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Thread Starter 
This is the Best Friends forum for this week and I thought some of you may want to submit questions:

This week on the No More Homeless Pets Forum May 3 – 7?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Why Pets Are Relinquished, and What to Do About It

Karen Green of Best Friends will answer your questions and share insights into the underlying reasons that animals end up in shelters and what can be done to keep animals in their homes.

You can e-mail your questions now to

Introduction from Karen Green

Why Pets Are Relinquished, and What to Do About It

We’ve all heard the reasons people have for giving up a pet: “We don’t have enough time for him.†“She’s peeing all over the house.†“My stepdaughter is allergic.†“He’s growling at the baby.†“He has bad hips and we can’t afford the surgery.†And the ever-popular “We’re moving.â€

There’s no question that lifestyle changes, behavior problems, and expense can contribute to pet relinquishment, but there are underlying causes that don’t show up on those questionnaires people fill out when they turn a pet over to a shelter or rescue group. Many people who bring a pet into their household have unrealistic expectations about what that pet will or will not provide, require, or act like. When the realities of caring for and sharing a home with a pet set in, the commitment to that animal can falter. The intensity of the bond a person shares with his/her pet has an enormous impact on whether that person will keep a pet when the going gets tough (or moves to a new apartment).

Effective spay/neuter programs reduce the number of animals becoming homeless. Adoption programs find homes for homeless pets. Trap/neuter/return programs control feral cat populations, reducing the numbers of cats dying in shelters and on the streets. So what can we do to help keep pets in their homes? What can we, as shelter employees, volunteers for rescue groups, or individual animal advocates, do to keep pets from becoming homeless? What services can we provide to help with those lifestyle change situations, behavior problems, or expenses? What about making people’s expectations about having a pet more realistic? How can we strengthen the bond between people and their pets? And what do we do when we think an animal shouldn’t stay in the home?

This week, we’ll discuss ideas for creating communities where pets have loving homes and keep them for life. We’ll talk about what you can do, whatever your level of involvement in animal welfare, to provide the support needed to prevent animals from losing their homes and entering the shelter/rescue system.

I look forward to answering your questions about how you can help save lives by keeping pets in their homes, and keeping those homes stable and healthy.

– Karen Green

Related item:

The Improvement of Adoption Retention

Bio from Karen Green

Karen Green is the assistant director of Best Friends’ national No More Homeless Pets campaign, where she oversees community program and consultation efforts and assists with the development and day-to-day management of the campaign.

Previously, as the community program manager for the western U.S., Karen consulted with shelters, rescue groups, other humane organizations and individuals across the country. In addition, Karen developed resources and assisted with organization of No More Homeless Pets conferences and workshops.

Karen has also led workshops on a variety of animal welfare and management topics.

As the manager of the Animal Help office at Best Friends for four years, Karen coordinated the responses to all animal placement and intake requests that came into the sanctuary. Karen brought the department to a new level, offering counseling, information, advice and creative assistance to people looking for help. She has also helped other organizations and shelters to set up programs to manage requests for help from the public.

Karen shares her home in Kanab with two dogs, two cats, and frequent foster critters.