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Surrendering Your Pet

Should I surrender my pet to an animal shelter?

Although animal shelters do the very best they can, did you know that approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year? Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats. Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats). That means that approximately 1 out of 10 animals sent to a shelter will not come out alive. Please know that if you relinquish your animal, you may very well be ending his or her life.

There are certain situations that arise that may make it difficult for you to keep or properly care for your animal: living situations, financial situations, health issues, etc. There are resources available out there to help you and your animal get through these unforeseen situations, and they work hard to keep guardian and animal together.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties and cannot afford vet care, or food for your animal, or your landlord does not allow animals, listed below are some resources for low cost or free vet care, as well as a list of local pet food pantries, and animal-friendly rentals in your area.

Comprehensive List of Pet Financial Aid-Related Organizations

Directory of Local Pet Food Pantries

Animal Friendly Rental Apartments and Houses in Cook County, IL

Safe Haven Network – facilitates safe emergency boarding for pets from domestic violence situations.



We cannot stress how very CRITICAL it is to have discussions with your veterinarian, friends, family, rescues, and shelters, regarding behavior issues that can be potentially resolved. Many animals are given up because a guardian believes there’s an issue that cannot be resolved. However, we continue to find time and again that there is usually a solution that guardians just haven't run across yet. Sometimes a solution can be as straightforward as taking your animal to the vet to ensure their health has not been compromised.


There are a wealth of resources out there. If it means keeping your animal friend at home and in your life, and out of the shelter system and safe from euthanasia, it is worth researching. Our animals are unable to tell us what’s going on, so it’s our responsibility to find the solution for them because it can mean life or death for them. Reach out to a behaviorist, shelter, rescue, or friends and family regarding their animal behavior experiences. The Anti-Cruelty Society’s behavior hotline is below. Do your research and seek out articles and books by Pam Johnson-Bennett (felines) and Karen Pryor and Cesar Millan (canines).


Anti-Cruelty Society’s Behavior Hotline:  



If you must re-home your animal:


If you have adopted your animal from an animal shelter or rescue organization, most (including Lulu’s Locker) will REQUIRE that you return the animal to that organization. Please review your adoption contract to see if this applies to you.


If you have exhausted ALL options, and must find a new home for your animal, it is imperative that you are aware that the BEST chance for a successful placement is if YOU, as the guardian, work to find a suitable new home. (Please see shelter euthanasia statistics above.) It’s also critical to leave ample amount of time (at least 30 days) to find a new home for your animal – leaving the decision to the last-minute will give the animal much less of a chance at being safe from peril.

We have outlined below the steps you should take during the re-homing process, along with some very important information:

Dangers of Re-Homing on Craigslist & “Free to Good Home” Advertisements

Please do NOT advertise your animal as “Free to a Good Home” or advertise your animal on Craigslist. Animal abusers, dogfighters, and backyard breeders troll for these “free” ads. They are experts on convincing you that they are the perfect loving new guardian for your animal. Please know if you give your animal to one of these people, you may have just turned your animal over as bait for a dog fighting ring.

While not everyone out there is an animal abuser, the chances are just too high that your animal will fall into the wrong hands. Please reference the facts here:

Again, we stress that the BEST way to find a new loving home for your animal is to re-home the animal yourself. Family and friends should be your absolute first resource – ask them for help and most definitely post the animals’ story and photos on Facebook. On Facebook, you never know who will see the post as it’s continually shared, and be sure to make it a “public” post for all to see. Maybe they know someone that is looking to add a new dog or cat (or other animal) to their household, or will take your animal in themselves. Knowing the new guardian, where you can check up on the animal, is BEST!

Contact rescues and shelters yourself.

While not all rescues can take your animal immediately, they can try and find a solution that will work. For example, if you can keep the animal in your home, the rescue could network your animal, and work WITH you to find a new home. Most rescues do NOT have a brick and mortar facility, and only have foster homes to help with the sheltering of the animals, and most often, their foster homes are full. So, if you work WITH the rescue and can keep your animal safe while searching for a solution, they can provide you valuable assistance.

—> A partial list of NO-KILL shelters and groups in Illinois and the Midwest can be found here.

It goes without saying that the BEST option for your animal is to keep the animal at home with you – the family that he or she depends on. It is understood that in some cases, re-homing your animal is your only option. It is just very important for you to understand that giving up your animal in the majority of cases will NOT have a happy outcome. However, with time, effort, and work on your part, you can be successful in finding a new loving home for your family animal.


Find your animal a loving forever home, via Rehome by Adopt-A-Pet and Petco Foundation. This is a new, safe, no-cost way of finding a new home for your animal.

  • Create a profile (choose that you were referred by Lulu’s Locker Rescue)

  • Review applications with help of Adopt-A-Pet staff

  • Meet adopters

  • Finalize adoption

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