Diverting Surrenders with a Community Support Program

| July 28, 2023
Community Support Programs are Needed More Now Than Ever

Rising costs and inflation are a growing concern for Canadians, affecting everyday expenses like groceries, gasoline, and housing. Pet parents are feeling twice the sting with an increased cost to pet food and essential pet supplies.

Coupling increased costs with the challenge of accessing the care needed to provide for their pets –such as medical care, training services, and emergency care – many pet parents are stuck between a rock and a hard place. With nowhere else to turn, many have had to make the heartbreaking decision to surrender their pet.

To ensure that each pet and guardian gets the support, advice, and resources they need, Toronto Humane Society created the Pet Parent Support Network. Pet parents can request help by filling out a form on our website, and then a Pet Parent Support Network team member will follow up with a solution to a wide range of pet-care challenges such as pet supplies and food, access to veterinary care, behavioural challenges for all species, re-homing support, and more.

By taking a multi-disciplinary approach to support pet parents in-need through the provision of supportive services, 30% of possible pet surrenders were diverted in 2022. This means that more animals were able to stay where they belong – in their loving homes with their families.

Helping Roscoe Adjust to His New Life

Paul* had Roscoe* for 6 years, but since the arrival of their baby, Roscoe has been barking a lot more and started to urinate inside of their home.

Although Paul did not want to surrender Roscoe, the loud barking startled the baby, and his wife was concerned. With a new baby in his home, a worried wife, and very little time and resources available to him, Paul had to make one of the toughest choices a pet parent could make – surrendering Roscoe.

After filling out the Pet Parent Support Network form on our website, a representative reached out to Paul to better understand their situation and to offer an alternative solution to surrendering Roscoe. “They felt like they didn’t have any other options. They were both extremely disheartened and worried. Roscoe was sensing a change in the home, and they were all playing into each other’s worries,” explains Jennifer Murphy, Program Manager, Pet Parent Support Network.

As an alternative solution, the team guided Paul to Toronto Humane Society’s Training and Behaviour services. Paul showed a lot of interest but was concerned about the cost. Because it was clear that Paul and Roscoe had a special relationship, and that Paul was willing to put in the effort to help Roscoe, a discount on a training service was offered to Paul.

Paul enrolled in a training program and was delighted that he could receive the support he needed to keep Roscoe as a part of his growing family.


*Names have been changed for confidentiality.

This article was originally published in Toronto Humane Society’s quarterly magazine, Animal Talk. You can read the entire Summer Animal Talk magazine for free on issuu.