A word of advice to those out there who are not able to keep their pets, for whatever reason. Please don't say that you have to "get rid of" your cat or dog, rabbit or hamster, etc.

Whenever I first read "get rid of", I don't think of a poor animal that needs a home because of unfortunate or unexpected circumstances. Instead it seems like your pet has only become a problem for you, something that, once they are gone, you will say good riddance to. And maybe sometimes that is true. But it's not the best way to advertise your beloved pet looking for a home, and instead it advertises something about you.

Just to get more in depth at why I don't like this phrase, let's just look into what "get rid of" actually means. From dictionary.com:

—Verb (used with object), rid or rid·ded, rid·ding.

  1. to clear, disencumber, or free of something objectionable (usually fol. by of ): I want to rid the house of mice. In my opinion, you'd be wise to rid yourself of the smoking habit.
  2. to relieve or disembarrass (usually fol. by of ): to rid the mind of doubt.
  3. Archaic. to deliver or rescue: to rid them out of bondage; to rid him from his enemies.


  1. be rid of, to be free of or no longer encumbered by: to be rid of obligations.
  2. get rid of, to eliminate or discard: It's time we got rid of this trash.

Er, none of these sound like something good to do to a member of the family... Oh, I know! Let's look at a thesaurus to see if there might be a better word to use instead of "get rid of". Ok, typing that in now, let's see what we get...

"get rid of" synonyms:

assassinate, cast aside, chuck, cut, deep-six, dispose of, ditch, do away with, dump, eighty-six, eliminate, exclude, expel, exterminate, kill, omit, part with, reject, remove, slaughter, throw away, throw out

Fantastic. Now, excluding the deadly words like "assassinate", if you feel that "throw away" is not a good phrase to use when talking about re-homing your pet, perhaps you should also rethink "get rid of" too, cause it has a very very similar meaning.

This may sound a bit ranty, but I find it incredibly sad when I read about someone needing to rehome their cat or dog and in the process of writing the ad they say how they need to "get rid of" their pet. The animal had probably not done much to deserve being thrown away, why would you write about them as if they were trash?

Written by Katharine Ruskke and originally posted in the ARK forums in December 2010.