Surrender Your Dog

If you’re struggling financially, annoyed by your pet’s behavior, experiencing pet allergies or having trouble finding housing that welcomes your pets, our resources can help.

Pet-related problems can be frustrating and you may feel that giving up your pet is the only solution. Before you take that step, check out the resources available to help pet owners resolve problems that may seem overwhelming. It is our hope that with these resources, you won’t have to part with your friend after all but if you do, our tips can help you find your pet a loving new home.

If you can answer “YES” to any of the questions below, please take the time to explore those options before surrendering your dog.

Did you acquire him as a puppy from a breeder?

If so, have you contacted that person? You may have signed a contract at the time you purchased your puppy, stipulating that the dog should be returned if you decide to no longer keep him. If you do not want to keep your dog, contact your breeder first.

Did you acquire your Dog from a Rescue Organization?

If so, have you contacted that rescue organization? You may have signed a contract at the time you adopted your dog, and it may stipulate that the dog must be returned to them if you decide to no longer keep him or her for any reason.

New baby in the family?

Unsure if you will be able to raise a baby while taking care of your pet?  Luckily many dogs are fantastic family pets! If you can take care of your new little human baby, you can take care of a dog. Here are some links to articles or educational materials to help you ease the transition:


The Humane Society of the United States lists moving as the number one reason people surrender their pets to shelters. There are plenty of apartments, townhouses, condos and hotels that accept medium and large dogs. Many places will even allow you to spread payment of your pet deposit over multiple months as part of your rent. Please check with your real estate agent, or company relocation services when possible.

Think you don’t have enough time for your dog?

Experts in the animal field agree that a dog requires a mere 15 minutes of one-on-one time with his human per day to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted! That could be simply spent laying in bed at night watching t.v. together, playing ball in the backyard for 15 minutes while dinner is cooking, or going for a walk or jog! Surely you can spare 15 minutes per day. Pets reduce personal stress and can add years to your life – make the time for you AND your dog.

Are there behavioral issues?

Many behavior problems can be caused by a treatable medical condition. For example, a house-trained pet may begin urinating in the house due to a urinary tract infection that a veterinarian can diagnose and easily treat.

If there’s no physical cause for the problem, remember that many common pet behavioral issues have simple solutions.

Is your dog having trouble getting along with other animals in the household or are there other behavioral issues that have led to the decision to give up your dog? If so, let us help you. Send us an email – we can most likely recommend a trainer in your area. If you didn’t socialize your dog as a puppy, it’s never too late to enroll him in obedience school. It’s fun and can count as your 15 minutes of bonding time!  Another option is our Training in Lieu of Surrender program.  If determined to be a viable option, Must Love Dogs NW can assist with up to three training sessions for you and your pet in order to keep them in your home.  Just click here for the application.

Experiencing financial issues?

There are all the following groups exist to assist people who truly want to keep their pets, but are experiencing financial difficulties. They may be able to help you.

If you haven’t found any solutions after carefully considering the information above, then Must Love Dogs NW offers a limited number of Compassion Fund Grants each year ($500 maximum) for non-life threatening medical care and service.  FILL OUT THE APPLICATION NOW.

Housing problems? You may not have to give up your pet.

If you are having trouble finding animal-friendly housing, or experiencing other pet-related housing difficulties check out the Humane Society’s resource info.

If none of the above resources fit your needs or resolve your issues, then you are welcome to read the surrender FAQs below and fill out the form. Please note that Must Love Dogs NW is a volunteer-based organization. We may not be able to take your dog but we personally review all applications. It may take up to a week to hear from us.  This process includes:

  1. Submit the surrender application to
  2. Our assessment team will review the application and respond within 72 hours
  3. Schedule an assessment. This is a time for us to evaluate the dog and get a sense for the ideal environment.
  4. Schedule a medical exam. All dogs will be provided spay/neuter, microchip, and vaccines. Additional services may be performed at the discretion of the medical team.
  5. An adoption counselor will be assigned.

Surrender FAQ

  • What do I have to do to give up my dog?

    A. First you will need to read all of the information on this Surrender page to see if there are alternatives to giving up your dog.  Secondly, you will need to fill out an online Surrender Form. It is very important to be honest when filling out this form or talking to the MLDNW volunteer. The more honest you are about your dog the easier it will be to find a new home for him/her.

  • Will you pick up the dog from me?

    A. MLDNW is an all-volunteer organization without the means to provide transportation. It will be your responsibility to coordinate with MLDNW to bring your dog to the agreed upon location on the scheduled drop-off date.

  • How long will it be until you can take my dog?

    We try to evaluate every situation to meet the needs of both the dog and owner. The timing is very much affected by how many openings we have in foster care and the availability of our volunteers.  Please understand that our first priority must be the dogs that are currently in our foster homes.

    Fostering your own dog may be an option – this is called Owner Placement.  Please note, if you choose to go this route, you will be responsible for transporting your pet to and from appointments, be accessible and flexible in meeting with potential adopters and truly a partner with MLDNW in finding your pet their new forever home.

  • What if I changed my mind? Can I contact the new owners?

    Once adopted, we WILL NOT get your dog back for you. Once you have signed the dog over to us and you change your mind, you will have to go through the same process as all other adopters and will be expected to pay the full adoption fee.

  • My dog is aggressive and I can't trust it anymore. Can you find it a new home?

    MLDNW cannot take in a dog who has a written bite record. You should consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems causing the behavior change. But, just as importantly, you need to get in touch with a professional behaviorist to try and work through the problem with your dog.

  • My dog is sick and I can't afford to help it...

    If you have a dog that has serious health problem or untreatable health problem please do not try to surrender him/her to a rescue. You need to consult your veterinarian and choose a plan of action that will best fit your dog’s quality of life. There is no need to prolong a sick/suffering dog’s life and transition him/her into rescue. It’s not fair to the dog and it’s not fair to the rescue to be burdened with large medical expenses that will not cure your dog. When you adopt/purchase a dog, it’s for life. YOU have to be responsible for that dog and “do right” by him/her even if it’s at the end of their life.

Do you love our dogs but are still not ready to adopt?

You can still help! It isn’t cheap to foster and rehabilitate our dogs. Learn more about that here. The success of MLDNW is purely driven by the support of friends like you.