For as long as I’ve been a dog rescuer, I’ve been human FIRST. For as long as I’ve been a dog rescuer, I’ve seen shelters make social media posts that turn people who have to surrender their dogs into villains.

Yes, I get equally upset when people discard their animals on shelter volunteers, just because. However, most of the time people leave their animals behind, because they’re too ashamed to tell you…

  1. I have to surrender the dog, because I’m in an abusive situation and my husband beats the dog in front of my kids.
  2. We left the dog in the backyard, because it was the only opportunity to flee an abusive situation.
  3. We’re giving you our dog, because we can’t feed ourselves and looking at our hungry dog is really hard. Yes, we gave him eggs and bread, anything we had, but the dog keeps getting sick.
  4. I’m leaving my dog, because I’m too ashamed to admit I can’t afford basic medical care right now. I can’t even afford mental health care for myself.
  5. I’m leaving my dog with you, because my plan is to no longer be here tomorrow.
  6. I need to surrender my dog, because I’m leaving to actively fight for our country and yes, I’ve asked all my friends to take her. I’m only going to keep this short with you or I will cry too.
  7. I’m surrendering my dog, because I know it’s really cold living in my car. I love my dog enough that I don’t want her to go through homelessness in my car with me.
  8. I’m a mom suffering from depression and the dog is heightening my anxiety. Yes the dog is important, but so am I.
  9. Yes I love this dog like my child and that is why I am telling you I can’t care for him. They deserve better and all I’ve seen on TV is how great your shelter is. I thought I was doing the right thing.
  10. I tied the dog to the door at night, because I have a warrant out for my arrest due to old speeding tickets. I’m too scared to show you my ID. I can’t afford to go to jail. I’m all my kids have, because their mother has a drug problem.

Here’s the deal: the longer you live, the more you realize no one owes you an explanation, but you still owe them kindness, because it’s not about you and it never was. If you choose to work in a shelter, in a giving profession, you need to work in a higher vibration. One of empathy and understanding.

If you’ve never been hungry, if you’ve always had a warm bed, if you’ve never suffered from mental health issues, if you’ve never been living in a dark place, if you just can’t relate to anyone not doing their best- how lucky you are to live such a charmed life.

We all have our hands full, we all make mistakes, we’re all human, treat each other as such.

Kristina Rinaldi
Executive Director
Detroit Dog Rescue
DetroitDogRescue.com

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Kristina Millman-Rinaldi

Kristina Millman-Rinaldi

Kristina Millman-Rinaldi has been changing the face of animal welfare in Detroit for well over a decade. The nonprofit organization is Detroit’s first and only no-kill shelter, which finds homes for neglected dogs and animals who are victims of violent crimes. As Detroit Dog Rescue’s Executive Director, Kristina worked closely with Detroit Mayor, Mike Duggan’s administration to create Detroit’s first animal welfare committee. This partnership resulted in new leadership and policies for the city’s municipal animal shelter. Detroit now works harder to find alternatives to euthanasia due to overpopulation, while focusing on public safety. Kristina has been a part of several documentaries, news stories, and reality shows highlighting Detroit’s stray dog epidemic and she has raised millions of dollars to fund initiatives that support animals, especially ones who are victims of violent crimes. In the past, Kristina has been the recipient of the Mackinac Humanitarian Award, Beaumont Hospital’s President Award for Community Giving, and has been named WDVD’s “Woman of the Year” for her ability to create solutions in underserved communities.