Akita Rescue Society of America


Abandoned Akitas

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Why are Akitas Abandoned?

There are many reasons why people abandon their dogs. Generally, it is not the dog's fault and often the decision to take a dog to an animal shelter is based not on emotion but on convenience.  It is representative of a society lacking strong values--everything is disposable, including pets.  People are encouraged to use excuses for their own behavior--it always is someone else's fault.  In this case, it's the dog's fault!


Owning a dog is a commitment to that animal for 10-15 years and should be a well thought out family decision based on a thorough investigation of the breed and breeder.   Most of the purebred dogs in shelters are housebroken, have some basic obedience, and are well-behaved, affectionate pets. They have not abandoned their families--they are the victims.


How do dogs (and cats) end up abandoned in animal shelters?  Its simple--people purchase puppies for all the wrong reasons:


On impulse because the puppy is adorable-all puppies are adorable-actually, all baby animals are adorable but with shorter life spans than humans, they quickly grow into gangly adolescents.


As a present for a child who is too young to care for a dog-at an age when they have short attention spans and will forget the dog exists as quickly as they become bored with the latest toy.


To have the same dog as a friend-perhaps you could both take tennis or find something else in common.


Because they enjoyed watching the antics of that breed in a movie or on television--the popularity of Akitas soared when Nicole Brown Simpson's Akita, Kato, made headlines worldwide.  It's inevitable that periods of increased popularity will be followed by periods of excessive abandonment.  "Lassie" movies created a nightmare for Collies, and "101 Dalmatians" continues to devastate Dalmatians--nearly every shelter has more than one waiting for adoption.  People seeking a "movie star," dog rarely think about the work involved in creating the movie--professionals train the dogs, and each scene in the movie takes days to film after hundreds of retakes.


Maternal instincts signal the need to nurture so a puppy becomes part of the household UNTIL a human baby arrives.  Instantly, the dog is relegated to the yard or abandoned to a shelter, having served its purpose. This is an all too common occurrence and demonstrates an innate selfishness that will some day intrude into the parent-child relationship. 


Most if not all shelters ask why you are giving up your dog.  Statistically, the reasons are just as shallow as those listed above:


A divorce or household breaking up ranks high on the list of reasons to dump a dog.  Every effort is made to share household belongings, including furniture and children but the dog is abandoned.  You’re showing your children how easy it is to delegate their own responsibilities to someone else when it takes a little effort.


Moving to an apartment or out of town.  Again, this takes some thought and preplanning but at no time does the dog receive even a moment's notice.  You would be amazed at how easy it is to act responsibly so the dog could move with the family, or the family could spend time finding a new home for the dog.  Moving out of town does not automatically prevent the dog from being included-dogs are allowed in every state in America.


Ranking high on the list of cold-blooded, shallow excuses is the family or individual who is going on vacation and does not want to pay a kennel to care for the dog.  Then there are the people who abandon their dogs at a boarding kennel, assuming that the kennel owner will be forced to take on the work of placement!  That rarely happens.


A common reason that many pets are brought to a shelter is due to unwanted behavior problems that could be prevented with early spay or neuter and some basic obedience training.  The dogs are doing what you have allowed them to do and now the easy way out becomes a fatal statistic!


The dog belonged to the child who graduated high school and went off to college.  These dogs are invariably older pets and have no chance of ever leaving an animal shelter alive.  Thanks for the years of patiently helping with homework, getting the teen through their inevitable hormone fluctuations, being there as a loyal friend when parents were not able to cope-it's off to the shelter and off to college.  That will teach responsibility.


The individual who claims no one is home because everyone is at work or in school and the dog needs more attention is foolishly reinforcing selfish, negative behavior by even using that as an excuse!  You can always make time for something you feel is important or special--a car, a trip, a date-yet you cannot make time to spend with a living creature who is in a situation you created!  Let someone else do it!  Well not likely when they will be killed in the shelter before you arrive back at your house after abandoning them to an animal shelter.  They immediately go into competition with over 5 million other dogs in animal shelters waiting for a limited number of homes.  Surely, you could spare 30 minutes a day to walk your dog.


Giving a dog to a senior citizen to fill their empty days is another mistake.  It's a good way to alleviate your guilt at not giving that family member quality time but its almost a guarantee that the dog will be prematurely doomed! The death or illness of an owner is perhaps one of the most depressing reasons why dogs are sent to shelters.  Dogs have senses that humans cannot begin to understand--even their sense of smell is one thousand times more intense than our own.  They know their owner is ill or has died and their need to have reassurance to help them through a period of mourning is met with abandonment to an animal shelter.  Every individual involved in rescue has seen dogs die of a broken heart--a fact that proves these animals are as sensitive, and in some cases, more sensitive than we are.  A little estate planning can avoid these situations.


Essentially, YOU are the reason dogs die in animal shelters. Now look at their faces.