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Recently, my daughter's 1 yr old Jack Russell Terrier starved itself when her playmate of 6 months was sold. Everyone kept telling my daughter that the dog would eventually eat. The morning she planned on finally taking her to the vet, she died. There were no other symptoms. My son is headed to college and we've been trying to find a good home for his 3 yr old German Shepherd. We finally found a family that seemed a good fit, but 3 days later they returned the dog saying it just wasn't working for them. They also mentioned that the dog refused to eat the entire time they had him. We need to find him a new owner, but I don't want him to starve himself. I'd appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

Hi Ed,

I'm sorry to hear about the death of your Jack Russell Terrier.

Have you considered contacting an "rescue" group? There are breed specific rescue groups, such as German Shepherd Rescue of Central Texas (, but there are other groups that take in dogs of any breed, such as Operation Kindness ( You should try doing a google search for "Texas Dog Rescue" to see what you can turn up.

You'd have to contact individual groups to see what their policies are regarding surrendering your dog, and if they are currently accepting new dogs. Most groups are run by volunteers so funds are usually limited, but they keep the dog in their home, provide love, care, training, and medical care if needed, while looking for a suitable adopter who would provide a "forever home" . Other rescue groups are run out of "no-kill shelters".

Some options for rehoming a dog:

Contact the breeder, rescue, or person you originally got your dog from. Responsible breeders will either assist you in finding a new home, or take the pet back to rehome themselves.

Some of the best homes are with people who already know and like your dog. Friends and family may be willing to offer your pet a new home, so ask around your immediate circle first. Then try posting a message on your Facebook page, or noticeboards at work and school or church.

If your dog stays at a boarding kennel when you go on vacation, call them to see if they can ask around for you or post a flyer in their waiting room or at the vet’s office.  Ask pretty much everyone you deal with on a daily basis – you never know who might come forward!

Put up flyers in your local supermarkets, your vet's office,  and community centers. Email a flyer to all of your friends and ask them to add it to bulletin boards were they work.

If someone responds to your advertisement, you should screen them over the phone before introducing them to your dog. This will help you rule out any unsuitable adopters early on. To start, you might say: “This dog is very special to me, and I am looking for just the right home for him. Would you mind if I asked you a few questions about yourself and your home?” Let all applicants know you will be checking references and need to speak to their vet (if they’ve had pets before). Once you’ve chosen a person or family that you feel are good candidates, arrange two meetings with the potential new owners – the first appointment for them to meet the pet, and the second for you to see their home. Tell them not to worry if the your dog does not eat for the first day or two, he’ll eat when he’s ready, what really matters more than food, is that the dog drinks water.

Another option is keeping your dog, and when your son graduates he can then take his dog with him, wherever he goes.

I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,



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To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.


My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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