Millions of pets find themselves in shelters every year, a significant number of them due to being surrendered by their owners. A pet rescue volunteer recently posted a video to TikTok shedding a light on the heartbreaking reality that these animals face in a kill shelter after abandonment.

The video, shared earlier this month by Emily Gorham whose TikTok username is @houseofrescuedogs, comes with a text overlay that explains: “This is what your dog does after you surrender them to a kill shelter. they shut down. they hope it’s you that will walk around that corner. they wait for you to come back. they don’t understand why you left them. they just keep waiting…for you.

Meanwhile, the video’s caption reads: “I understand life happens, but so many dogs get surrendered to the Tulsa Animal Welfare for silly reasons. They want a new puppy, they have too many pets, the dog is too active, etc. Please do better.”

Gorham, a volunteer with the Tulsa Animal Welfare, told Newsweek: “It is something that people need to be aware of.” Her weekly commitment at the Tulsa Animal Welfare reveals a grim pattern of owner surrenders, witnessing first hand the confusion and fear in the dogs’ eyes.

Gorham, who is a dog groomer by profession, dedicates every Thursday to bathing and photographing shelter dogs, hoping to boost their chances of finding new forever homes. Alongside her husband, she has fostered dogs for the last four years, a testament to their dedication to animal welfare.

“The Tulsa Animal Welfare gets in 100-200 dogs each week. Our spay and neuter law needs to be enforced, and the citizens of Tulsa need to do better,” she said.

Her observations reveal that surrendered dogs often tend to shut down, overwhelmed by the sudden change and the loss of their families.

“They are terrified and confused. It makes it hard for them to be adopted, and many don’t get adopted,” Gorham added.

what happens to abandoned dogs
Emily Gorham, a volunteer at a Tulsa animal shelter, has revealed in a TikTok video the sad reality of what happens to dogs after they’re abandoned by their owners.


According to the Humane Society of Macomb, the most common reasons for dog surrenders include age, allergies, behavioral issues, clean-up, cost, moving, new pets, and shedding.

The journey of a surrendered dog in a shelter is fraught with uncertainty and fear. Once separated from their owners, these animals often experience a profound sense of loss. They wait, day-after-day, for a familiar face that never returns. Gorham’s narrative is a crucial reminder of the lasting impact surrendering a pet can have on its well-being.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reports that approximately 6.3 million pets enter U.S. shelters annually, equating to an average of 17,260 a day. January 2023 saw 46,807 dogs and cats taken in by shelters, marking an increase from the previous year, according to the 24Pet ‘Shelter Watch Report’. Despite the growing number of animals in need, shelters are working tirelessly to reduce euthanasia rates, currently at around 920,000 annually, through adoption campaigns, spaying and neutering initiatives, and behavioral rehabilitation programs.

For those considering surrendering their pets, it’s essential to explore all available options. Many shelters offer resources and support to help keep pets in their homes. Rehoming should be a last resort, pursued through channels that ensure the animal’s well-being and future happiness.

TikTok Users React

Gorham’s TikTok video drew a response from other users on the social media platform.

TikTok user seductivegal60 wrote: “Let me tell you something people are disgusting. If you can’t take care of your beloved pet, find a friend, a neighbor, someone that could take your pet and love your pet forever, a rescue group.”

Jay805 wrote: “People who do this should NEVER be allowed to own animals and don’t have the right to call themselves dog people.”

Rachel VonRitter added: “I could or never would give up my dogs, I even have a back up plan incase something happened to me. This is so heartbreaking all animals should have a place to call home.”

Kalli commented: “This hurts my heart. I wish I could save them all.”

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