Realizing you can't afford to keep up with the needs of a pet is a tough epiphany to have, but there are good ways to deal with it.
Tying the critter to a tree with a sort of 'Dear Dog' note isn't really one of them, but in the case of Zeus, it actually worked out.
The dog was spotted tied to a tree in Prince George County, Virginia, near a bag of dog food and with a note:
"Hi my name is Zues [sic]. I am a very good dog. My owner just cannot afford me anymore," the note reads. "She tried to find me a home but nobody would take me."
In a postscript, switching from Zeus' voice to her own, the dog's original owner continues, "I hate to do this but I just cannot afford him anymore."
Luckily for Zeus, he was brought to the Prince George County Animal Shelter by animal services officers, according to WTVR.
Zeus weighed about 50 pounds when he was taken to the shelter, but he was underweight. The shelter believed he hadn't been tied to the tree for too long before he was found, perhaps less than a day, since his food bag was dry and it had rained the day before.
In a since-updated Facebook post, the shelter told its community, "Zeus was completely failed by his last owner. Can you be Zeus' forever family?"
Someone answered that call, and the 2-year-old dog was adopted in the middle of the month.
It was a very good ending for Zeus, and a thankfully short journey to finding a forever home.
Sadly, Zeus isn't the first report of a dog abandoned by an owner and tied to a tree this year. A dog named Duke was discovered by a Maryland school teacher on a frigid morning in mid-January. Like Zeus, Duke's story had a happy ending when he was adopted not long after he was taken in by the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.
And cases like these aren't the way it has to be. As Prince George Counter Animal Shelter explained in the aforementioned updated Facebook post, "For anyone who may find themselves in need of rehoming a pet, please reach out to your local animal services. Many areas have resources to assist if they can not assist personally.
"We are not sure this owner lived in our county. If they did, please know you may call us. We are always here to assist whether it be with resources that can help financially, with feeding your pet, or even with surrendering him or her to us."
So if you find yourself in a similar situation as Zeus' previous owner, reach out to your local shelters and find out what options are available to you. Just because you're unable to care for a pet any longer doesn't mean you should stop caring about them.