How to Decide if You Should Give Your Dog Away


If you’re thinking about giving your dog away, here are several things to consider. Surrendering a dog is painful, but could be the right decision for you and your family. We sadly gave our dog away yesterday…it was the right decision for us, but we’ve been crying ever since. The following tips will help you decide if you need to give your dog away.

“There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people [and dogs] we can’t live without but have to let go.” ~ Unknown. And that’s exactly how I feel: I can’t live without my dog, but I had to let her go.

I recently wrote How to Cope After Rehoming a Dog. I recently adopted a second dog (Tiffy), and the person who gave her away is having trouble coping with the loss. My article about rehoming a dog is actually a letter written by Tiffy to her previous owner. This is a chance for you to see what’s it like to move to a new home, from a dog’s perspective!

There are no easy answers or quick tips. Deciding if you should give your dog up is an intensely personal decision, and it’s important that you make it yourself. If you let someone else tell you what to do, you may always regret giving your dog away…or resent the person for convincing you to keep your dog.

Hopefully, these thoughts will help you. Feel free to comment below – and read through the stories other dog owners have shared. You’ll see you’re not alone.

Should You Give Your Dog Away?

Here are my tips, based on our recent experience with adopting and surrendering a dog.

Separate emotion from the reasons you need to give your dog away

Should I Give My Dog Away

How to Decide if You Should Give Your Dog Away

We adopted Jazz, a 75-pound one-year old black lab German Shepherd “puppy” from the West Vancouver SPCA just over a month ago. We fell in love with her almost immediately, which is why we couldn’t stop crying when we surrendered her back to the SPCA yesterday.

However, as heartbroken and guilty as we feel, we couldn’t ignore the practical reasons that compelled us to give our dog away. We are not the best family for this dog. If you’re trying to decide if you should give your dog away, try to separate your love from what’s best for everyone…including your dog.

Make a list of pros and cons for keeping versus giving your dog away

When you make your list of reasons for keeping or not keeping your dog, assign each reason a number.

For instance, one of the reasons we gave our dog away (a “con”) is that she is the size of a small pony and has the energy of seven dogs combined. Our house and yard isn’t big enough for her – and neither are our energy levels! So, this con rates a 10 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being “very important reason” and 1 being “hardly important at all”). When you finish making your list, add up the numbers. If the cons for keeping her outweigh the pros, then maybe you should give your dog away.



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Read How to Forgive Yourself for Not Protecting Your Dog if you feel like you’re betraying your dog.

Listen to your heart and head – not other people’s opinions

My husband and I were your typical confused dog owners! We didn’t know if we should keep trying to train and bond with our dog, or if we should just give her away after one month. Everyone we talked to had a different opinion: some said to give the dog away because it’s not worth the time and hassle to train her, while others said it just takes time (up to two years!) for her to mature and learn how to be obedient and part of our “pack.” Ultimately, though, we had to make our own decision, regardless of what other dog owners or obedience trainers said.

Do what’s best for you and your family

I’m a full-time writer and blogger; you’d think I’d be the perfect owner for a big energetic dog who needs lots of time and attention! But, she was so restless and needy, I couldn’t do my job properly. Having this young black lab around all day was emotionally draining; I was constantly worried that she might need to pee, that she was bored, that she was lonely without her SPCA dog friends.

Additionally, it was physically exhausting and time consuming to take her on four walks a day, which the dog obedience trainer recommended. As painful as it was to give our dog away, it really was the best decision for us.

Find ways to cope with guilt after finding a new home for your dog

giving dog away

Our dog Georgie, who we adopted after giving Jazz away.

Both my husband and I feel terrible that we took Jazz back…but it helps to know that we did the best we could. Our dog will be better off in a different home with a family who can give her what she needs. We’re struggling with seriously guilty feelings after giving our dog away – and the sooner we find ways to cope with our pain, the better off we’ll be. One way to cope is to talk about it with people who understand, and to write about it.

UPDATE: we adopted a different dog, Georgie, six months after giving Jazz away, and can’t imagine life without her! We always wanted a dog, but didn’t find the right one…until now. I describe how it all happened in Are You Ready to Get Another Dog?

I welcome your thoughts on how to decide if you should give your dog away. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but it may help you to share what you’re going through. I know it’s not an easy decision to make, and I wish you all the best as you decide what to do.

May you find peace, forgiveness, and healing if you decide to rehome your dog.

should I give my dog awayOne of my regrets about giving my dog away is not learning more about dogs from books such as Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know. The more you understand your dog, the better equipped you’ll be to make the seemingly impossible decision of whether you should give her away.

Your thoughts and stories are welcome below. You may find that writing about your situation with your dog will help you find clarity and insight. Putting your thoughts in writing can be a great way to decide what to do…even with something as important and heartbreaking as trying to decide if you should give your dog away.

I recently wrote How to Find Peace of Mind After Putting a Dog to Sleep. I know there’s a big difference between giving your dog away and putting your dog to sleep…but the feelings of guilt and heartbreak are the same.

xo


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523 thoughts on “How to Decide if You Should Give Your Dog Away

  • Jessica

    My boyfriend and I rescued a 1 year old pitbull from a shelter without knowing its’ history. 2 weeks later, we learnt that we are his 5th home. We knew dogs were a responsibility, but we are quickly loosing patience. He is just too high energy for us. He does not like other dogs, he has been great with humans but every time we walk him we’re nervous.

    Poncho is a level 10 dog. We are first time (large) dog owners. My boyfriend grew up with a couple of small dogs, but it doesn’t compare. We live in an upper duplex, we don’t have a yard for him to play in. He doesn’t get to play. We take him for so many walks and runs, but still he isn’t playing. We can’t take him to dog parks.

    Poncho is not a bad dog, we just feel that we might not have what it takes to give him what he needs, but we feel like it’s our duty. He can’t go to another home, the poor baby, no one has taken the time to teach him. I feel very conflicted.

    I am also about to leave for a month for research. My boyfriend works 3 days a week, but i don’t want to leave him with the stress of taking care of Poncho alone while I’m gone.

    Mainly, we feel the sooner we do this, the better it’ll be for him. We don’t want him to get used to us for any longer and then in 6 months we decide we’ve had enough. We feel that would be even worse.

    • Deb

      If you want to keep poncho for 6 more months, I would recommend watching It’s me or the dog, with Victoria stillwell. Watch every episode. And take him EVERY week to training. Also, commit to 45 min walks 3x a day and some fetch.

      In 6 months, you’ll have a better behaved dog which will be good if you do give him up.

      The reason he is bouncing around is because he is not well behaved. You’ll be doing him a life long favor if you can do this for him.

      As for your boyfriend, if he runs him hard before he goes to work, he should be fine while he is away if less than 8 hours or perhaps you can hire a dog walker to let him relieve himself.

  • Catarina

    Hi! I adopted a dog from an unexperienced dog “breeder” (This person had many dogs and didnt have them castrated). I was told the puppies were in danger there so i had to bring my very young puppy home.
    He was very loving and had issues with destroying things and guarding the blankets he chewed.
    This dog is so much bigger than his mom or brothers, has so much energy and needs to run A LOT. He is so smart learns every command and knows his toys names. Everything changed when he bit me and my dad. We found out he was sick and it was our fault to try to touch him, but even knowing its their way of comunicating i never feel at ease with him now. Im so upset. I know now i should have a dog that doesnt need that much exercise, even when i let my boy run freely in my neighbors backyard he still is very scared to go out on a leash and needs a lot of training and im just so tired. Im a 21 year old girl and my parents dont have the time and patience for him and trainers cost a lot of money. I wonder if he would be better in a farm or a big backyard, maybe he would be happier. I just cannot forget when he bit me, that image doesnt leave me everytime i look at him. Im always cautious and honestly waiting for him to bite me even if i know its very unlikely. We close the bedroom doors because he guards the bed and it just hurts to hear him outside. I just feel like i lost my sweet boy and im not sure what to do. Sorry for the long post, im crying and venting.

    • Deb

      First get him nuetered. Next, get up the money to have a session with the best trainer in your area. Tell about the biting and the events leading up to it. They will hopefully determine of the dog has aggression or was purely telling you to go away and they will teach you how to walk him on a leash. Finally, after all that, if you feel you are cheating him hours in a day and he needs more, do try to rehome him.

  • Natalie

    My fiance and I have a 6 months old border collie that we’ve been trying to get to quit his behavioral issues and it doesn’t seem to be improving. I am currently out of country and I might have to be out for longer, maybe another 1-2 months and my fiance works full time and studies too and he only got the dog for me and I feel guilty that he has to take care of him and the house all by himself while I’m gone. And, I know he’s beginning to get impatient with the dog’s continued behavioral issues.

    He has a lot of behavioral issues that needs corrected
    1. Destructiveness
    2. Ingesting what he destroys
    3. Herding cars
    4. Herding cat
    5. Peeing and pooping in the house
    6. Instead of peeing and pooping when is let out he often decides to bark at the dogs next door instead
    7. Pulling on the leash to the extent he’s choking himself and he still won’t quit doing that

    I’ve been coming up with various theories as to what we might be doing wrong and how we could improve his quality of life and everything I’ve tried has not worked out. And, I think we both love-hate the dog now because every time we gave him something like a bed or a toy or let him out of the crate alone instead of crating him, leaving him outside at the yard for a longer time – everytime we tried to do something nice to help improve his quality of life it backfires, he gives us a brand new issue.

    I’ve had countless sleepless nights thinking what I’m doing wrong and trying to come up with a new game plan to improve things but they never work.

    First of all, I know border collies are highly active and does well as working dogs. I read online that some has high herding instincts but not all. And, it is possible for border collies to be happy and contented without having to be on the farm. But, once we got the dog. We realized he has high herding instincts. When we first got him, we also had a new chihuahua puppy. And, the border collie would never leave the chihuahua alone and would constantly try to control and herd him. He acted almost obsessed with the chihuahua, would stare from far, crotch down and suddenly start sprinting towards him at full speed and to that the chihuahua would immediately bark in a high pitch bark that gives me anxiety and they’d go on all day. And, no matter what you said, the border collie would ignore you and get in the way if the chihuahua tried to come to us. And, that’s all he does all day, fixate on the chihuahua, ignore us like we don’t exist and try to herd him until the chihuahua gets upset and starts barking and then he gets upset too and starts barking back and then light nipping begins. And, occasionally the border collie will nip too hard the chihuahua would yelp out in pain. I was constantly worried the border collie might accidentally hurt the chihuahua though I’ve noted that the border collie always stopped once the chihuahua yelped out. But, I just couldn’t take the risk, the border collie had also tried to forcefully tug the chihuahua off my hand once before and it made me really angry and gave me a lot of anxiety because I knew if the border collie had decided to go through with it, he could have flung the chihuahua off my hand and badly hurt him and he almost did and I had no idea to hold on tight or let go because either way, the chihuahua could’ve been badly hurt. After that, I knew I had to separate them and play with them separately for the chihuahua’s safety and for my sanity. But, whenever I let the border collie out, the chihuahua would go absolutely nuts and yell at the top of his lungs, as if screaming that I’m unfair no matter how long he’s already been allowed out and how much time I was spending with the chihuahua already before. I was so stressed out by both dogs and I really lost so much sleep and I felt so guilty and like I was doing something wrong. And, I know it was unfair because both dogs were spending time being crated when they could be let out running around. I realized the two dogs were too different and very unsuitable for each other and could never be left together without them barking at each other like crazy and the chihuahua constantly trying to get away and the border collie wouldn’t allow it. I eventually made the difficult decision, a month after buying the chihuahua, I knew I had to let one of them go and I decided to let the chihuahua go because even though the border collie was the issue but I was so constantly worried about the chihuahua getting hurt that I didn’t feel confident I could protect the chihuahua well. He was too fragile and I felt like he and I might not be the right fit because most of my anxiety was me worried he’ll get hurt. And, he tried to squirm out of my hand all the time and the first night I got him, he succeeded squirming out of my hand and when he fell he screamed like he was so shocked and that scared me. I was so worried he’d be injured or hurt. But he stopped screaming/crying after a couple seconds that felt like forever and didn’t seem injured. Though I still couldn’t sleep all night and kept researching about chihuahuas falling and if it would be fatal and went to check on him a couple of times and when he was still acting fine by morning, I finally decided he was alright and just screamed because he was shocked. My fiance also said that he was screaming because he thought I was holding him and suddenly I dropped him and that made me feel awful because I could not have held him tighter without hurting him and he made me feel like it was entirely my fault that he fell off my hand even though the chihuahua squirmed so that he’d fall off my hand and he did it all the time even after that – squirmed, bite, scratched. He was tiny and it was my first time with a chihuahua, and a baby at that, I had no idea how much grip and also completely didn’t expect it. Plus I never wanted chihuahuas, was always afraid of them because they looked too fragile to me and I didn’t dare to grab too tight. It really happened so fast and I was a little traumatized to recall exactly what happened and how it happened.

    So, despite knowing most of chihuahua’s bad behaviors were caused by the border collie, I decided to keep the border collie instead of the chihuahua. Because, I didn’t have the confidence to protect the chihuahua from being hurt. And, even though I had to deal with the guilt and felt like a bad person for a while but I knew immediately it was the right decision to make for the chihuahua because HE IS SO LOVED by the new family and he fits just right. They have an elder dog that is slowing down and is very mild and does not bother him at all. And, the family absolutely adores him. They still keep in contact with me and send me photos and I know he is loved and very happy and let out of the crate so much more than before. And, once he is gone a lot of peace was restored at home too so it was a win-win. I stopped being so tensed and stressed out. It’s so much quieter at home. And, I finally had time and had the border collie’s attention so I could properly train the him and found out he is so so smart and so good with tricks.

    All had to be well right? I already let a dog go and the border collie was only trying to herd the chihuahua and he’d constantly ignore me and my fiance but now that the chihuahua is gone he paid more attention to us and he had nothing to be obsessed over anymore right? No, he starts obsessing over our cat and starts fixating on our cat from time to time and has tried herding him. One time he slammed the cat down with his front paws, putting all his weight on the cat as he jumped over him. That again, made me mad. The cat is not exactly young and I have a way longer history with the cat. The fact that he constantly acts like an asshole and does things like run at full force and slam into the cat or keep trying to get in his way when he walk/ herding him makes me dislike him at times. We’ve tried really hard for the last 5 months to correct his behavior but he still bothers the cat from time to time. That makes me resent him sometimes because I see him as a bully and I’m someone who hates bullies and he never dared go near the cat when he was smaller than the cat and now he tries to bully the cat since he’s bigger now.

    And, because of that, and the fact that I have dog allergies, we have a dog free zone. He’s not allowed upstairs and if the cat feel distressed, he can always run upstairs. But, I know the dog would go upstairs if I wasn’t around. He’s done it before while I was in the basement. So, I can’t completely trust him to be left alone and not chase the cat upstairs. Yes, I could close the door and keep the cat upstairs. But, that’s not really fair for the cat who’s older and done nothing wrong.

    And, not only do I have to keep him crated while I’m not around to watch so he can’t bother the cat too much. But, the Border Collie is highly destructive when left alone. He always destroys something and very often ingests them. I have found toys he destroyed and foreign objects in his poop and he chewed up his dog bed stuffings once after ingesting it, which I didn’t notice until I found his puke. So, I can’t leave him out by himself because otherwise I know he’d be out destroying something in the house and usually also eating it. And, I don’t want to leave him out and risk having him choke to death or risk having him ingesting anything and having to take him to the vet and spend a ton of money on vet bills to operate on him and remove things stuck in him. So, I’ve had to crate him while I was not available to watch him.

    We’ve been really frustrated. Everything we’ve tried just don’t seem to work out. I just resorted to staying by his side all day to watch him and he’s not destructive when I’m around, he might try to destroy a toy but never the dog bed or go around fishing for new things to destroy. Everytime left out alone, he destroys something random like wires, beanie, whatever. He just looks for something to destroy. I don’t know why he does that. I don’t know if it’s anxiety from being left alone or what. But, I’ve come to realize that a destructive dog is definitely not a well-balanced or very happy dog. He must not have his needs satisfied and that’s why he is destructive. He must be venting off his frustration or anxiety or something or just has too much leftover energy.

    So, another thing we’ve been working on since we first got him if to try to expend all his energy – take him out on walks or jogs by our house. The thing is, we live right beside the road and the border collie won’t quit trying to herd and run after cars. And, even when there’s no cars, he’d pull so hard that he’d choke. He’d vomit from choking and he’d still pull non-stop. And, we know we can’t let him lead us. We resist his pulling and it’s never gotten better. Never.

    It’s stressful and embarrassing taking him on walks or jogs and I feel like people might judge me as if I was abusing my dog by allowing him to choke himself. And, it doesn’t seem right either. But, even if I were to let him lead me, which obviously would be a bad thing to do and would not make me a pack leader, he’d still just keep running ahead more and keep choking himself again. So, I just hold the leash backwards so he’d constantly only be able to be by my side no matter how hard he pull. And, when we jog with him, he still pulls but he don’t get choked because he’s not that fast but whenever a car passes by, he’d just jerk off in the direction of the car, sometimes opposite and I’ve almost fallen or tripped over him many times. And, it’s just impossible to leash train him, especially with cars around. And, when we take him to the store, he does that same thing at everyone and also tries to jump on everyone. And, everyone likes to pet him when he’s tugging and choking himself and heaving and catching his breath just to jump on them and obviously people are not helping when we’re telling the dog, “No” “Stop” and they still walk up to pet him, without asking if it’s alright. So, they keep encouraging him by giving him pets when he’s doing something that’s obviously a bad behavior. Then, we tried taking him to places with no cars or people to hike and he still pulls so we take him off his leash and he’s good. But, we can’t possibly take him out hiking in the trails every single day. We only have one car right now and my fiance drives it to work and when he comes home it’s late.

    So, how have we tried to improve his quality of life? I tried to watch him all day while he stayed out of the crate and honestly that’s not something I can do forever once I start my job and now that I’m out of country and my fiance is alone and busy, he can’t afford to do that; We tried to leave him out of the crate alone, he destroys things and eats them, so no; We tried to take him out on walks – he pulls until he chokes and he suddenly starts sprinting in a different direction being distracted by many things especially cars, being a bit of a hazard and almost tripping us and making me fall many times, and I always have to pay attention not to step on his feet; taking him out on jogs – does same thing with cars and almost makes us fall.

    So, my fiance tried to leave him out the house and tells him to go to the yard and do his business and hang out, run and stuff, whatever. He waits out the deck and barks at the neighbors and their dogs and instead of going down to the yard, he decides to conveniently poop and pee on the deck. I know that frustrates my fiance as it would me. It seems like he can’t go anywhere without one of us there accompanying him.

    And, many nights I’ve found myself sleepless. Just like this night, I haven’t slept in over 24 hours but here I am sharing this. I just had a breakdown sending a bunch of texts to my fiance who is at work while I’m out of country about how I feel like it’s all my fault. It was my idea to get a dog. He didn’t really want one. I feel like it is my responsibility to ensure that my border collie is happy. But, he’s obviously not. He has a need that’s not satisfied and that’s why he’s destructive. And, I’ve tried everything I could. I’ve had so many sleepless nights like this just thinking what’s wrong? What am I doing wrong? What are we doing wrong? What can we do better? And then coming up with new theories with what might be wrong and sharing it with my fiance who is sick of hearing me go on about it. And, new game plans to help the resolve all the behavioral problems the dog have. Every time it fails.

    Yesterday I thought maybe it’s because we’re not good pack leaders so he don’t feel secure enough.
    Today I think it seems like he’s only been destructive when left alone. He might just not be a dog that can be left alone. He only started destroying the pee pad after I separated him from the chihuahua. He only destroys wires/ dog bed when I leave him in the crate by himself. I eventually had to keep any wires away from his crate and only keep durable toys in his crate and no dog bed. And, he only fishes for things to destroy, like beanies, paper when left out alone. So, today I think he might just not be a dog that can be left alone. He needs to have a companion dog with him at all times or a human companion, at all times, which I can’t give. And, the dog companion can’t be too little or he’ll overpower it like he did with the chihuahua. And, poor chihuahua was so exhausted and just wanted to rest and he wouldn’t leave him alone and if I tried to pick him up and hold him so he can’t get him he tried to grab him off my hand. Perhaps he needs another border collie as companion. But, we can’t do that because now we both think that we’re not dog people. We think we’ve done something wrong. I think I’ve done something very wrong and I am probably horrible dog person. Because, I wanted him but I don’t know what’s wrong and I can’t fix it.

    I sometimes think he needs a farm where he’s free to herd the cattles/sheeps. But, then, again, I’d wonder if I’m just a horrible owner and failing at giving him what he need – proper exercise, more time, all of which I’ve given and tried and he still was destructive. He was only not destructive when I was there with him all day long and if I couldn’t be there, I left him in his crate without anything he could destroy. So, honestly, his issue was never fixed, I just worked around his issue.

    But, then, I was home most of the time and he wasn’t in crate so much. Now, that I’m not home, my fiance is too busy and the border collie has to be crated at night and in the day too and it’s not fair for him. But, we really can’t leave him out for he’d be destructive and put his own life in danger and also I cannot have him distress or possibly hurt the cat. I don’t know what to do.

    I laid out the pros and cons logically. And, really, the pros of letting him go outweigh the cons. But, I just feel like then I’ve failed twice and we both already think we don’t seem cut out for dogs anymore and if we really let him go too, we might never ever get a dog again. And, we both love hate the dog. Because we like him, he’s smart and sweet but we hate it when he completely ignores us while outside and keeps trying to jump at strangers and choke himself doing that. It feels as though he likes anybody just as much as us. And, also how everytime we give him something nice or try to do something nice and help improve his quality of life and not have to spend so much time in the crate, he gives us a new set of problems. It’s like every time we try to help things he just don’t appreciate it and end up making a mess or giving us another set of bad behaviors and wound up having to stay in the crate again. And, we both do think it’s our fault. Yes, it is, because I do not have live stocks for him to herd and he’s a herding dog. I should have known better and not have imagined I could make it work just because others have made it work. Or maybe he just needs another dog that we don’t want to get anymore since we both feel now that we must not dog people or good dog people. I also feel like maybe I’m not prioritizing him over my own life enough. But, that’s not what I expected when I got a dog. I was not prepared to plan my lifestyle around the dog and now I think I’m horrible for not doing that and perhaps that’s my responsibility since I got him. Perhaps I need to give up my own pleasures and hobbies and focus on taking care of him and driving down to hiking trails every day to taking him on walks. But, even if I bought a car and did that now, when I go back to work, I can’t do that anymore.

    We just feel horrible. My fiance is not an expressive guy but I know he likes the dog enough but also dislikes the dog too and he’s expressed that he regrets getting him, as have I. I can’t bring myself to say I love him because it seems like he is unappreciative of us whenever we tried to give him a chance, he destroys it over and over. And, I’m not saying it’s his fault. I got him and I should make sure he has what he needs. I don’t even know for sure if what he needs is indeed a dog or human there by his side 24/7 or livestocks to herd. I am quite certain that’s probably it. And, it’s probably my duty to make sure he has that but I can’t possibly give that to him. I can’t help but regret getting him whenever he is destructive, which he gets whenever left alone with objects that’s destructible because I know he’s doing that because he’s an imbalanced animal and something he wants or needs is missing in his life. I regret getting him because I know I’m not giving him that which he needs or wants and he’s probably uncontented or unhappy.

    I feel like logically speaking, I know he will be better off somewhere with live stocks to herd or at least a dog companion of similar personality and size or someone who has retired and want a dog to stay by their side 24/7, all of which I can’t give. But, my fiance seem reluctant to let him go. He says he’s still a puppy, 6 months old and could get better. He’s not had much improvement in any of the bad behaviors and he’s had a new set of bad behaviors since I was gone and I feel extremely guilty towards my fiance. My fiance don’t express himself much but I think he feels bad and guilty and don’t want his family to judge him for giving away another pet. Neither do I. How does it look if we gave another pet away? I know he likes the dog too but I think he’s grown to resent the dog quite a bit and has become pretty impatient with him. I just feel horrible. I was the one who wanted a dog, not him.

    And, I do know that we’ve tried everything I could think of. I’ve stayed up many nights just thinking what could be wrong, what else can I do? And, they never work. My mother suggested putting a muzzle on him and he can be left out and he can’t destroy and eat things. But, I feel like that’s not really fixing whatever’s making him frustrated/anxious enough for to be acting destructive and that’s not solving the root problem?

    I don’t know what to do and I know I go through a period of feeling horrible about myself. I go through periods of being determined and knowing that the best thing I could do for him is to find him a better home – one with another dog and a big yard. Mine’s small, small house and yard and he won’t even go by himself without us around. He also used to eat soil and so I didn’t think it was a good idea to leave him out alone too. I think he just needs another dog to constantly keep him company and expend all his energy so he’d stop all that bad behaviors. Or a flock of animals to herd. I frankly don’t think constant human interaction is enough unless it entails hiking for long hours every single day or many different sessions of exercising. He has boundless energy and after a 2 hours hike, he would come home and still be sprinting around the house. A part of me know that I’ve done my best, we have and I have been a fair owner. But, there’s a part of me that thinks I’m a horrible owner and person for getting a dog that’s not suitable for me and then giving him away, instead of doing whatever it takes – constant hiking/exercising, whatever, at the expense of my own hobbies and happiness – to give him what he needs. And, I feel affected by how people would judge me too. Especially, how would the owners of my previous chihuahua feel about us? They’ve been keeping in contact with us because they know we do care about the chihuahua and let him go for his own good but maybe if they found out we let the border collie go to, they’d think we’re the problems. Even we think we’re the problems now and think we are not suited for dogs. We think we have no patience and are not giving up enough of our life for the dogs but when I wrote down all the pros and cons, I realised we have already done a lot and tried everything. I try to remind myself that. I know I have tried. And, I really like and I don’t want to say I love the dog because I probably have to let him go. But… I love him at least a little. He’s sweet and we’ve had good times though a lot of frustrating moments too and a bit of resentment. But, we definitely care for him and we’ve kept trying. Even at the expense of our own happiness and our own sanity. And, even at the expense of our own relationship. I keep being so affected and bringing up the dog, sometimes my fiance don’t react well to it.

    I really don’t know what to do anymore. We want to keep the dog. We really do. But, I just don’t feel like we’re able to give him the best life he can possibly have and we both feel guilty that we’re not prioritizing him over everything else. Yes, we could even correct all his behaviors, yes I could spend all my time with him and stop him every time he tries to do something bad but even so, a part of me believes he might be happier on a field with other dogs. Yet, I sometimes think if I should give him or rather us another chance. And, then this cycle repeats. And, I wonder again if there is something in my life that’s in my power to change that will be enough to make this dog a well-balanced dog so he won’t have all these bad behavioral issues again.

    So, I don’t know. I need advice. Do you think it’s possible? Should we just let him go? Should we also never ever get another dog again even 10 years later? I know we both don’t dare to get another dog right now just for the border collie because we really don’t think we’re cut out for it anymore. Though, we both grew up with dogs and we never had these issues. I had 2 chow chows growing up and they were the calmest dogs, one of them only chewed when she was teething and later stopped, and she also got over her food aggressiveness after realizing the other dog was not snatching. The other, my brown chow, had never done a thing disagreeable in his life. He’s the saint of dogs. I wonder what we could have done so right with that dog and what I could have done so wrong with my border collie, why isn’t he contented? I know it’s circumstances, the environment that’s causing all these bad behaviors, it’s not his fault. But perhaps we are being too hard on ourselves too by thinking it’s all our fault. But, how is it not? This is the second dog we are rehoming. I find it skeptical to believe we’re not the problem here.

  • Katherine

    I have a 6 month old aussie, and he has way too much energy for me to handle. I have been thinking about rehoming him, some where he could be happier… he stresses me out to tears, i just dont know what to do with him. I know now that he doesn’t fit my lifestyle, but my family doesnt want me to rehome him.

    • Deb

      If you want to keep him, you have to commit to running him miles a day or bringing him to day care daily. If you can’t put in the effort, I do think it is best to find him a happier situation.

  • ashanti

    how could i convince my family of this? my brother insisted on wanting a dog but he’s in school and does sports and barely sees the dog except to scream at everyone when we try TRY to discipline her. my grandparents are in their 70s, they have a small house and yard, 2 small kids during the week, 4 cats and two small dogs. all of whom now live in fear which my grandparents completely deny. it is too much for them to handle but they won’t listen. she’s very big, runs out the door constantly and puts your hand in her mouth like she’s going to bite. they say “oh she won’t bite she’s just playing” but my sister is 3. it’s too easy for this bad dog to jump right on top of emma like she’s jumps on top of the little dogs (which she has injured and is also denied). i can’t handle it anymore. please help.

    • Deb

      The dog isn’t bad. She needs training. Please try to enroll her ASAP in a training class. If your family can’t afford this, please try to convince them that rehomimg her might make everyone’s life easier.

  • Sara

    I have been thinking about doing this with my dog that I just adopted a few weeks ago. When I met him at the shelter, he was calm in his kennel and was even fairly calm outside on our short walk. His foster home said he was calm and crate trained. I knew it would all be an adjustment for him but I just don’t think he is suited for me and my home. They don’t know what kind he is but he looks like a beagle/terrier/cattle dog mix. He hates his kennel in my apartment but is too destructive to leave out and about (and is not fully house trained). It’s been a hard thing to think about and I get worked up to tears every time I do. I just think that he deserves a better life, one that includes a family to play with and a yard to run around in. Hearing everyone else’s stories has been encouraging to me, knowing that it will be okay one day.

  • TJ

    My husband and I are exploring the option of rehoming our 4 year old shepherd. We have a 3 year old and an 18 month old and it is very difficult to give her the attention I feel that she deserves. We both work full time and when we get home it is a mad dash to get our boys fed, bathed, play for a little and then bed that we rarely have time to walk her or play with her. We do have a fenced in yard but cannot leave her out there for any length of time because she digs and get muddy. She has also started to crew the kids toys or really anything that we have left out. We have to clean up and gate off half of our house every morning before work. I feel like a terrible pet owner by not giving her what she clearly needs but I feel that it is causing strain on our family. I am absolutely crushed to even be thinking of giving her away but I am not sure how else to handle this situation.

  • Marie

    I finally made the decision to give our 6month old puppy away recently. My son and I live in an apartment and I know Rocky deserves more. He has been teething and chewing on everything from tv remotes to clothing to even baseboards…and let’s not talk about the couch! I’ve bought him good durable chew toys and bones but that didn’t seem to help. A lot of people have told me he will grow out of it after a year old. I don’t have any more patiences to wait that long. So I found him a loving family who has a big fenced yard. My son has cried himself to sleep and I feel terrible. There’s a part of me that wAnts to go get him back…

    • Zahira

      Reading all these stories has re-affirmed for me that I made the right decision giving our puppy away. My family and I are devastated but with 3 young children, full time work and all the extra curricular activities we were struggling to find the time and energy to give our pup what she needs. I feel guilty about adopting the dog and imagined a very different life for her, one I thought we could provide. Meeting the beautiful couple whom has taken her was difficult but I know that they will have the time, commitment and attention that we can’t give. To top that off she also will have a big sister who will keep her company all day. Thank you for sharing your stories, we never make these decisions lightly and know that you are not judged but commended for making a selfless decision so your dog will have its best life.

  • pam

    I am on my second dog and gave the first one back to breeder due to my anxiety. I recently got a little old dog from the shelter. My son wanted him and he is great with him. It is me. I have anxiety all over again. Everyone I talk to thinks I am crazy for having the anxiety I have over a dog. I just think I am not a dog person. Please help me. I feel that it will be better to give the dog to someone who will love it. My kids and husband due but I cant get over the anxiety.

  • Joannie

    I feel like a bad dog mom or person in general for thinking about re-homing my 9month old dog, Rocco. He’s an Aussie mix and is a sweetheart. A little after we got him, we noticed he has a very sensitive stomach. It was a mess as he would poop (diarrhea) everywhere. He got better as he got older as he would know to tell us when he needs to go out outside of his routine. We’ve spent so much money on him because of his health problems or vomiting a lot or having an upset stomach for days. I’ve even meal prepped for him twice a week to give him a more bland diet which helped with his stomach. However, that’s time consuming and is also more expensive than dog food. He just got over his series of vommitting last week after a trip to the vet and now he’s back to having diarrhea and accidents all around our place. It’s causing frustration and anxiety as it wakes us up at night when we just think we hear him having an accident. I am also 13 weeks pregnant and having him is getting to be a bit too much financially and time wise. I’m crying because I would hate for him to be sad and feel confused if we do re-home him as his health isn’t his fault. I love him so much and I would miss how he looks at me. We haven’t decided yet but if this keeps on happening, I don’t thinm we can handle him and a newborn baby at the same time. I feel that he needs to be with someone with a big yard and a more active lifestyle and financial stability. I don’t know what to do… it breaks my heart just thinking about it..

    • Monica

      Hi Joannie,

      Your story is exactly the same as ours. We adopted our dog as a puppy and have had him about 10 months now. He, too, has a very sensitive stomach and is on prescription food only. He also has frequent accidents in the house, mostly bowel movements, which are entirely medical and not behavioral. He has the sweetest disposition and we love him so much.

      Last week he ate his dog bed overnight and consumed a large amount of bedding. The trip to the emergency vet cost us $2800 – an expense we were not anticipating. We are also expecting our first child this June so this was a huge financial strain.

      Our dog would benefit from having a fenced in yard and another playmate, two things we are unable to provide now or in the near future. We think that it would be in his best interest if we gave him back to the rescue. This was an absolutely heartbreaking decision for us to make.

      We are struggling so much with keeping our beloved dog but no longer feel we have the mental, emotional, or financial capacity to do so. I hope you find peace with your decision, whatever it may be.

  • Eli

    Hello, my wife is getting frustrated with our 7 mount old Labrador retriever, when we decide to get him as a puppy, she wasn’t really on board but me and my kids convinced her.
    Now she is getting really mad because his scratching the hardwood floors and the house as she said is dirty and hair all over and she is not happy. She always yells and my dog is not allowed to move from his spot or he get yelled at.
    I’m wondering should I give him away as maybe he will be in a different home that can give him more freedom?

    • Kathy Russell

      It sounds like the dog would be happier with another family. I know it will be hard but his well being should be your top priority. Living like that is not the best life for him. He deserves better. I’m sure your wife is frustrated and angry. That is not good for her or your family either. It is not good for you kids to see someone treat a dog that way. All things considered, I would try to find him a new home for him. Having a dog is a lot of work and I’m sure your wife is feeling the burden of it . I speak from experience. Good luck in your search for finding the right family for this puppy.

  • Andrea

    My Daughter is 14 with severe depression. She begged me for a puppy for a few years. I kept telling her not until my two elderly poodles passed on. They seemed to be living forever so I finally gave in in Dec 2018 we welcomed Mila into our home. She is the softest, most beautiful Husky. She is a sweet dog. My Daughters depression actually got worse because I told her if she got a puppy it was hers to walk, feed, clean up after, etc. My Daughter couldn’t handle the responsibility and we logically talked about Mila deserving a better home. I know we made the right decision for us and Mila but as I signed her over today to our doggie daycare to find her the perfect new home, I sobbed and sobbed. I can’t stop crying and I was shocked when I googled how to get over giving away your pet and stumbled on the overwrwhelming number of articles. I feel a little better knowing I’m not the only one out there that has gone through this but I still hate myself right now to the very core of my being. I shouldn’t have given in, I knew deep inside that it was not a good idea but I was trying to save my Daughter from depression. I never expected it to get worse. My two poodles were laid to rest last Thursday so we have gone from three dogs to none in five days. I fear I’m headed for a breakdown.

    • kml

      Andrea – First, I am so sorry for the loss of your two poodles.
      I was you just a few weeks ago with Mila, you can see my message below.
      What I can tell you – right now? This will be the WORST it will be.
      I know the guilt and pain you feel because you wish you would or could have done more for that sweet dog.
      You did the most selfless thing – your doggy daycare will find the best new home for her and you did what was right for you and your daughter.
      I pray this is helpful for you and for your daughter.
      Be kind to yourself. This was the hardest thing for me. I blamed myself so much for not being able to make it work.
      But Teddy? my puppy? He is happy. He is healthy and he is thriving.
      I’m the one who is the mess lol.
      You will heal, you will feel better as the days go on.
      Be strong. Be kind to yourself. And it is okay to cry. It is a loss.
      We are here for you.

    • Kathy Russell

      Andrea, I am so sorry for the loss of your two poodles and the heartbreak of rehoming the Husky. The grieving process will take a while ; you just have to get through it one day at a time. We are facing the same situation with our two puppies. I didn’t want any more dogs after the death of our beloved poodle last summer but my husband wanted a puppy so I gave in. I’ve regretted it every day since so we finally made the difficult decision to find them new homes. It is making me physically ill to think about letting them go but I know as can’t spend the next 10 to 15 years living with this deep regret over getting two more dogs. Sometimes we do the wrong thing for all the right reasons and have to correct our mistakes. There are consequences either way. To keep or rehome. You just have to do what is best for you and the dog. I want my puppies to go to good , loving homes and hope that happens. It will lessen the pain a little knowing they are loved and cared for with kindness. Please take care of yourself and forgive yourself. We are only human . Kathy

  • Stuart Riley

    Thank you for writing this. My partner and I have made the decision to give out beloved husky away so I feel like I have a little perspective, knowing that it might be common.

    We adopted her 6 months ago after a lengthy discussion about whether or not to get one. I’m a full time student and he worked from home so it was ideal, much like your situation.

    We were told how good she was with people and other dogs (the latter was not true), we were also told She was completely house trained, also not true. But we were getting through it. My partner then got promoted which meant he wouldn’t be working from home as much, in fact, he would be out a lot more and I could be in classes until about 6pm, and that’s a long day for her on her own and it wasn’t fair. So I started cutting classes to be at home, and it was fine, I’m not enjoying this year anyway, so again, I thought it was working.

    Quietly, he was making the decision to give her up, and I’m going through life thinking everything was fine – he sprung it on me on Friday, after a particularly bad day. I was/am devastated. So I started thinking of 100 different ways to make it work, but he was already resolute – so I took her home to my mothers for the weekend to give him some space, hoping he would come around or my mother would fall in love with her and visa versa, but that hasn’t happened. So I’ve come around to the idea that giving her away is the best thing to do. For her, not me. I think she knows cause she keeps looking at me. I feel like such a terrible person cause she’s such a lovely dog, so loving and cuddly, but like you, I worry we’re not doing enough for her.

    It’s like a break up or a death – I don’t quite know how else to describe it, but I’ve definitely failed her.
    I keep thinking that she loves us as much as we love her so would she think about us and miss us? Would she be in a good home?

    • kml

      I know your pain – and that is exactly what it is….pain.
      As my friends have told me- you are making a selfless decision.
      One that causes you hurt – but will allow that sweet pup to flourish in her new home.
      I’m only a few days in – and what you are feeling – it is DEEP, it is OVERWHELMING, it is a LOSS.
      But, it will be a win for her when you find the perfect home for her.
      Sometimes, you have to do what is right for others, even if it causes you pain.
      I’m not sure if this helps, but what I can tell you is you are not alone in your feelings.
      I will be thinking of you, because I know how this hurts, and you have a supporter in me.

    • kml

      First, I want you to know I feel your pain – because that is EXACTLY what it is. It is pain.
      What has helped me? Friends. Friends who remind me that this is a selfless decision you are making.
      Despite how painful a decision this is, you are wanting a better life for this sweet pup.
      Only a few days in – I know this doesn’t help your state of mind currently.
      The sadness, guilt, disappointment is almost overwhelming at times for me.
      But you are making a choice to give that dog a better life.
      What I would like you to most know – is that you are not alone in these feelings.
      You have a supporter in me. It is absolutely hard and hurts like hell.

  • kml

    I’m suffering – and I hope you all can help.

    My life as I know it was great. A 12-year-old terrier mix who is my world, Sophie, content to sit or walk or just go with the flow. We had a great routine.
    I decided I wanted a second dog. A running partner down the road…etc. and moved quickly.
    One thing that kept me for adopting – Soph is not a huge on other dogs. She is snippy when she first meets them and wasn’t socialized well at the shelter I adopted her from at 9 months. Once she gets to know a dog – she just basically goes about her business will sniff occasionally, but coexists okay with my boyfriend’s dog when they are together.
    But, I wanted a friend for Sophie in hopes that it might extend her life and be a companion.
    Selfishly, I am also preparing for the day my sweet girl is no longer with me.
    So, I thought possibly a puppy might be better to introduce than an adult dog.

    Intro – Teddy at 14 weeks. (this was in January)
    Sophie snaps at him. Wants nothing to do with him. I’m trying to train him and deal with her hating me basically for bringing this “brown thing” into “her house”. Plus the total change in my routine and schedule.
    Not to mention Teddy having separation anxiety.
    Now, I don’t know what I was expecting with bringing him home. I have had dogs before obviously – but it was not this.
    Panic attacks and worrying. Worrying about Sophie and Teddy not getting along. Teddy not allowing me out of his sight and howling in the crate. Sophie stressed out from the howling and change. Me not being able to do any of the normal things I would do. I couldn’t even get on the treadmill to go for a run without him screaming. Heartbreaking one, because I know HE is stressed, and two, not helping with my anxiety by not having my usual outlet.

    I finally realized I was way over my head – bit off more than I could chew – and went with an in-home boarding trainer to work with Teddy. He was gone for basic skills, along with correcting the separation anxiety.

    A couple weeks later Teddy is back, the trainer worked with both of us – we reintroduced Soph and Ted, and turns out Sophie was taking to resource guarding me.

    Ted came home – and the trainer took Sophie to try and work on her behavioral issues to hopefully meld the two together better.
    When Ted came back, I could see a change in him. He is such a good boy. But the anxiety also came back just two days in.

    Panic attacks, not sleeping well if I heard any sort of whine from the crate would panic, nauseous, and trouble eating.
    I realized – maybe I am not the mom for this boy. He deserves more.
    He deserves to be out of a crate more during the day – and needs more exercise than I can give him at night, plus a dog companion who enjoys him. The energy was overwhelming. So was my love for him. Because as much of a mess as he made me, he was so loving and smart and willing to please.

    I made the decision yesterday to find a home for him. My ex-boyfriend who had cared for him before when I was on vacation and loved him and said if it didn’t work – to please don’t consider anyone else for a home.

    I know he is happy. He has an older dog in the home that will play with him. A new owner who is much more dominant and active that I could hope to be with him. And an elderly parent who is in the house – who my ex says is happier than he has ever been with that puppy. He just lights up.

    But, even with all that – it isn’t helping right now with the guilt and grief i am feeling.
    feeling like I let him down, feeling like I let everyone else down including myself for not being strong enough mentally, and embarrassed because I couldn’t make it work – and people are talking about it – that I quit.
    My boyfriend is also very upset because I made the decision myself – (note he was my dog, we do not live together) – but didn’t discuss it more in depth with him.

    I’m just…..lost. I feel alone and guilty.
    I let my little friend down. I hope he knows I wasn’t quitting on him. I just want what is best for everyone. I wish others would see that. I also wish I could see that right now too.

    • Carol Mahoney

      Hi KML, I feel all of your pain and I want you to know that you will heal from this but it will take a little time. I too adopted a 2 year old rescue dog and after 7 weeks I needed to rehome her. She was really a sweet and loving dog and I loved her so much but I just could not keep up the pace of a young dog with lots of needs. She too had separation anxiety, constantly trying to escape my yard which made me so nervous, etc. etc. I rehomed her to a woman that has another dog and she actually wanted this particular dog but I happened to get to the shelter before she did. It was a blessing to have her take my dog but my emotions did not end there!! I cried for weeks out of missing her and feeling so guilty and like you feeling like I gave up on her for no reason. I was comforted by the words of one of the bloggers by reading that dogs live in the moment and your dog and my dog have both moved on with their lives and because we are human and have big hearts we beat ourselves up when deep down we know we did the right thing for the dog. I cried so much that I didn’t realize I had that many tears inside of me. I became so depressed that I could barely get out of bed. It will be 4 weeks this weekend that I gave her away. This is the first week that I have been able to forgive myself and move into acceptance. You will get there too believe me you will. Just allow yourself to grieve and keep reading the posts that other people write so you know that you are not alone and we all made a choice that broke our hearts but in the long run the decision is best for the dog. Take care of yourself and I hope you will heal soon.
      Feel free to email me for support if you want.
      cmahoneydocs@gmail.com

      • Deb

        Dogs don’t live in the moment. They are emotional creatures like any other mammal. Watch those vids of dogs being reunited with their guardians after they return home from the military. Do they adjust well in a new home, they can, yes. But it is unfair to say they live in the moment.

        • Carol Mahoney

          Deb, You are not being helpful to any of us who are struggling with rehoming our dogs. According to Cesar Millan who is a dog GURU talks about how dogs do in fact live in the moment. I’m not saying that dogs don’t have feelings, of course they do but they do not dwell in the past or worry about the future, nor are they crying everyday like most of us are doing because we had to make a tough decision to rehome our dogs. The comment you made to the family suffering with giving their dogs away about the owner of the Condo breaking the law was also not helpful. Perhaps you should find another blog to write on as your comments are hurtful and all of us are hurting enough right now.

  • Charisse

    My 18 year old daughter bought a very expensive baby shiatsu home , she was 8 weeks old, we just recently moved into a coop apt I purchased , although I love puppy’s and I’m now a single mom living w my 18 year old , my building does not allow pets , I tried speaking to Managment and even presented a doctors note stating we needed her for comfort. They sounded mean and asked that we give her away. We spent a month w her , but the whole time I felt nervous that she might have to leave and we wouldn’t have a proper home for her . I pushed my daugh her and finally a month later she was picked up . New owners have 5 kids under the age of 12. My daughter and I cried and cried. I felt mentally not ready to have a puppy and responsibility for her. I needed space to settle into our new home , do some renovation, etc . The fact that she bought her w out my permission also angered me . My daughter was watching her all day as to not let her bark , so tenants wouldn’t know we had a dog, it was quite challenging . I wanted my daughter to find a job like her friends were all doing. I feel so bad and worries about the kids in my puppy’s new home . Most important I feel terrible swing my daughter grieve over her. I thought she’s be happy to have her life back as her friends did not like dogs. But she’s torn , I watched her cry herself to sleep last nite after we gave chewy away . I’m broken and I miss chewy , I loved her and got very attached . She made us happy, half the time and the other half of times I felt anguish . How can I comfort my daughter and ( me) and know I did the right thing. ( I had to stick to my word when I asked her to find chewy a home) was another reason .cant help but feel broken, and unsure if I did the right thing I wasn’t ready to commit, and felt forced into owning a puppy. And felt nervous knowing she needed to pee or where she did, cleaning after her etc. but yet she gave me joy , I cannot explain it , mixed emotions
    But she’s now in a new home, and this morning is the first w out her my daughter had her pen by her side for 30 days , she expressed in tears that she now has nothing and that the puppy gave her joy I feel so guilty I thought she was relieved to now have freedom w her friends , she seemed strong when puppy left and went out w friends and I broke down, she comforted me) but when shecame home she broke down and explained that chewy gave her hope, happiness to come home,
    Wish she said it sooner,,, idk what I would of done .. really
    I am recently divorced and have 4 other adult kids and grand kids .. I feel more bad for my daughter now and feel guilty .. sorry so long , I guess I just needed to type like you said.
    Regards ,
    Charisse

    • Carol Mahoney

      Charisse, You will heal from this believe me. I had to give my dog away that I adopted and went through all the stages of grief for about 3 weeks. I cried and almost tried to get her back I was so sad and feeling so guilty. She is with a wonderful family that an give her what I could not. It will take time but you and your daughter will heal from this. Reading this blog and how other people are dealing with the same sadness and guilty really helped me move into acceptance.
      Take Care,
      Carol

      • kml

        I just posted above Charisse on the same topic.
        Thank you for your words here Carol – they helped me.
        And Charisse – I hope things are getting better by the day for you. I’m sending love to both of you.
        i’m hurting a lot.

  • Kathy

    We recently lost our beloved dog of 15 years. I had said I didn’t want any more dogs but my husband insisted on getting a puppy so I gave in. I have regretted it ever since we got her. She is adorable, smart and quirky but so much work. To make things worse, we got a second puppy to be her friend thinking it would help but it hasn’t. It has only made things worse. I feel trapped in a situation that I never wanted to be in. I am a normally upbeat person but I have been miserable and depressed ever since we got these puppies. I have worked hard to try and convince myself that I want them . I know in my head that we need to find them a new home but my heart is breaking. I feel so guilty and ashamed . It goes against everything I believe in to not follow through with my commitment. I know it will be painful but it will be a short term pain as compared to living with regret for the next 10 to 15 years and wishing every day that I had never gotten another dog. Just as someone else said; I feel like I can’t leave my house for more than a few hours at a time and I dread coming home. These puppies deserve better. Reading all these stories has helped me tremendously. Thank you all.

    • Carol Mahoney

      Hi Kathy, I heart aches for you because I was in your situation. I adopted a 2 year old dog from Puerto Rico. I too knew from the start that I had made a huge mistake. She was too active for me and my husband and so craved to be with other dogs. She also tried to escape constantly which had me under so much stress. I ended up giving her to another family that had another dog in the home and I know deep down that she is happier where she is. I cried, grieved and tore myself apart from grief after giving her away. We only had her for 7 weeks but in that short amount of time I did fall in love with her, but like you felt trapped and controlled by her due to her needs. She has been gone now with her new family (which keeps in contact with me) for 3 1/2 weeks. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and just yesterday was the first day that I didn’t cry most of the day. Like you I said to myself, it is better to give her away now than to live with regret for 15 years of caring for her. Know that dogs live in the moment and that they will forget you a lot faster than we forget them. Your heart will be broken just like mine and you will grieve the loss but you will feel better in the end.
      I wish you well and would love to hear back from you on how you are doing at my email address below
      cmahoneydocs@gmail.com
      Carol

    • JFH

      Hi Kathy, reading your story really resonated with me. We lost our beloved dog suddenly almost 3 years ago, and like you, my partner pushed me into getting another when I knew it wasn’t the right thing for me. We ended up with 2 brothers – the most adorable dogs – but it still isn’t right for either of us. All the things that were easy last time are difficult or almost impossible now. I feel permanently guilty that they’re not having the life they deserve, and we both feel stressed, and a bit resentful that they’ve taken over our lives. Yes, we made the choice – not them – and we’ve both spent the last 2 and a half years trying to make this work – but it doesn’t. I’ve never given up on anything in my whole life but I know that these dogs deserve far more than we can give them. I’ve been thinking about rehoming on and off for the last year, its a horrible decision to make.

      • Kathy Russell

        Hello JFH, I am sorry to hear about your situation. You have done well to hang in there for so long. We have been fortunate enough to find an almost ideal home for one of our dogs. The new owner is keeping in touch with me and tells me that she ( the dog ) is doing great. It was difficult to hand her over and we had a few rough days but knowing that she is in good hands certainly eases the pain. Having the dogs was putting a strain of the relationship between me and my husband and that has gotten a lot better since we rehomed our puppy. We still have one dog here but it’s been easier with just her to care for and my husband is taking a more active roll with her. He wanted to keep them so is trying hard to make this work. During this process, someone said to me “ dogs are not human, they adapt easily.” It will be harder on you than it will be on them. That helped me as well. They do not have emotions but they are very intuitive. They sense our moods and respond to them. Sometimes letting them go is the ultimate act of love. They need to be where they are truly wanted, and loved and will bring joy, not sadness, into a home. Giving our dog a new home went against everything I believe in but it was the right choice for us and , more importantly, for the dog. We are going to set this issue aside for a time then decide about our remaining dog. I know the answer will come. People will not judge you if you need to rehome your dogs. We are our own worst critics. Think of what you would tell a friend if they were going through this same thing. Then tell that to yourself. We are not bad people. We just made a mistake. Good luck to you . Take care……..Kathy

  • Shu shu

    I am SO desperate for feedback after having spent hours looking online on how to deal with my rescue dog, Frankie . He has been with me for about 6 weeks and the first 3-4 weeks were great. I had bathed him, groomed him, took collar on and off etc. I felt very comfortable handling him.
    We had a cold snap and he needed to go out to potty. He was halfway between being in and out of the slider to go out and I gently tried to coax him out by his collar. Frankie, turned and bit me very very hard. So hard that it required stitches and my hand still hurts. I was just as shocked as he was, I think.
    Anyway I’ve gone back and forth as to what to do, and am just heartbroken at the idea of giving him back. I have lost sleep and been so so depressed. Today I took him to a trainer to give me an evaluation on his aggression and he bit the trainer once and tried to 3 times, but she was able to pull him back.
    I am just sick, I was shocked to see him act this way. I am so so so so sad as she said he is a aggressive dog and will bite me and another person, not if but when. She said as long as he has and gets everything he wants he may not but he is not social and very indifferent.
    I feel so guilty and sad and I know the foster person is going to be very upset. On top of this, when I took him to my vet she said he needs around 8,000.00 of hip surgery and dental work.
    I feel like an idiot for even sharing this as it sounds ridiculous however I have gotten so attached to him, and am so worried about his future without me.

    • Carol

      Hi, I am dealing with the same grief as you. I adopted a 2 year old rescue about 10 weeks ago. She lived with me and my husband for 7 weeks. In that time I loved her so much and tried to give her everything. She was very independent as she lived on the streets of Puerto Rico and was constantly trying to escape. She was very skittish and walking her was a challenge as she backed herself out of her harness and I had to lunge for her and hurt my back. We have a very small fenced in yard and she did not want to pee or poop in the yard so I had to walk her 3-4 times a day. I was under so much stress trying to care for her and keep her safe that I started to feel angry with her and myself even though she was a sweet little dog and that perhaps we were just not the right family. My husband and I are in our late sixties so we really should have got an older dog that was content with being in a small yard and sitting on our laps. So I rehomed her to another woman who lives locally and she has another dog in the home which was something I always knew my dog needed. She seems to like other dogs more than people. I feel so guilty and depressed. I have been crying for 3 weeks and can’t stop. Even though I know she is happier where she is, I feel like a failure and that I abandoned her. I have even written emails to the woman asking if I can have my dog back (I never sent the emails)
      You do NOT sound like an idiot for sharing all of your concerns. I think we start out with the best intentions and sometimes we have to know when it isn’t right for us and for the dog. It has helped to read other stories like yours and I hope we can all heal our broken hearts. Take Care of yourself!

  • Ari

    Hi,
    I am fostering to adopt a 5-6yr old pitbull. The rescue that had him was told he was good with cats which is what I wanted because I have two cats. Well when we got him he was constantly peeing in the house, turned out he has a bladder infection. So we are giving him antibiotics for that. But he is chasing my cats and tried to kill one last night. He also lunged aggressively at my boyfriend when he tried to pull him away from the cat, so the cat could escape. This behavior is unacceptable. My cats are hiding all day in the laundry room and too scared to really even eat/potty throughout the day. I can’t afford to take him to obedience classes either. I think we have decided we are going to wait to decide what to do with him once he’s done with his meds and his bladder is better but my gut is telling me we can’t keep him. And I feel bad because he’s had a really rough couple years. But I feel maybe it’s best for him.

  • Melissa Jones

    I needed this blog! We have 2 dogs. We have had our pit mix for 6 years and he is now 10. (our hound mix is only 3). I suffer from extreme anxiety and our older dog is a major source of aniexty. I have panic attacks daily when he makes a weird noise or has loose stools or paces. My kids will be devastated but for my mental health and to be the best mom I can be….I think I need to bring him to the shelter.

  • MummyJ

    It’s a little comforting to read these stories.
    I am completely heart broken that we had to give up out beautiful 3 year old staffy cross.
    We rescued him from a friend of a friend when we discovered he wasn’t being looked after. He was covered in bald patches from demodex. We offered to take him and get him treated. Months down the line he was still being treated….I fell completely in love with him and we ended up keeping him.
    We battled….separation anxiety, he was also scared of EVERYTHING!!! I slowly introduced him to new things and he got much better. He was attacked as a puppy so became reactive to dogs…I battled this and walked him in quieter places or in an enclosed area. He pulled on the lead but i tried training constantly. He became my shadow and wanted to be wherever I was! I did everything with him….my husband found him too stressful to walk.
    4 and a half weeks ago we had to make the heart breaking decision to take him to a rescue after we couldn’t find anyone to rehome him.
    We brought home our beautiful baby girl and he was scared of her….lunging and jumping at her…squealing and pacing around the room as we kept him away! It was heart breaking to see him like this and knew it wasn’t fair to either of them. After all these weeks I still cry every day about him and feel like such a bad person and that I let him down!
    I know i gave him a wonderful 3 years and did EVERYTHING I could to make him feel happy and loved. I am completely broken that he couldn’t adjust but it was give him up or have a bad situation where he may have hurt my baby girl and then I’d have to have him put down. 😭

  • Daisy

    We adopted our dog from a breed-specific rescue two years ago. We had no information about her background or health, just some basic behavioral notes. We’ve been battling a rotating list of chronic health issues for two years. It’s like playing whack-a-mole. As a baseline, she must be on hypoallergenic food, receive monthly allergy shots, weekly medicated baths, medicated eye goo, and daily incontinence medication. Add in monthly visits to the vet for recurring ear, eye or skin infections (despite all the baseline measures) and it’s adding up to quite a bit of money. And she’s young! Maybe 4? I can’t do this for another 10 years, nor do I want to. And besides all the health stuff, she is just not pleasant to interact with. She’s extremely sweet and ridiculously cute, but jumps and paws. One does not just stop petting this dog, one must yell at her to go away. As a result, I avoid interacting with her. Add in the fact that she cannot ever be left alone in the house because she will eat or get into something she’s not supposed to, and the recent development of obsessive light chasing…no. I cannot afford training or behavioral help because all of my money is spent trying to manage her physical health issues. I probably could’ve managed one of those things, but I cannot do both. And I don’t think it’s fair to say I’m a shitty person because I don’t want to. Someone is stuck with an expensive, unpleasant animal because oh well, luck of the draw? No. There are plenty of dogs who need homes, time is too precious to tie yourself up with a bad (or bad fit) dog because people on the internet say it’s the right thing to do and it’s what you signed up for.

    The rescue will take her back (they insist) but if there was no rescue, I would probably have her euthanized. The reality is nobody would want to adopt this dog with these problems, and I have a feeling that even if they tried (because of her adorable face and well known breed), they’d be where we are. Not fair to have her bounce around or languish in a shelter for a few weeks until they have to put her down. I would give her a lovely last few days and take her to the vet myself.

  • Melissa Green

    Thank you so much for this article. I am struggling a lot with our 18 week old lab and I spend nearly every day dreading going home and dealing with her. I think about rehoming her daily. We are a family of 4 with a 7 yr old and a 3yr old. After our family cat passed away in the spring the kids started asking for a dog. We researched breeds, visited shelters, started to prepare for a dog eventually. We had a very rough summer with a death in the family and just a lot of stress and we were looking to…. Find happy? We know we wanted a dog so when a friend’s Aunt (who is a breeder) offered us the runt of her lab litter we said yes. My parent have always had labs who were wonderful with our kids and we felt it would be a good fit.
    Nessa is sweet and smart but every day is a huge battle. She jumps and nips and pulls. She knocks the 3 yr old over and draws blood playing. My 7 yr old has taken to hiding out upstairs for peace and quiet. We walk her 4-5 times a day, leaving work to do so. She has a messed up digestive system and we are still trying to get her to stop with mush poop after 6 weeks and constant vet visits and meds. She is crate trained but just can’t hold it for too long because of that. I feel like a hostage in my own house. We can’t go anywhere that is more than 2 hours away from her. We can’t let her be free in the house because she eats everything she can find so she is stuck in the kitchen unless we are with her. We have a fenced yard but all it has done is rain the past month so she can’t go out there and won’t by herself anyway. My husband and I took to sleeping apart so one could attend to the dog while the other got some sleep. I find reasons to leave the house constantly so I can just breath. We now leash her in the house because anytime the kids move she pounces on them. I feel like our family is separated all the time because we can’t be in the same room with dog and I am neglecting the kids. She started off my dog but now barely looks at me, barely wags her tail, seems so sad. The kids love her (of course) but she isn’t living her best life. My husband loves her. I can barely stand her because it is one more thing to take care of and I feel so depressed and anxious all the time around her. I have even considered leaving in the middle of the night and just driving away.
    I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place. We made a promise to the kids that they could have a dog. If we take her away they will be so sad and mad and hurt and I will have done that to them. But if she stays I really think it will rip us (me) apart. It is like we lit a bomb in our house and we are waiting for it to explode. I wanted this dog too. But I know now that I am not a dog person and I will never do this again. What do I do????

    • Linda

      Melissa. I have a similar situation in my home and am battling a decision. I’m loosing my mind and crying with the stress of having her (and keeping her for years) and re homing her and breaking the kids hearts
      What did you do?

      • Melissa Green

        She is still with us and turns 6 months tomorrow. Honestly some things are so much better and others are still there and make me miserable. We figured out her stomach issues (she is allergic to chicken of all things) and with some good training classes we don’t worry about her with the kids as much. She is very trainable which is nice and in some aspects we have a great puppy. She still eats or tries to eat everything and spends most of her awake time in the kitchen or tethered to us. She is now crated during the night and when we are at work and we have never had a problem. BUT….I still think about getting rid of her daily. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression since she came to live with us and I know deep down she is the reason I am having such a hard time. It is like having a third baby. I love my kids but we stopped at 2 for a reason. I still leave the house constantly to avoid her and I feel like a prisoner in my home because we can’t just exist without constantly watching, yelling, dragging, repremanding her. I know we will keep working forward and I doubt we will ever get rid of her despite my deep down wish to do so. I couldn’t do that to the kids without a good reason. And “Mommy just isn’t a dog person because dogs are too much work and annoying” isn’t a good reason.
        I also know that I will NEVER do it again so we might as well stick it out because this is the only dog they will ever have.

        • Deb

          I would give him away. Crating a dog all day and all night is no way to live. He will have too much energy after he emerges and it isn’t fair to him. You know in your heart this. Kids get over things very quickly.

        • Ambie

          Find another owner for the dog who will love him and can incorporate him into their family.
          You gave it your best effort by training him but of you don’t love the dog by now you never will. I remember how much work young dogs are and it gets easier but I don’t think you should keep him out of guilt. Your depression and anxiety must be dealt with and you blaming the dog isn’t helping anyone. You are officially absolved of guilt (by me a dog lover and suffer of major depressive and anxiety disorders ). I lost 2 immediate family members in October and am lucky I didn’t take a kennel of puppies home to find “happiness”. Luckily for me I instead fostered a mom and her puppies for 3 weeks and then had to send them back. They had worms accidents and required 9 walks a day for the mom who wasn’t housebroken… I feel guilty but I knew they had to go. Your suffering from grief and unfortunately you don’t have the capacity to care for another creature. It is unfortunately but he’s young and will he for 2 more years. He probably needs a playmate. Tell the kids that someone else needs the dogs love urgently and consider it a gift to the dog and their new family. Don’t continue this suffering and deal with your grief as it won’t go away and a puppy won’t bring stop your pain.

  • Melinda Stephenson

    We got are 9mo old 90lb pup because someone just didn’t want him . 4 families had him and for us his size was no big deal ! He is deaf he was never taught to walk on a leash, play with people, never neutered or given shots ! He was taught to greet people by jumping on them and was kept in a basement most of the time. So we took him home got him shots , neutered him, taught him to walk on a leash…but when he plays he wants to play tug and rips my clothing off me . The other day he threw me around like a rag doll by my clothing in our yard . I am disabled so I know I have to rehome him. He is living and sweet but I just feel horrible for having to rehome him . What if he played to rough with my young daughter he would have hurt her on accident. I know I’m doing the right thing but I never let a animal down . How do I get over this.

  • Kait

    My heart breaks as I’ve been up for months on end in agonizing sadness about rehoming my boy. I’ve had my dog for almost 7 years now, and he is the sweetest. Sure, he has his quirks here and there, was a destructive puppy, etc. but I never gave up on him and he grew up to be the most amazing dog ever. He’s a Labrador and he’s pretty big. Well, going back to when I got him- I was in a relationship where we later married, and getting the dog as a little puppy, I NEVER imagined giving him up. See, I was always one of those people saying dogs are for life! Never give them up, questioning how could people so easily give up their dog, and then boom! You realize… sadly sometimes there are circumstances that call for it. While, there are many things I don’t agree with (ex. I knew someone who dropped their Great Dane off at the pound because it got “too big” and another who dropped their lab off for being “too old and not a puppy anymore.” In these cases, surrendering or giving up a dog is NOT okay in my opinion- however- there are circumstances we see on here… where loving owners have tried what they can but have to get rid of their dogs. Whether it means behavioral issues, anxiety, aggression, financial or life changes, etc. and I want to say… unfortunately I am now one of those people. I hate seeing those memes all over social media about how people who need to rehome are horrible owners, and I’m sorry for ever being judgemental, because here I am in that very situation. Fast forward to now… 7 years after having and loving my boy- he’s been through so much with me. He’s been attacked 3 different times, one where he had to fight for his life in recovery, 4 or 5 different moves, the loss of my brother and grieving with me being my emotional support… he’s been here with me through everything. I am now divorced and having the make the tough decision to find another place to live. I’m also working very long hours and currently live in an apartment with no backyard. This means, my boy is home alone all day until I can rush home to let him out. Now that home dynamics have changed and it’s just me and him, he doesn’t get the attention he deserves. He seem okay with it, but I know he deserves more. I also have been faced with having to find a less expensive place to live, and the place I’m going to need to move won’t allow me to bring him. I never expected to have to EVER make this decision. However, after really thinking long and hard and crying myself to sleep while squeezing him tight, I realized that others may see me as selfish, heartless, abandoning… however, I remind myself that this is actually a selfless act. He deserves more than I can give him now. He deserves someone who can spend time with him or a family with other dogs, he deserves to not have to sit in an apartment all day with no one but himself- and i deserve a place to live to get back on my feet. It’s either I keep him and we both become homeless because I can’t pay the bills, or I find him a new loving home (I’ve been very picky and will have any new owner sign a contract to return him to me and allow me to rehome him again) and I too find myself a home and we both go on with our lives happy. I’m so broken over this but I KNOW it’s the right decision. Baby boy, I love you, you’ve given me the best 7 years of my life. I’m sorry I failed you. I did my best, I fought hard, but it’s BECAUSE I love you that I let you go. I found someone who can take him that I know, who said eventually when he’s settled I could even see him if I wanted to. This puts my heart at ease but of course I go around in my head thinking “what if he tries to escape and find his way home? What if the other dogs don’t get along with him? What if he’s not as good of a fit as we think he will be? What if he’s not happy? Will he feel abandoned? What if he never gets over me leaving him?” Etc… the list goes on. I know I can keep him safe in his little bubble with me, but he deserves to live a more fulfilled life and I just pray the home I found is the right one. This is longer than it needs to be, but, to all my dog lovers and owners out there who are faced with this decision, it’s been one of the hardest decisions of my life and I look at his little face and my heart breaks more every day, but know that you are not alone. I’m glad I found this blog, even if it meant just finally typing this all out for myself to comprehend. I want to remind everyone who’s in a similar situation of rehoming a loved dog… WE DID NOT FAIL THEM! It’s because we love them that we can let them go. Sadly, many rehome for selfish reasons and that makes the ones like us, judged for our decision. But we know where our heart is. I’m sure if all of us could keep our dogs we would, and that’s what makes us different from the people who abandon their dogs. We are doing the best we can, and we love them. I commend all of you, and I’m thankful for all these stories they’ve helped me so much to know I’m not alone. 🙁

    • debbie linville

      I am in the same situation, I have two dogs shitzu and a bichon, 7 and 8 years old, that I have had since puppies. I love these girls and said I would never ever part with them. I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years and they have grown quite fond of him.I moved to small apartment , and had them there for a week, and they were stressed to no end. I had someone watching them, but I think that made them more stressed. plus I lived in the country with room to run now I am in town, no where to run, sigh. My ex and I are still friends, and he has agreed to keep them there. I may be moving out of town now, and I totally believe its to my best interest to leave them with him. I love them with all my heart, but I want them to be happy and comfortable.I feel good knowing they will be with him and not a stranger.I don’t want to move out of town, not be able to find a place to live, and have to surrender them to a shelter, I would rather they stay with him,plus I trust him.I know some people will judge me,but I am doing it for them.

    • Tina

      I’m sobbing as I read this because this will be my situation within the next few months. And, it seems like my baby boy
      is aware of this as he clings to me now more than ever. I’ve stalled with moving forward with legal separation for the last 5-6 months because I can’t find a way to keep him. I can’t find affordable housing that allow dogs and won’t require him to be crated for the 9-10 hours I’ll be away (daily). I have a physical disability, can’t drive anymore (which is one reason for the length of time I’m not home), and use an assistive device to walk. I’ve search desperately for affordable trainers, in addition to someone to walk him for me a few times a day, but have had no luck. I have relatives, but none of them care for dogs. I need a trainer as he has never kept a collar on for longer than it takes to get to the vet’s office and back home, as my spouse said walks weren’t necessary because they have a backyard. I can’t leave him with my soon to be ex as we’re going to sell the house and due to fights with our other dog, we’ve lived separately in the house to keep the dogs apart for over 3 years. Frequent promises by my spouse to try and get the dogs back to being around one another never materialized. 3 years ago, I discussed rehoming him and my spouse begged me not to. Of course, he said all the horrible things that can happen when a dog appears to be aggressive. In retrospect, I think some of what he said may be true (being put down), but I think he also said this because he knew I would probably leave soon after rehoming my baby, though he simply delayed the inevitable.
      And, I am angry that I did not follow my first mind. However, living in this environment is not mentally or emotionally healthy for either of us (me or my dog). Please, please, please keep us in your thoughts and/ or prayers. It’s going to be devastating to rehome my little boy, but selfish (my opinion only) to have my extremely anxious dog live in an environment (apartment building) where unfamiliar and frequent sounds and being crated, will cause his (diagnosed) anxiety to increase. That’s without factoring in the real issue of not being able to open a door and let him outside to handle run around and relieve himself.

      Thank you to anyone able to comprehend my disjointed ramblings

  • Cari

    Thank you for sharing. I’m literally laying awake agonizing over our dog. We adopted him two years ago when he was one. The rescue we got him lied about nearly aspect of his background and behavior to get us to adopt him. However, they had a clause in the adoption contract that we had to return him to them if we ever decided to give him up. I want to tell you that we really tried. We’ve been working with trainers and have given as much love as two people can give. After two years, so little has changed. His anxiety is completely debilitating. He can’t leave the house. He’s destructive. He’s aggressive towards other dogs and people. I reached out to the rescue to talk about giving him up to them and once they heard all of our issues, they turned us down! I feel completely trapped. We’ve reached a major transition in our lives and I just don’t know if I can do it any more through this already extremely stressful time. The thought of taking him to a shelter makes me feel sick, but the thought of ten more years living in fear that he’ll attack someone is worse. I don’t know what to do.

    • megan

      Cari, it’s OK to think about putting him down. Aggressive dogs will not be placed in homes. The shelter is full of happy, well-adjusted dogs as it is, and many of them won’t be placed either. You have to be honest about what placing him a shelter really means: confusing, disorienting final weeks for the dog. My friend had a dog like that and after her husband left her (and the dog!), she could not keep the dog. She took the dog straight to the vet to be euthanized, and the vet did not judge her harshly. It is a strong, brave decision on your part. I know we think putting the dogs in the shelter might magically end up OK, but in reality we are putting off the inevitable, and we are putting the responsibility onto someone else. The choices are: put the dog into the shelter, where it has no hope of being placed in a new home, and it has a sad last few weeks; or buy your dog some chicken nuggets, take it to the vet, and humanely let her go. I’ve had to put a dog down before (old age), and the actual process is quite painless and comfortable for the dog. It’s really OK.

  • Amanda

    Decided to rehome my puppy today. I have been going back and forth about this, but I guess it is the right thing to do. He is alone the whole day in our apartment, goes in the trash every single day, always finds something new to destroy and I know he does that because he is stressed. He also goes potty everywhere when we are not home, and does it right when we are. I am heartbroken and I feel that I let my boyfriend down, but I know he is always mad and stressed with our puppy too. We love him so much, but I know that he needs a better home, a bigger one with more people. The lady from the rescue is mad at us, but it is not like we were beating him or something. I know that was and is loved by us, but it is better for him.

  • Ren

    Thanks for writing this article… I thought I was a horrible, no good person for wanting to re-home my Chihuahua. I originally got her to help with my mental ilneeses but she ended up making them worse, and plus we both worked and I hated her not having a backyard. She literally kept having accidents everywhere, and the last straw was on my bed, and I knew I couldn’t keep her. She wasn’t in the right environment. I have physical limitations that keep me from going up and down three flights of stairs multiple times a day to take her out. I plan on getting a larger, calmer dog that can serve as my service dog but for now, she needs to be put with a small dog lover for a better life.

  • Mary

    Thank you for this article, it does help me further with my decision on whether or not to give up my pup. I have a 8 month old goldendoodle puppy who I got when he was just 3 months old. I’ve been back and forth with my decision to give him up or not. I am a full time night-shift nurse and I live alone in an apartment. I love Benji to pieces but he doesn’t get enough socialization and exercise. He is home alone most of the day and I feel so guilty that I can’t give him the attention he needs and deserves. The hardest difficulty lately has been his chewing habits. I’ve been trying to give him some freedom by leaving him out at times but he has chewed up so many things in my apartment. I hate having to crate him most of the day but it’s for his own safety so he doesn’t get into something he shouldn’t. I’m really conflicted on whether or not to rehome him. I hope I can further consider what’s best for him and not let the pressure of others impose on my decision. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Shanie

    A million times, thank you. My newsfeed on social media is filled to the brim with memes talking about how “She Kept Her Dog”, dogs are for life, selfish owners give their furever friends away…

    We brought our dog with us when we moved overseas. We have since had two children and plan to move home in the next year. The cost of bringing him back is nearly $10,000 – but I was willing to stay here longer, save the money, to make it work until ultimately confronting my reasons for doing so – guilt at what others would think.

    While we were here he suffered a traumatic dog attack that changed his emotions and our relationship forever. He’s fearful, but still loving and kind. I had to realize we need to rehome him and I need to separate my emotions from what is best for him. We have grown to resent his fearfulness as we have tried so hard to keep our normal routine with him even with the kids. Housing will be near impossible to find with a dog of his size in our home country… and he’s quite a different dog than he was in the 5 years since we’ve been away. He deserves more, and we deserve to leave with hearts full of love for him instead of resentment for the anxiousness he has aquired since the attack which is only around us (he must feel he failed us not being able to protect us from the dogs who tried to kill him… I relive this moment every day).

    It’s going to be enormously difficult to leave him but would have been even harder on him to lug him on 4 (FOUR!) long flights, do quarantine for two weeks… it would be selfish of us to take him for the sole bragging rights that we kept our dog. He’s aging, he’s happiest here… I am coping with this acceptance and its rightness for our family and slowly feel a weight lifting off my shoulders. It will be hard to explain to others our reasoning but this is what is right for our family (our dog included). It’s so one-sided for dog enthusiasts (like myself) to say owners are selfish to “abandon” their animals – we have a very difficult choice to make and one that doesn’t come easy.

  • Tracey

    Thanks for posting this . I can’t sleep tonight as we are presently rehoming our 14 week old
    Golden doodle pup. Reading this makes
    Me more confident that I am doing the right thing . I have four kids under the age of 9 and feel so
    Pulled with making sure the puppy is walked and played with. The truth is he is not , the kids play with him somnetimes but we don’t have the yard or house for him as he will end up weigh around 70 lbs . I am
    Sooo heartbroken as I loved Watching my kids with him and feel they will miss out on the love for a dog . It’s just I can’t walk him and what he requires and he is not even full grown. My kids are 2 then 4 then 6 and 9’year if age , it’s not like I can leave them
    Home and go walk the dog … thanks so
    Much
    For your blog 🙂

  • Amy

    Your articles are so great. I have been trying to make a decision for probably over a year now in regards to a my two-year-old Maltese shih tzu. I love her to pieces she makes me smile however I suffer from extreme anxiety so feel so guilty every single day; when I go to wor, if I go out to dinner with friends, when I have to go and do the groceries, anything! I live on my own so she is alone most of the day, she has the whole house and yard to herself while I’m gone but I only have a very small yard and I’m sure it’s not big enough to wear out all of her energy. She is also an extremely bad barker, I feel so awful to my neighbours. Feel like I am not making her happy I’m sure she is spoiled rotten compared to other dogs she sleeps in my bed sits on my bed during the day, has her own toybox. We play fetch all the time. But I still feel like I’m not giver here what she needs

  • Pamela

    Thanks for posting this. I am in so much pain about having to give away my Izzo. My husband brought him home 7 years ago at 6 weeks old. A boxer, tiny as can be. I had recently lost my Shih–tzu of 15 years to a stroke and had to put him to sleep. It was so painful, I told him never again, yet he took it upon himself to bring one home. I was so angry, but he was so cute. I was the only female in a house of four males, Izzo grew up and became very protective of me. Whenever I shut my room, Izzo stood in front of my door and guarded it, if I open my door, he would go lie in his cage like, shes good. He only stole my shoes, or took my things and hid in his cage, he was my baby. 7 years later after dealing with an already painful separation, I lost my home and had to move in an apartment. Although I loved Izzo, it would not be fair to keep him locked in an apartment all day while me and my son worked, plus he was trained so well at the house with a big back and front yard, he went in and out on his own and never had to worry about accidents. In an apartment, no.
    My estranged husband made the decision to give him to one of his coworkers, an older lady with a home but had many small grandkids and one son. Izzo slept with one of my sons every night an loved him very much, he greeted me everyday. I don’t know her and my husband just met her, he took him there when I was at work, I did not get a chance to even say goodbye. I feel so awful as I asked for an update, it has been about a month and she said he whines a lot but the kids play with him. Izzo is an old dog, he is not used to being around a lot of little kids or noise, he is used to his house and his covers and his pillows and his mom and brother. He is scared and crying not whining. I feel so awful, that I asked to come see him this weekend. I don’t know her and just want to know that he is being taken care of and not neglected. She just went out of town for a week and left him with her son, so how do I know he took care of Izzo?

    I don’t know if this is a good idea though, will it do more harm than good? She said he still whines, will I get too emotional and want to take him home? I wish I could get some advice, we are trying to see him this weekend. I’m lost and want to cry and have had anxiety attacks about him. It is like I lost my son.

  • Mariam

    I’ve had several cats growing up, however I had always wanted a dog. I was blinded by how nice it would be to have one rather than all the tasks and responsibilities that came. When I was 12, my mother bought me a chihuahua that we then named Charlie. It’s been two years, and although I absolutely adore my dog with all my heart, I can’t help but think maybe I made the wrong decision buying him. I just don’t think I’m cut out for it, but I had that realization too late (when he had grown on me). I’m two years too late realizing that even though I wanted a change from cats when I was younger, I’m more of a cat person anyway.

    My mother wants me to rehome Charlie, she says I can get a cat if I do, but I’m so attached to him that it makes me cry just thinking about letting him go. He’s always been my little puppy, and it hurts so much to think of life without him. However, I know that it’s not just better for me (I can get the cat that I want, my mother who’s a massive germaphobe can stop freaking out whenever he pees or sheds), but also for him. We go abroad a lot, so I always feel bad leaving him with other people. I can’t take him out for walks as much as he wants. I can’t always give him as much attention as he wants. I have school, my mother has work, so he’s alone a lot too.

    I know it’s selfish to want to keep him even though I know it’s burdening him and my mother, but it’s too painful to think about parting with him. Please give me some advice. I know what the right decision is, but I didn’t know making the right choice could hurt so much.

  • Cat

    I’m so glad i found this blog. My husband and I rehomed a little shih tzu only 4 days ago after wanting dog for years and preparing for one for nearly a year. Straight after bringing him home we found he had crazy bad separation anxiety so we couldn’t even go to the loo without him crying and scratching up the door frame (which we weren’t too bothered about the door frame itself just the potential for him to injure himself!) Hearing him cry makes us both extremely emotional and the knots in our stomachs have meant we’ve not eaten or drank properly since he came home and it’s making us feel very ill. Not just that but he pees on the floor with no signals so it’s becoming clear that is going to be difficult to train. We put a baby gate on the door instead to stop him scratching and it has helped massively but now my husband has put up an emotional barrier and wont allow himself to love this little dog. I’ve fallen madly in love with him. He’s having to be left alone for 2 days one week and 4 days the next, alternating. My husband is now set on taking him back, its tearing him apart inside so he’s had to make a decision and I have agreed it is for the right reasons because we know now that he’d be better suited to a retired family who can be with him 24/7 but I’m struggling to let him go. I feel so selfish to want to keep him but then I feel selfish for taking him back. Reading that other people have been through the same kind of thing is really helping me with the overwhelming emotion. I just don’t like to think that he’s going to miss us.

    • Alisha

      I just surrendered my baby a couple weeks ago. His separation anxiety increased to the point that he was injuring himself, despite interventions. I am so sorry you are having to go through this too. It was killing me to see him get so bad, and realized he needed to be in a home with someone who was able to be home the majority of the time. I wish realizing that made the guilt and pain go away, but it doesn’t. You mentioned feeling selfish (both for the idea of keeping and giving) and I completely understand. It feels like a lose-lose situation. Even thought it still feels horrible, I decided to look at it like a ‘lose, with the potential of winning for him’ situation. I have to have hope that he will end up in the perfect home- one that he deserves! Sending you virtual hugs!

    • Ruth

      I am also going through the same thing now… My partner and I were so excited to bring a 9-week pup home after years of planning to have one and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Just over 3-4 days we’ve realised that the puppy has very bad separation anxiety as I couldn’t even turn my back on her to run some errands, even though she still can see me from the playpen. She would whine and cry the whole day if i don’t stay with her. My partner has put up an emotional barrier not to love this little thing anymore as we’ve realised that having her started to affect our health – physically and emotionally. My partner wants to take her back to the rescue organisation but i feel so bad in giving her up 🙁

  • Helen

    Thank you to everyone for sharing their stories. This has really helped me in coming to terms with our decision to give our 6 month old pup back. We had the every aspiration of having many happy years with the beautiful doggie, but had not really thought through the reality of having a dog – we are a childfree couple who both work full time if not more, and often have family and other social commitments taking us out of town on weekends. We have given it our all, and ensured that she was walked twice a day, every day, but aside from that we have little time to give to her, and she really needs more love and attention than this. It is also complicated by the fact that I have a mild dog allergy (my skin gets itchy) so we are reluctant to have her in all parts of the house and it does limit her ability to just hang with us inside while we are doing our usual household jobs. So my take home lessons are that if you are already a time-poor person, do not get a dog; and if you think that in your (already minimal) leisure time the dog can just adapt to whatever your schedule is and hobbies are – think again, she will need a lot of time dedicated just to her.

    The silver lining is that we got her from a fabulous breeder, who was very understanding and had no hesitation in taking her back. And then, just a few days after we had arranged this, a new home was found with a retired couple on a bit of land who had just had their 13-year-old much-loved dog pass away. So we know she will be going to a loving home with people who have more time for her and plenty of space for her to run around.

    Thank you again to everyone for sharing their thoughts. The hardest part for us was making the decision; once we did, it has been some sadness but mostly relief. Making a list helps – the things that are currently not working, and considering for each factor it is it likely to get better with time, stay the same or get worse. We also put all of the potential regrets we could think of on paper so that we could work through them ahead of time. My other advice – be kind to yourself. Just because it hurts doesn’t mean it’s not the right decision, for your wellbeing as well as the dogs.

  • lynn

    I can sympathise with any one who is thinking of rehoming their dog because its happening to me. My son decided to get a dog, with our agreement and a full contract written out to him by myself with 20 points on what he needed to do if he really wanted a dog. These points were all about looking after and taking care of the dog and giving lots of attention and affection to her, of which he agreed he would do. . . .well we are now 8 months down the line and guess what? yes, I have been left to do all the things that she needs because he has slowly lost interest in her. I do not have the time or the energy that she needs and she dosnt get walked as often as she should. My partner stresses out over it all as do I, while my son carries on about his life with no cares towards the dog. I really want whats best for the dog as she is lovely but just not for me. She needs people who will give her the love and attention she so deserves. I know I will feel sooo guilty about rehoming her and it will be a very sad day when it happens, but at the end of the day I know in my heart I have to think of whats best for her.

  • Kelly B

    Jeez, I’m struggling rite now as wether to keep a stray we took in or not. He’s a pure breed. Shepherd. About 10 months to a year. Obedient but hyper and really needy. He was found along a busy road in Sterling Heights Michigan then taken to the local police department when my husband works. After five days a rescue steps in and begins the fostering process. My husband brought him home for me… well us. I’m beside myself no one claimed him. He wasn’t chipped and didn’t have tags. Just a collar. My 20 year old cat wants nothing to do with him and stays upstairs all the time. Jax however doesn’t pay her any mind when she sneaks down for food and to use the litter box. I just don’t know what to do. He’s going to be the perfect dog when he’s out of his puppy stage. However, we boat during the summer months on our weekend here. We’re used to just picking up and being gone 12 hours or more on our weekends. I’m almost positive he’d do fine on the water with use. He loves the hose. Howeve I don’t know if he’d know to pee in the lake like other dogs, and land is a scarce option on lake st Clair. I leave at 530 am and am not home till 315. My husband leaves at 9 pm and isn’t back till 830am. Sometimes later if he works overtime. It’s been 4 days and I already live this friggin dog! And he’s super attached to me. He follows me everywhere. (We think is other owner must have been a female) he listens to me way before he listens to my husband. I’m lost, confused, and completely heart broken as to what to do.

  • Raegan

    My pup, Jazz has been in my life for nearly 10 years. He was the best of companions for many years; but unfortunately has continued to not adjust well with life changes. most painful to watch has been the introduction of my (now) 2 year old son. it’s been a HARD 2 years in this regard. With another baby on the way I just know in my heart he is not happy with my shift in focus & time available to him. He’s very sweet, still LOVES to play and LOVES to be on your lap & cuddle – but is getting aggressive with toddler food around. He doesn’t like sharing me (or resents my child for ‘losing’ my lap). He started marking, and the barking issue has gotten worse & just not gone well for him or us during baby naps/middle of the night baby feedings. I want him to have a happy rest of his life, as hard as it is to finally, truly admit he’s not getting what he deserves with me anymore. I’ve taken steps to put his information out there and have several interested people; but man am I struggling with guilt & sadness. I feel like I failed him.

    • Claire

      This blog really resonates with me as my husband and I just dropped off our dog at a breed specific rescue, and feel like we’ve failed him. For the record, we did our research on his breed, looked at our finances/set aside a dog fund, and even waited a week before finally deciding to get him. We never considered things like food aggression playing a part. He has aggressive tendencies, especially when it comes to food. We think he was taken from his mom too soon, and on top of it has extreme anxiety. It’s been four years, and my husband and I have endured many bites (some hospital). We’ve gone through five trainers, our friends/family refuse to see him, too much money, and yet we were still holding on and hoping he’d improve if we just worked harder. After biting me last week, we realized we were fortunate he hasn’t done this with anyone else, and we could never have him around with our (hopefully) future kids.
      The hardest part about giving him up (and yes, the rescue is still willing to take him despite biting AMAZING) was seeing and thinking about his happy side. The happy side is the part that kept us holding on for so long, and we sincerely hoped it would win out. We can’t help but feel like we failed him, and just quit on him. We keep telling ourselves he’ll be in a home that provides him with the consistent routine, attention, and hopefully training we just couldn’t provide for him. The worst part, after dropping him off, has been coming home and finding things of his we missed or doing routine tasks that used to revolve around him. We just feel empty, lost, and have a big hole in our hearts. We were ready to take on/embrace everything about our dog, but in the end just couldn’t help him.

      • Zoe

        This resonates with me so much. My 8-year-old rescue dog has major food aggression and at our family’s Thanksgiving this year, attacked my sister’s older boxer because he thought the water bowl the dog was drinking out of was a food bowl. I pulled him away and he bit my arm, puncturing the skin in several places. While I was out getting bandages for the wound, he dragged the turkey off the table and wouldn’t let anyone near him. My family was afraid of him saying that he was like a bear growling and baring his teeth while he devoured the turkey.
        He is so incredibly sweet and loving at other times and I’m so bonded to him. He’s been through so many different stages of my life – I simply cant imagine not seeing him greet me when I come home, or going on walks and hikes with him. But, it terrifies me that he might do this to someone else again. I’m so torn. But this is helping me. You seem like really sweet people, like me, who are having a hard time with this, like I will. It’s a struggle to write this and I’m still not sure if I will give him up, but I’m starting to cope with this idea that Im just not the right owner for him. He needs to be with someone who has a lot of space and time and energy to watch him and better manage his aggression. Thank you for being honest about one of the hardest things we can have to do as a good dog owner.

  • CB

    My heart is absolutely breaking, but my boyfriend and I came to the decision to return our dog after only two weeks. He’s the perfect dog for us in every way, except that he has a strong prey drive that he never displayed at the shelter. It wouldn’t be a problem for us if we didn’t already have three cats. He already nipped one cat on the behind and picked up a visiting Boston Terrier by the scruff with no actual harm from either incident. It was too early for visits, I know, but it wasn’t my choice and he couldn’t have cared less about the large dog that came with the Boston Terrier. While we know it is possible to manage a dog with a strong prey drive, we would never be able to trust him around the cats that were with us first – something the people at the shelter agreed with when we called them for advice on what we should do.
    I’m glad to see this post and see comments by others going through the same thing. It’s devastating to have to make this decision, but we need to think about what is best for the dogs and other animals in our homes.

  • KAL

    Background: I have a daughter (now 13) and about 4 years ago, I adopted a dog from a rescue. She was great at first but over time, her aggression came out. She never attached people but did attack a few dogs. In the end, I had to give her back to the rescue because it was unsafe for us and for the neighborhood. Now, I am in a relationship with a wonderful man. He brought with him his pug which is as sweet as she is stubborn. She is a great addition to our family an I love her to death. About a year ago, we adopted a dog from a rescue. She ended up having health problems which I was willing to take on but my boyfriend only saw it as getting in the way of “us” because of the time and effort it took to take care of her. Unfortunately about 6 weeks after we adopted her she passed away. Very heartbreaking for me and my daughter as we both had bonded with her. Shortly thereafter, we adopted another dog from a rescue. Before pulling the trigger, my boyfriend and I had a conversation about “we don’t really know what we are getting and are we up for this again” and we both agreed we were willing. He was actually the one who chose the dog. She has separation anxiety issues and can be destructive when left alone. She is also reactive to other dogs and gets a bit off her rocker when we take her on walks and we get too close to other dogs. We have done some private training with her and put her on medication, and she has calmed down a lot; however, my boyfriend hasn’t bonded with her and the dog is actually very skittish around him. We are realizing that having this new dog with her issues is preventing us from doing things we normally would do and is starting to come between us. My boyfriend is at the point where he wants to rehome her. I wonder if we have done all that we could do to make her fit with our family. Losing another dog would be devastating for me and my daughter (the 3rd in 5 years) but I also don’t want to have an unhappy home. Not sure how to proceed or make full sense out of it all. I made a commitment to this animal and I don’t give up on my commitments. I also made a commitment to my daughter and my boyfriend and this dog may be getting in the way of that. Lots to ponder and discussions to be had about how to move forward. If you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear them.

    • Marilyn Jensen

      I empathize with you. I too rehomed our dog. It was very hard and I do think of the good times , but…… we have to remember, that this is an animal with all of its quirks etc. Sometimes we fail to realize that these animals are sometimes not meant to become a family member(human) . Nothing will change their dna and they suddenly become what we want. Rehoming an agressive dog is difficult but neccessary. The right person has to know how to handle the adoption. We had an agressive dog and they rehomed him to someone that had 2 other alpha dogs and he fit right in. He was no longer the boss and knew his place. The right shelter or trained adopyion center will know how to find the right home, the right way. We worked with someone eclusively that did this . He was a retired vet.
      Search for the right person that has years of experience and you will feel better knowing the dog was placed properly. Which was supposed to be done right from the beginning. Good luck and keep your chin up.

  • mj

    My son convinced me I needed a new dog. We got a puppy costing a lot of money. My son says he will pay for all the expenses, but… Im miserable. I cant work I dont have time to take a shower. Im always hiring a dog sitter, because the puppy cant be alone for more than a few hours. I hate to walk the neighborhood. and Im sick of the puppy always biting me. im so stressed out and it feels like Ima prisoner in my own house.

  • BenJ

    Hi there,
    Thanks for posting this as I have been stuck on adilemma for a long time about my beloved dog kimiko.
    I am being made homeless by being evicted from my home over the landlord selling from under my feet and with debts i was payiong off but i maanged to keep my job sadly that mena living in the car which is fine for me (sort of Id rather be ina shelter but there arent any here) And I was faced with either keepign my jopb dso i can earn a new home or keeping my dog then i realised it was unfair to her to be forced to sleep in my car (we are both huge) and be abandoned becaus ei cant afford dog sitters.
    It absoloutely broke my heart but i’ve decided to rehome her after 3 years.
    I feel terible over it and like a complete failure because i did fail her in some way i jsut couldnt figure out a way to keep her by my side as no friends or family could take her (shes an akita and stubborn even by akita standards) so i had to go through with it; it doesnt help with the pain though the dog was my last real loved one left as selfish as it is im really hurt losing her the only comfort is knowing she will be better looked after and cared for which is what icouldnt manage anymore.

  • Laura

    I am so heartbroken as I think I will have to bring my girl Willow back to the SPCA where I got her last summer .

    She has bitten 15 people at least.. drawing blood on some occasions .

    She lunges and tries to attack children .. I keep a muzzle on her now but she hates it and won’t even walk with it on ..

    I am so devastated. I love her so much and she has never been aggressive with me . I brought her so see a trainer and she said that she was most likely abused and requires a lot of time for rehabilitation. At this point I am worried that she is going to hurt someone .. I’m too afraid to bring her on walks .. I can’t brin her around my friend or family . I just got a new job working shift work at the hospital .. am living check to check .. I just feel so helpless .

    • MB

      Hi Laura, I know exactly what you’re going through. My fiancee and i adopted a pitbull a month ago. We had been slowly introducing him to dogs, making him comfortable with us, and not putting him in situations that were threatening. We took him to a friend’s picnic in a park, a neutral place. He met a female bulldog, my friend’s dog, sniffed around and wasn’t interested. Another dog came along, sniffed her, not interested. After several hours of being there, my boyfriend took him to where he was standing and he was pretty close to the bulldog. All of the sudden, he attacked her and wouldn’t let go. My friend and my fiancee put their limbs and hands to block his bite. Until my friend threw water on them, he wouldn’t let go. Luckily, the dog’s wound wasn’t too bad, but my fiancee and friend had some deep gashes. We were so torn, mad, disappointed and just sad. We cried about it for an entire day and knew he had to go back. We loved him so much, he was the best dog at home. We knew a muzzle could work but a vet said that because of his age (5) and the fact we didn’t know how he was raised, how aggressive he had been allowed to be before (he had many scars), training may not work. I am crying as I am reading these stories and this website, and don’t know how I will be ready for another dog anytime soon. It was too much of a risk and we couldn’t have looked back and seen this opportunity as a chance to do something about his aggressive behavior and then have him bite or kill another dog or human. The risk was too high.

    • Vanessa

      Hi Laura,

      I am going through the same thing right now with my dog, Loki. I’ve had him for 5 years, and I’ve tried everything, neutering (he was a rescue and wasn’t neutered when I first got him), training, medication, natural pathetic vets, and his aggression towards everyone but me is still not manageable. I love this dog more than words can describe, he has gotten me through the hardest parts of my life.

      But, I am lucky and I found him a farm where he will be with others and a trainer who knows what they are doing with aggressive dogs. That is the only solace I have. I felt helpless as well, it has been a tough five years. But if you’ve done all that you can, there is no shame in doing what is best for the dog, and in the long run yourself.

  • Sarah

    I would really love some advice. This might be long so my apologies. But I need help.
    My boyfriend decided on a whim that he wanted a puppy. We were talking about moving in together at the time, and I really wanted to live dog free for a while. I had always lived with roommates who had dogs and naturally some responsibility fell on me. I love dogs, but I never wanted to take care of one. One day, he picks me up from work late and boom, there’s a puppy in the car (before the man bashing, he is wonderful and we are very much a partnership. Just impulsive at times).
    Fast forward a year, and we are living in the city in a 700 sq ft apartment with a full grown 75 lb black lab. My boyfriend has never owned a dog, or any animal for that matter. I end up taking care of him of course, letting him out, going to the dog park, paying for the vet, you name it. Then I got a new job and started working later hours, gone more often and now I have neither the time nor the energy to take care of him. And let me tell you, this dog is hard. He is energetic and stubborn. He pees if he doesn’t get what he wants, he attacks my cat, eats everything, chews everything, you name it. But the worst… he constantly whines and barks in or out of his kennel. He wakes up at 5 am every morning screeching. A few weeks ago I had a mental breakdown because I couldn’t be in my own home without listening to the worst sound a human can bear over and over again. Add some lack of sleep with some depression and anxiety with a whining dog… Boom. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
    I brought up rehoming him to my boyfriend, which he is not opposed to. It’s just so hard because I do love him. He’s my baby. But I also think a big part of me is afraid of what people may think. Most of my friends I met at the dog park. We have dog parties, our dogs know and love each other. We have a community.
    On the other hand, my boyfriend and I fight so much because of him. We’re stressed, there’s this constant tension. Sometimes I think life would be easier on the other side.
    I also think it might be better for the dog to be in a home with a yard… With people who have time for him. And are dog people, if I’m being honest. Because I don’t think he’s very happy either. I feel terrible and I just don’t know what to do. Please, if you have any worldly advice here… I’ll take it.

    • Deb

      It sounds like he isn’t going to get better towards the cat without a lot of training and that is not a guarantee, it sounds like he is in the crate way too long in a day and is not getting enough exercise. For the sake of the dog, it may be finally best to rehome (and the sake of the cat).

  • Selina

    I am so happy to see this post and to know I am not alone. Tomorrow we return our adoptee to the shelter. It wasn’t an easy decision because indoors he is sweet loving and attached to me but on the leash he is agressive. Twice he almost bit a child in the street. I work with children and they often come to my apartment and I could never forgive myself if the dog bit one of them. Also the shelter didn’t really tell us all the facts about his behaviour towards children and people, they just said he was “ok” with children….nope he wants to rip their heads off!!! if i knew beforehand I wouldn’t be in this awful place of guilt that I am now. I know you can tell me he just needs training but I don’t have money or want to take the risk incase it doesn’t work and eventually I want my own kids, so would always worry about it. I live in a place full of triggers and it’s so draining to take him out, I usually come back crying or I can’t eat because the stress of trying to make sure he doesn’t chew a kids face off is too much. I am an in-experienced dog owner who shouldn’t have been given such a powerful dog griffon/bull mix pure muscle, he is really strong for a smallish dog. I tried the treat distraction technique but that didn’t work. I am learning my lesson to never adopt another dog with out seeing him more than once, the shelter just take you on a 10 minute walk with the dog which isn’t enough to see him interact. It was a childhood dream to have a dog so I rushed it. Also I live in a city surrounded by buildings with kids, with just small patches of green with no garden, he needs to be in a place where there are no kids or very few so he can learn to accept them with out the stress of them on every corner. I can’t take him off his leash to run around because I can’t take the risk. The shelter are obviously pissed saying we didn’t try hard enough, well it’s easy for them to say because they are experienced dog owners who know how to train this behaviour and they are not the ones having to deal with him almost biting a child. I wish I could rehome him myself rather than take him back but he also seems to have a health complaint that they passed off as stress! . There were many signs telling me not to take him but I was too busy riding high on that doggy dream cloud, that was saying finally you have a dog! Also we thought you would tell them you want the dog then they make you wait but nope they give it on the same day with out checking if you have all the things you need. I know tomorrow I will cry my heart out knowing that he will have to go back to shelter life but I also know the right family is out there for him!

    • Mj

      Please do what’s best for you
      Your sanity is more important
      The shelters are not going a good enough job when they place dogs
      Dogs require a lot and I mean a lot of work and attention
      It’s ok not to have a dog
      This society that’s treating dogs like people is not natural
      Dogs are animals
      They have a different mind set
      Some are different than others
      But lastly if you are not able to commit to a full 24/7 time for a dog
      Don’t get one
      Not everyone is a dog person
      It’s ok to return the dog to the shelter.

      • MB

        I agree with MJ. Please keep yourself and the people around you safe. You don’t want to look back at this moment as when you should have done something.

  • Natalie Heilds

    Hi! My family went to our local dogs home after filling out a perfect match form and been accepted to adopt a pup. We all went down to see the pups and fell in love with1, so we reserved him. About 2 hours after leaving the centre, they rung me up saying we cant have it! All because my husband took his dads dog to the centre 15 years ago to be rehomed, due to ill health. THIS was their reason for us not been able to adopt it. It WAS NOT treat cruely or abused. He is NOT BANNED from owning a dog, which these are the reasons they have put on the policy. But my husband and his dad have NOT done any! I think they are trying to play god with dogs and cats, not think of the families that wish to rehome them!

  • Erin

    Hi there. Today has been one of the ssdest days.for.my husband ans me. We made the desicion to get a puppy 4 months ago ans we decided on a black lab/boxer. He was so cute and loving we thought we couldnt wait to have him grow with us as a family member. He was trained easy with commands and house training vut as he got older we started to notice he hyperness when guest come over as well as never settling down with mainly my husband. He jumped and was so strong knocked over kids (not on purpose but he was so strong and excited). Classes for that kind of training was 700 bucks and up which we didnt have.. i just become a stay at home mom with a newborn and a 2 year old. We weighed out cons and pros and with a newbirn we become worries that his hyperness would be a worrysome when the baby started to do tummy time and crawling etc….we made the desicion to find a home for the pup. But with his hyperness ans no ine eanting to take in we had no option but a shelter. I was planning on keeping him until we found a home but my stress lecels eas so high from him never calming down and his chewing on all and everything even with toys around i felt i had to do it now before it got worse or my baby did…of course i asled friends and family opinions. I got some saying its life ling commitment some said i told u not to get the puppy having a newborn on the eay and others were supportice but in the end its my home my opinion that mattered. So i took him to shelter today. It was so depressing and sad i have been crying since drop off ans doing ir now writing this. But i followed my heart and head and i know its sad them sitting in a cage until a new adopter comes along but he was not getting the attetion and training he needed and should have. He deserves the time and devotion we could just not do….i know this gulit we follow me.forever or until i know he went somewhere good but i cant help the fact that i feel like a am a horrible person and i know i am not. I just thought i knew about the breed and clearly i didnt(but he is over hyper then most lab pups i have seen). I thought i could habdle 2 kids and a pup but i couldnt do it all and the dog needs more then what we could do. In thw end people can and will say what they want but are not in my shoes to know how i feel or why i made that descion. This article has calmed me down alot and i will pass this on to anyone who has the same struggle as me or any situation like that

    • Deb

      Classes are more like $120 at Petsmart. Not $700. And I agree, you should not have gotten a puppy as a pregnant woman. I don’t know why so many families do this.

    • rach m

      hi Erin! i’m facing a similar situation in which i made the difficult and heartbreaking decision to return the border collie rescue we adopted two months ago. she was 10 months at the time and we were told she was a calm house trained dog but that was far from the truth. we got her trained at pets mart hoping to stop her from jumping on our two year old and destructive behavior. although it helped to some degree to get her trained she is still destructive and she never sits still. given her breed she’s finding new ways to destroy things because i don’t have the time or infinite financial resources to address her behaviors. i too am a stay at home mom and thought i could handle a young dog and a two year old. when i didn’t know she was a border collie. now that we’re trying to conceive there is no way i can handle a dog who has behavioral issues and two kids. i have an energetic kid and an energetic dog except one is destroying everything they can get their teeth on. this dog has so far destroyed all our potted plants, garden hose, door mats, lawn chairs, her bed, her blanket, our peach tree, she chews on mulch, she digs, and finds new things to destroy. i totally get where you are coming from

  • Lily

    I have a sort of similar situation. My boyfriend and I have recently moved in together. He has a German Shepherd who is just over a year old. We met shortly after he got her, so I’ve been a part of this dogs life pretty much from the beginning. Now that we are living together, I see how our schedules are and it really bothers me how much time our dog is alone. I work almost 12-13 hours a day while my boyfriend is gone for about 8-10. Our German Shepherd is home in her crate all that time until my boyfriend comes home. He lets her out and they go for a walk or run, but then by about 8-9 pm she goes back into her crate for the night. She is well taken care of, and is by no mean being neglected, but I feel that this isn’t how a German Shepherd should be raised. They should have a purpose and are such smart and beautiful dogs, I do not think that it is fair for her to be kept alone in the house for such long hours. My boyfriend doesn’t think that its a problem, he thinks of her as his child. I love her dearly too, and this is why I feel that she deserves so much better. I feel that we are at a crossroads about this.

  • Emily

    I think something more important is doing your research BEFORE taking a dog home. I am not judging someone, but feel that many don’t know or aren’t aware that dogs can be a lot of work! I think the excitement of bringing a pet home can sometimes block someone from thinking clearly. You don’t shop around until you find the right dog. Do your research, make sure that is what you want and can handle for the duration of the pets life- and be able to accept there may be some hard times with your pet. And if you don’t know what you want, get help from an animal expert at the shelter or adoption agency, thy are great at matching animals!
    Of course, there are special circumstances where you can’t keep a pet. But the majority of the time, it is a spontaneous, not thought out decision. Personally, you should feel guilty for what happened. Does this make you a terrible person- No- but hopefully you learned something so you can make better decisions in the future when choosing a pet. I have had a lot of dogs- some easier than others to care for- times I too felt like giving up- but they were mine, so I stuck it out.
    Now, I have learned what type of dog I like, and know what to look for- I know I don’t want a big lab- so I would never purchase or adopt one. It’s not fair to them- it is hard on them. I hope this doesn’t sound like an angry post. I truly think people don’t understand – I have worked with animals for many years in various areas including the animal shelter. It’s very sad. And I think education is a big part of it. If you have the means to care for your pet/ aren’t having a family crisis/ allergies/ or major behavioral problems (aggresssive/ biter or extreme behavior) The fact is you can make it work. And if you feel it is truly better for your pet to be in a different style home- it is your responsibility to find one for he or she- not the shelter.
    And I believe the various opinions on the subject come down to the fact that people have diff degrees of how they feel about animals and whether or not they deserve things- “it’s just a dog/ he or she doesn’t really care or get sad” Folks truly feel this way you can’t change it – so no need in getting mad- I just try to help as I can.

    • rach m

      i will add that although i do agree with you comment i have personally dealt with a shelter who failed the dog that i had to return. i’m very dilligent about researching but i didn’t know what i was adopting until after i went through the adoption phase. i adopted a dog from a rescue facility thinking it was a black and white beautiful mixed breed dog. i wasn’t made aware that she was a border collie mix until three weeks later the papers were sent to me and i had already adopted her!! i sent her to obedience training but nothing could stop her from destroying things in our house because she needed hours of exercise and attention that i can’t give her. had i known her breed i would have given a great considerable amount of research to read about her breed and have known that it wasn’t a fit for my lifestyle or my family. hence, the rescue organization has failed this dog by disclosing this info from the get go. it put me in a bind but most of all it put this poor border collie in a terrible position. it makes me wonder if rescue organization are truly concerned about where these homeless animals go to. they care about getting them off the streets but do they care where they ultimately end up at? either ways i am disappointed in this rescue organization

  • Anita

    I’m struggling to accept what may be the best solution which is to rehome my beloved 11 months old dog. I am currently 8 months old pregnant and unfortunately, cannot contribute to looking after him as he is so physically strong and also very much need attention and stimulation. So this leaves my husband being the sole carer, yet, he is having a lot of difficulty to find time to train him and also getting very stressed out with neighbour complaints of his barking. I happened to fall pregnant around 3 months after getting him so from then on, haven’t been able to train him up properly. The same goes for my husband with having to juggle between work, looking after me, and having to train up a highly active and very dependent puppy that requires 300% mental and physical stimulation. After many times of sending him off to training schools and even getting other dog behavioral tools such as front clip harness and citronella spray for anti bark collar, my husband announced we will need to find him a new home since he cannot find the time to meet his demands and also with a baby coming very soon, both himself and I cannot physically look after him. I am very conflicted and feel so upset about it.

  • Amy

    I cannot fully express how thankful I am to have found this blog. We just surrendered our 3 month old Maremma sheepdog pup after falling completely in love with her. A similar situation to your Jazz, I simply couldn’t keep up with her energy levels and she was becoming bored and restless. Ultimately we decides that she should be where she would be able to thrive as a livestock guardian dog and not as a companion. It was the most heartbreaking moment of my life. I did not expect to be so severely impacted as my days consisted of keeping her from playing/biting my toddler. Alas, I haven’t stopped crying despite understanding that it was the best decision for her. It’s nice to have others who understand how difficult this decision was to make. Thank you.

    • Marilyn Anne Jensen

      I am in agreement with you. You did the right thing. If you ever want another dog, I have the solution. Try dog sitting and dog walking. Thats where you will get your dog fix. I wish I did that before I got a puppy. But its a lesson learned. Dont let it ruin your love of animals .

  • Sue Reed

    Today we decided to re-home our 9 month old Queensland heeler. Our trainer suggested it after we were lax in crate training (I think ). The breed is highly active and we just don’t “have a job for her” since we don’t have horses anymore. Our very reliable trainer has offered to re-home her. So we are going to take her the training center right now. I’m crying.

    • Deb

      I can’t pretend to know how hard this is for you or your situation exactly. But I will say this: I do believe that if you found a better trainer and gave her a good run for 1-3 hours a day (like fetch, running by you, etc) and also gave her a job (such as following you everywhere) you’d be okay. But again, I can’t know what you are going through.

  • Debra Lemons

    I’m so thankful that I found your blog, I’ve been searching my heart for a year trying to decide if I should rehome Xena but just couldn’t commit to doing so, I felt like a failure at what other people seem to find so easy to do, but your comments about your dog being restless and needy and yourself feeling drained by the constant worry about her being bored (paraphrasing) is what I needed to realize that my dog who I love so much would be better off with a different kind of family. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  • CGM

    Thankyou for your helpful advice, which made this difficult decision so much more manageable. We had a wonderful 4 yr old Standard Poodle, then got another a yr later when our lab died, sob. Last yr my husband retired, we had the dogs certified for therapy dog and planned to travel with them etc. Ned the older, did not do well, he growled at my husband, and made us uneasy with our young grandchildren. He is not an aggressive dog, but high strung, often bothered by his “little brother” who was lighthearted and playful. We couldnt imagine having the level of stress that became evident in this past yr with him so nervous, barking and having to lock them in the porch when the kids/guests came over. We never did the therapy work bc we didnt have complete trust in him. We decided in Aug to rehome him, but things fell apart at the last minute with the Poodle rescue group and we felt God was telling us not to do this. Then it reared its head again and we decided to talk with our breeder, vet, groomer, and wonderful dog behaviorist/author, Carol Benjamin (google her, she is awesome). SO we began again, and like you said, did not discuss with family, but prayed and watched how things went with Ned in our home. Then one night he vomited and when we went to help him, he bit my husband and challenged him. (It is a real thing called vomiting-induced aggression) It was clear. Ned wasnt balanced and secure in our setting, altho we were always patient and gentle with him, giving him lots of exercise and routine. This time we went with a different branch of the Poodle Resce group. It was amazing the conversations we had with the intake person, how our philosophies aligned and how reassuring whe was that she could help us find Ned a new home- one with owners who would be home alot like us, not board him, make sure his sensitive needs were met, and basically make sure a new home would be even better. I was able to not blame myself, nor my wonderful dog that for whatever reason, he no longer could relax and feel peace in his home with us. Dogs can change, homes can change, and if we had not had the courage – and your encouragement- to do what he needed us to do while he was still a young dog, he may have bitten our grandchild, or deteriorated whereby a new wonderful home would have been a remote possiblity. Dogs are not humans and it is unfair to assign our attributes to them. They are resilient, yet we cannot overestimate the care we need to take to make sure that this lifelong responsibility we make in adopting them be a baton we hand so carefullly when rehoming them. Thank God for the dedicated people at the Poodle Club of America, Rescue division, for helping us, and Ned to live a life he deserves. The immediate reduction of stress is palpable, and now we can continue to train our one dog to minister to others as a therapy dog. Pray for the decisions we need to make with our pets, answers do come, and thankyou for being the beginning of that answer. Surely we shed lots of tears, but knowing all is well helps. All the best for the Holiday Season, and 2018. God bless you
    [Dog Rescue groups are so helpful, and are not all alike so do your homework, dog friends. ]

  • Sarah

    Hi Laurie,

    I am really struggling with my feelings about whether we should look for a better home for our 5/6 yr old rescue. We adopted her from the RSPCA (UK) in April, she was a very nervous but bouncy standard poodle, just what we wanted to go with our other poodle cross boy who had just turned 2.
    The first month was fairly good, she was quite timid on walks and shy, she wouldn’t let you get too close and wasn’t interested in treats or toys.
    However, we soon realised that she was very lead reactive towards other dogs. Not aggressive as when we’d let her off she’d be pretty bored with them. But on the lead she would bark, spin, lunge and just be terribly frustrated.
    We have spent alot of money on a trainer but that hasn’t really helped, though it has taught us a couple of exercises we can do at home, but this goes out of the window if she sees another dog on a walk.
    She counter surfs and we have had to be so careful what we leave around. She still has the odd accident in the house, especially if it’s raining out and she won’t go. She won’t let a groomer groom her which meant i had to pay out for clippers (not cheap) but even then she’s not keen on letting me do it and she hates the hair dryer!
    Our neighbours have 4 Finnish Laphunds which are really yappy. Fortunately we’ve worked out a system to get ours back in the house when they let theirs out because they end up barking at each other through the fence. But this means we can’t even talk to our neighbours like we used to. She’s also not keen on men so barks when either male on both sides come out to do gardening.
    We can now longer go to parks or anywhere there are people with dogs, which has limited our social life (We’re only in our 30s!).
    The hardest thing is in the house and in our garden, she is so sweet and quiet, she loves our other dog although we now think she is getting separation anxiety if he’s not there. She is good in the car and is the sweetest thing when she sleeps next to you on the sofa and snores.
    Either way we are definitely going to enjoy our Christmas together as a family and we will have to really think what is best for all of us in the new year…..very tough decision 🙁

  • Laura

    Feeling broken hearted because my fiancé and I are considering rehoming one of our three dogs. We have 2 males and a female all about 18 months old. Over the last several months one of the males has started picking on the other male. When this happens the female jumps in and it turns into a full on dog fight. Things have escalated over the last month and in the most recent instance the aggressor male minorly injured both other dog. We are heart broken but coming to the realization that this may not be the home for these three dogs together. If we decide to regime we want to make sure he goes to a loving home. He is an awesome dog but we are thinking that he needs to be in an adults only, no other animals home where he can get lots of one on one attention.
    While my mind knows this my heart is broken and I’ve been sobbing and sobbing at the thought of letting him go.

  • Maria

    Dear Laurie
    Thanks for your article.
    A few months ago I found my beautiful white shepherd boy in someone’s backyard. He was starved, wild and anxious. I couldn’t leave him there even though I was not sure if I was ready to take another dog. We spent a lot of money to get him to be calm enough to finally meet my girl, also a white shepherd. He has remained anxious, high energy and I have spent more money on trainers to get him socialised. However, he remains leash and dog reactive, walks are a nightmare. I am emotionally drained and feel like my whole life has revolved around him the last few months. He needs constant exercise, attention and stimulation, something I am not always able to provide. He does not allow anyone in the house and barks constantly including at my mom. He however has a heart of gold a sweet nature and a good friend for my girl, which makes this decision so difficult. I have had to admit that I am not equipped to correct the mistakes that the people who neglected him for the first nine months of his life made. I live in a house with a small yard and I know he will be happier with space. I am lucky that I have someone I know who will take him, but regardless of his behaviour he crept into my heart and it will take a while to get over the loss and guilt, but I know I did my best. And I know his sister feels the same.
    Last year I rescued a pit bull cross and she was rehomed to a good home after I also agonised for weeks if I should keep her. However, when she turned about a year, she turned on her new owner and severely injured her. She has been rehomed again and I don’t know how she is doing now. Sometimes, sadly things between a dog and an owner does not work out, and it is probably one of the most difficult things I have had to accept.

  • Kyrie

    This was the perfect article for me at this point in my life. I have a Golden Retriever who has been a very big part of my life for 6 years now, but new circumstances have arisen which prove that maybe it is time for him to be relocated to a new home where he will be happy to live out the rest of his adult life. I had a job that was flexible and was wonderful for me to spend large portions of my day at home, playing with him or being able to spend time with him. But I am working more and I have to travel a lot more, where I am spending up to 12+ hours away from home, and I either have to lock him in the house or lock him outside. But if lock him outside he escapes by digging and as he has gotten older I will find he comes limping home and it will take him days to recover, where he can’t walk properly and the vet has told me that he is straining the muscles in hips and back legs and I afraid that he might become permanent.I feel so guilty even thinking of giving him away as it was my responsibility to love and care for him for his whole life, but with the way things are going I feel that I won’t be able to give him what he requires of me anymore. I have a big backyard, but in the last 4 months he has been on 6 walks and I have only managed to play with him twice and most of the time I am out the door by 7am and am not home by late at night, where I usually just fall asleep in bed. I hate myself for this but I feel its not only best for me, but also the best for him. I can’t stand the thought of coming home one day to find him hit by a car, or attacked by something (as I have bush land around my house)

    • Merlyn

      What about putting your dog in Doggie Day care and other options include dog walkers picking up your dog and other peoples dogs for a doggie day out including walks and play time with other dogs.

  • Esther

    I really needed this article. My fiance and I adopted a small breed dog and fell in love, but I’ve always had large dogs so we decided to get a Golden Retriever puppy since they’re so renowned for their wonderful temperaments and my fiance is nervous about having a large dog. Well, she’s 9 month’s old now and she has us at our wits end. She plays too rough with the small dog, though she isn’t doing it in a mean spirited way. She needs so much affection and gets jealous of any attention is given to the other dog. Everyone keeps saying that she’ll be a perfect dog around 2 years old but I don’t know that we can wait that long. It doesn’t seem fair to our other dog who we had first. She’d be a great dog if we had another big dog or she was our only dog. We have just started talking about rehoming her, but I’m so afraid of everyone judging us that I’ve only talked to a few people. I just want to find her a family who can give her endless affection and the attention she wants.

  • Brianna Laboy

    Hello, I have a very sweet dog and I truly love her to death. But I think I should re-home he do to her quality of life. She is usually crated when I am at work and that can be a long time. She used to be around teens and other dogs but seems to be depressed. Our apartment is small. She is a lab pitbull mix and weighs 54lbs. Our apartment is 620 sq ft. She only stays in the living room so she doesn’t have a lot of space . I am also very allergic to her since she sheds so much. I feel horrible if I give her up. I feel ashamed. Am I doing the right thing by giving her up?

  • deb

    I am devastated.
    I purchased a cattle dog puppy. He is such a wonderful, emotional little man. He is very headstrong and his will is huge. I can’t take it any longer. But now, after a month and a week, I can’t imagine letting go of my baby. I can get all the trainers in the world, but I still don’t want the role of having to be firm and “dominant” (not in a mean way). All I wanted was a friend to hike and go to the park with and go to the office with. Not a HUGE scary project. I hate myself right now. Everyone told me to get an adult. I wanted a “baby to raise.” The worst part is is if I give him away, I will always worry if he is okay. He is very emotional and very sensitive if that makes sense.

  • Jo Ann Lambroia

    Hello, My name is Jo Ann. I have a 3 month old puppy that I entrusted someone to look after for awhile. I’m under a lot of stress fixing my home. He took her this past Thursday. I packed all her stuff that she would need. Friday I had separation anxiety not having her here. I called him up and he was disappointed that I wanted her back. I didn’t give him the dog as a gift, did not relinquish her. He did not sign an adoption paper, no money exchange. His girlfriend got involved and told me that she is in a good home now that I will never see or get her back. I will be going to file a case in court tomorrow. They only had her 27 1/2 hours when I called him to give her back to me. Will I get her back? Friend told me if I called the next day to get her back is now kidnapping my dog. Is my friend right? I appreciate your comments back to me. Thank you.

  • bobbi gren

    I was under so much emotional stress, I didn’t even know what surrender meant. I have not been able to get over this and its been a few weeks. 2 days after I asked boxer Rescue to give me my dog back i found a yard it was all about I thought my pup needed a yard. I also defisateved that this was done intentionally by someone who wanted my dog, I gave them the dog and ask again for him back. After that she told me to call Joni from Boxer rescue, and she immediately took my dog- sir Huntley. As I did not know that you can’t get the dog back she told me he was adopted out, ask where he was, said she couldn’t tell me- will low and behold I went to this older couples house and there he was- I feel it was premeditated what the boxer lady did. I was blind sided, plus I was never told or once you surrender or even understood what it meant- I have ask numerous times for him back, and told them if they don’t surrender him back I will take him to court. Im sicken and my boy was so spoiled , loved, daily walks, slept in bed with me and always went on errands in car. Boxers rescue has over 80+ dogs and without a doubt I do believe they pulled a fast one on me. They been after Huntley since January, why can’t they go get their own dog, this is so wrong to do to me and Huntley. Yes I do blame myself as she was willing to re arrange her schedule and meet me that day, so I couldn’t change my mind. I went through he lost of both my parents, then my previous boxer and got another puppy for myself on Valentine’s day- i was deceived . all i do is cry all day and can’t motivate myself – all I want is my boy home with me, he is the love of my life. I sometime don’t think before I do things and this was definitely not thinking normal. I have written an email to them I had it, they will not get back to me. I am normal, divorced, 57 and Im completely lost without Huntley and are daily routine . What can I do- I won’t get over this- Im too sensitive and really, how could someone else keep someone else property especially they all knew how well I took care of him, would be different story if I knew in my heart that he would be better off, he won’t – Im deviated and all I want back is my 20 month boy. How stupid of me. If these people would have any compassion or kind heart they would give him- let then get their own dog. Shame on boxer Rescue for doing this and shame on them for not giving him back they are being selfish and not thinking of my pup.

  • Tgilfy

    Glad I came across this. I’m having such a struggle with my xl dog. He is having diarreah in our home (on the floors and carpet) and I have a 9 year old and an 11 month old. This has been going on for years and I always put up with it. The vet says nothing is wrong. But now I’m at my wits end. My baby is crawling everywhere and I’m panicking about him getting ill. I want to rehome the dog, but my husband won’t have it. Any advice on what to do? It’s actually having an affect on our marriage.

  • Jo

    Hi there

    I am currently having an inner battle with what to do about my dog. I have always thought my dog wouldn’t be a good fit if I had kids and there are other things I have thought about in recent time such as, not having anyone to watch or care for him when I am not available -which has meant no travel for almost 10 years and having struggles with visiting family far from my home etc. I have 2 jobs for the first time, in order to keep up with bills and be able to stay in a home that I absolutely love and couldn’t imagine moving away from. I just don’t have the time/lifestyle that I feel is fair for my dog. I also have been with my current boyfriend for over a year and we are discussing moving together, he did not want to ever have another dog and we stayed dating because the connection was so natural and real -such a great friendship and strong love for each other. Now that we are talking more seriously about living together -and I so very much want to move forward with him and with my life- I am realizing it’s time to seriously think about things. Family is not an option and a very slim chance I have one friend who may consider him. I called the local humane society (with a no kill policy) only way I would every even possibly consider it–and I started crying on the phone. I feel so awful and I feel stuck.

  • Desi

    We just got a puppy from a rescue and my husband SWORE to me he would put in an equal amount of work on training and playing with it. She’s a large breed and for the last few weeks the biggest challenge with her is to keep her from biting at my three year old. The poor kid is a mess of scrapes and bruises from this dog, even despite me doing my best to help them keep the peace. I can’t lock them in seperate rooms all day! But the last week I think she’s finally got it and it was getting better, till my husband comes home in the evening and it’s like all mom’s rules go out the window. He doesn’t reinforce anything that I do and it all ends in a mess of teeth and blood and crying. He isn’t interested in changing what he’s doing with the dog and his form of “discipline” (i.e. hitting the poor thing) makes the biting behavior much worse. He’s had dogs his whole life and is convinced he’s doing it right and I’m wrong. So I’m taking her back tomorrow. There were several other families who wanted this dog so I’m confident she’ll get a new home. But my heart is broken and my pride is hurt because I can see that I can’t make this work by myself. Everyone I know is going to say “I told you so” and I know they are going to think it’s my fault. And maybe it is.

    Anyway, thank you for writing this. It’s made me realize what I already knew in my heart: this isn’t working. For everyone’s sake, including the dog’s, she needs to go to a new home.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Janine,

    Thank you for sharing your struggle to decide if you should give your dog away. It sounds to me like you already know the best thing to do. It also sounds like you’ve already made your decision…and you need someone to tell you that you’re doing the right thing.

    You’re doing the right thing, my friend. You’ve weighed all the options, you love your dog with all your heart, and you’re doing what’s right for him in the long (and short!) run. A loving family is waiting for him. He’ll be happy there. Yes, he’ll miss you. But dogs live in the moment…and his moments will be filled with treats, freedom, naps, more treats, and love.

    Your dog will be happy without you. You, on the other hand, will have to grieve your loss. It hurts so much to give your dog away! But the pain and grief of letting your dog go is the price you pay for love. You are making the best decision for your dog out of your great love for him. And, with all great love comes sacrifice. In fact, it wouldn’t really be love without sacrifice.

    How do you feel today?

    Blessings,
    Laurie

    • Janine

      Dear Laurie,

      “Your dog will be happy without you”. I needed to read that – that is (I guess) what I was wanting to hear (or see). Today I feel pretty much the same way as all the other days, one moment I’m OK with the decision and the next I’m not. I pray over it daily and know I’ll do the right thing – not for me, but for him. I’ll feel much better once he’s there and I see he’s happy and adapting with his new family and friends. Perhaps it’s just the uncertainty of not knowing that’s causing me to be so anxious about the decision. Like you mentioned, they live in the moment, his moments will be absolute freedom, farmlands, farm animals – which he’s never seen before 🙂 New things for the last few years of his life. It would have been so much easier if we too could just live in the moment wouldn’t it 🙂

      I thank you for your valued feedback and point of view. It is truly appreciated.

      Sending warm regards from South Africa
      Yours truly
      Janine

  • Janine

    Dear Laurie,
    I’m battling with this decision right at this moment. Monroe & Bohdi (both Jack Russells) have been together since Bohdi was born (he’s just under 13 years old at the moment). A few weeks ago my girl Monroe passed (she was 15 years and 7 months). Initially I thought Bohdi was doing okay, but his behavior has changed a lot. He goes out of his way to escape from the garden (the past weekend was spent searching for him). He constantly cries if he’s left alone, he follows me wherever I go, albeit a few steps to the kitchen. I know it all has to do with his way of grieving the loss of Monroe, but I’m afraid he’ll never be “okay” to live his last few years on his own. I work long hours, so only see him in the evenings.

    I have a family who is willing to adopt him and give him a life I can’t. He will be living on a farm surrounded by other dog friends (he gets on well with other dogs). He’ll be able to roam gorgeous farmlands, he’ll be able to freely roam indoors or outdoors. At their home dogs are allowed on couches and (human) beds 🙂 Writing all this I can see it’s wonderful for him… I’m just so unsure because I love him so much… It’s been almost 13 years together! But I also know that my uncertainty is due to selfishness because I want him here with me. I should also mention that I am not considering getting another dog.

    I just need a realistic outside opinion and advice please.

    Sincerely yours,
    Janine
    Cape Town, South Africa

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Spencer,

    It’s such a difficult thing, deciding if you should give your dog away! I wish I had an easy answer or wise insight, but the truth is that every family has to decide this for themselves. Hiring a dog obedience trainer is a great idea, and it will help.

    Unfortunately, it takes time to train a dog — especially if she’s lived with a few different families. Time, and consistency, and patience! And the whole family has to do the same thing, so your dog learns.

    How did it go with the trainer?

  • Spencer

    Hi Laurie,
    Thank you for this post, it gave me a lot of ideas for understanding my situation.
    Three weeks ago my family adopted a three year old german shepherd mix named Hilde from a rescue company. We visited her a few times and fell in love with her (even though she was a bit shy). According to the foster parent she is “an absolute doll and is very sweet and lovable but takes time to get to know people and will growl if she is unsure, mostly at men”. When we first brought her home she stayed in her crate the entire day for the first three days except when we took her outside. After the third day she started walking around the house on her own and after a week of adoption she follows my mother EVERYWHERE (even into the bathroom) and even started showing affection to her (licking, tail wagging, etc.). But after she imprinted on my mom everytime me, my dad, or my granddad entered the same room she was in, she would start barking, and growling until my mom got her to calm down, she doesn’t do any of that when my sister comes in, which is very frustrating because this has been happening every single time, every single day. I’m afraid to come out my room because I will disturb the peace because her bark is so loud! Last week We went to Florida for vacation and put her and our other dog, a 7 year old lab mix in a boarding place for a week and got them back today and she is still the same. We’re going start having her trained starting tomorrow. If that doesn’t work out then we may have no choice but to relinquish her but we don’t want to, because she has had many owners who have returned her in the past.
    Any sort of feedback on this story would be greatly appreciated! 🙂
    Thanks in advance,
    Spencer
    P.S. I apologize for any errors

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Kim,

    You, your family, and your dog Cooper have been through so much together! I’m so sorry that Cooper is so energetic, anxious, and high maintenance. He needs a lot of attention and training – but I don’t have to tell you that, do I? You know your dog far better than I. It must’ve been hard to see him kill the ducks! I’ve seen my dog kill squirrel or two in her day, and it’s sort of nightmarish.

    I can’t tell you if you should give your dog away. It was hard enough for me to make the decision to rehome my own dog! It’s such a difficult thing to decide, and it’s going to be painful no matter what you decide to do. You’re gonna suffer either way. Giving your dog away will make your life easier, but emotionally it devastating. I gave my dog jazz away years ago – I don’t even know how long now – and I still feel terrible about it. I forgiven myself, and I did the right thing… but it hurts.

    Here’s what I think you should do: reread every word you wrote in your comment. I encourage you to read it out loud to someone you trust. Maybe a friend, or a family member, or even your husband. I can see a few things in your comments that – if you see them the way I do – will make your decision a little more clear. I do not want to tell you what I see because I want you to make this decision yourself.

    It’s important for you to decide or yourself if you should give your dog a way, because knowing it’s your decision will help you follow through with whatever choice you make.

    So I guess that’s my advice: comb through your own words, and be willing to accept the answer that may be right in front of you.

    Let me know how this goes for you. If you decide to give your dog a way, please feel free to come back anytime and tell me how you’re doing.

    Blessings,

    Laurie

  • Kim

    This was really a great post for me to stumble across. I am also torn (like many people that have left comments here) over what I should do with our dog Cooper. I have a 4-year old and we are first-time dog owners. We adopted him because we fell in love with him at the animal shelter I was visiting to bring the dogs some treats. He was very calm at the shelter and at the time we didn’t know as much about dogs as we know now (we had researched labs – he was identified as a lab mix by the shelter but he is actually a rhodesian ridgeback mix), but we were not aware that we would need to walk him so extensively.

    We brought him home and after 2 weeks he got really hyper and confident in the home. We also have a small backyard (we live in a villa). We have gone through a training that cost nearly $600 which required for us to use a prong collar on him. He has a lot of anxiety issues when it comes to other dogs, people on bikes, cats, squirrels, anything that moves really. Half the time he wants to kill them (that’s the hunter in him) and the other times he wants to attack them out of fear. He has already killed 2 ducks because his collar and leash came off during walks. We now use a back-up collar because of this.

    We walk him twice a day for 40 minutes and he gets walks between that. We have tried to show him we are the pack leader and he has improved A LOT. But the problem is that we have to walk him because of his size (70 lbs) and his energy levels. And we can’t control what triggers he will encounter in our neighborhood. He has also nipped at my leg before when a bike is approaching us. I know it’s because he wants to “protect” us, but it really hurt and caused me to bruise.

    My son is also afraid of him…we have been trying to integrate them, but he is scared of him. We can’t have him without the leash and collar inside. He’s very difficult to control when he gets agitated. We have a cat that he wants to kill at home as well. We had read labs were great with cats, but he really just wants to hunt every cat he sees. We have to keep her locked up when he’s inside.

    We take him to the dog park to let him run free to release his energy, but the last few times we have gone he has gotten into fights with other dogs. Not all of them were his fault, but we are beginning to think it’s not safe to take him there.

    Honestly, at this point, my husband and I (both of us work pretty much full time jobs) are at our wits end. We are physically exhausted and as much as we love the moments we share with him when he’s being loving and more calm, those times are not as consistent as we would have hoped. At night, after all the walking we have done with him, there are times that he won’t sit still and let me pet him. He always wants to play and wrestle.

    He loves us so much – he cries when I go to work. I can’t imagine giving him up to a shelter and what happens after that is terrifying. I am worried someone will take him and end up giving him back or worse yet, giving him to a kill shelter (there are many in FL). But our quality of life has definitely taken a hit. And my 4 year old has lost a lot of attention in this process a well. I envisioned us walking the dog together as a family, but with Cooper so unpredictable we never get to do that.

    Any advice/suggestions you can offer would be appreciated.

    Sincerely, lost furbaby mom.

  • Laura

    Laurie,
    Thank you so much for this article. The process of even talking about the possibility of rehoming an animal is so difficult and full of emotion. I appreciate the reality that the decision should be based on what’s best for the dog and the family. So often, people shame and judge and say that they’d never get rid of a member of their family. At the end of the day, we gave it all we had… we loved endlessly and provided the best opportunity for our dog that we could. Even though our emotions are screaming, we have to continue to give our dog the best opportunities, even if that means he lives with someone else. I appreciate you sharing your journey and giving people like me the comfort of knowing I am not alone.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Natalie,

    I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to respond to your comment — I can tell how much you love your dog, and how difficult it is to know what to do. I wish I had the right answer, or a solution to offer you, but I honestly don’t know what to say.

    What I can tell you, though, is how heartbreaking it is to deal with the consequences of giving your dog away. I still feel sad and regretful about rehoming our dog — even though it was the best and right decision at the time. There’s the pain of keeping a dog that is a lot of work, and the pain of grieving after giving a dog away…and only you can decide which pain you can live with.

    How are you doing now? Have you made any decisions?

    Warmly,
    Laurie

  • Natalie Beckett

    I adopted a lab/border collie mix dog back in 2014 and she was 7 months when I got her. At the time, I lived in a house with a huge backyard for her to run in and there was a wonderful dog park for her to socialize with other dogs right down the road. In 2015, I moved to Florida and have lived in a 3 bedroom apartment because I wanted the space for her since I didn’t have a yard for her to run in. The job teaching I took here is really time consuming and I recently had surgery so I can’t take her out as much as I would like. She is very energetic and needs the room to run and not on a leash. She is very sweet but has trouble with getting along with other dogs in a house; outdoors she is fine with dogs. She needs someone who has the time to train her, provide her with room to run, and give her the loving I can’t. But I don’t know what to do because I love her so much and she is just so sweet. It is killing me. Please help!

  • Mavis Salo

    I have a 6 year old dog whose owner has altzheimers. She is part pomeranian and part pekingese. She wakes me up during the night to go out at 2:00am, then again 3 hours later. I have pee pads all over my living room which I hate. I already went through this with a nine year old blind dog I rescued. Now I want to rehome her so I can get my sleep, but I feel guilty about it.
    I need some advice please.

  • Amalia

    I’m struggling with this right now with my mom and my brother. We’ve had my beautiful 10 year old Australian Shepherd since she was a puppy and we love her with all of our hearts. Of course we’ve had trouble trying to train her and it doesn’t help that we have had to move over 4 times in the last 5 years. But the problem right now is that I’m a college stufent that studies overseas and also have chronic health issues. My brother is about to join me overseas and so it would just be my mom and my dog. We live in a 2 bedroom house, very small, tiny yard not NEARLY big enough for her. She’s a very anxious dog and has the energy of a puppy even though she is 10 and gets restless and destructive. My mom works from home about 10-14 hours a day but barely makes enough to keep us steady each year. None of us have the time to give her the proper attention and exercise and it will only get worse when me and my brother move out at the end of the summer.

    Here is where it gets tough though. My mom’s boyfriend wants her to move in with him when my brother and I leave, and it would be amazing for my mom to not have to worry about making it each month or how bad our student loans would be. However, he is not a fan of our dog and can’t even fathom talking about moving in together if she is in the picture.

    I completely understand why my mom is thinking of rehoming her, it would be life changing for our little family to actually be able to save money and not have to struggle, for her not to work tirelessly day and night. We have already had a rather traumatic experience with our cat a few years back and I’m worried that the guilt would eat us alive if we do it again. We love her so much, seeing her on skype when I was at school last year was one of the things that kept me going. I can’t imagine life without her, heck, I can barely go a day without gushing about my love for her.

    We haven’t been the best pet owners. We couldn’t train her right and we can never get her enough exercise. But I know she loves us and is happy. I just really don’t want to lose her. I’m hoping that we can rehome her with a friend, but I’m also worried because we tend to complain about her to them if she is being particularly stressful and they know all of her bad habits and how she is a handful, so I’m worried no one will want her. She’s an amazing, smart, energetic and loving dog and the love of my life. And I know that it is, in the end, up to my mom to decide because I will be away at school. But I’m just scared to lose her.

    What do we do?

  • Brenton

    Ok so I’m not one to reach out on the social media world but I’m in between rock and a hard place..

    I’m married with with 1 crazy demanding amazing son with 2 dogs. Prior to us getting together she had a lab and I had boxer. The lab is more docile and well behaved. The boxer is a great well behaved dog, but super energetic, has severe allergies, and anxiety to point he ichtes until infection/hospital. My wife is a stay home mom/works from home. So she is responsible for the cleaning of the house and taking care of the house while I’m working 11-12 hours day. My son is wonderful but very demanding and cries a lot. Whenever he cries/throws a fit the boxer howels. As if the the blood cutting screaming/crying isn’t enough, it literally makes you crazy! He, typical of boxers drools a lot/has eye bugers and it ends up on the walls and has ruin paint and deposits on rentals. My wife loves the boxer but is about to loose her mind. Not to mention we are moving 5 hours away to start my business while going back to school. Our options are to keep the boxer and he stays in the laundry room or something similar or get rehomed. Now I completely understand my wife’s perspective but feel like I’m betraying/abandoning him. She is against re-homing but is about to lose her sanity and is affecting our relationship.

    I would appreciate any advice.

    • Lena

      Brenton~

      You are not betraying this dog. Obviously the dog is too energetic and not fit for your family. A good dog-family relationship feels easy and you always feel like you are happy and content because you have the dog. You feel like you and the dog love and live for each other, and you would never consider giving them away. I went through something similar recently. We had a dog for 11 years, and had just gotten a puppy. She was adorable but poorly trained and my 13 year old promised she would train her. But when the dog grew to 1 year and still was untrained, we decided that since she was going to High School, she would have no time for the puppy. We had to give her up and keep our male, well behaved dog. I am sad, but I do not regret it. She went to a home where she could really receive the attention she needed as a dog, and she is really happy now. If you feel like the dog doesn’t fit, get it to a home where it does fit. You won’t regret it.

  • Kat

    I adopted a Siberian Husky female about 3 months ago from the shelter. She’s 1 1/2 years old. I live in a medium sized apartment, and I’m a full time student. I live with my boyfriend and he gets irritated by her a lot. She has BAD separation anxiety and broke her crate by bending the metal and escapes. We found a way to keep her in there, but it doesn’t stop her from howling. I’m gone to school 4 hours the longest days. I walk her every morning, and used to take her to dog parks until two dogs ganged up on her and bit her. So far she has costed us a fortune in vet bills. When we first got her she was pregnant and lost a lot of blood. She had to stay over night at the vet. She also has a very sensitive stomach (easily gets diharea and vomits) so I had to take her for that too. I don’t know, after all I’ve been through with her I care about her a lot, I just don’t know if she’s happy here and if I can take care of her anymore. The vet bills are getting expensive, and soon I’m going to have to move out again with my boyfriend to a new apartment. I looked for places with yards, but we aren’t able to afford it at the moment. Soon I’ll be going to law school and probably won’t have enough time to take her out. When I first got her I thought it would be much easier, I didn’t think it would be this difficult. She needs constant attention, and exercise. I really want to keep my commitment with her, and keep her. I know I’ll regret giving her up if I do it. I’m not sure how to handle this anymore. I want to do right thing and keep trying, but I dont know how things will be like in the future.

  • carla chirinos

    Hello
    I got my dog from a guy that did not wanted him , he was all day long tight to a tree , so I became his friend , and he started to trust me , and then he decided I was gonna be his, so I traded him for a six pack of beer. He is wonderful!! is an american bulldog , so loving and he just loves me sooooo much and I love him too!!! I work a lot and then I moved so I gave it to my dad while I settle , when I wanted back my dad told me no! he is my dog . So I let him keep him because my dad is 80 years old and going thru some depression and dogs are good for him. However, after 2 years of being with my dad , he became aggressive to my dad’s yorkie and he almost killed him ( the yorkie is a pain the a****) he was always biting him and barking at him. Anyway , so I decided to take it with me ! but he does not get along with my daughter, She is 2 years old and he pushes her around and steps on her feet, and he weights 90 pounds. However, I said to my self , don”t worry they will get along , she loves animals and he is so good, until this Saturday , he wanted to kiss her with her mouth open and he scratched her face with his teeth !!!! in front to my husband , so now he does not want him around her !!!!
    I feel so bad , because I want everyone to love him and accept him. After what happen all he did that weekend was being in a corner , and he would not moved, I don know if I should give him away , but who is gonna love him the way I love him

  • Lucia Haase

    Hi,
    I’m glad I came across this article. I don’t have a dog, but my daughter and granddaughter, who live right next store to us, recently rehomed their Pomeranian. He was aggressive with my granddaughter who is 14 and most often had to be kept away from her. He was 2 years old and I became very attached to him, watching him often during the day and when my daughter worked. It got to be a problem that he kept doing this. When he did this, my daughter would put him in a pen. This started happening more and more often. I tried to take him but I realized he was going to be more than I could handle. After all, I loved watching him, but I knew he was going home. My daughter found a loving home, someone she works with (she is a nurse) who has another Pomeranian a year older than Cenney. They give him the attention he needs, keep in touch and even send pictures over the phone of the 2 dogs and how they are doing. The problem is, I’m sad and am having a hard time getting over the fact that I didn’t want to take him either. We actually all still love him, but feel it was for the best
    to find a good home where he would get the attention he needs also. My question is, how can I stop feeling guilty for not taking him either…do I even need to feel guilty?I kept asking them to get a trainer, but my granddaughter was fed up and didn’t want to deal with it anymore. Also, my granddaughter didn’t want me to take him because they live right next store and she would see him all the time. Did we do the right thing? We couldn’t have asked for a better home to give him to, but I can’t seem to let go of the fact that I didn’t give him much of a chance either. What’s your opinion? I thought maybe it was meant to be because I had prayed about it and it happened so quick. But still, I’m having a hard time with it. Thanks for listening and if you have an opinion, please let me know.

  • k

    I have had Manny, an apricot spaniel x poodle since he was 8 weeks old. He is now 3.5 yo. Initially me and my ex partner got him together and as I worked day shift and he worked night shift, it was perfect. After we split up, my sister and her boyfriend moved in and they didn’t work during the day either. Now, 8 days ago, Manny and I have moved into a sharehouse. Basically he has not transitioned well. I am getting messages from my new housemates in the afternoon. We have had 2 noise complaints in 5 days from barking and howling. He has free roam of the house indoors, and out. He has pooped on the couch and rug twice even though I’m pretty sure he knows that he is supposed to go outside. He knocks over the bin. I wake up early and take him to the dog park every morning before work and leave him lots of mentally stimulating toys with treats in them. I also spent $87 on an Adaptil collar which has not worked. I think we have a matter of days before we are kicked out. On top of a full time job (Mon-Fri, 9-5), and completing my accounting degree through uni at home, figuring out what to do with him is almost becoming more than I can cope with. I feel like I don’t know what my options are, I feel like we are going to be homeless soon.
    I was considering rehoming him. I know if I did I would never ever be happy again in my life and I never would get a proper nights sleep again without him snoring as the little spoon in my arms. In fact I probably wouldn’t even cope at all without him. I would probably have to begin anti-depressants. But I don’t know what to do. I could book in a training session but the soonest is 3 weeks, I think at $280 per session every week for 6 weeks or something. And anyway can you train a hyper 3yo to be fine with being home alone for 10 hours straight? I don’t know what to do. I have also looked into our local dog day care, but they only have sessions available Monday and Friday beginning in 3 weeks.
    I just feel like he has a miserable life with me. As much as I love him. He is such a good dog and he deserves a family who can give him attention 24/7.
    Please no hateful comments I feel like my heart is on the edge of a cliff as it is. I already know I am a bad mum.

    • Eva

      Have you attempted to crate your dog? I had a small dog that was behaving that way when left unattended. As soon as I started crating her she calmed right down. Dogs don’t necessarily feel safe with a lot of space. Give it a try. It might work!

      • Nancy

        I am doing the same thing for my dog as well, putting her in the crate. As hypertension as she is, she is fine while I am at work (8-10hrs). I agree with Eva, give it a try!

    • Sia

      Hi so sorry to hear your situation with your dog. It’s such a painful thing to go through however if you truly love your dog you will get him a better home with someone who is there more to keep him company. You could always ask the new owners to keep you updated on how they are doing etc. You have too much on to give him what he needs even though you undoubtedly have immense love for him. It’s a very painful process but not everything in life is easy and you will have to take each day as it comes eventually you will move on from it and everyone will be happy. Xx

  • laura

    :(( I have a 7 months golden retriever that I’ve had since he was 1 month old. I’ve been wanting to give him away ever since he was about 3 months but kept sticking with it and trying to love him but I just don’t love him as I thought I would…and he does not love me.
    He is perfect, doesn’t do anything wrong in the house, listens to me etc…but he just won’t give me or my boyfriend any affection :(. He loves and runs to everyone else and plays with everyone except me and my boyfriend …I am quite sad and have already found a better home for him but I am struggling to give him up, thinking maybe I should give it another try. I take him out in the dog-park, out on long walks, out near a lake for him to swim…my entire time left after coming from work is spent trying to make him happy (he stays alone in the house for 6-7 hours) I give him good food but still he does not even like to be touched by me…it’s as if he resents me. I know I will feel like a failure if I give him up, but I just don’t understand how to care for him anymore since he does not have the slightest interest to hang with me or show me a bit of affection to understand that my efforts in raising him and caring for him are worth something… I found someone that lives in a house with a big yard, already has a Samoyed puppy that gets along with mine, so I know 100% that he would LOVE that house, but I also know that I would love to have a dog that loves me, so I’m left thinking…should I try more, to make him like me? My friends that also have dogs already shamed me and told me that they would never give up their dogs and that is insane that I’m even thinking about it, but I don’t think they understand how sad it is not to have the slightest connection with your dog, and to feel like he is just munching your time, money and emotions but does not give anything back… I feel so ashamed that I want to give me and also so sad that that I WANT to keep him, if only I knew he has any “feelings” for me

    • Christine

      Hi Laura I guess you might not read this by now but I have the same … a very, very unaffectionate rehome. And I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone! It is constant rejection and also hard to train a dog that is so unengaged. I know my dog probably has huge trust issues due to his past (I got him when he was 8) but having a dog that moves away if you try to stroke him; won’t respond well to being called; just ignores you until he wants either food or a walk and then barks incessantly until it is provided is NOT a great dog. It is just a huge duty and something to endure not enjoy … and an expense as well.

      I haven’t got rid of my dog due to his advanced age and because I am a sucker but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone!

  • Nadia

    I just moved in with my fiancé 3 months ago. And I think it was the fact that I was going through some separation issues from my parents. I tend to be a very impulsive person. So I’ve always liked dogs and I have had a boxer before, had her for a year, but do to that I was still living with my parents and my mom turned out to have allergies I couldn’t keep her. It broke my heart. I did find a good home for her though. So now I convinced my fiancé for us to get a dog, I was looking for a boxer and found a husky. I thought I we were going to be a good family for him. Since I’m not working right now and just working on a project to get my undergraduate title. I thought to myself that I would have all the time for him. Well I was wrong. Sometimes I can’t even handle his energy. We have had him for over 2 months. He is barely 4 months old. I feel so bad, I really care about him but I feel guilt. And my fiancé gets mad just at the thought of me saying that maybe it’s best to give him up to a good home. He says it’s my problem that I wanted him and now I deal with it. It’s so frustrating. I feel like I’m getting more anxiety than I usually get.

  • ivette

    im reading this in tears. My husband decided that I would love after putting my lab down almost two years ago. This little guy is adorable and so smart, but I’m exhausted. When I found out what he (husband) was up to I told him not to do it. He did it anyway and now I’m stuck every evening (he works nights) with a dog that is aggressive and energetic and I don’t think I can do I have a trainer coming to the house this week but I don’t even think that it will make a difference. The fact is that he needs more than I can give him and I feel terrible.

  • Jamie

    Okay so I’m also having a difficult time. Last week a friend from work said she needed to give up her puppy because her daughter is severely allergic. Being the overly impulsive person I am, I offered to take her. I brought her home on Thursday and it has been nothing but regret since then. I live in a 700 sqft one bedroom apartment but my boyfriend and I both have full time jobs so we can’t give her the amount of attention and walking I think she needs. She’s 3 months old and a husky/malamute mix so she’s already 20 pounds and is only going to get bigger. She is constantly going after my cat no matter how many times she gets swiped at. I don’t have the energy, the will, or the money for the constant training, playing, and walking while giving my cat and my life the proper attention. She’s really cute, but I just can’t do this for however long it takes for her to grow up and calm down, if that even happens. My issues with rehoming her or giving her to a shelter are my guilt for only having her for a couple days and giving up, fear of what my friend will think because I promised she could bring her kids to visit sometime, and what my family and my boyfriend will think. I made a huge, impulsive mistake, and now I don’t know what to do.

    • Carol

      First of all.. when i wanted to give up my dog i lied to some people and said my daughter was allergic. I was afraid people were going to judge me and think of me as a horrible person for not having the patience to deal with a dog. I am sure your friend most likely knows the feeling . I think you should let your friend know that this isnt working out for you and your boyfriend and tell her that you would like to rehome the dog. She can perhaps help to rehome him since she is the original owner. Explain that if you do not find a suitable home within a few weeks. ..you will have to give him up for adoption. I battled with giving up our frenchie but i realized that dogs are not for everyone. Puppies need more attention than a baby and require constant training .. and wait til you get to the destruction of your home stage..you will regret it even more. For the sake of the puppy and for your sanity .. rehome him now because its a long way til he matures.

  • Kim

    Aloha,
    We have a Catahoula mix who will be 2 in June. We’ve had her since she was six weeks old. We absolutely love her but I have recently wondered if another family might be best. We recently had her behavior assessed and the trainer recommended a 2 week intensive boot camp training for the most extreme cases. Hina has extreme dominance issues. We can’t walk her in our neighborhood without her going ballistic when passing dogs behind fences. When we walk her in a more controlled area, she does fine until she sees another dog. When we take her to the dog park, she was doing great. She’ll run and play with other dogs but has recently become aggressive. She has bitten two dog the last two times we’ve gone. I feel like I’m at the end of my rope. We have followed the Cesar Milan method and have had limited success. At this point, I’m afraid we’re going to get sued. We have decided to take a break from the dog park. I just want to cry. We’ve worked so hard to train her but feel so defeated. I wonder if she would be better with someone else. I just feel like a horrible dog parent. I am exhausted and just want to have a normal dog that can go on a normal walk. I know this sounds horrible. I don’t know what to do. I can’t imagine another 10 years with this dog. What do I do?

  • Michele

    We purchased a pom/chihuahua mix about 3 months ago and we love her. However, we cannot potty train her outside. The woman we purchased her from never told us she was pee pad trained and I never knew what those were til now. She is kennelled while we work and then again while we are at sports with our kids. We love her, but she is a handful. We are trying to decide whether to keep her or find an excellent home for her. I feel so guilty because I have never done this before. We had a lab/husky mix for 15 years and had to put her down in October of 2016. I missed having her greet me when I came home. She was a rescue dog and the best dog ever. But I think we were used to the laid back older dog and the puppy requires a ton of attention and I don’t want to let her down. I cannot stand the smell in my house of the pee pad when she pees and poops. We have been trying to train her to go outside, and no luck. She will pee outside and play outside,but that is it. I am so torn on what to do. Someone please help me with my decision.

  • Kendra

    My husband and I made the decision to adopt a dog from our local shelter. We already have two other small dogs a 10yo and a 3yo. This girl is 9mo old and we fell in love with her instantly. However, I feel like we made a rash decision because I have been struggling to get pregnant and all of my friends around me are currently pregnant or just had babies. I talked with my husband about how I feel like I made an emotional decision and that this was not the right decision for us at this time. I also didn’t think what we did was fair to his amazing dog that needs so much time and extra attention. She is 55lbs were our other two are both around 10lbs.

    I feel like I am a horrible wife, and that I am a horrible person for making the decision to give her back to the shelter in order for her to find a home where she can be loved and given all the of time and attention that she needs.

    I just want to do right by this very special dog.

  • Megan

    I’m sitting in my kitchen reading through the comments after having adopted a dog for only a week and agonizing over the decision to send her back to the adoption organization we got her from. She is a sweet, sweet dog who is loving and funny and aims to please me and my husband. We already have a dog who is the same way! It seems as though we are lucky, however our first dog has been very agressive toward her all week and the stress this is causing is overwhelming. That and the fact that we were not prepared for the differences in energy levels between the two dogs. She was labeled as an adult dog, but she has too much energy for us; I’ll be completely honest that I don’t have the energy for such a young dog, nor the time. My husband and I feel that we made a mistake in adopting her and feel completely awful about returning her. I’m crying as I type this because I know the guilt and shame is totally our own fault, not the dog’s. I worry about the judgement of the foster mom we got her from and I’m dreading the phone call to her that I feel we should make. I realize it’s only been a week, but I’ve had a put in my stomach since we realized our first dog’s aggression. It was so unexpected because our dogs met at a dog park and played so well and now they don’t get along at all. I know we should wait it out a few weeks or months, but I just don’t know if we’re prepared to deal with the stress that will come with that. Thanks for reading.

    • Rose

      Hi Megan, my heart breaks for you and I hope you take comfort in the fact that you’re trying to do right by both dogs. I just returned a blind deaf dog – an absolute darling – to her foster rescue mum. I only had her 2 days but quickly realized that I’d over-estimated my caring abilities. Ive no experience with such dogs (as I told the foster mum) although She’s practically perfect. The problem is me. I’ve never hated myself more in my life, for not trying harder (but also knowing that the longer you keep her, the more she attaches) I returned her because I feel I can’t give her a stimulating and social environment. I only just learned today that the dog actual had a more social lifestyle with the foster mum which helped me a great deal in accepting that I’m not the best carer for her…but the guilt and shame and feeling like I’ve betrayed a helpless dog is overwhelming. Crying constantly, praying so hard that this sweet dog gets so much better than me. Thanks Laurie for this safe space to share these feelings.

  • N8

    Hi all, I’ve recently become pretty down that my dog I’ve had since she a pup, is overly lonesome and bored.. I’ve had her for 9 years roughly and now have only thought of possibly rehoming her as I have now established a couple friends with other dogs to watch her when I’m out of town, etc. I work full time and think 40 hours a week alone for my boxer is too much time alone. I absolutely love her and she always expresses excitement when I come home, but it feels like hi, and let’s go to sleep now.

    One of the reasons I’m considering a new home for her, is that every time I pick her up at one of the sitters’ places, she seems overly happy. But once she gets into the car home and the next day or so, she seems depressed..she could be just tired haha, but I have just recently felt bad about her whole living situation with me and have always thought in the back of my mind, that she deserves better…it just so happened recently that one of my sitters lost their dog. This friend also has 9 Year old daughter who has fallen in love with my boxer and has asked why she can’t stay at her place…I know heart breaker. So now that this has played out, I feel this could be a great option for all involved. I’d still be able to see my boxer and sit for her when they travel, and my boxer would have a better living situation overall…

    I’m torn, but feel optimistic and guilty of the thought of rehoming her at the same time. Like I’m abandoning her…suggestions appreciated.

  • Parul Bedhotiya

    Hi, I recently adopted a street dog. She always followed me around and aat in front of my doorstep. I took her in. So she started coming regularly. She has an uncanny ability to identify people as good for her and bad for her, so ahe started barking at certain people who later proved to be ignorant and cruel to any animal. They were threatning to put her to sleep so I adopted her. But i didnt realise that this would be b like adopting a child abd looking after it. I am always worried for her and most of my day goes in taking care of her. My sister lives with me. We have been facing huge problems whenevr she is in heat or when the neighbours harras us. My sister says we should give her up but I dont want to, simply because she trusts us so much. She understands us and she never barks at us never growls. Its a relief many times when we leave her at a friend’s place, I dont have to be worried whenever I am outside. Should I give her up? I imagine giving her up and feeling so relaxed but on the other hand I dont want to.

  • Keke

    Hi,
    My husband and I took a new puppy in about 6months ago now. We already have to other large dogs, but didn’t want to see this little guy on the streets. Now our second oldest welcomed him in with open arms. They did everything together they played together the ate together and the went outside together. We started to notice as the youngest began to get older that they started playing with one another a little to ruff and we would stop them from playing so ruff. Than we noticed that they started becoming aggressive towards one another with stares and body language. Than one day I get a call at work and they are telling me that my second oldest and my youngest got into a fight and I said okay we are going to have to deal with the situation at hand and we did we changed up their routines a little no more play fighting and longer outside time for exercise. Things went back to Normal soon and than all of a sudden boom another fight and another and another. Until now we have to cage them in separate rooms and walk them at different times. We have been fighting with this decision for weeks now whether we should surrender the youngest and we have finally decided that it would be best to surrender the youngest because he would have a better chance starting over with a new family since we have only had him a short while and we have had our oldest for 3 years going on 4. We have never had these problems with our two oldest dogs and it has caused so much stress in the house that no one can sleep because we are worried that they are going to fight when wever leave the room. I am so heart broken that we have to do this but we want what’s best for both dogs to live a happy and stress free life without having to fight over who’s in charge of what. We love him and will miss him dearly but we don’t have a choice we don’t want anyone of them to get hurt or anyone of the kids to get hurt trying to break the fights up.

  • Judith

    I rescued a beagle mixed corgi on 10/12/2016, I loved her the minute I saw her. Currently I work a full time job and am a single mother. She is a very hyper active dog, and part of it i think is because she doesn’t get as much play time as she needs. I don’t have the best yard for her to play in. Her potty training is okay, although I sometimes find pee/poop around the house. Most weekends I work 12 hour shifts back to back so I don’t know why I thought getting a dog was a good idea. I feel awful but I know she can be happier in a better home. I have friends who would love to have her, I feel like complete trash for this.

    • Lisa

      I’m feeling exactly the same right now! I’m a single mum and starting a new job next month of 12 hour shift days and nights. I have a beautiful cockerpoo who is 5 months now! I love her dearly but have no help or support and can’t afford to pay a dog walker a couple times a day. I am beside myself as I don’t want to give her up but feel I have no choice .

      • Lou

        I’m in the same boat as you – just curious what you are deciding to do with your dog? … I really don’t know what to do with mine, and it’s breaking my heart.

  • Carrie

    We rescued a dog over two years and considering surrender him for the following reasons.
    High anxiety, we cant take him on road trips because he cries or destroys cars and we love road trips. He is highly allergic to bees and we live next to bee keepers. 2 affalatic emergencies and thousands of dollars. The stress of bee season makes me ill, not sure how to manage it. I worry our dog wont adjust to a new home. Feedback would be awesome.

    • Judith

      Do you have any family/friends that might want her? when I gave my dog away I let my friends take her for a few days to see how she would do and she ended up being fine so I knew she wouldn’t have any problems

  • Carol

    My husband and i got a puppy french bull dog on 10/31/16. we got the puppy because my husband and my daughter wanted the puppy so bad. I was excited to welcome the dog into our lives as my husband and I are having difficulty having more children, I figured a dog would be Ok in the mean time while we try. The dog is a good dog but he is very stubborn , it has been one thing after the other with him . When we first got him he would constantly eat his poop. This was the first time for me having a dog so this was the most disgusting thing i have ever seen. After this it was a struggle to walk him , He refused to walk outside and it took us about 2 or 3 weeks to get him to walk outside. The next part was the constant pooping all over the house and in his crate ( yes i cleaned everything with a special solution to take the away the smell and he still did it) well we managed to finally get him to do his business outside. But he still randomly pees in his crate and he has basically destroyed a wooden end table i have in my home. I have sprayed everything on it but he still continues. I know all the things im complaining about may be typical dog behavior but I really didnt expect it so now i hate the dog. He stresses me out, I have to wake up to walk him and feed him 30 minutes before i used to wake up and I know by now you are thinking im selfish but he is causing me so much stress to the point where i dont even want to go home after work. My husband gave me the OK to re home him but I feel guilty re homing him because my daughter and my husband love him.

    • Christine

      I think you should rehome him – a dog is meant to bring you joy and be a positive thing. Not something to make your life worse and to add stress – that is crazy! Let him be rehomed – everyone will be happier, even the dog when he is somewhere more suitable. It is the best thing – then you get your home and sanity back!

      • Rianna

        Hi I recently got a Pomerian dog and he is 8 months old. He is not nutured. He pees and poops all the time in the house and my dad consantly has to beat him. We are on the verge of giving him up. I feel like its right but I just started bonding with him. Should we give him up or should we not? Thanks.

    • carol

      Update: Its been exactly 24 days since i posted this and since then i had 3 incidents in my home happen I put up the dog for sale since he was $4,000 to begin with i figured we would get some money back but still keeping in mind that we wanted him to have a good home. we screened possible buyers and even though we had 2 good ones we still decided to give this dog more and more chances. We couldn’t let go. But yesterday something happened that I couldnt get over. My husband stepped away to make some coffee and have breakfast for about 20 minutes in our kitchen. The dog would usually be ok if he had some toys around he would chew on his toys but yesterday he decided to chew up a brand new $400 storage bench we had purchased for our bedroom. The level of damage he did to this piece of furniture worried me. He completely destroyed one side of the bench to the point were its irreparable. When I got home and saw the damage he did I immediately took him to the place we purchased him from. I dont know if this is something common with puppies but the level of destruction worried me. It worried me about the damage he could do if one day he bit my daughter or even my husband or myself. I dont feel bad about giving him away .. and i feel like it was an experience and last night i slept an entire night in a long time.

      • Michele

        I am in the same kind of boat your are. We purchase a pomeranian/chihuaha mix about 3 months ago. She is now 4 months old and we cannot get her potty trained. She is pee pad trained for the most part. She chews everything she can get her hands on. We had a lab/husky mix we rescued and we had to put her down in October of 2016. She was 15 and best dog ever. Never heard of pee pads til this dog and the woman we got her from never said she was pee pad trained. I just assumed all dogs could train to go outside. We love her but we have a lot of sports so she is kennelled alot during the week and we feel really bad. How do you decide to give them up? I breaks my heart to think about it but I don’t want to doggie liter train a dog inside the house. What do I do? Any help on making a decision would be greatly appreciated.

    • deb

      I agree with the other replier. I’m going through this. My puppy has brought me terror and sadness. The only good parts are the constant companionship and the going to the park. But I could have done that with an adult. True, I won’t get to raise an adult, but my sanity is more important.

  • Shon Lumbard

    Thank you for talking about how difficult it is to give your dog away. Rehoming a pet is a hard decision but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

  • Taylor

    So here’s my story. I’ve reached rock bottom in my life. Mentally and financially. I’m struggling to pay bills to the point where I may have to up and leave the city where I am currently living. In so close to becoming homeless and I’m okay living with this fact. But not okay with involving my very best friend. I have a 6 year old small dog who was a family dog that I took when I moved out. I’m 21 years old and have zero family to fall back on so it’s not possible for me to give family my dog. I bawl my eyes out every time I think and prepare myself of the idea of giving away my baby. I know that I need to do what’s best for him but I can’t part with the fact that he’s my sun, joy, and love of my life. He provides me so much comfort and joy in life and I’m not sure what to do or if I can make it in life with him. Would love some feedback on this please! Feel free to ask any questions.

    • Christine

      I genuinely do not think you should give your dog up … you have bonded and you will find a way. Many homeless people have dogs and the dogs seem perfectly content with that type of lifestyle.

      I am all for rehoming dogs where there is clearly no connection and both sides cannot bond and are unhappy with the current situation but this is not your case. Keep the dog – find a way. Good luck too with getting back on your feet!

  • Christine

    All these people who love their dog!

    I don’t – I neither like him nor love him. He is a very unpleasant, loutish, bullying, untrustworthy dog.

    He is nine years old. I took him as a favour from a friend, who needed to rehome him.

    She failed to inform me that he is a bully. That he is entirely unaffectionate. That he is nothing like a dog. You would get more emotional feedback from a parrot or a goldfish.

    He is cold, untrusting, demanding. He likes his food and his walks and he is aware I supply those, which means he just about tolerates me but he probably hates me.

    We walk daily but at three or so but if it gets to three fifteen, he barks and barks with impatience. He never wants to be stroked, to be touched, to be called, to play, to interact. He likes his food and his walk – that’s it.

    He is a depressive – and I have to let him go, he sucks all the joy out of the air. I have had him nine months and it has not improved one iota.

    I understand dogs have personalities but this one is appalling – no wonder she wanted to be rid of this dog.

    He is a rude, obnoxious, awful dog. The thought of two to three more years (he is a big breed) is beyond me. He has to go — and I just pity the next poor soul who gets him. He is an awful dog. If he had been the first dog I owned, I would have been put off for LIFE.

    I suddenly understand those people, who say they hate dogs/animals —- they don’t realise most dogs are not like this!

    I will look into shelters soon.

    I don’t feel guilty at all because he will not miss me one iota either. He may miss the long walks, the comfy bed, the warm radiators, the good food and the regular grooming (only bit of physical contact he enjoys/accepts) but he won’t miss me … and if someone else supplies him with the same level of care, he won’t think twice about me ever again – that’s for sure.

    His old owner came here about three months in – and he just sniffed and went back to his bed. He didn’t care about her. He doesn’t care about me. He is indifferent to all humans – excepting ensuring he gets food and walks.

    He is a really horrible dog and doesn’t deserve the honorable title of “dog”.

    • Christine

      I want to update – at the point of absolutely giving up and looking for a new home for my dog, the situation changed.

      I can’t understand why – and it is still far from ideal – but my dog just started responding a little more to me. Maybe he sensed my utter frustration but he started to listen, to engage just a little. Now if I call him, he responds (not all the time but most); he looks back to see where I am on walks; he gets up to greet me positively if I have been out; he doesn’t yet come over for strokes but seems now to enjoy a head rub if I go over and give it to him.

      He is still a frustrating dog but it feels like he, too, is now wanting to make some effort.

      He does very occasionally look me in the eye with a head rub.

      These are all very small things but it has made a difference… I don’t know what was the trigger for this start to change. He is still nothing like my two previous dogs (who were completely loving!) and he is still quite hard work but as he starts to be less surly and depressed it has improved the general atmosphere from desperate to bearable.

      So, I think I will hang in there for the moment although he is not a joyful dog and is more work than pleasure.

      • deb

        This may sound corny but think about unloving people – they probably had a bad life and it isn’t their fault. That dog might have had a hard life. We don’t know. I’m so glad you tried to stick it out. I think you realize, deep down, that probably someone else might not be as understanding with him and he’d be treated coldly in return, which wouldn’t help.

  • Corrie

    Laurie your words about separating emotion from doing what’s right and in the best interest and safety of everyone validated my feelings about the gut wrenching decision about rehoming my beloved adopted 9 year old jack Russell which we’ve had for 6 years. Thank you for all the others who have written comments. It’s hard to talk to anyone about this if you’ve never gone through it. I’m desperately trying to find a new home before going to the humane society. I cry everyday. Thank you for helping me understand what I’m going through.
    Corrie

  • Kay

    We are in the process of rehoming our dog. She is a 7 year old Staffordshire Terrior whom I’ve had for nearly 5 years. We love her to pieces, but she and my 3 year old lab got in an awful fight last week. The lab ended up needing staples and a drainage tube in his neck. I thought my girl dog was going to kill the boy. My husband and I tried everything we could to separate them, but she was just too strong. I felt so helpless and like I was watching her kill our boy dog. We discovered that the dogs were likely fighting over a mouse in the yard. She’s never shown any aggression aside from this instance, but we have a toddler and a baby on the way and it just makes me afraid for them and my other dog. She is going back to her former foster mom tomorrow. We are heartbroken and keep feeling like we’re making the wrong decision. But I think for the safety of our family, we have to. Thanks for listening. It’s a hard decision to have to make.

  • Connie

    I moved in with a boyfriend 2 years ago. I took mydog i had for 8 years. He already had 3 dogs and lots of space for dogs. He and my dog bounded quickly even well were just dating. Now after 4 years total but 2 of those years my dog lived with us we broke up. I could not afford place that would take dogs. So my ex who loves animals and my dog agreed to keep him. Its been 3 monts and i visited once and my dog seemed ok and when i left he was ok. I miss him so much should i visit but wont that just bring bad feels or confusion for the dog. I just want to do what is best for my dog.

  • Rachel

    I am currently debating on re-homing my dog, but only if I can find someone who I know will provide him with a spoiled life as good as or better than the job I have done. I’m a senior in an art-college and a part-time barista, my dog is about 8 months old. I found him 4 months ago and no one claimed him so I decided to try to keep him. I love my dog so much and he makes me very happy… but he makes my anxiety sky-rocket and I am so broke since I found him. People always talk about how pets reduce anxiety and depression, how they de-stress you, but I find myself constantly worrying and fretting over him and feeling awful if I leave him by himself for more than 4 hours. Then I have social anxiety and I need my own time to be alone. Before my dog, it was as simple as going to my apartment and being a hermit for a day or so. Now, my sanctuary for isolation has a needy, attention-seeking puppy and I’m all he has. I pay to take him to a doggy day care while I’m at work, but it costs so much that I need to pick up more work shifts which causes me to take him to daycare more. It’s a vicious cycle and I’m exhausted. It’s not like he’s a problem-child of a puppy or high maintenance, it’s just that my lifestyle isn’t as pet-friendly as I thought. I thought that if I wanted to keep him bad enough then I could make it work despite the odds. The odds are just more to handle than I expected. This weekend I am meeting with a friend of mine who has another dog, a cat, lives in a house, and has a steady boyfriend and job! Fingers crossed that she is interested in my dog because I’m not sure if I can keep up much longer, but I also don’t want to give him to just anyone. My friends are judging me and making me feel awful for considering this as if I’m selfish. Meanwhile my mom just wants me to dump him at a shelter. I don’t want to do either! I just want him to have a spoiled, happy life and I want to be able to pursue others things I had intended on before finding him such as grad school and moving across country. If my friend doesn’t want him the I don’t know… I’ll probably just keep him, but it won’t be because I think that’s best, just that I don’t know who else that I would trust to take him for me besides this one friend. Hoping for the best, but emotionally feeling terrible

    • Ruvi

      I totally feel for you Rachel.I am in your situation.I too thought that bringing a dog to my life would be de-stressing, but I found myself worrying over my puppy all day long, what is she doing now, did she eat, did she have an accident in the house or in her crate?
      I also had to wipe her every time she went pee or poop, because I am a germ freak.
      When I ask my kids, 14 & 21 y, to look after her they say ok but then each of them is involved in his cellphone much more than to keep an eye on her. In the end I could not cope. She came to me 8 weeks old and at 5 months I gave her to a friend of mine.She lives in a house with backyard and has 3 other dogs.My heart feels broken since then . I can’t forget her look to me while my friend was carrying her. It really hurts soo much.

  • Erinn

    We have had our chiweenie, Charlie, for 5 years. He is adorable. He never chews, my family loves him… but he SCREAMS. I don’t just mean he howl. I mean he SCREAMS. I have gotten evicted from a house due to the HOH receiving too many complaints and the police have come to my new house twice in the last year. We have tried trainers, shock collars, positive reinforcement, medication, everything recommended to us. We even considered snipping his vocal cords, but the vet said that wouldn’t stop the screaming.
    I am rehoming him on Sunday. I love this dog as another living creature, but I do not like him. His incessant screaming (when I’m in the shower, when I’m hugging my wife, when he goes outside to potty) has made me really resent him. Sometimes he stares at me and screams for up to 2 minutes. That’s a long time to scream. Now, he’s taken to marking all over the house suddenly, after 5 years. On my birthday, he peed on 2 guests. He’s bitten 3 people unprovoked. My neighbors hate me because of the noise from my house and yard.

    I feel guilty, but I am looking forward to the relief of no longer being screamed at after 5 whole years. WE TRIED.

    • Shayla

      We have a puppy who is very very very hyper and needs way more attention than we can give her. I love her to death but I feel bad and upset about giving her away. She is probably about 5 or 6 months old and she’s a hunting dog also and we don’t have time to let her play and go hunt and we live near the main highway and cars come by so I am worried every time she is let off of her runner that she will get hit. I guess I need some people to help me know it’s the right decision and we also have another one a little older than her and two puppies

  • Laurie Post author

    It’s such a difficult decision, Megan! And I can tell that your heart is in the right place. You want to help this dog, you want to give him a home…but he’s a holy terror. I get it.

    Is it possible to give him some time to settle in, before you decide if you should give him away?

  • Megan

    Hi, I have recently taken in a 5 month old puppy along side a dog I already have, I’ve always been very set in the fact that I can help and I won’t give up on a dog, i picked him up 2 days ago and he had chewed and scratched my door, pees and pops everywhere and is like a cannon ball running around, I took him in as someone was getting rid of him and felt sorry for him in the fact everyone was passing him from pillar to post, I can tell he is suffering from stress on where he is gunna go next, but I’m not sure if keeping him and hoping he improves is the right thing as then he’s got attached to a new family and if he doesn’t improve he’s being shipped around again, I really want to help him, but I’m just not sure wether my home is the right home for him

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Heather,

    I hear your pain: if you keep your dog and don’t have time for her because of your new business (which is so exciting – congratulations on starting it, by the way!), then you will cause her and you more problems in the long run.

    But giving your dog away, especially if she’s never been any trouble, is traumatic – especially since you’re going through a divorce. That’s alot of grief and loss to process at once, isn’t it?

    I can’t tell you if you should give your dog away, but I encourage you to listen to your heart. Don’t listen to people who give advice, because they don’t truly know what’s best for you. Only you know what’s best, even if you feel confused and scared! Of course you’re confused and scared; you’re facing huge changes in your life. Feeling afraid and confused is normal, but not a reason to back away from whatever challenges you’re facing.

    Questions for you:

    Have you considered “co-parenting” your dog with your ex-husband? eg, one week at your place, one at his. I know a divorced couple who does this, and it works for them.

    What is your heart telling you to do? Listen to your intuition.

    Is it possible to take “custody” of your dog on a trial basis? Would your husband be willing to take her in six months (or even one month) if you need to rehome her?

    What is your heart telling you to do? I’m asking this again on purpose, because I believe you know exactly what you want and need to do. Consider other people’s advice, but remember that you are the expert on you, your life, and your dog. You are smart, and you know what you need. Sure, you’ll make mistakes and you may even make a really bad wrong decision….but you’ll handle it. You’re growing and learning, and your mistakes are fixable. They’re also extremely valuable because they teach you about life, people, and yourself.

    Take a deep breath. Listen to that still small wise voice in your spirit, and do what you need to do.

    xo
    Laurie

  • Heather

    I have a dalmatian dog for the last 3 years and I’ve never had any problem raising her. I’m going through a divorce right now and my ex wants to keep her. My heart says to take her, but some people I’m working with think since I’m trying to start a business of my own I may not have time for her. I think I will, but this advice came from a person who had to give their dog up because she was starting her own business several years ago. So she was speaking from experience. What I don’t want to happen is for me to keep my pup and realize down the road I made the wrong decision and have to give her to a home, rather then keep her at my exs now. However on the flip side if I don’t take her now and I realize I could have taken care of her and started my business I will always regret it. Any advice?

  • Sarah

    I’m in process of having to rehome my dog who is by the way “the best dog ever” because I literally have no choice and it’s breaking my heart. Thank you for sharing your experience on how to get over rehoming a dog.

  • Henry

    Thank you so very much for this article, it seemed like it came around exactly when i needed it. I recently adoped my puppy who is a purebred Corgi from a Breeder. i had done research for years and finally chose a excellent breeder who matched the puppies temperament to my living situation. I live in the middle of a busy city in a Condo and on the 22nd floor. As you can imagine potty training indoors was ideal but i wanted to make sure he is able to go outside as well. Surprisingly Potty training is going really well and his teething phase has kicked up. I also work as a project manager for a multinational company which requires me to work at various hours. I’ve hired dog sitters when i’m not home.

    My biggest issue is my emotional attachment to my puppy. He is possibly the cutest thing on the planet (every person who runs into him says that) yet all i feel is resentment and anger due to the complete overhaul to my life . I took 2 weeks off to just bond with him and get to know him and in that time i’ve become unhappy and worse complete detachment to the puppy. Like your article said, many people gave me advice and even my best friend says that these are just growing pains and things will get better in a year or so. I don’t know if i can handle this for another day at this point. The Breeder has been kind to sign a contract with me where she’ll take the puppy back (with a full refund in a month or half refund within 6 months). At this point i kind of feel like a failure. I look at my puppy and i feel resentment rather than excitement and happiness. The barking, the chewing, the biting and most of all the constant care of a puppy, i’m just overwhelmed. I’m able to manage large complicated projects for work but i can’t seem to handle a ball of fluff and cuteness. Most of all the guilt, feeling of failure and the emotional attachment that i can’t seem to connect to is what gets me the most.

    I am still figuring out if i should keep him or not so i’ve given myself another week to see how things go. Thank you for this article as it’s nice to know others have gone through the same thing. As someone who’s single and going through the motions alone, it does feel great to chat about this and to know there’s others out there.

    • Sheila

      With regards to the original story. What size did she think the dog was going to be for god’s sake, a labrador and German shepherd mix will be huge, and need a lot of entertaining, he will be like a small child, always wanting attention like so many dogs need. When you get a dog it is for life. I have massive German Shepherd dog, yes he is needy, yes he does need a lot of walks and entertaining, but the love and devotion he gives me outweighs anything else. We chose him, he didn’t choose us so to give a dog away after a few weeks, months, years is terrible and I make no wonder they are feeling guilty. They are not fit to have a dog. I am in my mid 70’s and it is hard on my own as my husband died recently at a time when our dog was very young and still destroying the house, but there is no way on this earth I would part with him. He gives me something to get up in the morning for. When I cry for the loss of my husband, he knows and comes and puts his head on my knee, he is my whole world and I am his.

    • Brittany

      I’m right there with you! I rescued an 8 year old Rat Terrier 3 weeks ago and I have no emotional attachment once so ever. All I see is regret and anger. He’s the sweetest pup but I clearly was not ready for all the challenges of rescuing such an older dog or dog in general.

      I originally adopted him with hopes of using him as a therapy dog for the older adults I work for. However, whenever I take him in, he’s shy and has accidents in the facility. I have stopped taking him and he has been so much better but I feel horrible for leaving him in the crate all day while I’m at work. It’s not fair to him but I haven’t developed that trust that he won’t have accidents.

      I live in a 1 bedroom apt. and he is taking over. He sheds like all hell and whines all the time. I’ve never been allergic to dogs but now I can’t stop sneezing and coughing whenever I’m home. I’m constantly vacuuming floors and couches and spraying deodorizers.

      I’ve had serious thoughts of re-homing him but whenever I look at his big brown eyes I change my mind. Since the 1st week I got him however, his behavior has completely changed to the point I used the behavior modification team through the rescue. While listening to their advice, all I heard was money doing down the drain. I knew dogs were expensive but wow!

      I feel like I’m just complaining but this is a bigger, more time consuming challenge that I’m not sure I’m ready for. They say it takes at least 3 months for your dog to get comfortable but I’m not sure I can deal that much longer. I feel like such a failure because my older adults have become attached and so has my mom but I’m overwhelmed and stressing myself out over what to do. I feel so guilty because of the rough life he’s already had but I feel like there is a much better match for him that will care for and love him better than I can. I’m so glad I came across this article and comment so I know I’m not alone! It feels so good knowing there are others feeling what I am.

      • Paroma C.

        Hi Brittany,
        The housetraining takes a lot of time and I don’t envy you your position. It’s a difficult situation but I had one piece of advice about the shedding. Bathe the dog once a week and use a brush (like the FURminator for instance) to groom him before leaving for work. Just take two minutes and run it all over his body. You’ll come back to a shedding-free home. That’ll REALLY help with your allergies. It’s the dander. not the dog. Hopefully, that’ll take one reason for your stress out.

    • Paroma C.

      Hey Henry,
      Your story reminded me of how I felt about my lab mix puppy when I brought him home four years ago. He was just seven weeks old but had already been rehomed twice. Not because of anything he’d done. The first people to buy him through (an unscrupulous) vet, got him as a surprise for their 9 year old girl who had met her friend’s pup and asked for one of her own. Within a week the girl was throwing howling tantrums at any attention the puppy got and so my kid was kept shut in a room alone and without human interactions. The second home he went to belonged to a friend of this family and they were a young couple with a year old child. The demands of caring for a baby was too much for them and the pup was again kept shut (in the bathroom this time) because they were told that this was an okay thing to do. You can imagine the kind of separation anxiety this dog had by the time I heard about his situation and bought him off the family (they wanted to recoup their expenses). I spent the first six months with a puppy who didn’t notice me. He stayed close to me, slept by my desk and my bed, ran after a ball if I threw it, ate the food I put in front of him, but didn’t seem to care about me at all. I was a first time dog owner. I had done my research. I pretty much knew this was abnormal (especially the heart wrenching screams whenever I had to go out and leave him in the house), and I was trying to resign myself to the fact that I’ll have to live with a dog who doesn’t love me for the rest of his life. And of course, when you’re faced with such an obvious lack of affection, you can’t connect with the animal yourself. I slowly found myself becoming very detached. I followed positive training methods, cleaned up accidents without comment, got through torn pillows, clothes, chewed up shoes, etc. without complaint. But I had moments when I hated my dog.
      Here’s the thing though. I didn’t hate him. I just couldn’t connect with him. What helped us were these walks we would go on. Not the daily ones on crowded pavements, but ones I took him on every few days in a quieter, greener place. I would teach him tricks there, play ball, and run around with him. I didn’t even notice that he was thawing.
      Then I went on a trip and left him in a creche for two weeks. It was a break from work as well as the work of raising a dog. But towards the end of the trip I began missing him a lot. And then I got back to pick him up and he went nuts when he saw me. I could have cried. Dogs always show excitement when people come back. Mine did too, but there was no real affection behind it before. But this time he was completely different. He’d thought I’d left him. He was so happy to see me his body didn’t stop quivering for hours. He stuck to my side for days afterwards. And slowly but surely, we bonded. I can honestly tell you that I didn’t love my dog for those first six months. Re-homing isn’t an option in my country so I never considered it. But I was resigned not happy about my dog. I felt guilty, so guilty, for not loving him after the abuse he’d suffered before. I thought he didn’t love me because I didn’t care. But we just hadn’t connected.
      So that’s my story. It’s possible that your dog can have a better home out there. I can only advice that if you choose to give him up, don’t give him to a shelter. Contact a rescue group and have them start looking for a home for him. If it’s possible, check to be sure that the new home is everything he deserves.
      Best of luck.

    • deb

      Wow I could have written your post. We are a select few who understand that having a puppy really hurts the brain after a while – the constant care, the accidents, the this, the that. We both probably wanted a dog to raise, who was not abused by a previous owner, etc. The reality is, we both should have adopted calm, house trained, adults. Why did we do this to ourselves?

  • Chelsey

    Thank you so much for this article. My husband and I just rehomed the sweetest little puppy and I was a wreck about it. We have a dog he’s almost two, he’s a Shiba cross of some kind. I adore him to pieces, I have put in so much time and effort into training him and he is doing incredibly well.

    My husband and I have always wanted a second dog and planned on getting one but didn’t have a definite time that we wanted to do that. We found out in June that we were pregnant and we were very excited only to find out 4 weeks later that the baby was in my fallopian tub causing us to have to terminate the pregnancy, had the baby continued to grow I would have been killed. We were devastated. A few weeks later we started talking about getting another dog, I have all this love to give and I just wanted to share it with another puppy, so we started looking.

    Fast forward a few weeks, we found an older,man well fed, black lab female wondering near a busy road by our house. We took her to the vet to see if she was chipped, which she was. The owners however never claimed her. We considered taking her in but she wanted nothing to do with our current dog. One of the Vet Techs ended up adopting her and to our surprise she wasn’t well fed she was pregnant. They offered us one of the puppies once they were ready and we said we would love one.

    A few weeks later we were aproved for a house and our offer was excepted. We were so excited. That brings us to now. So the puppy was ready to leave it’s mom last Friday (we move this Friday). We thought that’s perfect we will have some time off for the move to spend with him to get him acclimated. So we pick the cute little guy up thinking how lucky we are the stars aligned.

    We get him home and that night I break out in hives up and down my arms and all over my neck and chest. I think maybe the puppy got into something, so we bath him and then bam couple hours later hives again. I start thinking “I have a dog, I can’t be allergic to dogs” then I start researching and sure enough you can have a reaction to some and not others. I start trying to figure out how we are going to manage this. I’m on the allergy shot how is this still happening. My husband went back and forth all weekend I cried and cried before deciding that I couldnt have this sweetheart in our house and not be able to hold and touch him.

    We found him a home yesterday with a family that lives on 20 acres in the middle of nowhere. Their dogs run free and sleep in heated kennels in their garage. They wanted a dog that would go camping and horseback riding with them. She was sweet enough to let me come to their house and meet them to make sure her other dogs got along well with him before they decided to take him. I was still secretly hoping they wouldn’t so we could keep him. It was the hardest decision to chose to give him up. I left her my number incase it didn’t work out and we told her we would come and get him in a heart beat if she decided she didn’t want him.

    I just feel so guilty, and selfish. I could have taken pills for the next 15 years I keep thinking but then again maybe he is in a better home for him now. I miss him which is crazy because I only had him a few days. My dog misses him and so does my husband. I just keep wondering if we did the right thing. Now, I feel like I never deserve to get another dog again.

  • Angela Faulk

    In April this year I had to put our best dog ever down due to illness. She was a 9 year old Australian Shepherd and was awesome and so loved. I was so devastated hat I knew right away I needed to get another one. I convinced my husband and we had a new 8 week old Aussie puppy about a month later. I had forgotten how much work a puppy is. I know about the breed needing lots of exercise and activities but I guess we had gotten used to our older one who didn’t really need that amymore. I had visions of being very active with the new puppy and taking her everywhere but it just hasn’t happened that way. My job is very unpredictable which poses some issues. Shortly after we got the puppy she came down with Parvo. We ended up getting her through this at home (although I did think about giving her back to the breeder at that point because I was already starting to second guess my decision for getting a puppy). She is now 7.5 months old and I am struggling with what to do. I love her and get so sad when I think about rehoming her but I feel like she would be better off somewhere else. My two boys 17 & 15 don’t really like her. My 17 year old is nice and tolerates her but my15 year old is actually kind’ve mean to her and does not like her(not abusive) just doesn’t treat her right. I’m afraid this will cause her to be aggressive in the future. My 12 year old daughter likes her but doesn’t really interact with her in the best way either. No one helps me with training her or anything else. She is still not potty trained and it’s bad. She is ruining my house. I tried puppy obedience class but just couldn’t commit to it. She pesters my cats like crazy and are old little dog doesn’t like her when all she wants to do is play with him. I feel so guilty when I think about finding her a new home but I feel like someone else might be able to give her the attention she needs. I am a dog person and can’t imagine it having one. I guess I’m just at a point in my life where I need an older dog. When I think of this I tell myself she will settle down on a couple years but…she might not. I’m also afraid if I get rid of her my husband l say that’s it and I wouldn’t want to never be able to get another dog. So frustrated and don’t know what to do. If I rehomed her I would be so worried about her and feel so guilty but am just done with everything. She’s causing so much stress in my family.

  • Laurie

    Dear MJ,

    I totally get where you’re coming from – adopting and then adapting a new puppy to a new home is a big challenge, whether you have a Siberian Husky or a mini poodle! Training a new dog is time-consuming, and requires so much consistency and discipline on the owner’s part.

    It’s not my place to tell you what you should do. I’m sorry, but I had a hard enough time deciding to give my dog away! I couldn’t make that decision again, not for me or you or anyone.

    If I were you, I would talk to other dog owners who have Siberian Huskies. I know a woman who has 2 Huskies, and they live in a regular house. They don’t need lots of space to run. I would also talk to the place I adopted the dog from, and/or a veterinarian who has experience with Huskies. And finally, I would hire a dog trainer to come to my home and help me train my new dog.

    And, remember that both decisions (to give your dog away or to stick it out all the way through) will require sacrifice and pain! I’m still sad about giving my dog away, and that was four years ago. I’ll never fully get over it, and I’ll always wonder if I made a mistake. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve kept her for sure.

    Talk to your mom. Talk to other Husky dog owners, and to a dog trainer. Let us know how it goes.

    Blessings as you make this decision! Take a deep breath, and know that you will make the right choice for you.

    – Laurie

  • MJ

    Hi,

    I recently got a Siberian Husky of four months old. I did my researches prior adopting her and thought I could handle it, but now I’m doubting that I can. I take her out at least three times a day for one-hour-walks, and she runs in our backyard during the day. I’m just worried it isn’t enough for her.

    I cannot always be at home with her, and she howls and barks and nibs at the crate’s bars for hours whenever I leave her there – whether be when I’m going or if it’s time to sleep.

    I live with my mother, and she’s talked to people after I adopted the dog, and she was told that it wasn’t a good match, that those dogs needed to be on a land where they could run and run and run and run, and that I could never provide with enough exercise.

    I do not want to give her up because I adore her, and she’s just perfect whenever she’s inside the house – minus when she pees inside from time to time, she’s yet to learn that – and I keep thinking I could meet her needs, but then I doubt again. What do you think I should do? I haven’t had her for long, but I’m afraid to just love her more and not be able to do what’s right then.

    I don’t want to take her back to the shelter where I got her, but if it’s the best thing for her, I don’t want her to be too attached to me either. So it’ll be easier if she has to go. (Thinking about it, she probably will be the one to recover the quickest.)

    Any thoughts, advice on the situation?

  • Kateland

    This article, and the letter written by Tiffy have helped me with my current grief over re-homing my sweet Bronson just 3 days ago. We re-homed him because this past December he started getting into fights with my other male dog. The fights seemed dominance related, as there were no other reasons present for fighting like toys or food. Our other dog Dempsey was with us before Bronson, and was about 2 1/2 when we brought Bronson home when he was 8 weeks old. Bronson was 2 1/2 when he was re-homed. Why the fights started between two dogs who seemingly enjoyed each others company for so long, I’ll never know. The fights started happening more often, and happened when I was home alone with my 2 year old daughter, before my husband was home from work. I could hardly ever pull them apart on my own, (each dog weighed over 60 lbs) and even when I did I was afraid of being hurt in the process, or worse, my daughter. We decided to separate the dogs after one fight led to a severe puncture wound which we thought would require stitches. The fights always resulted in injuries and blood drawn, but were easy to care for at home. The dogs were kept separated up until Bronson was re-homed. They were always taken outside separately, and rotated so that no dog was ever alone for too long and could still spend time with the family. We managed this for about 6 months. It breaks my heart, but I know that Bronson deserved a better life. We could not afford training, but there was no guarantee that the dogs would never fight again, and having a young daughter, and hoping to have more kids in the future, it was not something I could stress over or continue to manage for years to come. He went to a lovely family where he will be the only dog, and will get all of the love and attention he deserves.

  • Laurie

    Thank you for being here Ellie, and sharing what you’re going through. It’s difficult to deal with anxiety and depression, and take care of a new puppy at the same time! It sounds like your parents aren’t keen on the idea of giving your dog away…and maybe they think that more time may help you bond with the dog.

    May you find peace and joy in your heart and spirit. I’ll keep you in my prayers, for healing and encouragement, inspiration and strength. May you be blessed with the peace that surpasses all understanding, and may you find hope and joy at home – with or without your dog.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Ellie

    I have adopted recently a puppy pug w/ 2 months old to help with my problems of depression and anxiety. But I’m feeling that it’s not helping at all. My problems with anxiety seems to be worsening and I just don’t feel attached at all, and I’m feeling a monster for it. I don’t know what to do becuse my parents are already attached to her, but I’m the one who spends all the day with her, and I’m feeling emotionally drained even if I spend the entire day home. And I know that the little one don’t deserve my cooldness, I really wanted to give her all the love she deserves, but with the problems thay I’m passing through I think that for now it’s impossible

  • Laurie Post author

    Deciding whether or not to give your dog away is extremely difficult, as you are realizing! I think the best person to help you decide is someone who knows you personally, and can help you talk through the pros and cons until you reach a final decision.

    Are you sure you haven’t already made a final decision? The problem with difficult decisions is that there is never a “good” place to be. There’s the hard and painful choice of surrendering your dog, and there’s the difficult and sacrificial choice of committing yourself to caring for this dog.

    Neither choice is easy, which is why you’re having such a hard time deciding if you should give your dog away! And the pain doesn’t go away after the decision is made, unfortunately. I still feel bad about giving our dog away, and that was four years ago.

    Talk to a friend you trust, someone wise and impartial. I really think it’s important to make this decision with people who know you at least a little, people who can help you cope with the consequences (because you will grieve the decision to give your dog away!).

    I wish I had the right words or the best advice…but the truth is that this is one of those decisions only you can make. You need to wrestle with it until you come to a place of peace, and you need to remember that any decision will be painful. Unless, of course, you find a neighbor or friend who will adopt your dog and allow you to see him whenever you want!

    Let us know how you’re doing.

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  • Carisse

    I am currently in the process of thinking if I should give away our 4-month old havamalt (dog). I’ve been searching online for centers around Metro Vancouver (Surrey preferably) that could take him in. This dog has been with us for two months now. We love him so much. He’s so adorable, lovable, funny some times, my daughter’s daily playmate, and a family member. My daughter and I were so happy when we got him couple of months ago. I thought I would be a good owner back then. I thought I could spend time with him, take him for walks, play, socialize him with other dogs, and all stuff to make him a happy pup. But I am now realizing that I can’t be a good dog owner, so that is why I am in the process of making this decision on giving him away. My daughter who is 6 years old is not happy with it every time we talk about it. But to me, there’s another owner who is more responsible than I am, more loving, and where our puppy will feel more love and support, specially its maintenance. And also, I feel like I am lacking time now for myself and for my daughter since we had him. However, this thought of giving him up makes me feel bad, makes me think that I am a selfish human thinking only about myself, my own convenience. But at the same time, I want to be happy too which I don’t think is bad. I hope someone could help me to come up with a final decision.

  • Conner

    Thank you, it helps a little to know that so many people have to do this. We have had our pup for about 2 months and he is almost a year and a half. He was a rescue and we just recently learned his past. Unfortunately he has attacked some family members, including myself, while being unprovoked. It is a heartbreak to make him leave because he loves us and our other dog. He just makes bad decisions (but don’t we all). We cannot afford training for him and we cannot afford him to attack someone else. He’s a lab and of course he is full of energy and we cannot take him on walks all day and play with him in the yard. 99% of the time he is the happiest, cutest, and most playful pup we have owned, but that 1% makes him impossible to keep. I pretty much need to just clear my mind and get this off my chest. We really love him even after everything and I do wish that we didn’t have to get rid of him. We all love you so much Brooks. I hope you find a home that can help you and make you the happiest you’ve ever been. I’m sorry we failed you and there will always be a gaping hole in all of our hearts. I hope I see you soon or on the other side with no hard feelings boy.

  • Nicole

    I’m so glad I read your article. I have just rehomed our Labrador x yesterday and am still typing this with a box of tissues. She was 2 1/2 years old and has been hard work since day one. As she grew she just had more energy than we could get out to expel. Our yard wasn’t big enough, we worked and could only get onto one walk a day – sometimes not even that. We tried doggy daycare but the expense wore us down. She looked so lonely and bored when looking out the window. I found it hard to bond with her because I had skin reactions every time she licked me or I touched wherever she had been. I was avoiding time with her because of that and avoiding areas of my home so I didn’t break out. I battled on medication for 18 months but finally made the hard decision to rehome her to a beautiful family who could give her so much more attention and interaction than we could and had a very large backyard. Day 2 is still proving difficult. I feel like I failed her. She loved my kids and we are now all distraught even though all the problems used to wear me down. I know I made the right decision for her. I guess just time is needed to move on.

  • Mae

    i don’t know what to do. I love my dog, I now I do. But we (my family) can’t handle him now. He’s been with us for 7 years and now we moved house. And he keeps on barking. First, I was patient because he does it back then. We just have to ‘shhh’ him and he’ll stop but now we can’t control. It’s been a month since we moved and at the first he was noisy, because it’s a new environment. But he eventually stopped. And now he’s uncontrollable barking starts again. It’s been a week. I don’t know anything else how to calm him. I think he wants attention and I spend some time with him but then he just won’t stop barking after. My parents said we should give him away and I’m actually considering it. But I don’t think I can. What if he stopped after another week. I’m also worried my neighbors will report him because I know he’s being a nuisance to them. I just don’t know what to think anymore. I wanna be with him until he’s old.

  • Chelsea

    Like so many others on commenting on this article, I feel as though I’m a terrible person. I have always been a dog person, I’ve owned many throughout my life. I’ve had my current dog for a year and a half now, and I’m constantly torn between loving him and completely resenting him. He’s a rescue, and he has boundless energy. On top of the constant exercise he needs, he’s incredibly reactive.

    At home, he’s picture perfect. He sleeps through the night, he’s never had an accident, he doesn’t chew things, he sleeps soundly through the day. But whenever we go outside, or to someone’s house, or to my office etc, he’s a totally different dog.

    He barks at everything. Birds, squirrels, bicycles, skateboards, the wind, other dogs, men in hats, pregnant women… everything. I can’t walk him down the street without him reacting to a dog walking a block away. I can’t take him to the dog park because he’s very unpredictable – sometimes he plays like a doll, other times he picks fights with big dogs and can be very aggressive.

    I’ve spent a year and a half trying to be patient in training him, but I’m at my wits end. I’ve tried multiple trainers and techniques, but it seems like nothing works. I feel miserable because everything I really enjoy doing – walking, hiking, going to the park, camping, socializing – I can’t do without immense stress. I spend my days inside watching Netflix because that’s the only time he behaves.

    My husband is great with him, and loves him very much. He works long hours, and we knew going in that the dog would be mostly my responsibility. I was okay with this. But I’m a very emotional person, and I can’t seem to brush off these stressful situations as easily as my husband can.

    Having had him so long makes it even harder, because admittedly I have become attached to the guy. He’s so loving, he’s so good in the house. I do love him, but I don’t feel like I can keep up with him. I feel like a terrible person for even considering what my life would be like without him. On one hand I think he might be happier and healthier with a family that could keep up with him, but on the other hand I don’t know if I could live with the decision of giving him away.

    I really wish I had someone to tell me what I should do! My previous mantra of “just bear with it, it’ll get better” hasn’t really yielded any results, and I’m constantly miserable. Most people aren’t miserable because of their dogs, right?

    • Kim

      Your not alone. I’m going through the samething. I just recently adopted a 1 year old border collie from a friend of a friend and as much as I love the dog she’s driving me crazy. Barks at everything, bit me and my daughter (not out of aggression we think she got scared), she annoys my 15 year old shiba Inu. I’m looking into training for her, but I’m extremely nervous for when people come to my house. She barks a lot and growls a alittle. I don’t want to give her back to her previous owner since I already got her spayed and 2 rounds of shots. So in another words in 3 weeks I spend about $700 on the dog. So if I give her back the previous just got free spay n shots. And I’m not a rich person to come up with that money wasn’t easy. I’m so confused

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Mony,

    It’s a terribly difficult decision to make, and nobody can tell you if you should give your dog away. This is something you need to wrestle with, and decide on your own. Why? Because if somebody tells you what to do, you may always regret listening to them.

    I’ve had to make this decision for my own dog, and I could never make it again for someone else and her dog.

    Take a deep breath, and reread what you wrote yesterday. Take time to think about all the points in this article…is giving your dog away the best decision for you?

  • Mony

    Hey there, I NEED HELP!

    So… right now I have this beautiful puppy ( Italian greyhound mixed Shiba Inu and her name is Boomba) with me but I have decided that I’ll be re-newing her to a good family some time around this month or at the end of December this year due to a tuff reason, One of them would be me retuning back to my country (not because she had an issue with her behaviour nor obedience. long story short she’s perfect!! very kind and beautiful) but because Im starting to get all very emotional and I kept crying literally everyday and I’m scared that If I let her go now I might not be able to feel ready, but then again, I’m scared that if I keep dragging the time longer, I might not be able to let her go and that would bring to a more serious issue later on, so…you reckon it would be best for me to give her away sooner or later? Please help me out! My brain is almost explode now and I can no longer think or listen to myself anymore!

  • DC

    I wanted to take some time to say that I used to be one of the people who viciously condemned others for rehoming dogs. I believed that the only option was to make it work, no matter what the cost. This is, until I had to rehome my pup after about a week.

    A little bit of background – I am a graduate student. As a high school and college student, I worked in shelters, kennels, and enjoyed the company of my family’s dogs. I love dogs more than most people and I think they can be a source of joy and happiness. I’m good with dogs, they have been a huge part of my childhood/young adult life and I thought at the age of 25 that I was ready to get my own. I fell in love with a little puppy at a foster event, and ended up adopting her. She was the sweetest little thing, so affectionate and smart.

    Prior to this adoption I had plans to wait two years until my schoolwork settled down and my schedule was more flexible. I was going to adopt an older dog, one who needed a home, who was crate trained, housebroken, and needed a companion to call their own. I knew that an older dog was right for me, but I ignored all of these plans when I adopted this puppy.

    I began to realize really quickly that my lifestyle is not suited for a puppy. I work very long hours and the pup had to be left alone for long periods of time. I began to feel very stressed and guilty for keeping this baby all by itself for most of the day. Daycare was out of the question since my funds are pretty low. She deserved better. So I called the foster home and arranged to return her so she had a chance for a better life with another family. One that can give her the attention and training she needs.

    I feel like a terrible dog lover and owner. I knew better and I became the type of person I used to curse about during all of those years working at a shelter. It is embarrassing to tell others where my puppy went and it is even harder to forgive myself for this extreme lack of judgement. I know she will go to a loving home and will be better off. She will grow up to be a wonderful dog in a more appropriate home. I wish her all of the best and I wish I was able to be that home for her.

    These past few days have been very hard. I have had people tell me that I have done the right thing for her and for me and I have had people tell me that I am making the wrong decision and that I will regret it. The truth is that I do regret it. I regret not informing myself and ignoring my gut feeling. I regret the naive attitude I had towards raising a puppy, when I knew that two years from now I would be in a better place with a less hectic schedule for an older dog, not a baby.

    Because of this experience I now believe that these matters are more complex than what some portray. All we can do is educate ourselves and take these decisions seriously. But we need to keep in mind that we are all human and make mistakes. How we respond to those mistake is what matters. I know now what I will be able to handle when I am ready for a dog. This experience will always weigh heavy in my heart; I will most likely feel the shame for the rest of my life.

    Thank you for writing this article. It’s a really hard position to be in, and the sadness that follows the decision is quite terrible. I still want a dog, but I will have to wait for a better time. For now, I will have to work on forgiving myself and counseling others who are considering a dog. They are absolutely wonderful, but finding the perfect one and making sure you can give it whatever it may need is paramount.

  • Christine

    I was very surprise that this type situation happens. I have adopted a Maltese about four years ago, his a great dog and very protecting over my kids and I. Two years after we planned on getting a friend from the humane society. That’s when we found her, she’s a husky/shepherd mix about four months old. She was small at the time, but after two years she became a big dog. She was loyal, not aggressive, very absolutely smart, sweet, great with kids, and she even helped my other dog follow directions and demands. Just a week ago, my husband was offered a job in the mainland far far away from Hawaii. She has problems in cars, the park, fire works, we couldn’t imagine what a flight would do to her. We knew with this move it was best to let her go and surrender. The cost, juggling two toddlers, and another dog it would be hard. The flight would drive her crazy. It take about a month for her to recover from New Years fire work or thunder storm weather. I cried all day when my hubby dropped her off. I know she will be okay there are many people here on the big island who loves dogs. It’s hard, but I’m trying to see it as a new chapter in life. Hope she has a owner who has a big yard for her to run free and happier. But since we’re still here, I will visit her until she is adopted?

  • Laurie

    Dear Ronnie,

    I really feel for you – it’s so hard to know what the right thing to do is! Giving away a dog is not easy, and the pain and guilt never goes away.

    Have you consulted another veterinarian? It might be worth getting a second opinion, and perhaps find different ways to help your dog digest his food properly. Trying every option is one way to decide if you should give your dog away. If you’ve tried everything, then maybe you need to take that drastic step.

    Is the pain of living with your dog – and finding a better solution for his health issues – worse than the pain of giving him away? Only you can make that decision. There is no right or wrong decision, there is only the best decision for your circumstances. You need to make the best decision for you, your husband, and your other dogs.

    What is your gut telling you? Once you get past the emotions of giving your dog away, what are your instincts saying? Try to set aside the emotional turmoil, and get to the cold hard facts. That may help you decide if you should give your dog away. Writing in a journal is one way to get past the emotional turmoil – or just grab a few pieces of paper and write everything you feel about your dog. Get it all out. Once all the emotions and anxiety and confusion is out on paper, you may be able to see what you need to do.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision.

    With prayers,
    Laurie

    • Ronnie Black

      Laurie thank you so much for writing back. My heart is telling me no you can’t live without him my mind is saying it’s best for both / all of us. I want him to have a happy life. I took him to 3 different vets like I said this has been going on for years. He is a very anxious nervous dog and acts like he will do anything to get my love and attention. Unlike my other dogs. My feeling is what kind of life is it for him to be locked up in a crate most of the day and night? We work he doesn’t have run of the house. Everyday I am cleaning up messes his poop is liquid sometimes so I’m constantly cleaning up a mess the little time he is out. He goes outside but doesn’t do #2. It is very stressful at my house with all this going on. I found a rescue place that will foster him until he finds his forever home. If he doesn’t get adopted he stays with them in their home. They are home 24/7 and have 6 other dogs they foster. They provide all medical needs and told me they are very careful when finding another home for him. I know I will miss him. I love him and want the best for him. I fear he will be depressed and not adapt to another owner or foster care person. He will have anxiety. I’ve been reading that dogs adapt well. I really just need someone to give me SOUND advice give it to me straight. Thank you please reply!!!!

  • Ronnie Black

    I am in serious need of advice. I have a 5 1/2 year old Maltipoo named Jingles. I love him so much and he is extremely attached to me. My husband and myself loved his ways so much we went out and got 2 more. We have an older lab/Shepard mixed and 3 maltipoo’s. When Jingles was about 2 years old he developed a problem of not being able to digest his food correctly. His #2 was like water- he got Dehydrated and lost weight. I took him to the vet they said his food need to be changed, we did that it didn’t solve the problem. The vet decided to put him on steroids after 1 year he gained a lot of weight and peed a lot and started peeing and marking different spots in the house. I took him back to the vet and told I was concerned with his weight and the side effects of the steroids. They put him on a different medicine. It helped but not 100%. So he keeps marking all over the house. I started putting belly wraps on him so he wont mess up the house now he does #2 in the house and its all over. He does go outside and I have potty pads but he goes everywhere. It’s causing daily arguments with me and my husband. He is kept in the crate the whole time we work and also sleeps in his crate. It breaks my heart he’s in the crate so much and the other dogs are not but I have no other choice. We clean up after him daily. So I found a recuse place will to foster him until they find a good home for him. He is such a sweet dog and I have a special bond with him. I want to do the right thing but really don’t know what the right thing is. PLEASE PLEASE HELP

  • Gill

    Hi Laurie, Gill here again ? my phone battery had nearly gone & so I had to cut short my message to you. I feel I missed relevant ‘stuff’ out of my previous message. Both my husband & elder daughter hav really ‘bonded’ with Barney & both are actually very, very fond of him. Id Even go as far as to say that they “love him”! I mentd re homing Barney to my husband (very tentatively) a short while bk & he was horrified & said that he was here now & altho he’d rather he wasn’t – he is – and he’s staying! So. as u can see. We all absolutely love him to bits. And I don’t really want him re- homed. I’ve even had people (friends) say to me that they’d report me to the RSPCA, (jokingly of course!) because I exercised him so much!!! Until just recently (poss may need cruciate surgery?) he’d been exercised twice – if not – 3 times, down on our local beach. He loved being off-lead & would run & run (& run) after us throwing his ball-catcher. Also, he loves to swim . Whenever the tide was in we’d take him down 4 a swim. But he needs restricted exercise just now & can only b exercised for approx 10mins – 3 times a day.
    This maybe why I’m feeling the way I am? As we’re used to be out a lot & he would sleep for long periods afterwards. I would then feel able to get on with my jobs/run errands etc, without feeling guilty for leaving him. Now I feel so sorry for him (me too!) as he’s just laying down & very lethargic ? he seems so sad & depressed. Just like me ? I feel extremely privaledged to be able to hav a dog (finally, after all these years!) & I really, really do…. Love him to bits!!! We all do! I think that after being at home for all those years whilst my daughters were little (Altho It was mine & my husbands choice). The fact that they r all now pursuing their careers (I did do voluntary & some part-time work whilst they were in primary school), I feel alone & inadequate (as prev mentd!). As u can tell by the content in these two messages. I have a lot of time to dedicate to our beloved “boyz” & my family. But I find myself constantly “struggling” to get my head around my feeling of not looking after them well enough/ self worth (if that makes any sense?) and would like yr “take” on this dilemma of mine ? there’s a saying which I keep replaying a lot in my head.
    The one which says:
    Be careful what you wish for. As you just might get it???

    The “responsibility” (of owning a dog – in particular!) & all that it involves/entails etc, overwhelms me @ times. And I just feel so lost & inadequate. Even though I kno I’m not & that I hav great support from my amazing family ? Thks once again Laurier. Sooo Sorry for rambling on. And on!!!

  • Gill

    Hi Laurie ? I am constantly feeling very guilty (& extremely depressed) & frustrated with myself over my 3 & 1/2 yr Golden Retriever ? nearly four yrs ago, I finally wore my husband of 32yrs down & we got a dog. Myself & my then 21yr old had always wanted a dog. Whereas my husband & elder daughter (who was 23 @ the time) did not. I’ve been thinking about re-homing him now, for the past year or so ? my youngest daughter moved in with her boyfriend of 6 yrs, after us having the dog for approx 18 months. She did still walk him with me, every day for approx 1 yr after here’s leaving home. However. She has since moved jobs & is unable to now. I actually forget the last time she walked him with me ? mind u. He is restricted on how long he can walk just now – due to knee probs & poss imminent surgery? Back @ Vets in 2 wks! So I can’t blame her for not walking him with me just now. She adores him, same as I do! He & I, both miss our daily walks/runs off-lead, down on the beach. I hav to say though, in all honesty. I Prob wud not Hav nagged my husband so much 4 our dog. Had I hav known my daughter was going to leave home. She is currently training to b a lawyer & she has very little time for herself. Let alone – a dog! I myself only work part-time. Twelve hrs per wk. And hav the time to look after him & all his needs. He’s a gorgeous boy (Barney) & I love him to bits ? my husband is not so keen on him & this can cause probs. but only occasionally. I’ve recently loads my Mum (5 wks ago) after a long illness. And I kno I’m depressed & very sad ? i was kinda diagonised with Bi-Polar, just 4 months after getting Barney. But just recently, I’ve been told that I am not. Bi-polar that is. We’ve both (my husband & I) grown up with families who hav had lots of animals. Dogs in partic. And so, R used to being around them. Barney did hav possessive aggressive issues Regds his food. But not so much these days. All in all, he’s a fantastic dog & we hav no real issues with him @ all. I just worry (ridiculous so!) that when I’m not home (which is hardly ever, as I’m always around!) he’s lonely & sad ? Btw. we hav two cats. Thomas & Vito. 13 & 3 yrs, respectively ?And altho the older cat doesn’t bother with him @ all. Barney & Vito R gr8 pals & play interact/play well together. I hav only ever worked part-time & so felt I cud genuinely giv the time (& effort involved) to having a dog around the home. I feel very selfish sometimes & frustrated. And admittedly, I resent my daughter & consequently, Barney. For if she hadn’t hav ‘pressed’ me so much. I wud never hav ‘nagged’ my husband as much as I did! Totally fault I kno. I feel as tho I cannot ‘do’ a lot of ‘stuff’, because of my responsibilities to our beloved pets. And I am disgusted & angry with myself, for just thinking this way ??? im being selfish I realise. I hav a lovely home, I run a car & my time is my own. I don’t want for anything! I don’t even hav 2 work if I don’t want to. As my husband is very supportive of me. My husband runs a business & is out all day. Works extremely hard! As do my two daughters. I just feel alone & inadequate ? I’ve suffered with depression since having my eldest daughter. I was diagonised as having post natal depression & hav been “up” & “down” ever since! I also was a stay @ home Mum. As was mine & my husbands desire. Not sure if any of these ‘factors’ indicate anything or not? Just thought if tell u – just in case they were relevant?
    Just to reiterate Laurie. I love my Barney. Just feel like a slave to him sometimes. And slightly resent the fact that I feel the need 2 b around all the time. Nobody says I hav to btw. And I don’t think he had anxiety when I leave him. Which usually isn’t for long anyway. Not making too much sense am I? Id appreciate you writing bk & giving me yr thoughts on the matter. Many Thks. Gill ?

  • CryingCatLady

    We feel AWFUL but a few days ago we made a heart and fond memories decision and walked into a pet store and proceeded to walk out with not 1 but 2 Siberian husky puppies. We had both had dogs, we have had cats together who got old and died. After a few days and research about the breed, my husband and I are both in tears, we do not think we cope with what they need from us. I have endometriosis and a pretty nasty case of it, that is nothing we can change but it means we should not have gotten any animal that requires as much continual attention as Huskies do and will. We thought we own a house, we have a fenced in yard, we like to go on walks. We did not know these two little guys are going to need a LOT more space, we did not know our fence is woefully inadequate and will cost thousands of dollars to upgrade, we thought we could do this. We are now almost certain we can not. We do not know if this is normal post puppy depression or if we are finally doing what we should have done and using our thinking brains rather than our feeling ones. We are already attached, we know they feel loved but we do not know that love is enough. If we have to rehome them it is better to do it sooner rather than later, right? I know that someone with more space and physical ability would love these guys. But we love them too, but is it abusive to keep them knowing we are not the right fit for them? Our hearts hurt, but we can heal and I would hate to end up with bad dogs when it would not be their fault but ours for not doing our breed homework before walking out with a no returns on pets receipt? The easy answer is of course just push on through it will get better, the honest one is do what is best for the dogs because if we truly love them we need to do what is in their best interest even if it makes us feel bad, feel guilty and like we are scum and stupid. But I think the scummy thing would be try to keep them and have unhappy possibly unhealthy due to lack of needed daily activity dogs. I think so anyway but this is a hard situation.

  • Illumi

    It seems to me that you’re just not willing to make sacrifices for your dog that’s why you gave her up. There could have been ways, you’re just not willing to do them because it tires you. Tells so much about your commitment.

  • Dallas Ledford

    I loved this article and really appreciate it. My husband and I are going through a heartbreaking time with our 5 month old chihuahua doxie which we’ve had for 6 weeks. We’ve tried dog trainers and a behaviorist. Nothing is working. He cries and barks all night and we can’t go anywhere without him having anxiety and going to the bathroom all over the house even though he’s potty pad trained. He barks, growls and lunges at every dog, kid, human being that we come in contact with. Needless to say, we can’t have guests over nor can he be accepted into doggie daycare or boarding. We don’t sleep because of the crying/barking , nor can we relax after working because he has to be right up where we are 24/7. It’s horrible and we are trying to make the hard decision of giving him back to the rescue. We don’t want to, but it’s hurting my marriage and it’s just too hard. Anyway, wanted to say thank you for the article. It helps to know others go through the same things.

  • Laurie Post author

    Hello Charley,

    Have you thought about consulting an obedience trainer, or somebody who specializes in dog and family dynamics? I agree with you — something has to change, or you may have a regretful or even a devastating situation on your hands.

    Maybe you don’t have to give your dog away….but an objective dog obedience trainer can help you decide. His or her professional advice may help you figure out what you need to do.

  • Charley

    All of these comments are legit. However, having a hard time relating. We have had our Alaskan Malamute, not for one month or one year, but for almost 8 years. She is tolerant of our now 2 children, ages 6 and 3, only under constant supervision. Yet, only tolerant. Not a family friendly…as in the kids can pet her without worry…dog. We’ve had two incidents that were not major injury, yet major warning, to the well-being of our human children. It seems like a no-brainer, but we are ALL attached to this lovable fur-covered family member. How do we do this?! Second incident just occurred after 5 years from the first. We are giving this our all, yet probably shouldn’t be living this way. Our dog is awesome with us, but feels she is higher in the pack than our children. We feel something has to change, or we will really regret not taking action.

    • Niki

      I have had my Belgian Malinois for a little over a year now. We got her when she was 6 months old, completely untrained and she has developed into a great, well trained dog. I discovered recently that she has child aggression. Even with all of the socialization we went through with her. It’s not all children, but she has gone after a child twice and snapped at another. I’ve tried to work with her, but I can’t proof the issue without being able to use children, which isn’t an option for us. Fixing her issue was already going to be difficult but now it seems nearly impossible as I have also recently found out that I am going to be dealing with a lot of time consuming health problems. My husband and I have come to the difficult conclusion that she would be better off with someone who has the time, knowledge, ability and resources to work with this high demand breed. We contacted our breeder and dog trainer (who specializes in training this breed) and he has agreed to take her back, rehab her and rehome here….I’m struggling with this decision and it is eating me up inside. But I also couldn’t live with myself if my dog hurt a child, or anyone for that matter. It would be devastating for all parties. I know I’m making the right choice for my dog, myself, and everyone around us…But I’m hurting. So I know how you’re feeling.

  • ken

    The trick is not to get a dog in the first place unless you are sure you really want one and have the capacity to care for the poor thing. It is a commitment.

    • Mary

      Ken, this submission obviously isn’t meant for you. It is meant to provide help and support to those who may have to make the very difficult decision of giving up a pet. Correct me if I’m wrong, but all humans make mistakes or run into unforeseen scenarios that could inhibit their ability to take care of an animal. Sometimes the right decision is to give them up to someone who can take better care of them, and that’s what this posting sheds light on. It is not meant to bash or belittle anyone who is struggling with this; which then begs the question: How did you wind up on this site anyway? Were you considering the same thing? And when you did wind up here, why did you deem it necessary to leave a comment that undercuts the true message? If you had read the initial posting or any of the following comments, you would see this is a harmless site meant to help people in emotional distress; and that your comment clearly has no place here.

      I don’t want or need an answer; but something for you to consider. You can not judge others for their decisions if you are not fully informed on why they chose to do so. I also urge you to embrace the old saying from childhood: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. In other words, mind your damn business.

  • Mel

    This article helped me come to terms with our decision. About three weeks ago, we adopted a 12 week old Plott hound. My husband and I have been talking about getting another dog for months to complete our family and so that our 1.5 year old black lab/hound mix would have a playmate for life. We raised our lab/hound since he was 9 weeks old and he was a breeze to train. He is very well accustomed to apartment living which is a relief for such a large dog. We, of course, get him out to run to burn up all of his energy. I also wasn’t working or going to school at the time we got him and trained him, and now I’m doing both. Our new Plott hound is smart but oh so stubborn (typical hound), but since my husband wanted a hound, we decided to get a hound. We knew what we were getting into regarding puppy behavior and were equipped to handle it, but we were not entirely familiar with her breed or background. Our biggest concern is crate training during the day since she’s fine at night but goes berserk during the day. We have tried everything to condition her to believe that the crate is a safe, welcoming place, and she will absolutely not take to it. We live in an apartment where they allow dogs, but not everybody in our building likes dogs and I fear for the repercussions because of her barking and howling. Plotts have such sharp, high pitched barks. Because she is a hound with parents who hunt big game, I’m afraid that she will have a high prey drive and chase after any little thing. After much heartache and thought, we just don’t think she is right for our family even though we adore her sweet personality and her snuggles. I wholeheartedly believe that we will find her a family that will let her be who she really is and will let her track and hunt with that hound nose of hers. As an advocate for animals and making sure they don’t home surf, I feel ashamed and am afraid of judgement from friends and family whenever we do decide to adopt another dog again (which will not be for a long time, or at least until we have our own house with a VERY large yard.) I know I will feel heartache and grief for a while, but reading this and then reading other people’s responses have helped me cope a little and accept our decision to give her a better home with a better family.

  • Ingrid

    HI,
    Your post helped us make the hard decision about our Smokey. We adopted him from the city pound and fell in love with him immediately but we could not ignore the fact that he truly needed a yard and room too run around in instead of living in an apartment in the middle of the city. It was the hardest decision we’ve had to make as a couple and we are hoping it was the right one for him. We truly wish we were able to give him his forever yard but we are unable to at this time. I’ve bought the book you suggested and it has been so unbelievably informative for us and hopefully in a few years we will be truly ready to give a dog his forever home.

  • Jamie

    I keep coming back to this article, weighing the pros and cons.

    Early last year, my husband and I adopted a 3-year-old frenchie. We had wanted one for years, and finally found one that needed a home. She fit in perfectly, and I never knew I could love a dog so much. A few short months later, she passed away from a tragic health condition, and we were heartbroken. Her death was so sudden and unexpected, and I missed her terribly.

    Still, a few months later I thought I was ready for another dog. I started looking, and adopted a little 6-month jack russell mix. Now, I’m no stranger to puppies, and I understand the work they require, and I was excited for it. However, we soon found out that his energy level was way higher than we were told (even for a jack russell), and he had many socialization issues. He barks at everything and everyone, he’s reactive to other dogs on leash, and he tends to be very vocal when he plays (barking, growling, some people take it as aggression). He has separation anxiety, and hardly settles down during the day. It’s difficult walking him anywhere because he is SO anxious, SO vocal, and SO curious. We have tried everything, including multiple trainers and puppy classes, positive reinforcement, everything.

    It’s been a year since we got him, and he really has gotten better. But not enough. I am lucky enough to have a dog-friendly office, which would be perfect, except that he is NOT a good office dog. He barks at every little noise – the neighbours, my other office mates, the mail man, the sounds of doors opening downstairs. I’ve tried, REALLY tried, for a year, but nothing is working.

    I feel at my wits end and often have breakdowns. I feel an immense sense of guilt, because I know it is 100% my own fault. I know now that I wasn’t ready to adopt another dog so soon after losing one. It’s not my new pup’s fault. He’s very loving, but I can’t get over his issues and I know that deep down I resent him. I feel like a terrible person and I don’t know what to do. One one hand I don’t want to give up on him, he’s so loving. On the other hand, I feel like he would be so much more happy in a home with people who can keep up with him, perhaps with another dog for him to occupy himself with. I’ve spent the last year stressing about this and re-reading this article. At least it’s nice to know there are others who are going through this with me.

  • Mae

    We just recently got a puppy. I swore this is exactly what I wanted. I wanted a house and a dog. Now that we have the dog I feel exhausted. He’s sweeter than anything and so adorable but he hates being in his crate at night and I haven’t slept in the past two days at all. I have diabetes, I work part time, I take online courses full time, and I have a 5 year old daughter. I know I should’ve seen all of this sooner but I didn’t. I feel completely overwhelmed and do feel like with how sweet and cute he is he’ll easily be adopted right away but all I can find online is articles about how great dogs are and how cruel it is to surrender them. I wish that wasn’t the case and truly want the best for this dog but I feel like we can’t be the best family for him. My daughter is also pretty attached to him so I’m not sure what to do in that case either. I wish I had a time machine so I could just not get him in the first place, he’s so great but I really feel like he’s not for us. 🙁

  • Alexandra

    I got my dogs from shelters, they were already 3 and nobody wanted to have them, because they are a lot of work and big. I moved for my dogs, I lived without TV and internet because of the costs and I was happy. I could train them and we had long walks and I could let them run. But then about 1,5 years ago I became very sick, to a degree where I could hardly walk. I still kept the dogs. I cried when I had to go for a walk because of the pain. Then I had to move to a city without much space for dogs (I had to be close to family because of my condition). Now my health is getting better, but I struggle every single day. I have almost no money at all, which doesn’t bother me much, but I have not enough energy left to do my dogs justice. There isn’t even a decent space, where I could train. I am becoming more and more depressed with the whole situaion. Some people say “No, you cannot give your dogs away, their binding to you is more important then training and walks”, others say “Just give them away, they will have a better life and you are at your limits.” But I am a sucker for guilt-trips. I could never have imagined to be in a situation like this. I am not sleeping because of all this thoughts and worrying. Sometimes I think “You have to push through, even if you have to put your dreams away, because you took on this responsibility.” But I had a tough life till now and because of the severe illness I want to fullfill my dreams more than ever. However, I am afraid I will not heal and become severely depressed after I give my dogs up. I would be always anxious that they won’t have the perfect home I wish for them. Especially my big dog – he is big and needs a lot of training and attention, and he is 7,5 years old already. And I know that many people, especially my family, will never let me forget what a horrible person I am for giving my animals away. Seriously, I am falling apart over this.

  • Amanda

    About 5 months ago, I became the proud owner of a pit/lab/etc. mix puppy. He was my way of coping with the loss of a close family member and I love him so much, I feel that we were meant to find each other. He had a rough start to life and I liberated him from a very unsuitable previous owner.

    Now, at the age of 8 months, he has grown astronomically in size which is to be expected. My roommate and I have been working tirelessly together to get him house trained. I took him to obedience class and he passed with flying colors. He obeys me quite well, though he is still learning. I have been crate training him.

    Here is my dilemma: I have recently come home from vacation in my home state. My dog sitter reported that he had been an angel the entire time I was gone and gave the sitter no issues.

    I get home, and since, he destroyed his plastic crate pan (not to mention eating some of it) and ripped up some of the laminate flooring creating a rather obvious hole in my floor.

    The problem with this is that I rent and now I have to figure out how to repair the damage. He is growing a little big for the space he’s in and I’m afraid of this destructive behavior continuing. I also have found out that I will need to be traveling more for my job and I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford dog sitters twice per season or more, and i cant rely on my roommate so much to help with the dog because thats unfair.

    I am so overwhelmed by all of this I worry that I’ll have to give him up… Is this really enough reason to call it quits? Am I just not thinking clearly? Any advice on this would be most appreciated.

  • Laurie

    I believe it’s easier than we think for dogs to adjust to a new home. Animals are adaptable because they have to be. They’re survivors! They miss and remember their old owners, but they fall in love with their new family. I know this because my dogs love me deeply….but before me, they loved their first owners deeply, too.

    I am not my two dogs’ first family, yet they love me and are devoted to me.

    If you have to give your dog away, find a good home. And then let go. It’s painful and difficult, I know…but sometimes there is no other option.

  • Nozomi

    I have a 3 and a half year old dog who has been with me and my boyfriend 3 years. He is very well trained, yet sometimes we still have issues with him. But he is not the problem. We live in a small apartment, and my dog might need more space. I and my boyfriend are moving to Spain in a year from USA. We are getting married and will start our own carriers. He is a photographer but his family has business so we will not be home all day after we move. More than that, Spain is not our last destination. We are considering moving to another country (UK or Japan) within a few years. We just think as my dog get old, moving process can be too stressful to him. My boyfriend says that it will be better for my dog to be with new family that will be willing to spend more time and enough space.
    I am really attached to my dog. We have him since he was a puppy, and it is not “impossible” to take him with us to another countries in the future. But what’s best for him? I always think what if he can’t connect with his new family? Need help 🙁

  • Nicole

    Reading this article has definitely helped put things into perspective and was very helpful. I’m going through a tough decision process— my boyfriend and I bought a 4 (almost 5) month old puppy three weeks ago- we had been talking and dreaming about it for months, so when I saw his cute face I just bought him! Now, we are thinking we didn’t quite fully understand the demands of having a puppy- but we are so in love with him. He is a small dog– probably won’t get bigger than 15 pounds. He is so cuddly and loves to play and snuggle. I’ve convinced my bosses to let me stay home and work most days– but our puppy freaks out and barks THE ENTIRE time we are gone the few times we do leave him and our upstairs neighbors complain to our landlord each time. We are starting to think he would be happier in a home similar to his last one- with other dogs to play with and an enclosed yard. But giving up on him seems heartbreaking. I just wish we knew what was best for him and for us….

  • Michelle

    Wow. This could not have come at a better time. We had our first child 6 months ago and my fur baby is not coping too well. He was our world and now he is vomiting all over the house because he eats the other dogs food and makes sure he spreads the vomit all over the babies room and stairs. He refuses to go on walks with anyone else unless I take him and will them pee and poop in the home. I’m at wits end. Tonight he vomited on the stairs…in 4 separate spots that one of us could have easily slipped on. Again, vomit from the other dogs food. I have no idea what to do anymore. Just when I start to feel horrible about thinking of rehoming him…I find vomit, pee or poop in the house.

  • Lake

    My mom wanted me to give my puppy to my aunt because she said their family could take care f her. Chloe, my puppy, is almost 2 months old. She just got here last Dec. 10 and I was happy while taking care of her, but she started biting things. And that’s when I realize that I have to take her to the vet for the vaccine, but it’s expensive and I’m just a student and I definitely can’t afford that by my own. My parents doesn’t want to although they care for Chloe.

    I dont know what I should do. I don’t want to give Chloe away. I cried so much because I’ll miss her and I don’t know if my aunt can take care of her. I dont know if she’ll adjust there because she’s just two months old. I know that she will whimper because she isn’t familiar with her soon to be home. I don’t know what would happen to her if I will give her away even though my parents had a point.

    It’s just that it’s most likely the first time that I had a dog. I got attached to her easily. She’s the first dog friend that I have. She’s so sweet and playful. Ughhhh

  • sue

    I’m trying to decide what to do. I have a wonderful rat terrier that I love to pieces and he’s just the best dog. So easy. So loving. Really, the perfect dog. But my husband and I have recently semi retired and my husband wants to travel. A lot. Like 6 months a year. It’s really his dream, and I don’t feel as though I have the right to tell him we can’t because of my dog. I’ve stayed home for some of the travel, and we’ve had people take him in for a few months here and there, but I think it’s stressful for him and it’s hard to find people willing to take a dog for 2-3 months. It probably would be better for my pup if he had a new home for good – but it’s so hard to think about doing this. He’s such a great dog – so well trained, so sweet.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Mary,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your struggle! I felt the exact same way, and can feel how much you care about your puppy.

    Having a dog is a huge life adjustment, especially if you’ve never had one before — and especially if he’s a puppy! They have so much energy, and need alot of attention for the first year or so. It gets less as time goes on, and the rewards are huge….but it is alot of work at the beginning.

    Many, many dogs get crated or are left home alone all day. I wouldn’t worry about that too much. Some of my friends leave their dogs home from morning til night, without even a lunch potty break! If the dog is raised that way, then he’ll adjust. Other people take their dogs to work — I even know a nurse who leaves her dog in her truck all day while she works. She walks him at lunch. Now that I think about it, I know an accountant who does the same thing.

    Take a deep breath. Don’t think of crating him as “trapping” him, and don’t let your feelings of guilt overwhelm you. Your puppy is safely sleeping in his crate while you’re not home. He will be fine.

    Your dog will learn about life from you. If you’re emotional, guilty, and anxious about your puppy, then he will learn that life is scary, emotional, and full of anxiety! You need to be calm, in control, and confident. You need to be a leader.

    I encourage you to take a puppy obedience course. If you don’t have time, then get books and watch YouTube videos on puppy training. Learn what being a leader means, and how dogs adjust to life with their humans. Get information. The more information you have, the better position you’ll be in to make a good decision about your dog.

  • Mary

    I’ve been looking for a puppy for over a year and finally decided to take the plunge about a month ago. I have had my 17 week old male havanese for 3 weeks, and was in LOVE the second I saw him. Over the last few weeks, however, I have struggled as his primary caretaker. I feel guilty when I have to leave him at home alone, and like a bad neighbor because I know his barking disrupts the neighbors – sometimes for over an hour! I grew up with dogs and knew the beginning would be a transition, but I never knew it would be this hard. I find myself in constant worry of him eating something, going to the bathroom somewhere, or jumping off from somewhere that could potentially hurt him.

    On top of that, I have him in the crate for the majority of the day while I’m at work (aside from a brief 30 minute window when I come home at lunch). I don’t want to give him the chance to get into any trouble being home alone. This kills me knowing that he is trapped in there, so much so that when I get home I try to spend as much time with him as I can; depriving myself of showers, going to the store/gym or on other errands that I can’t bring him on.

    I can’t figure out if I’m being selfish or reasonable, or if these feelings and issues will pass once he’s had a bit more training and maturity. Does everyone feel this way? Will it pass? Outside of those things listed he is the sweetest little boy and I would miss him dearly. I don’t want to make a mistake!
    -M

  • Laurie Post author

    When we decide to rehome or give our dogs away, I don’t think we can escape those feelings of guilt, pain, heartache, and feeling like a “loser.” All we can do is remind ourselves that we made this decision for the right reasons….and start processing the grief.

    It’s better in the long run to accept that this is a painful, heartbreaking decision. Writing helped me cope with the grief. It took a long time to forgive myself for giving my dog away, and I still feel bad about. I think it becomes something we have to learn to live with, like all types of grief.

    I’m sorry you have to experience this….but remember that your dog will be better off in the long run, in a more suitable home with owners who can give him what he needs.

  • Amy

    Thank you for posting this. The guilt I feel right now is unbearable. I love my dog to death, but he just bit a child. He lives with a child but this was a child unknown to us who happened to walk by the on the sidewalk and although he was leashed he got away from me and close enough to the child to bite. I have been working with him on his reactivity to strangers, with the help of a trainer, for 4 months since we got him to no avail. He is no better now than he was 4 months ago. With myself and my 5 year old he is the sweetest dog, but not with strangers. I worry every day that someone will get hurt while we are out on our walks. And today someone did. As much as I don’t want to give him away I feel I have no other choice. I cannot risk someone being seriously injured and the guilt of that would haunt me more than anything else! I feel like a terrible human being. I feel like people are going to think I am a monster because of this. We wanted a dog terribly, but I can’t keep him anymore.

  • ColumbaNine

    Really struggling here, like so many of you. I am a single woman with a fourth-floor walk-up apartment who has a four-month-old Lab. My mother and others said to me when I got Pete, basically, “Are you crazy?” I had thought about it for a long time (years), done a ton of research, and really thought I knew what I was getting into. Not even close. The thing is–he’s just about perfect. He’s potty-trained and is catching on to other training quickly. He isn’t Mr. Snuggles and he has a stubborn streak, but he really is a lovely dog. It’s just that I’m finding I am completely emotionally drained by this whole thing, by his everlasting need for people time, play, and space. To come anywhere close to giving him what he needs means that I am tapped out. I have days when I skip showering and just eat a big spoonful of peanut butter for dinner. You know, it occurs to me that a lot of people who would judge us harshly for giving our dogs away might not have the hyper-empath wiring that can make one imagine inside the mind of a dog and find loneliness and frustration there. I’d guess there are selfish people who give up dogs, but then there are people who are just the opposite. Anyway. On top of everything else, I’m realizing I’m moderately allergic (I never knew this about myself and dogs; but then I never lived with one in such close quarters). There’s part of me that is secretly relieved, since this seems like an “out,” a legit reason to rehome. How do I keep from feeling like a total loser if I decide I need to give him up?

  • Laurie Post author

    Thank you for sharing your dilemma here. I know your experience with making the difficult decision about giving your dog away will be read by hundreds of people a day — people who are struggling with the exact same decision.

    May you find peace with your decision. Expect to go through a long grieving process, and to feel sad and heartbroken that you gave your dog away. But, know that your dog is a survivor.

    Dogs are so awesome, so adaptable, and so willing to “go with the flow”! They love us, but they are able to find love and connection with other people. They’re strong that way.

    May you find peace and healing, and may you know deep in your heart that you’re making the right decision.

    You may find my most recent article on grief helpful – How to Survive the Grieving Process.
    https://theadventurouswriter.com/blog/how-to-survive-the-grieving-process/

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Denise

    Hi there,

    We are going through the same dilemma with our 7month old beagle collie X. She is so good most of the time but the trouble is she needs constant attention. I am due with our first baby in 2 weeks and I’m worried I won’t be able to give her the attention she needs once baby gets here and I don’t think that’s fair on her! The logical side of things make complete sense to me and giving her to a family that can give her what needs is the best option but my heart is broke even thinking about giving her away, I feel like I am giving up on her. All these questions like what if she’s not happy in her new home, what if she misses us, what if her new family find themselves in the same position as us and she’s passed on again. I’m really struggling with this. My head says it’s the right thing for her and us but my heart actually feels broken like I’m slowly loosing a member of my family. Your post really helped so thank you!! I think I’m trying to find a way to cope with the guilt.

    Thanks again,

    D xx

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for writing this. Our situation is this: my 10 year-old daughter has a King Charles Spaniel that was a year in the planning. While it was her idea, we took a year to plan and make it a reality. In fact, her therapist highly endorsed it.

    We’ve had the puppy since the end of May and she is about 8 months old. I work from home and didn’t have the foresight to realize that I’d be the one caring for her while the kids are at school. My work and and ability to focus are suffering. (I am a transcriber and book editor.) I don’t neglect her, either and dutifully take her out for walks and potty breaks outside.

    The main problem is that she poops and pees enough that it’s ruining our carpets and increasing laundry loads by 1/3. At this rate, we’ll have to tear out the living room carpet.

    This entire experience made me realize that I am a cat person, and apparently a selfish one at that. We have already plunked down well over $2,000 in breeder fees, obedience training, travel, kennel fees, cleaning expenses, etc. Add in another $2,000 if we looked into a backyard fence and replaced flooring. Personally, I cannot reconcile the cost of maintaining a dog, and a small one at that. I’ve consulted with the breeder for tips on training her not to potty in the house, however, follow-through with my husband and kids is sketchy at times. This is my daughter’s dog, NOT MINE.

    I don’t want to psychologically wreck my kids (or the dog!) or lay the foundation for years of resentment that could have been prevented. However, this situation with the constant messes and time sink is not sustainable. My husband knows my frustration well, but I have not dropped this bomb on the kids yet.

  • Paula

    I have to rehome my boxer and I am in bits. He is going to a wonderful couple who adore him, he has stayed with them a few times to see how they all get on and my boxer seems to love them too. I am terminally ill and am not able to look after him properly anymore. I am so worried he will think I have abandoned him. I know I should let him go now because I am no longer able to exercise him but, I know I am being unfair to him, I just cant let him go.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and feelings about giving your dog away. You’re being brave by speaking out, and we all know this is a painful and sad decision. It’s not easy to rehome a dog when you have no choice.

    May you find peace and healing. Know that dogs are survivors! They are so awesome, they adapt to new homes and owners so quickly. You’ll always be in your dog’s heart and soul, even if you’re not right there.

    My dog Tiffy loves me so much, you’d never know she was once in love with someone else!

    Go in peace.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • michele

    I am so glad I came across this article. We got a Labradoodle puppy two months ago. My husband bought the dog from a petstore (something I would have never done). My nine year old son was begging for the puppy and so he got one. The puppy is very smart, he has been to puppy class and knows basic commands, he is pretty much fully housetrained. However, he is way too much dog for our family. He is super high energy and needs much more exercise than I can give him. No one helps care for the dog except me, and I find I am becoming resentful of the dog. He doesn’t listen at all if there are any distractions (which in our house there are lots of). I really don’t know what to do. My children will be very sad if we give up puppy and I will feel horrible, but I find myself not liking the dog and not wanting to be in his presence. I actually sent both he and our five year old boston mix to the kennel for a week just so I could get a break from them. Our five year old Boston is not a problem, but requires a lot less time and attention. I contacted a rescue today to see if they will take him. I feel like such a loser having to give him up, but I know I will be less stressed and have a more peaceful home. I wish this wasn’t so difficult. I know that we will slowly get over giving up puppy, but it feels horrible right now.

  • Ali

    My sister got a dog and he bit my niece a few times so I took him in. It’s only been a week but I am so attached. I lost my job a few months ago and already have two pets so I cannot keep him. A lady is supposed to come by today and take him, she has a rescue and will find him a home. I am heartbroken. I’ve had this dog follow me around everywhere and he’s been rehomed a lot I wanted to give him a good home one that would always be there for him, but I can’t and I feel so guilty and I feel sad that once again this lil guy has to be moved. I haven’t stopped crying. I really don’t like this feeling and I am really hating myself as a person who is so against rehoming I can’t help but feel like a hypocrite.

  • Ramey

    We have 3 dogs (a boxer/lab mix, cane corso mastiff and a pit bull). Our pit and boxer keep on getting into fights. We just had our 3rd fight today. I don’t know what to do. We got our pit about 6 months ago and she is almost 2 years old. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to keep them from fighting? I really don’t want to give any of them up.

  • Debbie

    I am so glad i came upon this forum as it has really helped me to see everyone elses messages and concerns around their pets. we have an 11 week old puppy and today we have made the decision that we are going to rehome her. whilst we did mountains and mountains of research, asked people questions, bought everything the puppy ever needed and more and have so much love to give the reality has been that whilst we thought both of us working from home was a godsend and would enable us to have a dog much more than someone who worked away from home – it has actually been so hard. The puppy wants and needs so much attention and you need to watch her so closely that no work is done at all. That combined with our cat being super scared of her as she is so active means things have been tough. its only been 3 days and both myself and my partner have been crying constantly that whilst we made the decision to get her, and she is absolutely gorgeous, we just feel someone else may have the time to spend with her to train her properly and to give her the attention she deserves. It really has heartbroken us. i read other forums where people just slated dog owners off for giving their dogs away but all i can say is i feel we have her best interests at heart. I have just never had such a feeling of such shame and that we are terrible people

  • Heather

    I’ve had my dog for about 8 years now ( I got her when I was in primary school). My mum is moving to a different state to get her PHD, and I have the choice to go with her or stay and try get a place here. If I move I’d have to give up Saffy :(. She’s the sweetest, friendliest dog and she loves people. Due to a past run in with the dog down my street, she tends to shy away from other dogs, and she’s never responded well to me leaving her, whether its with a friend for a weekend or even just me leaving fro uni. I know I’d miss her heaps if I left, but I’m more worried about how shes going to take it. The move would probably be good for me in regards to university though, so Im really torn about what to do.

  • Veronica brown

    After many years of convincing my parents I was about to get a dog. I got the dog because I thought it would help me and my dads anxiety. At first I didn’t mind the dog until I constantly had to watch him. Clean up after him ever day numerous times, play with him nonstop. I couldn’t get a break. I’d sit on the couch and not even watch television because I had to look at every nook and cranny that he was at. And since it was my idea for He dog my parents were not happy every time he pooped or peed. My sister who has a perfectly trainee dog keeps telling us it takes time but I don’t have the energy to keep up with this dog. I’m a full time student at college and I work nights. Two days out of the week 12 he shift so I’m exhausted when I get home and don’t wanna have to take the dog out to pee or poop. Also the crate training. He gets in the crate and immediately starts to cry and whine non stop until he falls asleep after that he wakes up in the middle of the night to whine that he has to go pee too! And we can’t tell the difference if he’s whining to pee or whining cuz he’s lonely. He’s doing okay with potty training but is still making messes every single day. I’m 18 and I fee like I’ve just had a baby’s and now I can’t go out really to study. Especially for a long period of time because he is sitting in his crate at home and it’s awful. I feel there is a better dedicated family out there than I. Although I have only had him a weak I’m stressed out entirely and not happy. Yes we have bonded and I care for the little puppy but I don’t think I could handle the responsibility. Does this seem normal?

  • Nicola

    Hi all,
    Having a really tough decision to make as to re home my dog or not.
    We have had buster our border terrier for 6 1/2 yrs, my first daughter was 3 when we got him and is now 9 and I also have a 2 year old daughter. When we got him I used to work 3 days a week, four hours a day so was never out all the time and not for long periods but our dog has never liked being alone and always barked a lot when left indoors but in all that time we have only had one complaint from a neighbour and that was when we went out one evening and left the bedroom window open so barking was a lot louder and it was late night so she complained but apart from that nothing from anyone else! He barks at anything that goes past our house, cats/cars/people/dogs… Anything .. And we have always just shouted at him to be quiet and sometimes smacking his bum! We had him snipped to try and ease his barking but never worked, we tried the plug ins… Didn’t work…We have never had him trained but he is well behaved and does as he’s told, my kids have had him in head locks, they accidentally trod on him, they’ve kicked him all sorts as most kids do when they are running around crazy! He’s never bitten them or gone for them or anything, he is just a gentle laid back part of our family.
    That was until February of this year, now no one witnessed what happened but on this day by two young cousins had come round to play with my daughter and me and their nan were sat in frontroom and I had put buster on stairs behind the stair gate as didn’t want him being trampled on and un be known to us all three of the kids were sticking their hands through the gate and he bit one of the kids, didn’t break the skin but you could see the teeth mark on her hand….

    We found a couple who my husband knows who have just lost their dog and heard we wanted to rehome ours and they want him, the man works in the woods and has said buster would be out with him everyday or in with his wife, he wouldn’t be left alone. They have a large garden, no kids and have said we could see him whenever we liked. They want him straight away for a few nights to see how they get on but we know buster us such a lovely laid back dog there’s no way they won’t want him so now I am at the dilemma, this is what I wanted so why for the past two days have I been sobbing like a baby?? I feel awful, I feel like I’m giving up on him, I feel like he’s going to think we’ve abandonded him, we are all he has ever known in the past almost 7 years.

    I spoke to my daughter about how she feels ( the 9 yr old) and she really doesn’t want him to go, I started crying again and then she started asking when would be the last time she would ever see him etc as I said he could be gone tomorrow and now I am completely torn. It’s my worrying and stress that’s making me lean more towards rehoming him so shall I deal with my issues and keep him and continue with him and then risk losing this couple that want him or do I rehome him and as heartbreaking as it is get a stress free life back without the worry about him? I am sorry for my extremely long post, I never realised how much I had to say about everything until I started writing it. Many thanks x

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Thank you for being here, and sharing how difficult your decision is. It’s painful and heartbreaking, but sometimes giving a dog away is the best solution.

    I love so many things about dogs, but one of my favorite qualities is their ability to adapt and survive. They are loving and accepting, and will make the best of any situation! They may be confused when they find themselves in a new home, but they adjust. I know this from adopting my dog Tiffy, who was given to me after three years in her first home. Tiffy loves me and has embraced her new life and home!

    May you make the best decision about giving your dog away. May you forgive yourself, and live in peace with your choice. Know that you’re doing the right thing for everyone, even if it’s incredibly painful.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Hazelyn

    This article made me cry but it really helped a lot. Me and my boyfriend live in a one bedroom apartment with a pug, boston terrier and a boxador. I have my 2 little ones from my previous relationship 8 years ago and met my bf when he just recently got his puppy. We tried so hard to make it work but the more things happen everyday, the more we think that it would be best for all of us especially the 2 small ones to be in a better home. We used to put them all in a huge kennel to train the puppy but a couple months ago the boxador attacked the pug and a week later she attacked the boston terrier. We got rid of the kennel and we put the boston and pug in the bedroom and leave the boxador in the living room. The boston has a very sensitive tummy and he tends to poop in the house when he’s sick and it’s very very bad. I feel so bad and I’ve been crying every night but if they don’t get along it’s not fair for the dogs at all. We are thinking of getting a new puppy for the boxador that way she can have a bestfriend for life. Are we really making the right decision for my 8 year old dogs? I also don’t know where the right place to give them to either. I was thinking of dumb friends league or spca and also told a few people if they know a family who would take them.

  • Anna

    I feel your pain Jen. My little Coco was only 2 days with us and it hurt so much. I am feeling more positive we made the right decision and I now know he has been re-homed and is loved and cared for. The stress you are experiencing (worrying about how to manage finances and giving him all the attention and time he needs must take 2nd place at the moment) is making it hard. Emotions often cloud the harsh reality of day to day living.

    I like to say this prayer when I’m having a tough time:
    “God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
    Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardships as the path to peace.”
    I believe it’s called the serenity prayer and I hope it gives you peace as well.

  • Jen

    I am glad to have found this article. I have a 3.5 year old goldendoodle that has been in my life since he was 6.5 weeks old. He was previously living with my mom and I then I moved into my own apartment about two years ago. I also got a new job that requires more hours at night, with some traveling in the near future, too. I love this dog and try to get him to doggy camp 3x a week, and to the dog park once a week if the weather is nice. I’m finding that I’m struggling financially as I’m also helping a relative with money issues right now. Plus with all the night hours for work and upcoming travel, it has more or less made me decide something I’ve been thinking about for almost a year. He’s a great dog and I’m meeting a family tomorrow that is interested in adding him to their pack, and they already have a dog. I can’t help but feel I’m discarding him/throwing him away, like I have no use for him, but I don’t see a long-term solution. I hate to do this again, as I surrendered a dog I had six years ago when I went through a divorce. I’ve had dogs all my life and hate to think of never having one, but right now it seems to be the best thing. I’m crying a lot and holding him tightly, because I know it wouldn’t hurt this much if I didn’t truly love him. I just can’t help but feel like a failure …. again. Like, why can’t I just have a dog and not worry about him all the time? I worry because the logistics of caring for him around my work hours and with my strained finances can stress me out. I guess I’m trying to convince myself that this is the right thing to do and he will be okay, he won’t hate me or think I’ve rejected/abandoned him. I just know I will miss him and it will hurt for awhile.

  • Anna

    We are a childless couple in our 60’s and 70’s and have always owned either cats and dogs or both. Last year, both our pets passed on after a wonderful 11 years with us. My husband loved his Siamese to bits and my love was a beautiful German Shepherd. I was the one who took both to the vet for euthanasing within a few months of each other. It was so upsetting that I secretly stated I could never do this again.
    A year later and after we had discussed getting another fur baby, I was on the local breeders waiting list for a new Siamese, as this is the breed my husband wanted. I was excited about the new puss and started to buy food and other needs 8 weeks before his arrival date (the breeder lets them go at 12 weeks). The ‘bring puss home’ day arrived last Friday. I collected him and brought him home from the breeders, who happened to live in the next suburb. In hindsight, it was not a good idea to have her living so close.

    We called the kitten ‘Coco’ and although he was nervous, upset and confused having left the security of his mother and extended family, he began to settle in. At first my husband was apprehensive that he would not bond fully with Coco, but that was not the case as we both did. The downside was that Coco reminded him more and more of his beloved Louis, the original Siamese. That caused him grief, with the fondest of memories of time shared with Louis flooding back. It brought him to tears. I realised after 48 hours that my plan to bring some joy back into his life (and mine as well) had backfired and I didn’t know where to turn.

    Those first 48 hrs were stressful for me as after over a year without any pets, I had settled into a routine and was coping without them. As much as I loved Coco, it was mildly irritating to need to adjust to his needs. I now see this as a selfish attitude or maybe deep down I didn’t want to see another fur baby euthanased.

    The breeder and I kept in contact re Coco’s settling and on the morning of Day 3, after discussing how my husband felt, I asked if she would be willing to re-home him. My husband and the breeder were in agreement. Not only were the painful memories of his beloved Louis constantly there, the allergy to cats cause my husband’s eyes to water and ooze a sticky substance. Mind you he tolerated this with Louis, but to endure it again would not be pleasant. Those two factors, as well as my stress were the main reasons we surrendered him to the breeder. I took along all the food and needs I had bought for Coco, thinking this would all help bring closure to this emotional whirlwind. I also told my friends and family what had happened, hoping they would not see this adoption as a failure on my part. We are now 2 days post surrendering, there is no closure, just a constant emotional confusion. I find it hard to believe that this adoption episode is taking up such a huge part of my thinking and I yearn for peace.

    I will read the responses here with the hope that my pain will ease but I am experiencing varying levels of depression, loneliness, anger, failure, embarrassment…yet I am still yearning for the company of a pet. I am scared of loving another fur baby, even though they are so easy to love.
    My initial feeling of relief has long passed and I feel lost. I’m hoping the stories from others in a similar place will help my healing.

  • Melissa

    Laurie,
    I have come across your article after searching for ways to help me decode what to do with my second dog. We adopted her from a shelter about 5 weeks ago. She is a mix breed (terrier and lab), about 3 years old, and was told she was a stray. We have another dog who has been a part of our family for 3 years (golden retriever). My original reason for getting another dog was for companionship for our golden. Ever since we brought her home, she has been aggressive and destructive. She is very territorial over her toys and food. We have seeked help from a trainer and tried techniques at home with not much luck. She dominates my other dog, and has attacked him on multiple occasions. We are a household with small children (5 and 1). I am worried about her attacking my kids. My husband doesn’t want to give her back. He thinks we need to continue to work with her, that we owe it to her. I feel like I don’t want to have an attack on my kids to be the final straw for him to final see that she isn’t a fit for our family. Some behaviors that she does are: barks/whines while in crate, chews up and destroys items in my house, jumps our 6 ft privacy fence, attacks my other dog, dominates my other dog, growls at the kids (not even being territorial), she can’t play with the kids in our backyard cause she bites (has already done this with my 5 year old), and jumps up on our counters. We have baby gates in place and she just jumps over those. I don’t know what to do. Our shelter told us to bring her back if we can’t keep her but I feel like I will be judged for doing so. Reading these comments helps me feel like I’m not alone in this. The description of the dog said that she is laid back, loves other dogs and great with kids. I feel that this is all incorrect and that she shouldn’t be with a family with small children and maybe even without any other animals. She requires a lot more attention than I had expected. My husband and I both work full time and are not able to provide her with the attention we need to give her. I just don’t know if I should allow more time before giving her back. It’s only been 5 weeks, and 1 week since we saw the trainer. Thanks.

  • Jessie

    We just get 2 puppies a week ago, with the hope that they would get along well and be best buddies. It turns out to be just our hope. We tried to introduce them several times, but one of them get aggressive very easily. We have been silly that we got 2 puppies at the same time regardless of how other people have said it is double work. Now we have to keep them in separate places and take care of them separately. We both work full time, and the two are becoming overwhelming for us, and we simply do not have the energy to take care of the 2 puppies, train them separately, socialize them, and give them exercise. It is heartbroken and also a guilty feeling that we might have to give up 1 of them if they really cannot get along while. We will try for another week or so, and hope for the best.

  • Jen

    I am having a horrible time coping with the thought of rehoming our springer/cocker, he is 3 1/2 yrs and we got him 2 1/2 yrs ago. My gut instinct is that we need to do this now because dragging this out and trying to keep him isn’t good for any of this and we contemplated this a year ago. He is the first dog my husband and I got together. He was very aggressive and anxious, much more than we knew how to deal with. We have taken him through months of training and in many ways he is a more well behaved dog. However, we still experience issues with his aggression at times and we live on a busy street, which causes him anxiety and stress (noises outside will scare him for days- like when our neighbors had their roof redone, he wouldn’t go near that side of the yard for a month!). We know we will have children in the next few years and Charlie doesn’t do well with kids and I get so stressed worrying about him nipping someone when we have guests over. We also have a labradoodle that we got a year ago and she is very attached to Charlie. I know our home provides too many triggers for Charlies anxiety and that we will also consider another dog in the future and I feel so guilty to think that. But reality is we can handle the labradoodle just fine, but no matter what we try, we can’t “fix” the anxiety and aggression built into Charlie and it isn’t fair to him. And I hate when people say things like…well if it was a kid you wouldn’t just give your kid away. People don’t understand this isn’t easy for us but it isn’t fair to the dog and you cant compare it to a child. Thank you for your articles, it is helpful to know others have experienced this :, (

  • Nancy

    I feel for all of you who have had to make a very difficult and heartfelt decision to find a better home for their beloved pet. 2 years ago, I commented on this site because I was in the process of making a decision about our rescue Greyhound. He was lovely and calm and he had a naughty streak when it came to garbage cans, plastic bags and recycling. None of that mattered but when we realized that he was really stressed out and anxious when the kids were around, we had to face the facts that this was not a good home for him. He increasingly showed signs of anxiety around the kids and even when we told the kids to leave the dog alone if he was sleeping, lying on his bed or to call him to them, they didn`t always follow our instructions. This resulted in a 2 episodes of kids getting nipped by the dog who was just protecting himself. He was much happier when he only had to grownups around him. Fortunately, we have a greyhound adoption association who helped us find a home for him that was perfect. It broke my heart to drop off my dog at the airport so he would be flown across the country to his new forever home. I was supposed to be his forever home and felt shame that I couldn’t provide it to him. 2 years later, I’m still sad and I still miss him. And Moe, the greyhound, is super happy, content and spoiled. He lives with grownups and cats and is perfectly living out his retirement. In these situations, I think you will find dog owners from the entire range of the spectrum: from irresponsible pet owners who didn’t really think things through when they made the decision to adopt that cute pet on kijiji to the owners who genuinely tried everything to provide the perfect home for their pet.

  • Anon

    Thank you for this article, it has really helped me and my partner put things into perspective and lessen the pain ever so slightly.

    I feel ridiculous as he is only going to my parents but the pain is still so bad. I will still see him occasionally but he won’t be mine and he won’t be just there when I need him or he needs me.

    He is a very energetic and demanding 2year old springer and we also have a sprocker (yet we can walk him on and off his lead without too much trouble). The springer however, was given to us as his previous owner moved away- the dog was not properly trained and being a working dog has lead him to confusion and caused him to be terrible on and off his lead, out side of the home. He is perfect in doors and great in the garden. However, we don’t have much of a garden, where as my parents do. We have also just had a baby and finding it all too much- the whole situation has become unbearable, taking baby and the 2 dogs (one of which is uncontrollable) is just too much for us now. Also we could not take them on holidays as it was not relaxing at all and walks out are always too stressful. I feel I have given up on him and I hate myself for it. I just want him to be better on his lead and off it so we can keep him but we just don’t have the time to retrain him nor do we have the patience anymore I feel. He is making my partner ill- particularly if off the lead and goes close to main roads the pressure and panic is too much. Also he continues to hurt himself- impaling himself on sticks, straining muscles- as he just feels no pain and this has meant many horrifying and worrying trips to the vets.

    We have taken him to a gun dog trainer but just haven’t managed to do what he needs. My parents love him and have a lot more time and space for him. They really want to have him but as they are older I worry they won’t be able to cope with him. They have said they are going to train him up- in the garden only initially until they feel he is ready for outside the home.

    We know he will get what he needs there but part of us is unsure if he will miss us and his walks out. Before he damaged his leg the last time we were able to take him on big runs off his lead in a secure area but we just worry now as he is always injuring himself.

    We feel it’s a no win situation but at the moment the idea of him just being safe in the perimeter of a garden and with a loving family is what we think will be best at the moment. We hope that when we manage to get a bigger house with a garden of our own, we can perhaps have him back. But for now we must stay strong and do what is best for him.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    I’m so sorry for what you’re going through – it’s such a difficult thing to decide. Giving a dog away is painful, and nothing really makes it easier. I wish I had better or more inspiring news for you, but the truth is that it is a really painful, awful decision.

    Now, in hindsight, I wish we hadn’t given our dog away. I regret not spending more time with her and attempting to train her (and us!) better. But, the decision to give our dog back to the SPCA was the right thing for us to do at that time. It wouldn’t be the right decision for us today, because now we’re experienced dog owners. Now we know what to expect, and we know how much work a dog is.

    Take a moment to be still. Take a deep breath, and pray. Ask God what you should do about this dog. Should you give this dog away, or should you keep moving forward? Write down your thoughts and emotions.

    The most important advice I can give is for you to take your time, and make this decision out of a place of peace and focus. Don’t decide based on emotion or fear.

    And, know that whatever decision you make – whether you give your dog away or not – you will have regrets and pain. The right decision does not mean it’s easy or fun! Right decisions are still hard, and still involve grief and pain.

    I wish you all the best, and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you decide what to do.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Ambika

    Hi,
    We adopted a three month old puppy around 4 days back. He is adorable, listens to us, is affectionate but doesn’t not do well when left alone. He whines which breaks our heart. I have been trying to crate train him, I am trying to make him independent to play alone, got him chew toys. I have had a dog but for my husband it’s a first time. I wasn’t totally ok with it because I knew puppies are a lot of work and they do chew on things. My husband for sure wasn’t ready for it. The thought of him giving him back to the humane society started cropping up on the very next day and I have been crying thinking about it. I feel guilty of making him become attached to us and then if we return him I feel he will be so distraught. On the other hand I feel we are way in over our heads to handle him and his needs. We are not well equipped to handle him and I feel he has the right to have a better home. I am crying right now thinking about this and don’t know what to do. We have a three week window to give him back and I few that the longer we keep him the more unfair it will be on him. Pls advise 🙁

  • Neva

    I stumbled across this article after browsing for help dealing with anxiety. I’ve always been a dog person and I love doing volunteer work at the local dog shelter. So I decided I was ready for a puppy after a talk with the not so excited boyfriend. We ended up getting a beautiful mixed breed berner/lab puppy a little over a week ago. He’s been a good puppy. He’s 9 weeks now but I’m having serious problems. He’s meant to be my dog and I never wanted to force my boyfriend into taking all the responsibility but since we’ve gotten him my minor anxiety has sky rocketed. I’ve always been a bit anxious but nothing I ever felt compelled to seek help for but since we got him I haven’t been eating. In exhausted and prone to crying and freaking out and everything I read says to hold on and it will get better but I’m sitting here thinking that I really shouldn’t have pushed for this puppy. He’s already attached to me but I can’t help but be so anxious and it can’t be a good environment for him. My boyfriend knows I really want a dog and tells me that we can make this work but I know he didn’t really want one and is doing this for me. I’m starting to think I’m in over my head so do i re-home him or call the sort of breeder? He is a craigslist baby from a lovely woman.

  • Lisa

    Hi there,

    It is difficult giving a dog away, you have given Oreo a good start and I am sure you have done the best thing to give her a long and happy life. Whats to stop you from seeing her from time to time? I believe a dog never forgets, and I am sure if you ask they will let you see her from time to time.
    We all know how you are feeling, what you are feeling right now is a grieving process combined with anger and resentment, it’s the same feeling when you loose a pet who has died or been put to sleep.
    Trust me, it does get better with time sweetie, you think it wont right now, but it does. We had our dog re-homed a few weeks ago because she was too much for us and our dog who is dying of a tumor. We have been told by the people who re-homed her that she is happy and loved, thats all that matters. Unfortunately, today, we have to go theough it all over again with our elderly dog, another heart wrenching time, but again, with memories and time, things will get better.
    So, chin up, be strong and keep telling yourself Oreo is happy and loved and if you get the chance, in a few weeks so say hi to her and see for yourself.

  • Ashley C

    Reading this was very reassuring. I’ve been tearing myself apart for months about the thought of re-homing my Great Dane who is 10 months old. We got her at 9 weeks and the day after I knew it was probably a mistake. We kept her and worked really hard on training her well before we both go back to school this fall, but just a few days ago she shred our carpet and the padding underneath in our rented apartment, costing us money we do not have. The money spent on her should have gone towards buying a car, since we have her on a very healthy and natural diet with regular vet checks that cost us an arm and a leg. I just know she needs more space and more people time than we can give her and with us going back to school and working in a couple months, I know deep down she will not be given what she needs/ deserves. She is the coziest snuggler in the world and I feel SO guilty just thinking about giving her away… even imagining handing over her leash to someone else kills me inside. But she is draining our bank account. So sad.

  • Kellie

    My husband and I are currently trying to decide if we should give our puppy back to the rescue we got him from. We love him unconditionally and I cannot imagine like without him. We have only had him for 2-3 weeks but I am completely in love. I know deep in my heart the best decision is to give him back. He is 9 weeks old and my husband and I work fulltime. The puppy stays in a play pen for 8 hours a day. He is so energetic and needs to be out and able to run around. I think by him staying confined all day, makes him aggressive during the day. I know we need to give him back so he can have a family that is there for him more than we are. My only concern with giving him back is that what if he goes to the wrong family after us? What is the new adopted family says they stay home during the week but really dont? What if he goes to a family that does not give him the attention that he needs? I am just so worried and then convince myself that he is better off with us since I know the love that I can give this puppy; the problem is is that we are never home. I truly know we should give him back but it just breaks my heart….

  • Lisa

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am currently going through the same issue with my 9 week old golden retriever. She is everything I could ever want in a puppy (super sweet, well-behaved when I am by her side, smart and beautiful). However, she has horrible separation anxiety & screams all night if I am not by her side. I’m talking SCREAMS- I didn’t know puppies where capable of making these sounds. I live in a condo, so this was MY mistake, and my neighbors are not so happy. Fortunately, I’ve been in close communication with the breeder throughout the process and we decided together that it would be best for the puppy to be returned. I KNOW this is the best thing to do for her, but I am torn up inside. She is so sweet and loves me already and I love her. But it’s not fair for her and she will be better off with a family and a yard to run around in. Helpful to know that I am not alone out there. Thank you

  • Alice Kho

    We had to give away my dog Daisy to someone else because after a while we didn’t have the time to take care of her because i was so so so busy with school and dance, But now that its the summer I have a lot of time to do anything I want and I really really regret giving my dog away i miss her so so much and I cry every night. We had her for 5 years. I can sill go visit her a couple of times but im very devastated. I even want to get her back but I can’t. I know that shes in a better home now, but we had many wonderful memory s together. I don’t know how to forget about her and I have an opportunity to get another dog ,but after giving away Daisy I just couldn’t get another dog. Should I get another dog. But i really don’t know because i miss Daisy so so much

  • Danielle

    Unfortunately I think me and my family have come to the decision to rehome our beloved pet.

    We adopted Precious, our 5 month old Chiweenie mix, when she was only 2 months old. These past few months have been full of ups and downs. I’ve laughed at her crazy puppy behavior and cried myself to sleep.
    The one thing these past months have shown me is that my family has a very active life style that doesn’t match up with our crazy puppy’s needs.

    Her high energy level is difficult to manage with our on the go schedule. In my heart I know it’s the right thing to do but I’m so worried and torn up about it.
    We got her from an individual so we cannot simply return her.
    I’m worried that she’ll go to a bad home where she won’t be looked after or treated properly. I love her with all my heart and I wish more than anything that she could be the right fit for us. I’m struggling really hard to find a way to let go.

  • Fenny

    Hi Laurie
    I’m going to give up my first and only dog in my life in near future. She is a golden retriever that I found in the street near my friend’s house. At that time she was abandoned by her prev owner which already moved away to another country (I got this info from the security at that cluster). Her condition was very poor and sick. So I brought her home and took her to a vet and recovered her until she became a very pretty golden again and I got her spayed.

    Now, it’s been 3 years since that day when I found her neglected on the street. She was a very good girl, very calm and i really love her character. But since my workplace was moved to a further location from my home, I need to leave my home very early in the morning around 5.30 am and I arrived home again around 9 pm (I leave in Jakarta where the traffics here is very sucks). I already tried to find another job that nearer from home, but i can’t find a better company and better salary near my house.

    So since I only have a very little time at home, my dog looks lonely and also she get sick quite often because she get less sunlight. I only can take her walk very early in the morning and at night, so she doesn’t get sunlight enough. Also my house is actually quite small and has no fence, so i couldn’t put her in the front yard. She got Fungus disease 2 times when it’s rainy season. Also, i don’t know why recently she got urinary tract infection quite often. been to vet almost twice in a month because of her UTI. I started to think, maybe it’s because i don’t have enough time to take her doing more exercise.
    so I decided to find her a new owner that has more time and can afford all her needs. I met this one person who wanted to adopt her, He is military army officer, and he said he loved dog and he lived in military house and there’s a big sport’s field, and he can take the dog to do jogging every morning, and he also would bring the dog everywhere he went. he also said that he could take the dog to grooming salon every 2 weeks and if he has to go out of town, he would let his parents take care for the dog, because his parents also loved dog, and he also have one dog ( a Siberian husky)
    So i think maybe he is the right person to be my golden retriever new owner.

    But, even though I already got the right person for my dog, I still thinking a lot of negative thoughts that make me stress and really sad. I really love my dog, and she is very kind to everyone, but because I don’t have time, I can’t have her, it’s really painful and stressful for me. It’s not because of the dog’s breed or the dog’s character, it’s because of me, I’m unable to find another job that closer and also I can’t afford to hire someone that can take care of her while i’m in the office. so I really feel guilty to let her go.

  • Laurie

    Dear Jennifer,

    It sounds like you know you have to give your dog away, because you can’t risk the possibility that she could hurt your kids, you, or even a stranger.

    It’s a very difficult decision, but you need to do what’s right for you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you decide what steps to take. May your dog find the right home, and may you and your family be at peace with how it unfolds.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Jennifer

    Laurie,
    Thank you so much for your article. It helps to know that others are struggling with the same choices that I am.
    About 9 months ago, we rescued a Great Dane (8 months old at the time). There was the expected period of her learning our rules and her place in our family (me, my fiancé, my parents, and 2 kids). We enrolled her in training shortly after we got her, and things seemed to be headed in the right direction.
    Then last spring, we took a family trip and boarded her at a dog sitter’s house. We got a report that she was acting aggressive towards the sitter, and it seemed that a months worth of training had been undone.
    Then this summer, she injured her foot (a claw came broke off in her kennel). She has shown more aggression, even after it’s been healed… towards any new dogs at the dog park… towards strangers at the door… towards any dog she might meet on a walk… she has started snapping at me and has snarled and bared teeth at my 5 year old son. This is not an every day occurrence. She seems to have good days and bad days. If it wasn’t for the boys, I would continue to work with her. But she is a large dog, and I can’t have her endangering my kids.
    I love her and I feel as if I have failed her. But I have realized how much stress this situation has put on me, and I am sure that she feels my stress to some extent too, and I know that can’t be helping.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Tiffany,

    My heart breaks for you – giving your dog away is a terrible decision to have to make, and even though you know it’s the best thing for both you and your dog…it’s still heart breaking. I still feel the pain and grief of giving our dog Jazz away, and it’s been three years. 🙁

    But, you have to keep reminding yourself that you did the right thing. Heidi will settle into her new home with a new owner, and she will adapt! A year ago, we adopted a second dog. Dogs are so awesome, they live in the moment and are happy to be part of any family, any home. Our second dog Tiffany is so HERE with us, even though she spent three years of her life with another family. She isn’t sad or hurt…she’s just a dog who has happily adjusted to her new home.

    Heidi will be the same way. Someone will adopt her and love her – and they’ll be grateful that you decided to give your dog away because they love her so much! I’m grateful Tiffany’s owner gave her away, because she is the light of my life.

    My prayer for you is that you forgive yourself. I pray you’re able to work through your grief and pain in a healthy way, and that you know deep in your heart and soul that giving Heidi away was the best thing you could do for her. May you find peace and freedom in this decision, and move forward with a positive sense of closure. May you heal, and know Heidi is happy in her new life. Amen.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Tiffany

    Thank you for this article. We had to send out 1 year old Rottweiler puppy back to the breeder 2 days ago. After 2 in-home trainers, a board and train session, and many vet consultations, we were unable to teach Heidi not to lunge and attempt to bite to protect us. After much discussion with the trainers, who never witnessed this behavior from Heidi, it was determined that we were not the right family for her. We would feel awful if she bit someone and had to be put to sleep. Rottweilers are rarely given second chances. She loved us very much but was so confused in our presence. We felt we had no choice but the find her a new home. The breeder is now working with her and says Heidi now understands that she is a dog, not a child. She will do great in another home, with people who are able to see her as a dog. I have been sobbing since we took her back, but my love for Heidi forced me to do what is right for her, even ir it breaks my heart.

  • Laurie

    Here’s some interesting research about the attachment between dogs and owners. This info may not help you decide if you should give your dog away, but it could help you see why you’re struggling with dog ownership.

    This is a press release from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.

    “What does “Fido’s” behavior say about the relationship between you and your dog?”

    For centuries, dogs have been described as man’s best friend. This bond may be linked to the behavior of your precious pooch, according to a March 2013 study by Christy L. Hoffman, PhD, assistant professor of animal behavior at Canisius College.

    The study looked at human-animal attachment among 60 dog-owning families, including parents and children. Participants completed questionnaires that asked about their attachment to their pet dogs, their levels of responsibility for the animals, such as feeding and walking them, and their general attitudes toward pets. Participants were also asked to rate their dogs on behavioral characteristics, including excitability, trainability, stranger fear and aggression, separation problems and attention-seeking behavior.

    The study revealed several findings.

    First, those individuals who had more positive feelings about pets, in general, and who took more responsibility for the care of their dogs, compared to others in their families, had higher attachments to their dogs. Hoffman also found that owners, regardless of gender, age or race, had a greater attachment to their dogs when the animals scored high on trainability and separation-related problems. In other words, if the dog is well-behaved and likes to socialize with humans, then the bond between the dog and its owner is greater.

    Lastly, the study revealed that the more dogs demonstrate attention-seeking behavior with their adult owners, the more attached these owners are likely to be with their dogs. Interestingly, however, this made no difference to the children in the study.

    “Children’s attitudes and levels of attachment toward their pets remained high, even when dogs showed low levels of attention-seeking behavior,” says Hoffman. Adult caregivers may tend to be more selective than children in the types of dogs with which they bond “due to work-related and parental responsibilities that already demand their attention,” explains Hoffman. “Thus, adults may only form emotional attachments with dogs that seek out their attention.”

    Surprisingly, Hoffman’s study did not find any differences between males and females in their associations between dog characteristics and attachment to dogs.

    About the researcher – Christy Hoffman, PhD, is an assistant professor of animal behavior at Canisius College. She collaborated on this research with researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania. Their complete findings were published in the March 2013 Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear stop yer whining,

    It sounds like you have all the answers when it comes to giving a dog away! I don’t agree with much of what you’ve said, but I have no desire to argue with you and I’m glad you shared your thoughts. I’m always open to hearing different opinions.

    In peace,
    Laurie

  • Stop yer whining

    I am sorry I didn’t bother reading the rest of your article after the list of flimsy reasons you provided at the start. People like you make me very angry. Deciding to keep a dog is atleast a two year process and it involves more than looking at dog pictures and videos on youtube and rehoming sites. Not to sound patronising but the first thing I did was visit dog shows, volunteer and take part in dog sitting/borrowing communities. (I live in London, UK is a country of dog lovers) I met as many owners as possible, asking them lots of questions, getting to experience it first hand. By the end of it I knew what temperament of dogs suit my lifestyle, list of free dog walkers / dog sitters, responsible vets, best dog insurance etc. even how much it were to cost if we went on holiday. When I finally found the type of pooch I wanted (temperament, age, insurance cost) I decided to take the responsibility. People like you should be given a more thorough guidance from the rehoming centre. NO ONE GETS A DOG BASED ON REASON THEREFORE SENDIN IT AWAY WITHOUT USING ONE’S EMOTION SEEMS HYPOCRITICAL. Sorry if I am judgemental but you need some tough love

  • Laurie

    Dear Kayli,

    Thank you for being here; I’m so sorry have to think about giving your dog away. It’s very painful, and I know that many people can be extremely vicious and critical when they hear of people re-homing their dogs. This just adds to the already overwhelming pain.

    The saddest thing is, the pain doesn’t get easier. I still feel so bad about giving our dog Jazz away. It breaks my heart, even though I know it was the best thing for us and her! So…the ugly reality is that it’s probably the right decision, but it still hurts like hell. It’s terrible.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I know how it feels, but I believe the best thing in the long run is to trust your gut and do what you think is best. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad — you have to do what you know is right for you, and you have to move forward.

    And, trust that your dog will find the right home. I cling to that! I believe our dog Jazz found a better home than what we could give her.

    In peace and sympathy,
    Laurie

  • Kayli

    Thank you for this article.

    My husband and I are planning to rehome our Siberian Husky. We have had him for four years and have had behavior issues the entire time which we were able to tolerate at first (we did lots of research on huskies and understood that the quirks of the breed – or so we thought). An event occurred recently in which cemented our decision that we are not the right home for our (very much loved) friend.

    Despite doing an analysis very much like the one you suggest, I am still feeling heartbroken, guilty, sad and defeated that we weren’t able to overcome the issues (even after 4 years!). There are people on the internet that are absolutely vicious when it comes to the subject of re-homing. They clearly do not understand the torment it causes when you’re faced with this decision. It was pleasant to find support and understanding for when you’re trying to make a difficult decision that ultimately is in the best interest of everyone.

    Thank you for providing some direction in the storm of emotion that rehoming a dog can be.

    Take care,
    Kayli

  • Naira Tarek

    I have a cocker spanial dog he is really naughty and he always do bad stuff and my parents want to get rid of it and i just cant handle he is my best friend i just cant let go im crying soo hard 🙁

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Shilene,

    Thank you for being here – I’m so sorry you have to think about giving your dogs away! It’s such a difficult decision, and there are no easy answers. I can’t tell you if you’re doing the right or wrong thing by finding them a new home. It’s a decision only you and your fiance can make, and you need to follow your heart and mind.

    If you do give them away, it will hurt for a long time. You love your dogs, and you’ll grieve your loss. But, you have to remember that whatever you decide, you’re doing for the good of everyone involved. You’re making the best decision you can for the good of your family as a whole — and your family includes your dogs.

    What is the best long-term decision for your family as a whole?

  • Shilene

    OK so i have a long story here.
    me and my fiance Nate have been living with my mom for 2 1/2 years now. we got these 2 dogs probably about a year 1/2 ago maybe a little longer. plus we also have my dog my mom got me when i was younger so we have 3 dogs in this house right now, the 2 younger ones are a beagle and a pugabull and my older dog is a boxer rottweiler mix (about 11 years old) she has always been a lazy calm dog. the pugabull is full of energy! and the beagle well she barks soo much!
    we first started having issue with the two smaller dogs (chole and juno) and they started fighting with each other so we had to stop leaving them out and now they are either in a room together since all the fighting happened with us around and they eat separate go out side to run around freely in our back yard and to go potty and then they go right back up in the room together. i feel like a horrible person as it is by locking them up in a room and only coming out to go potty so recently we have been looking into apartments so we can move out since we have our first child on the way in two months! we were prepared to work with them and see how it went because 3 dogs fighting i could not handle but we were ready to try 2 dogs in a new apartment, well i recently lost my job so that lowered our income and plus the town we live in only 2 places allow dogs! and one we can no longer afford and another that we would need a co signer for which we don’t have. my fiance Nate was already looking into getting rid of one dog but i keep my hopes up to keep both. but now it looks like we will have to get rid of both because of living situation.
    i would love to stay with my mom until i could get another job after the baby is born but my mom is a smoker which i will not allow my child to be around and my fiance and her do not get along and to add on to it she nags at me all the time stresses me out and we fight a lot so its really not a place i want my baby to be after being born!
    every time i think about getting rid of them i just start crying like crazy! they are my babies, the beagle is the one i am most attached to and i just cant wrap my head around getting rid of them. plus with moving into a smaller place with no back yard to run around in i just feel like they would be even more miserable or would be better off in a home where they would have the space to run around a play in!
    are we doing the wrong thing getting rid of them? i keep trying to get my hopes up that something will work out but reality of it is we only have 2 more months before the baby will be here!
    if we do have to get rid of them i know this will be the hardest thing i will have to do (so far lol) and i just don’t know how to handle it.
    i read the blog how to cope after re-homing a dog and it just made me ball for 5 mins! i just feel like i cant handle this.

  • Laurie Post author

    Emily,

    Thank you so much for the update! I’m so happy for you and your dogs, and so glad you kept her. The pain of giving a dog up is terrible, and I am super happy for you, that you found a way to make it work.

    Yay! 🙂

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  • Emily

    Hi Laurie,

    I posted back in June and wanted to provide an update. We ended up keeping the second dog. The first month was very difficult and stressful but it got better. We tried looking for a new home for her since I couldn’t bring myself to return her to the humane society. Around the time when I was looking for a new home, she started getting better. Each progressive day she adapted to her new home. She still needs some socialization and training. Our older dog pretty much ignores her except for the times he puts her in her place when she’s hyper. He doesn’t like playing with dogs, but he seems to tolerate her. He doesn’t avoid her like he did when we first got her. So that’s progress. I doubt they’ll ever play since the older one isn’t one to play, but we take the younger dog to the park so she can socialize with other dogs.

    Everyone said it takes time to adjust. At that time I didn’t know if I was ready to wait months for her to adjust. But she actually adjusted really fast. Her separation anxiety has gotten better and I’m very amazed at how well she is doing now. I was afraid it was going to take 6+ months for her to adjust. Through this, I’ve realized how great she is. She’s also a fast learner. We’re really lucky to have her and I’m glad I didn’t give her up. Thanks for all the advice. It was helpful to write it all out.

    Hope things are well with you. 🙂

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Joanne,

    Yikes, what a situation; you don’t need advice on giving a dog away — you need help figuring out what to do with a pack of dogs!

    That’s a lot of dogs, and they’re not exactly young. It’s pretty hard for older dogs (they’re 10, right?) to get adopted.

    One of my thoughts is to try and find a farm for them to live and romp on. I wouldn’t worry about them feeling abandoned as much as I would with giving one dog away, because the four dogs have each other. Even if you had to split them up, hopefully you could give them away in pairs. But if you want to keep all four together, a farm would be your best bet for space.

    Another thought is to start calling the veterinarians and humane societies in your area. I don’t know what resources exist in your area for dogs, but who knows — you may find some unexpected blessing if you start calling around.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful! I totally understand not being able to house four dogs, especially in your new situation. But, the best thing is to find a good home for them…and the local dog shelters and vets is where to start looking.

    I hope this helps a little, and wish you all the best!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Joanne

    Hello Laurie,

    I had a dog who has since died but has left us with four of her puppies. We kept them because we lived in a much bigger house then we do now. Since moving we find it hard to accommodate 4 dogs, all of which are siblings and 10 years old now. All of us kids have now grown up, have jobs/go to school and mum works. A lot of the time they can spend inside with no one home. They are all very noisy and I think they disturb the neighbours. Walking them is also a huge problem as it takes two people to do. With now only three in the house compared to 6 before it is almost impossible. I was wondering what you think.

    Should we give away two to a family who is willing to take them? Split them in half so they each still have the company of another? They could be much better off, get much more attention and walks. The thought of the guilt could destroy me (giving up on them so late in their life) but it could be better for them and us so they can all have a great last couple of years.

    Training them to not bark (with 4 it is very noisy) has been too difficult. They also have a strong pack mentality about them. It is clear when we have separated them inside the house they become a lot calmer and less aggressive. Do you think we should give some away?

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Yuki,

    Thank you for sharing here; it takes a lot of courage to open up!

    It sounds like there’s a lot of other factors to consider – not “simply” a question of keeping giving your puppy away. Your dog is triggering all sorts of questions, anxieties, and discussions about the future. I don’t think she is the problem; I think she may be the a symptom of other issues in your life.

    I also don’t know if it’s good for her to be surrounded by so much angst, anxiety, and turmoil! She senses your discomfort and emotional upheaval, she probably knows her name, and I believe she is affected in some way by what you’re going through.

    I think the best long-term solution is to get counselling and try to get to the root of the problem. You sound like an emotional wreck, and that’s not good for you, your boyfriend, your relationship, or the dog. Do you have a counsellor that you see for the depression? I’m not talking about a doctor who prescribes antidepressants or whatever – I mean an actual therapist that you talk to regularly.

    I encourage you to work through this issue with a counsellor, because I believe there is something deep inside you that is triggering this huge emotional, anxious, overwhelming response to your dog.

    How long will this take? If you can figure out what’s really going on, you may feel much much better, and be able to keep the puppy. But if for some reason you aren’t able to get to the root of the anxiety, then maybe it’s better to give the dog away sooner, rather than later.

    You might also consider finding a foster home for your dog for a short time, to give you a chance to look at the situation and your emotional state without feeling the pressure of your puppy.

    What do you think of this?

    Stay true to you,
    Laurie

  • Yuki

    Dear Laurie,

    I am struggling to keep my new furry friend, the horrible part? The problem is me; my puppy does not need a trainer.

    She is a model dog, she has only had a few accidents in the house but that is because I missed when she was by the door waiting to go out. She sleeps in her kennel for seven hours without whining and has not torn apart anything in the house. When she tries, I simply correct her with the Cesar Millan method and she will stop. She has nibbled my ear pretty good one time but it has not happened since. Walking her on a lease is decent, more like she walks me sometimes but that can easily be corrected. She likes to play by herself at times and takes many naps so she is not high maintenance in the least. She loves other dogs and people so re-homing her would not be a problem if someone had other pets.

    I had some concerns before adopting her and shut them out and ignored them, so why did I allow myself to do that? Well, I had researched long and hard, talked with my fiancé for months and even after meeting the puppy we talked for two days afterward about making a choice. I feel guilty now, embarrassed, horrible and a complete failure. I am exhausted, drained, sad, I cry chronically and randomly and my energy is nowhere to be found. I suffer from depression and endometriosis and many people have dogs for emotional support, so my fiancé and I thought this would also be a plus. Instead I have found myself even more depressed, anxious and hopeless. I do not sleep for very long; I wake up constantly worrying and crying about my puppy’s happiness and my sanity. I call my fiancé at work and wake him up at night wanting to talk about this, thus making him even more tired and stressed.

    My fiancé has already bonded with her immensely, he bonded with her at the animal shelter as soon as he saw her and that makes this decision even more difficult. He wants more than anything to keep her but I am alone with her constantly while he works many hours and he is obviously exhausted when he comes home. He will take her outside and play with her for a bit but I feel tremendously bad because I know he does not have the energy to play either. I am taking the most responsibility for her which I knew would happen but wow has my mental state plummeted severely. He even told me he doesn’t think he could have kids with me if I can’t handle a puppy and I am starting to believe him, but that makes me feel even more hurt. Note that I did not want kids for 5-10 more years, but now I don’t think I could handle them.

    We will both be starting college soon full time and he will still work as well, so the puppy will still be in my even more tired hands. We just moved to a different state and times are hard for finding jobs, thank goodness he has found one, while I have not. I don’t know how I could possibly work and take care of her though, and how will I study when courses start? The more I think about what is happening and what is going to happen the more overwhelmed I become. We have no family or friends for support, we are a team of 1 1/2 here and I feel so alone.

    I want her to have a family that can tire her out every night and cuddle her till her eye balls almost pop out, I want her to be happy and even though she wags her tail I know she needs more mental stimulation and my mental state is not here right now to provide her that. My fiancé wants to give her a little longer but thinking about that makes me even more nervous because I love her and know that we both will become even more attached. I don’t want to hurt my fiancé, he is so happy and I adore this puppy but I don’t feel stable enough. I don’t know if this is puppy blues or if my depression is actually worse because of my decision to adopt her. I really need some advice please, help me.

  • Laurie

    Dear Emily,

    It sounds like you made your decision, and now comes the grief and pain of actually giving her away. It’s hard — even the “rightest” decisions can be extremely painful! Just because it’s the right thing to do, doesn’t make it easy.

    Yes, most dogs are extremely resilient! Most live in the moment, and are grateful and happy just to be here with us 🙂 Your dog will adjust and adapt to her new home — and possibly be happier and healthier than she is with you. Your angst, anxiety, and inability to care for her the way you think she needs has an effect on her (not a good one!).

    She will be happy in her new home, and maybe even grateful to you for caring enough to make sure she gets the love and care she deserves.

    What does your husband say about giving her away? You didn’t mention him before. My husband wanted to keep Jazz, which made it harder. He supported me fully, but thought we should stick with her. We didn’t fight about it – he’s just more dedicated and loyal to sticking with decisions than I am! I call myself more flexible 🙂

    When I adopted Jazz from the SPCA, they had us sign a contract saying we would return her to them if we had to give her up. The contract specifically said we were not to give her away or sell her to anyone else. Does the shelter where you got your dog have a rule like that? If so, then you should take her back there.

    I encourage you to call the shelter, and talk it through with them. People surrender dogs all the time – and it’s surprisingly common for people to adopt a dog, then return him or her. The SPCA told me that this happens often enough that they’re not surprised or angry.

    If you think you can find a new home for her within a week or two, then maybe that’s a good option. I wouldn’t drag it out too long, though – I think it’s like a band aid that is better ripped off fast.

    I’m sorry you have to go through this. It’s hard. But, you will find your way and you will make the right decisions for you and your dogs!

    You’re doing this because you care about your new dog, and you want the best life for her. You can’t give her the life she deserves, and you’re loving and taking care of her the best way you know how. This is wonderful and important! Many people keep their dogs, but give them terrible lives. Giving a dog away is far better than subjecting her to a life that is less than she deserves.

    Let me know how it goes.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Emily

    One more thing. How resilient/adjustable do you think dogs are? I’ve read that some dogs miss their owners for a long time and if you bring them back to the shelter, they keep waiting for their owners to return. Others say dogs live in the moment and adjust quickly and are able to thrive in a new home if their needs are met. She’s very attached to me. She whines when I leave the room even if my husband is with her. I think he has spent more time training her, but for some reason she’s pretty attached to me. Will she be able to adapt to a new owner? Will she miss me? If I give her up, I want her to be able to adjust to her new home. I guess what’s why I’m curious as to how she would adapt in a new home/environment.

  • Emily

    Hi Laurie,

    Thank you for your reply. It’s been such an agonizing week. The past 2 days I cried thinking about the possibility of giving her away. I know she’ll be happier in a home where someone was home most of the day. She needs a home where someone has the time/energy to help overcome her separation anxiety. It’s such a tough decision, but I think I’m leaning towards giving her up. She’s such a sweet dog. Great temperament. Walks well on a leash. She’s come a long way since I adopted her. But I can’t meet all her needs. It wouldn’t be terrible if I kept her… and she may eventually get used to being home without me for 8-9 hours. My gut says I’m not ready for a second dog (especially a young dog). I regret adopting her in the first place because I wasn’t ready for a second dog and now I’m in this bad predicament. I’m scared I’m going to regret giving her away as well.

    I’m deciding if I should return to the no-kill shelter I adopted her from or try to find a new home for her instead. I know the first option is easier and I could return all the stuff I bought, but I would feel terrible leaving her there. It might make her separation anxiety worse. The second option requires more work and I have no idea how long it may take to find her a new home. But this may be better because I’ll feel better knowing that she’s a good home.

    Whenever I’m home, I remember what a good dog she is. But I don’t know if I can help her overcome her separation anxiety with the limited time I have. It’s been very hard separating emotions from making a rational decision.

    She has improved a lot. I’m scared if she keeps improving that it’ll be harder to let her go. Because in the end, I don’t feel ready for another dog. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not. But for some reason, I feel like I’m not ready. I travel occasionally and it’s going to be a lot harder traveling/finding dogsitters with 2 dogs instead of 1. The senior dog is super easygoing. Mostly sleeps and doesn’t require much work so friends are usually very willing to house him or dogsit him. I don’t know how a second dog will affect traveling/finding dogsitters. So many factors. And my mind keeps flipping back and forth between what to do. In the end, I want us both to be happy and I hope I can find what makes us happy. Thank you for sharing and joining me on this journey. It definitely is a painful one but I have learned a great deal so far.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Emily,

    Thank you for sharing here — I hope it helped a little to write it all out!

    As you said, there are so many factors to consider, and so many unknowns. There isn’t any way for me or anyone to answer all your questions, because you’re asking about the future. Nobody can predict what will happen, if your first dog will develop separation anxiety or if your new dog will calm down and settle into your routine.

    But, I do know that it takes time for everyone to adjust. This is a big life change for all of you, and it takes at least a couple of months to settle in to the new routine. So, part of me thinks you may not be giving it enough time. But I don’t want to tell you what to do! It’s a difficult decision that I hated having to make for myself — the last thing I want to do is make it for someone else!

    I doubt that your first senior dog will develop your new dog’s bad habits — but I’m not a veterinarian or dog expert. I just think it’s more likely that your new dog will follow the older dog’s lead and adopt the older dog’s habits. Sometimes young new dogs bring life and energy to the old dogs, and it is possible the young dogs will teach the old dog bad habits…but ultimately it depends on the dogs’ personalities and breeds.

    We’re considering adopting a second dog, and I’m worried about the same issues you’re facing! If I were in your shoes, I’d review the reasons I adopted a second dog. It’s like having a new baby: so tiring, time-consuming, exhausting, and busy for the first few weeks….but it’s also a part of your life that you’d never give up.

    I regret giving my dog away. I wish I had stuck it out with her, and I’ll always wonder how she is and where she went after I returned her to the SPCA. But, I also know that I made the right decision for myself at that time. I honestly felt like I couldn’t take care of that dog, that she would be better off in another home.

    So I guess I did make the right decision, even though it’s still painful.

    Here’s what I think is the bottom line for you: Are you willing to change (sacrifice!!) your current lifestyle in order to give this new dog a home?

    It’s okay to decide that you don’t want to make the sacrifices this new dog demands! There is no law that says you have to change your whole life just because you adopted a dog. And, if you decide to keep this dog and make the sacrifices, it’s important to remember that this is your decision. Don’t blame your dog, or be bitter or resent her because she requires so much more time and energy than your first dog.

    This is a highly personal decision that you have to wrestle with…there are no easy answers.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful! I wish I could tell you what the best decision is…but I can’t.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Please come back and let me know what you decided.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Emily

    I realized I should elaborate some more since I didn’t provide all the details. My first dog has mild separation anxiety. He howls a little bit but usually gives up pretty quickly. So I thought maybe having a dog companion might help (I’ve heard mixed things about this). After adopting the second dog, I remembered that my first dog is indifferent towards other dogs. When they met, they were indifferent. They haven’t quite bonded yet because the second dog howls/barks a lot when I’m not home. My first dog occasionally follows her to see what she’s up to. The past couple days she’s been wanting to play with him, but my first dog doesn’t play with other dogs. I think it’s because he wasn’t socialized properly as a puppy. He loves humans more than dogs. In any case, now I have 2 dogs with SA. The second one doesn’t give up as easily as the first. I’m afraid that the second dog is making my first dog more anxious. Although it seems like he’s starting to warm up to her. He doesn’t run to the opposite of the house or avoid her as much. My reasons for thinking about returning her:

    1) compatibility with first dog. They don’t fight. When they first met, they were indifferent – no signs of aggression. Everything was new so I hoped they would warm up to each other over time. She wants to play with him but he doesn’t want to play (he’s a senior dog).

    2) bad SA – I don’t want to be a bad influence on my first dog. Her SA is a lot worse which is understandable since she came from a shelter. So far I’ve haven’t noticed the first dog’s SA getting worse. But I can’t imagine him liking her howling/barking. I feel like she needs someone that would be home with her. 8-10 hours alone is too much.

    3) high energy – She has a lot more energy than I expected, but I should have known since she’s young. I guess I kept thinking about how easy it was for my first dog to adjust. I was naive to think the second would be just as easy. I don’t have the time to exercise her as much. I would have to walk the 2 dogs separately because the senior dog tires easily.

    I want what’s best for her and I’m having a hard time figuring out if my home is a good match. I feel like she would be happy with a family where at least 1 member is home most of the day and maybe with a dog that wants to play. Am i giving up too soon? Should I suck it up and keep trying hoping that it gets better? Would be happier somewhere else? Or am I the one that can make her happy? She’s quite attached to me already (perhaps more bonded to me than I am to her). So many factors and I don’t want us to both be unhappy. I know that if I decide to keep, it’s going to be a lot of work. Will my first dog ever fully accept her or will he be unhappy that a new hyper dog has joined the family?

  • Emily

    Hi Laurie,

    Like many others, I’m thinking of returning a dog that I adopted last week. The dog has really bad separation anxiety and I feel really bad that she has to be left at home for 8-10 hours a day. She’s pretty young (1.5 years) and still needs a lot of training. She’s a lot more work than I anticipated. I admit, I bit off more than I can chew. It doesn’t seem like she fits my current lifestyle. My first dog was a better match. Less energy and didn’t require a lot of training. I’m thinking of returning her but I feel so guilty about it. I don’t know if I should keep trying or should I give up. I can’t bear the thought of her being back at the shelter (it’s no kill so that’s good). She seems happy when I’m home and enjoys being with me. But she hates being away from me. In hindsight, I really wish I did more research before getting a second dog. I wanted one but didn’t think about what having a second dog will entail. That is totally my fault. Any advice?

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Amber,

    Thank you for stepping in and caring for this dog! It’s not easy to do the right thing, but I’m glad you are. Your friend is going through a really hard time, and you’re doing what you can to help both her and her creatures.

    Regarding your questions: I would not expect her to pay you back for the shelter fees. It doesn’t sound like she’s in any position to do that, and I believe your expectation is unrealistic. It just sets you up to be disappointed and angry. If I were in your shoes, I might mention the shelter fees and even invite her to repay me if she can (but I probably would just eat the loss). I wouldn’t expect her to come through.

    I don’t know what the legal ramifications are of you giving back the dog when you legally own him. If he escapes, or gets injured while in her care, or causes damage to another dog or person or property, can you be sued? That’s a very, very serious consideration. If you give the dog back to her, you need something in writing that states that you do not own him.

    Another way to get around the legality is to surrender the dog back to the shelter. If she really wants him back, she’ll have to come up with the money. I actually think this is a better option than giving him back directly to her…but this may damage your friendship.

    I also think that you may have to damage your relationship in order to do what’s best for the dog. I don’t think it’s in the dog’s best interests to go back to her, and I think that if your friendship is healthy and true, then she’ll forgive you for doing what you think is best for the dog. If you decide to go this route, you might write her a letter explaining that you love her and you only want what’s best for her, the dog, and your family in the long run…and that involves surrendering the dog to a shelter who can find a good home for her.

    One final thought: don’t expect her to find a dog sitter! She has so much going on, how can she do this as well? Honestly, I think you should keep your expectations of her as low as possible. She’s obviously a caring person who wants to take care of her family (including her dogs!), but she can’t do it all.

    I hope this helps, and I’m sorry there aren’t any easy answers. I wish you all the best as you move forward with this…I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Amber

    I’m afraid that I’m not in a position to give away my “own” dog, but to try to convince a friend to give up one of hers that she cannot take care of.

    My friend has 5 children, ages 13 to 2, 2 big dogs, and had several cats at the time that her husband abandoned her and effectively kicked them to the curb. Months later, she remains homeless, jobless, vehicle-less, and completely unsupported by her husband.

    I have been doing what I can to help her, and one of these things was dogsitting her more rambunctious dog. He was practically a crazy dog with her, being kept in the back yard all day every day, constantly trying to get out to run free, etc. Since we’ve taken him in, we’ve been able to calm him down and teach him a couple of things, such as sit and stay, but we are not a good fit for him: he needs regular training and attention and lots of exercise (he’s a big, powerful, intelligent and high-energy dog); and we have several small children, with the dad in the military and with a new baby on the way. When the dog busted out of the fence and got caught by animal services and we found him in the animal shelter, we bought him back, making him legally ours.

    Now baby is almost here, and my friend still has no other place for “her” dog. We had asked her a couple of months ago to try and find another dog sitter, but she had not. She is in no better position to take the dog in than she was when we first got him, and she even had to ask us for help to feed her other dog. I see her dog going back to him as a disaster in the making, because he would once again be in a too-small of a place with too much chaos, with people who cannot take care of him. She needs to find a job, to find a home, to otherwise spend her energy on moving on with her life, but she wants to keep “her” dog.

    I am torn. The dog is legally ours, and we feel responsible for him. We don’t want him to go back to her, fearing that such an act would do great harm to both her family and to the dog. But we cannot keep him any longer because baby will come any day, and we need to focus on our own needs; and I feel that the dog will be more stable and better cared for in another family that actively wants a dog like him.

    I respect her decisions, but I don’t know the legal ramifications of giving him to a homeless family when we’re legally responsible for him. Should we expect her to pay the amount we paid to get him out of the shelter? Do we need to draw up legal-looking papers blatantly stating that the dog is hers if none of my reasons convince her to give him up? I don’t know. I don’t want to damage my friendship with her.

  • Laurie

    Dear Ken,

    Thank you so much for coming back, and updating us! I’m glad you decided to keep Blackie, and very much appreciate your honesty here.

    I’m also impressed at how much you’ve learned about Blackie in the past several weeks. My dog Georgie tends to lunge and growl at other dogs on-leash in our neighborhood, too. I didn’t realize it could be a territorial thing. That’s good to think about, and test later today when I take her to a new neighborhood.

    I still feel guilty and sad about giving our dog Jazz away – and that was almost 3 years ago! I talked to a woman yesterday who gave her dog away. She said all she felt was relief when she took him back to the shelter. I, on the other hand, was crying like a baby. It was awful, but we made the best decision we could at the time, so I am trying not to beat myself up. I pray that she’s happy in a good home — I’m sure she is. It was meant to be this way.

    But if I had to make the same decision today, I’d do what you did. I’d take more obedience training courses. I’d also know better than to take the advice that we got — I now know things I didn’t know then, because of Georgie.

    That said, however, sometimes the best solution is to surrender your dog.

    Anyway — Ken, it sounds like you made the best decision for you and Blackie. Thanks again for the update!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Ken

    Hello again. Just want to comment on my situation again and thank you Laurie for the article.

    I need to start out by saying these are just my feelings about me and my situation.

    I have decided to keep Blackie. It has helped me immensely to write down my honest feelings about my situation. I have reread my post about 50 times. Every time I read it I tear up, thinking I was about to give this guy away. I get emails when someone posts here too. It helps me to see I am not the only one in this situation. Rereading it over and over again helped me realize what I needed to do to make this work. He didn’t chose to be with me. I chose him to be with me.

    I am still gone 10-12 hours M-F for work, but I have learned different exercises to tire him out. Just walking is not good enough for him. I could walk him to the moon and back and he will still want to go. I mix up the things we do now. I’ll take him to the dog park, when only his friends are there, so he can run full steam ahead and play. Walk for 20 minutes or longer if I can. Don’t get me wrong we still moments that I hate, but they are becoming fewer. Maybe it’s because he is getting older. I don’t know.

    Patience is my biggest problem. Now, when his behavior gets where I don’t like it, I realize that I need to keep my patience in check. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but for the most time I can, stop, think about how I am going to handle the situation and move on with this guy. As opposed to blowi