Can I Return an Adopted Dog to a Shelter?

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on July 21, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Adopting a dog is a big responsibility and one not to be undertaken lightly. You have to walk Fido, feed and love the creature, as well as make sure the dog visits the veterinarian as needed.

But what happens if you adopt a dog and discover that this is not what you thought you wanted, or if you're suddenly offered a new job that will keep you on the road all the time? Can you return a pet dog to a shelter?

Returning Living Creatures

To adopt a lost creature is a simple, fundamentally good thing to do in a world that is complicated and cruel. But it does happen that people miscalculate the extent to which they can care for another creature. At times, it may seem necessary to have to return a pet to a shelter.

Whether you can bring back your pet and how long you have to do it, depends on the shelter. Some places may have an open policy. Some, like the Humane Society, provide new pet adopters with 30 days to test the relationship and will credit any expenditures to another adoption. But of course, no shelter wants to see its creatures abandoned or abused, so most, including the Humane Society, will ask that you bring back an animal at any point rather than finding some other way to get rid of your pet.

Keeping Creatures Close

Your best bet is to think long and hard about a dog, meet some who are up for adoption, walk them, and see how you feel. Don't jump into an adoption immediately unless you have experience with animals and know you are reliable. But don't hesitate too long either if you want a dog -- the adoption could be great for both of you.

Dogs help people in prisons and hospitals manage incarceration and illness. They are considered good for human health. A dog really will be a best friend, loyal and honest, always eager to be at your side and to lick your tears when you cry, which is more than can be said of the vast majority of humans.

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