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What Would You Do?

For the last three or four months, we’ve been paying a woman — let’s call her Chereen…mostly because that’s her name — to do some work for Sheltie Rescue as a contractor, such as trying to get our financial books in order and reorganize our office and the Sheltie Rescue Mall warehouse in the basement. We were also training her to be our new petsitter. She was a pretty good worker, when she showed up, but she’d fail to show up for days, even weeks, at a time without calling or anything. (It turns out that she’s bipolar, which makes her unable to deal with other people when she’s in the depressive phase.)

Well, about a month ago (December 10, if I recall correctly), Chereen told us that she was going with her boyfriend to visit his parents for the holidays and would be back on December 30 or 31. She asked us if we’d be willing to let her dog (a large, young black lab) and her cat stay here while she was gone. We agreed, because it was for a relatively short time, because she was doing some work for us, and because we were considering allowing her to live here after her house was foreclosed, in exchange for doing some work in lieue of rent. And we agreed to take care of the dog and cat at no charge to her (even though we eventually realized that he dog eats like the proverbial horse!).

Well, we didn’t hear from her until (I am pretty certain) January 3. That wasn’t too surprising to us, even though we thought it would have been courteous for her to call us to tell us what her plans were. She said, when she called, that she’d be over later in the day to get back to work. But she never showed. She did show up on Tuesday, some time after noon, and put in a couple of hours of rather listless efforts to work, then left. As she left, she said goodbye to her dog and t0ld us she’d be back the next day around 10:00 or 11:00.

That was one week ago today. She hasn’t shown up, hasn’t called or sent email or a text message, hasn’t returned our multiple phone calls (to her and to her boyfriend).

Barbara and I are very strongly considering making one more effort to contact her and leave her a clear message that, if she doesn’t come reclaim her dog and cat within some timeframe (possibly 48 hours), that we’ll consider her to have abandoned them and we’re putting them up for adoption on our web site.

Do you think this is a reasonable thing for us to do? Should we do something else, or something in addition? What would you do?

On this day..

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6 comments to What Would You Do?

  • Oh man!  It sounds to me like you are going to have to do something really decisive to get her attention.  I’m not sure what the legal issues will be as far as if you can actually adopt out the dog without her relinquishment or not.  Something similar has happened to a friend of mine that has a boarding kennel down here. She is a great lady and people, unfortunately, take advantage of her kindness.  C.A.R.E. has ended up with these unfortunate pets more than once.  When I started my boarding kennel, I included a paragraph in boarding agreement that if the dog is left for a period of 7 days past the time scheduled, and no contact can be made with the owner for further arrangements the dog will be considered abandoned and will be relinquished to the local shelter.  Up to this point, I have not had any client abandon their dogs.  But I think the fact that I’m so frank about it up front especially in cases of long term boarding, (over a month) helps. I sure hope that whatever you decide to do works in this case.  I just hate the fact that someone would abuse your generosity.  :-(

  • I have a 1.5 year old male Sheltie that I would like to adopt out to a good home. He has had his shots and is beautiful, I would just like him to be in a home where someone has more time to spend with him. He is high energy, I have a small yard and I work all the time. I think he deserves more attention than he is getting. He takes me walking and such ( yes, you read that right) but it is not enough. Any suggestions from anybody?
    Ft. Worth area.

  • Bruce, I’m sorry that you feel that you must give up your Sheltie. I’ve been where you are — working all of the time and not having the time to spend with my Shelties that I think they deserve. In my case, I felt that they would be hurt far more by losing me (to go to a new home) than they were being hurt by my not spending adequate time with them. But everybody’s situation is different and different dogs react differently to various situations.

    If you truly believe that the right thing for your Sheltie is to give him up, then by all means relinquish him to a Sheltie rescue group that has experience with Sheltie personalities, emotional needs, and such. In the Ft. Worth area, I highly recommend Dallas-Ft. Worth Sheltie Rescue.  Please contact Becky Ramsey at and be sure to tell her that Jim Melton sent you. She’ll be able to help you.

  • So…where do things stand with the dog and cat and the lady who sort of worked for you?  I’d have given her the ultimatum much sooner…but you guys are more patient than I am…

  • Ah, Dawn. Well, that woman is definitely fired. We wanted to give her every chance, because she was really nice, the dogs loved her, and she was usually a good worker. But her medical problems really made her so unreliable that we couldn’t take the risk. I feel badly for her, but there was nothing that we could do to help her. The even sadder thing is that she relinquished her large, sort-of-senior black lab and her cat to us because she is losing her house and has no place to live but (so she told us) her car. So we’re trying to place the lab (he’s a really nice, sweet guy, but he’s big and certainly not Sheltie-like); we can’t turn him over to a shelter — you all know that big, black dogs have almost no chance at all once they’re in a shelter. So he’s going to be here until we find a home for him.

    In the meanwhile, we still don’t have a petsitter. We had an extremely good prospect, but she had told us that she was looking for part-time work at a vet while she’s pursuing her veterinary tech education…and she found such a job with hours that would prevent her from being a petsitter. Sigh… Still looking!

  • Hello…. what wonderful, patient people you are! I am sad to hear of a mentally ill woman deserting her pets. Bless your hearts for being so kind and good to God’s little animals. I admire the work you do and the devotion you have to Shelties et al.  
    Buffy is going to celebrate his one year at our home very soon: Valentines Day. We are planning a big dog biscuit for him. He has been such a blessing since we lost our Chloe. He and our remaining Sheltie, Mattie, have become tight friends. Yes, I believe in your Foster Program. I hope you can find someone to foster the big black un-Sheltie dog. 
    Take Care…. Sharon St.John-Mercik

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