Having to give away a companion animal can be very traumatic for you and certainly for your animal. If circumstances make it impossible for you to keep or properly care for your animal and if you have exhausted resources such as trusted friends and relatives, don’t rush into a placement just because you are pressured for time. If you are unable to find an excellent home for your animal, take him or her to an animal shelter operated by a humane organization. Don’t avoid a shelter just because it performs euthanasia. A peaceful end is certainly preferable to being “warehoused” for years in a cage or a cruel, slow death by disease, exposure, starvation, or being crushed under the wheels of a car.
If your animal friend is old, very shy, or very dependent on you and you cannot find a home with someone he or she trusts and loves, the kindest course may lie in taking him or her to a veterinarian or shelter to be euthanized. Animals who have been with you a long time may suffer and pine terribly when you are gone. As a final kindness, remain in the room to comfort your old friend during euthanasia.
Never sell your animal or give him or her to anyone without checking for identification, the person’s full name, driver’s license number, address, and telephone number, and explain that you will visit his or her home (to ensure that he or she actually lives there). Ask for (and check) references from veterinarians, neighbors, and employers.