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A family breaks their heart when they surrender a senior dog to a shelter after 11 years


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For most pet owners, the notion of giving up your beloved dog after 11 years seems unthinkable, but that's exactly what happened to a canine named Pretty Girl.

In a TikTok video posted to the Seattle Humane Society channel, the shelter says that Pretty Girl was surrendered after 11 years with her family. She is "sensitive to loud noises. Her family had a baby, their crying was stressing her out. Not that a shelter is any quieter. Pretty Girl is just looking for peace, quiet and love, and a family to hold her up."

In the video, the small dog can be seen cuddling up to an shelter employee, a sad look on her face. "Not everyone goes home forever," reads the caption.

Each year, 6.3 million pets are surrendered to U.S. shelters, which is an average of 17,260 a day, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The number of dogs and cats taken in by pet shelters hit 46,807 during January 2023, an increase of 1,744 compared with January 2022, the 24Pet 'Shelter Watch Report' found.

Around 920,000 surrendered animals are euthanized every year. Shelters are striving to minimize euthanasia rates by promoting adoption campaigns, spaying and neutering programs, and behavior rehabilitation.

Many people looking for a dog think of puppies and breeders, but there are a lot of older animals just like Pretty Girl that end up in shelters looking for a second chance, and they can have big advantages.

"Many times, people are afraid to adopt an older dog—not because they don't like them or are afraid of any extra care or money that might be needed, but because of how soon they might lose them," said Pet Helpful on its website. "But death is a part of life. Imagine giving a senior dog a loving, secure, and happy retirement home for whatever time he has left. His life, and yours, will be richer for it."

One argument against adopting an older dog is that they may have costly health conditions. However, young dogs can get sick, too, and may also develop problems later anyway.

"We should note that younger animals can have health issues, too. Being young doesn't always mean perfect health, unfortunately," Pet Helpful adds. "Taking care of health issues is just a part of being a pet owner!" The website recommends getting as much information about the dog as possible.

"Health issues in senior dogs should be taken into consideration because they will affect the adoptive family, too. It's always best to go into adoption with as much information as possible so that you are prepared for additional care or costs that might occur.

"Old dogs that have been surrendered to humane societies or rescue organizations by their previous owners may have more information available about them," Pet Helpful says. "Dogs that are admitted also get examined by a vet who may be able to provide insight into the dog's overall health."

Senior rescue dog
A senior rescue dog lays down, with its head on its paws. A family has surrendered its 11-year-old pet to a shelter because there is now a baby in the house. william87/Getty Images

"If she's still there Saturday, I'm coming," wrote one user on TikTok, "11 years?!? I can't believe how heartless people are. That truly breaks my heart," posted another.

Newsweek has reached out to the Seattle Humane Society via email for comment.

Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your pet you want to share? Send them to [email protected] with some details about your best friend, and they could appear in our Pet of the Week lineup.

Uncommon Knowledge

VIDEO: Senior dog surrendered to shelter after 11 years, Sometimes it’s not forever home
The Pet Needs

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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