The Story Behind Surrenders

NGPR has had an owner surrender page and form on our website since our earliest days.  Some rescue groups will not take owner surrenders as they prefer that every dog pass through the shelter process first, if they make it out.  We believe this is not always the best course, since being abandoned at a shelter can leave some dogs more damaged or endanger their health.

NGPR, like all our affiliated rescues, is required by contract to take back dogs we placed years ago.  Many of these are now older dogs being surrendered by older owners. Luna’s owner lost her home and at the age of nine, so Luna (right) came back to NGPR. She was originally pulled from a shelter in the Hudson Valley in 2009. Because her owner was under financial duress, Luna was not properly vetted for several years. She required many expensive tests, had dental issues and several UTIs, so we had to invest in restoring her health. Luna had an adopter who was interested in her but then she started showing signs of possible bladder cancer. Although it was not definitely diagnosed, the adopter was paired with another dog and Luna will stay with our volunteer and board member, Suzanne, who will be her forever foster for as long as Luna lives.

Last year we received about 300 surrender information forms through our online submission process. Most of these were from people who read about us online and had never adopted from us. For the first time ever, Ohio topped the states for the number of surrender submissions. Oklahoma had 27 forms while Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky and New York had 23 forms each. These six states account for almost half the owner surrender forms received.


Unfortunately, it’s not possible for us to take every dog we receive a surrender form for. In 2016 we accepted 26% of the dogs we received forms for into rescue. Another 25% were out of our rescue area and were forwarded to other Pyr rescues we work with. About 21% of forms were canceled/deleted, meaning the owner decided to keep the dog or they found another home or rescue themselves. We try to help owners keep their dogs whenever possible and connect them with a trainer, frequently at no charge, who can advise them. The remainder of forms, around 19% expired and only 9% were denied because of severe behavioral issues or not being Pyrs. We only deny a small number as we try to help owners identify as many options for placement as possible.

The forms that float to the top of the surrender list are those for dogs placed by NGPR or one of our affiliated rescues. If the owner finds a relative or friend to take the dog, we will ask them to complete an application so we are sure that dog has found an appropriate home.

We took Tyler back at the end of last year. He came up from the South and was adopted from one of our affiliated rescues around 2011. Unfortunately, his adopter died in September and his partner was unable to care for Tyler, who was surrendered to us last December. Lucky for Tyler, Merrilee and Harry (right), a couple in Connecticut who had adopted from our Texas rescue, Great Pyrenees Rescue Society, a few years ago, lost their Pyr and were looking for another. Tyler fit the bill perfectly!

Giving as much notice as possible about a surrender is important. Expect to be asked to hold onto the dog while we search for a foster or adopter.  Fosters are in short supply and used mostly for dogs who would die in kill shelters. A dog who is fully vetted (spayed or neutered, up-to-date with vaccinations and a recent 4Dx snap test on file) are more likely to be accepted quickly into the program. Situations where the owner is ill or moving into senior housing receive priority. We encourage anyone surrendering their dog to continue looking for potential adopters on their own and to let us know if they find one. We do not endorse this site but it gives helpful information for rehoming dogs.

Adding owner surrenders to the mix of dogs we accept adds another layer of complexity to what we do. We're happy to do it because with hard work and a little luck it can work out to benefit the dogs and the people.