The NextDoor app for the city where I live has a reputation for being “the lost and found dog app.” Dogs are constantly getting lost or stolen, with many poorly contained by bad fencing or being allowed to roam freely. A common outcome of this situation: people often find dogs they are unable to keep and can’t or won’t make an effort to find the owners. Sometimes this is due to ignorance of what should take place when a lost dog is found. However, sometimes this is a result of poor planning on the part of the person who takes the dog. Nobody who loves dogs wants to see one out on the street, and it’s laudable to keep one out of a high-kill pound.  

If someone is not prepared to take responsibility for another dog, responsible rehoming is a compassionate solution. A recent incident that happened in my city, though, underscored the need to do this right when using social media.

Taking a Dog Without Preparation

The dog in question came from a former “owner” who neglected to tell the taker how old the dog was and what kind of vetting, if any, she had received. Ultimately, the person who took the dog determined she was unable to keep her for unspecified reasons. This dog was cute, a Chihuahua described as being friendly. However, the person who opted not to keep her and declined to reach out to rescue for help with good placement seemed to show poor discretion. One of the people who was most interested in this dog had a daughter with an upcoming birthday. Another app user pointed out concern about what might become of the dog when and if the little girl became bored with her.

This incident underscores the need for people to consider whether they are prepared to care for another pet, regardless of whether they are adopting or fostering. In their zeal to get a dog off the street or keep it out of the pound, many fail to think about whether they’re financially or emotionally ready to commit to another animal.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Can I afford food, vetting, and care costs?
  • Will this dog get along with my other pets?
  • Am I willing to give this animal time to adjust?
  • If I can’t keep the dog, am I willing to find a new home?

Dumped or Stolen?

One important consideration in such cases is whether anyone involved with rehoming the dog should be involved. In the case of a dog allegedly found, a reasonable question would be whether the dog’s original “finder” was an owner who didn’t want to admit to abandoning a dog.

Another situation that is, unfortunately, all too common is people stealing dogs and selling or giving them away. Police and animal control departments in Texas and elsewhere are often too short-handed to investigate dog thefts very closely. Anyone who ends up in possession of a dog with an unknown origin story would benefit from trying to locate the owner if there is one. In the event the dog has been stolen, the owner may have the chance to be reunited with their pet.

Smarter Rehoming

One of the main things we ought to keep in mind is to rehome animals that we can’t keep in an intelligent way. If the dog doesn’t have an owner and there is no way the finder can keep the pet, here are some steps to take:

  • Reaching out to rescue and offering to foster until an adopter materializes
  • Posting the dog to local rehoming groups on Facebook
  • Requesting veterinary contacts from prospective adopters,  and references
  • Conducting home checks before giving the pet to the new owner
  • Being smarter about rehoming won’t solve every problem. However, it’s an important step to take to play a role in reducing the number of animals on the street.