Three Reasons Great Dogs End Up Homeless

When you ask shelters what the most common reasons dogs are relinquished, you might be surprised to discover that behavior problems are not at the top of the list. The reality is that most dogs are relinquished as a result of life changes. There was a time when divorce was uncommon, the economy was more stable and the average person only had two or three jobs their entire lives. None of that is common now. Today life changes often and circumstances can affect pets.

Financial Crisis

Many individuals have found themselves without a job in the last few years and have had difficulty finding a new one. Even those who had money set aside for a buffer may have found themselves unable to afford the lifestyle they were living before their job loss. Those who have lost their homes to foreclosure and are forced to move in with family or to smaller less expensive housing that does not allow pets may find themselves having to make a tough decision. Moving to a place that does not allow pets is a common reason for dogs to land in shelters.

Health Crisis

Sometimes good people get very ill and usually it is unexpected. Accidents and sudden illness can make it very difficult to care for the animals in our lives and this is especially true of the elderly. While we would like to think that friends or family would care for our dogs if the worst happened, some people do not have anyone to do this for them. When this happens a precious companion may find itself in a shelter looking for a new home.

Personal Crisis

Life changes and sometimes not in ways we hope. Divorce, the illness or death of a close family member or even someone close to us having their own crisis can change the circumstances of our lives. Maybe a personal crisis has made it impossible to spend time with a beloved dog or has changed a living situation. Perhaps a crisis at work has forced someone to take a new job in another state or even another country and to move to a place where dogs are not allowed. Again, a good friend may end up needing a new home.

While some may feel that many of these issues are not a good enough reason to relinquish a beloved pet, the bottom line is that there are some wonderful dogs out there that need new homes. While Cesar Millan works to find homes for “unadoptable” dogs there are thousands of wonderful well-adjusted dogs who find themselves in shelter situations through no fault of their own. Even if you are not equipped to work with a dog that has behavioral problems, giving an unlucky dog a second chance at a lucky life is a wonderful way to bring a new friend into your home.

In this week’s episode of Leader of the Pack: Saving Sophia, Cesar introduces potential families to Sophia who is a sweet dog with one major problem: she is terrified of everything. Having spent almost her entire life in shelters, Sophia never learned to trust or socialize with humans. How will Cesar choose the best home for poor Sophia? Tune it to Leader of the Pack on Tuesday March 26 at 8 AM et/pt and find out!


  1. Heather
    Tampa FL
    March 26, 2013, 1:02 pm

    I’m watching Leader of the Pack now and I cant help but notice that they are running a commercial advertisement for Alpha Dogs. I find it a bit odd that they would decide to use that commercial in the middle of Cesar’s show and to end the commercial with “If you want a pet then go to PetCo” Why not say If you want a pet then go to the shelter.

  2. Reenie
    Phoenix, AZ
    March 30, 2013, 11:18 am

    Petco doesn’t sell dogs. They have rescue groups that have taken dogs out of the kill shelters and have somewhat rehabilitated them. PetSmart does the same thing and helps with funding rescues as well through their many incentive programs and PetSmart Charities.

  3. Crash513
    Folsom, CA
    April 1, 2013, 2:01 am

    My wife and I volunteer with a German Shepherd rescue and are big fans of Cesar. Because we foster and work with GSD’ ( and the occasional Mananois) we have really enjoyed watching Alpha Dogs. At first, I also though that comment in the Alpha Dogs teaser was a missed opportunity to say “if you want a pet, rescue one”. Then I got to thinking about the thousands of Dogs that have been saved by Petco and Petsmart (amongst many others) sponsoring rescue adoptions. Our rescue could never get the visibility and walk up traffic we do at our adoption days if not for the physical and financial support of the retailers that support us.

    I think the point is that the law enforcement and military Dogs depicted on Alpha Dogs are working animals, not pets. But honestly, if more people DID go to Petco to look for a pet instead of buying a Dog from a backyard breeder or puppy mill retailer, there would be a lot fewer adoptable Dogs in shelters in the first place.

  4. Paul Bijelonic
    April 7, 2013, 11:45 pm

    This channel should be embarassed by its futile attempt at drama. Really sad. I am mortified by the lack of any accuracy n production bs. Simply said they need to get it together. Childish production for tv. Aka idiots.

  5. Paul Bijelonic
    April 7, 2013, 11:47 pm

    Love the dogs maybe I’m on the wrong page. I’m pet friendly

  6. gloria karol
    las vegas, NV
    April 19, 2013, 8:02 pm

    I agree with Crash 513. Your comments were very accurate and well thought out. Hope more people view your comments and see the sense that you make. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Linda Brown
    richmond, va
    April 21, 2013, 11:50 pm

    Nat Geo Wild is running a commercial for their new show about spoiled rotten pets. The commercial shows the host begging people to tune in so that she can show them how to pamper their pets. She says “somewhere their is a pet that needs help”. I find this commercial offensive in light of how many animals would be happy to just have a home with love and affection and daily food. Actually, I find the whole concept of this show offensive. Am I the only one?

  8. Natasha sirugo
    May 19, 2013, 9:50 am

    I find it odd tgat petsmart/petco finds homes for rescued digs.. But I think they get too much credit for this.. In the mean time the purchase hundreds of other animals; birds, fish, rabbits, hermit crabs and sell them! These other less desirable animals are transported to them in atrocious conditions and very neglected , abused and killed by the time they make it to petsmart/co.. Not to mention all the dogs/cats they killed during that horrible flood and left them there to drown.

  9. sandee
    June 1, 2013, 1:43 am

    These are all deep concerns with all UNWANTED PETS,My experience with Animal Shelters run by the city LEAVE ME BAFFLED ,ANGRY & still ,,..NO Justice
    We are their VOICE FOR THE RIGHTS AND WRONGS of these precious creatures.
    My opinion only ,,we need to reform , GOVERNMENT along with city officials,who are not concerened with ‘ANIMAL RIGHTS and the pet owners.To me it s all about ‘MONEY!
    GOD forbid you are right and everyone knows it,however it s their mistake they will not step up and admit the mistake in fear of looking bad to co workers,etc and let the system fail us again,;Of course MONEY WILL TALK,AND 99% YOU WIN! Most unfortunate FOR us who just tell the TRUTH& BELIEVE IN THE SYSTEM,THATS HOW WE ARE TAUGHT! WHAT A JOKE!
    All these comments make me spin because its real, and it hurts still the suffering,pain,anxiety and polictal RED TAPE PREVAILS,AND BOTOM LINE,,,,,,,,,,,,,,WHAT DO WE DO TO STOP THIS,WE JUST DID

  10. Tina Smith
    United States
    June 15, 2013, 1:24 am

    I have adopted a dog from pets smart and they have rescue groups that take of them and pet smart provide the place and adoption process. It is noting odd about it, it is a great thing, I have a great sheltie (miniature collie mix mix dog that I love.