Getting a pet is a big commitment. Perhaps a bigger commitment than a lot of people realize, especially if they've never had a pet, or only had pets as children and never had to really take care of the animal themselves.
Every pet has a different life expectancy, and sometimes people don't realize how long their pets will live and what exactly goes into caring for them over the course of their lives, such as the cost of food and supplies, and medical and dental care. Sometimes people lose their jobs, incur medical bills, or make a bad investment, and they can no longer afford to pay for their home, never mind their pet.
On top of unexpected costs, are a lot of factors that can contribute to creating a situation in which someone may no longer be able to take care of their pet. Often, illnesses that require someone to either take care of themselves or a family member/spouse full time, or on top of also having a full time job is a big contributing factor. Sometimes an accident can result in a disability which makes one unable to care for a pet anymore. A death in the family, or mental illness can often interfere with people's ability to take care of themselves, never mind another living creature.
The pet owner deciding to have children can also cause a slew of problems. The presence of a child may have an adverse effect on the animal's wellbeing, the child may end up being allergic to animals, or the pet displaying aggression toward the child, can all be legitimate reasons to re-home. Sadly, a new baby is a full-time job that requires a lot of time, energy and sleepless nights, and trying to keep up with housework, childcare and sleep can leave little time to care for or give a pet the attention it needs.
Every animal deserves a loving home where they are fed, groomed, exercised and loved. Often, people fall in love with a shelter dog, and don't realize until later that they are not the best fit for that dog. If the dog ends up having a ton of energy and you do not live in a place with a big enough yard, and you don't have time to dedicate a couple of hours a day to exercising it, you might not be the best family for that dog.
These are all things that one should take into serious consideration before committing to a pet, however, sometimes life throws curve balls that cannot be anticipated, avoided, or ignored. Too often, people who love their pets try to keep them, even when they cannot provide them with the care they really need, and this can unfortunately lead to the animal being neglected.
This is why, instead of shaming people who need to re-home their pets, we should actually be supporting and encouraging them to find the best possible home for the animal, even if it's no longer theirs. It is actually admirable when someone can realize that their situation is not the best for the animal and, even if it is upsetting or painful, it's important to find the very best home for the pet. People who are mature enough to really want what's best for the animal should never be shamed, instead they need support and help finding the perfect home for their animal.
Should you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel you ought to surrender your pet for their well being, reaching out to friends and family can be a good option, that allows you to still visit and have a relationship with the animal in the future. Otherwise, local no-kill shelters are usually very helpful, and will use their advanced screening processes to find the perfect new family for your pet, which is always a better option than simply dropping the animal off at the SPCA or other shelter.
Deciding to re-home a pet is a tough and painful decision, but ultimately, the happiness and welfare of the animal is what's most important.