Shaming Pet Owners on Next Door

Move over Facebook. Next Door is taking the trophy for Best Platform to Bully. If you’re seeking a little help and understanding think twice before hitting SEND on Next Door. Online bullying isn’t just for the young. People of mature ages have become very comfortable giving unsolicited advice or issuing a judgment to people they’ve never met and whose story they don’t fully understand. Shame seems to be the flavor of choice these folks enjoy doling out, especially if it involves a pet.


Photo 85888318 © Marcel De Grijs |

Next Door can be a wonderful resource for pets. If a pet becomes lost we can put out an APB to our neighbors. Found a pet? Ask your neighbors on Next Door if it belongs to them. Notifying everyone of a stray dog in the area that needs help is a popular category for posts on Next Door. But if you need to re-home a pet be careful what you divulge. A few days ago, a neighbor reached out for help and unbeknownst to them they would receive one critical, judgmental and condemning response after the other.


Read their post below.


Hey all,


Unfortunately I am becoming too busy with life and am in search of an adopter for my dog.


He is a 2.5 year old Golden Retriever / Labrador mix and is as well behaved a dog as one could ask for. He is house, crate, and lead trained and knows all his basic commands. He has never shown signs of destruction to the point where he does not require to be crated while home alone. He is up to date on all shots / vaccines, neutered and has never experienced any significant health issues.


He is an extremely happy, lovable dog and brings that true golden retriever energy of being everyone's best friend. He would make a perfect match for a family or someone seeking a sibling for their current dog.


Please reach out if have you any interest or know anyone who would be interested in making him a part of their family.



As you may have guessed, it was the “too busy with life” part that triggered the readers. The majority of the responders to this post condemned this person with words of self righteous indignation. More people took time out of their day to shame this person than folks who offered assistance or, at the very least, well wishes. A lot of folks wanted to offer suggestions about ways in which the person could throw more money at the problem than the owner already had; speaking as though this person’s financial resources are the same as their’s. They seemed unable to deprive themselves from the instant gratification that comes from pointing out the perceived moral failings of a neighbor. They were more than eager to assert themselves with assumptions and words that hurt. Here are a few of them. 


Not trying to be rude, but other people are very busy too. That’s why they found a solution because they made a commitment to the pet. There are so many abandoned dogs being euthanized because all shelters are full. They are the ones truly in need. 


I've realized that trying to convince these folks to love an animal is a waste of time. Unconditional love can't be taught - you're either capable of experiencing it - or not. Let's just hope he doesn't get married or have kids before he's 'ready' ;)


I’m a single working mom of a 12 year old son with 2 cats and a dog and I don’t think he knows what busy means, lol. 


Wow. How unfortunate. Too busy with your life? Think twice before having children.


Yet another Covid lock-down pup. Sad.


Get a plant next time.


Let’s hope he doesn’t have kids ever


In less than 12 hours the amount of condemning comments doubled. There is not enough room in this post to contain the vitriol. 

I was appalled by their callousness. My heart broke for the original poster considering how terrible they would feel reading these words when they most likely already feel terrible for having to come to this decision. It was clear, that with every hateful word, the commenters motives were to shame this grown person in an effort to bolster their own goodness as a human and let others  know that their point of view was the righteous one.


In one brief post the author gave a vague reason omitting detail. It’s my belief that many folks reading this assumed that this person had busied themselves traveling for leisure or socializing outside of the home, unwilling to make adjustments, and began typing as fast as they could without a moment’s hesitation to hit the SEND button. If they read through the comment thread they would have found  information, that the owner felt obliged to divulge, about being required to travel for work 2 out of 4 weeks per month resulting in the dog having to be boarded during that time. The owner went on to explain that they had reached a decision that this was not a good life for the dog. His explanation wasn’t good enough for some of the commenters. They were certain he was unwilling to make it work.


For some, giving an employer an ultimatum about travel requirements is not  a possibility. Accepting this as a fact should be enough to evoke a little kindness and an ounce of humility. Additionally, boarding in a typical environment is inappropriate for a great number of dogs when taking their health, mental and physical, into consideration. In-home pet sitting for such extended periods of time repeatedly would create an astronomical and untenable expense. 

Photo 120109881 © Sasa Mihajlovic |

As someone in the business of helping people with their pet dogs, I’m here to tell you, there are times when rehoming a pet is the best option. To put in other words, sometimes rehoming a pet is as responsible and loving an action as any other that fall under the category of being a good pet owner.


If a neighbor posts for help in rehoming their pet citing lack of time, there’s no need to assume they are climbing the corporate ladder of materialism and throwing their dog away on the way up as one commenter suggested. Pride, dignity and a right to privacy may be the original posters reasons for not sharing every detail that led them to this decision with complete strangers. 



On it’s face, the post isn’t that of an irresponsible, thoughtless pet owner. By sheer existence the post suggests just the opposite. So-called bad pet owners won’t go as far as to weigh  their options and evaluate their situation. They won’t, as this neighbor has, train the dog, socialize the dog, vaccinate the dog, neuter the dog, crate-train the dog or board their dog .They won’t reach out to their community for help. They’ll just leave it behind like an old television they don’t want any longer without a word to anyone. Leaving it for someone else to vaccinate, neuter and train.


I implore everyone using social media apps to stop and think about the consequences of your condemning words for someone looking to re-home a pet before you post something that causes undue pain to a neighbor that has decided rehoming their pet is an unfortunate necessity. Instead, consider whether or not you can offer assistance or a kind word. Evaluate your interpretation of the post and the many scenarios that may not be obvious to you. Contemplate being empathetic to your neighbors and instead, keep your self- righteousness on Reddit where it’s at least anonymous.


If you live in the Dallas area and are looking to re-home a pet take a look at the link below.

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