to filter results according to whether the

landlords allow pets or not. But don’t necessarily rule out those that advertise no pets right off the bat. The Humane Society stresses that there’s no harm in ringing up and asking if there’s any flexibility to that rule. Let them know our species and breed, maybe offer to pay a “pet deposit” as assurance and keep a record of our good behavior in the form of references from previous landlords as evidence that there’s really no risk. They might just be pet-shy or have had a rare bad experience after an especially poorly behaved family!

Finally, there are options for humans with furry fam who are struggling to manage the

costs of maintaining our health with the costs of a roof over their heads, with helpful

services popping up all over the country. Petfood pantries in every city, such as the one at Alabama SPCA can be found with a quick google search, or by interacting with a live map over at Pets of the Homeless. Food, as well as free and low-cost vet services.

Resources. And free spay/neutering services are available in every state.

There’s no need for a forever home to necessarily mean a forever house. The above tips are just a few ways of bringing animal companions into the heart of your moving plans. And by making sure your furry fam can take these permanent trips with you, you might feel a little less uprooted by those big, necessary life-changes.


Chris DiLella and Andrea Day for CNBC, 2022: Higher Housing Costs Force More Pet

Owners to Surrender Their Dog

Thompson River Animal Care Shelter, 2015: 7 Tips for Downsizing with a Pet

The Humane Society: Information for Renters with Pets

Harlan Kilstein for Dogington Post, 2021: Need Help with Pet Food or Vet Bills? There

ARE Resources Available!.

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