A Hard Choice: Homeless Man Surrenders Two Dogs

By Deborah Durbin, Marketing Coordinator

There are countless reasons why people surrender their pets to adoption centers like SICSA. Divorce, financial situations, or a parent entering a nursing home can sometimes force families to search for a new home for their pet. This is certainly a hard decision and can bring with it many tears. Recently, a young man who was living out of his car was forced to make the tough decision to bring his two dogs to SICSA. This is not the first time SICSA has taken in pets from homelessness, but each time is difficult for everyone involved.

The young man recently lost his mother after a long illness and relocated to Dayton from out of state. His living situation changed and he was trying to save money for a new place. He was working during the day, and leaving the dogs in a friend’s garage while he was gone. With the winter temperatures dropping, he soon realized it wasn’t right to keep the dogs while he couldn’t properly care for them. He had the dogs since he was in high school and thought he would be able to take care of them through this challenging time. The dogs were a connection to his mother, but he couldn’t see them cold and homeless with him any longer.

The man brought the dogs to SICSA knowing he could trust us to find them a loving home. He’s hopeful that if he gets back on his feet and in a stable position before they’re adopted, he may be able to adopt them back. He told us which dog was afraid of thunder and loud noises, told us all about their personalities, and had tears in his eyes when he left. As our veterinary assistant walked the dogs back into the kennel, the dogs watched him walk out the doors. It was a heartbreaking moment, but a selfless act nonetheless.

SICSA will find the dogs a great home; he can be assured of it. We get to know and love each and every one of the animals that come through our doors, no matter their circumstances. There will be another 1,500 pets that will come through our doors just this year. Our annual membership drive helps not only homeless pets in the Miami Valley, but the people who choose to love them. The support from our community is crucial to our success. If you have become a member, thank you.  If you haven’t, we hope you consider becoming a member today; a furry life depends on it.

Basic Membership: $40 annually

Basic membership also includes a one-year subscription to the Stray Thoughts newsletter and member-exclusive window cling. Please visit to view the other membership programs we have available, and the benefits of each. Thank you!


  1. andrea stamas

    Is there any way to ensure the homeless man is able to get his dogs back? How about placing them in a foster home until he’s back on his feet?

    1. sicsa2014

      Thank you for thinking of him and his dogs. We discussed lots of options with him and he is doing what he feels is best for now.

      1. andrea stamas

        Thanks for responding. No one should have to make this choice.

  2. Shannon

    In addition to assisting with fostering his dogs, is there somewhere we can donate items/money to help this gentleman get back on his feet?

  3. jill

    How much money does he need to get a new place? I surely would lie to help him get on his feet and have his best friends with him!!!!

  4. Amber

    I really hope he can get his pals back. I really feel for him.

  5. annielov

    This story just brings me to tears…

  6. Ginger Deaton

    This is something no one should be forced to do and is terrible for both the fella and his dogs. I agree with Andrea that maybe someone could foster until he gets back on his feet. If a fund could be established to help this situation, I would be more than happy to help financially.

  7. Linda Wallace

    I would like to help him also. Possibly fostering or at least donating to help him find a place where he can keep his dogs warm and safe.

  8. sicsa2014

    UPDATE! The homeless man who surrendered two dogs is living with friends and still working hard. We are sure he would be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for him and his dogs; we left a message for him and told him about all the love and support he is getting. The two dogs are in a foster-to-adopt home. When he found out the dogs were in a foster-to-adopt home he was so happy. He said he is writing a letter to the couple. He is very happy for his two dogs and know they are in a better place than he could give them.
    The older foster couple had recently lost both of their dogs and came to SICSA looking for a new pet. They fell in love with the two dogs. As soon as they took the dogs into their home, it was like they had lived there, their whole life. The couple talk about the dogs like they are their children and call them “the girls”. They are wonderful people who are giving the dogs a very loving home. The “girls” are doing great. We would like to thank the community for the outpouring of support; this is a story that may not have the happy ending everyone wanted, but it does have a happy ending after all.
    If you would like to donate to help pets like “the girls”, we have a fund for that purpose called the Guardian Angel Fund. You can donate here:

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