Are You Struggling After Rehoming Your Dog? You Are Not Alone

The grief and guilt of rehoming a dog or giving your dog away is intense and sad. I understand how you feel; my husband and I had to rehome our dog. Here’s how I coped with the guilt and grief I felt and still feel. I found that writing my dog a letter was helpful, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Please read through the comments at the end of this blog post. You’ll see you aren’t alone. You’ll find comfort, support, and companionship as you grieve this difficult decision.

Below, I share a letter my newly-adopted dog Tiffy wrote to her previous owner (she dictated the letter; I did the actual writing). This might help you see that rehoming a dog is sometimes the best decision. You might also begin to understand how incredibly adaptable and resilient our dogs are.

One of my most popular articles about dogs is How to Decide if You Should Give Your Dog Away. I wrote it because I had to rehome a dog. Since then, I adopted two new dogs: Tiffy (the wee white one in the picture) and Georgie (a the black and white terrier you’ll meet later).

Last night, the person who gave my dog Tiffy to me emailed to say thank you for adopting her. She had to rehome Tiffy because she just couldn’t take care of her anymore. I am so grateful she gave her dog away! And she is so grateful that I was able to adopt her dog and love her fully and completely. Are you struggling with rehoming a dog? Take heart. Know that your dog will adapt – and perhaps even be happier with his or her new family.

After you rehome your dog, remember that the next home will be the right place for him or her. And, know that your dog will adapt, adjust and settling into the new home quickly. Dogs really are more resilient and adaptable than we think!

Are You Struggling With the Guilt and Grief After Rehoming Your Dog?
My new dog Tiffy, who was rehomed twice before me

How to Cope After Rehoming Your Dog

If you’re struggling with the decision to rehome a dog – or if you’re sad and don’t know how to cope with the guilt after rehoming a dog – read this letter. Tiffy wrote it to her previous owners: Marnie and Camelia (not their real names). Both are very sad after giving Tiffy away, and need to know how she is doing.

If reading this letter doesn’t ease your guilt after rehoming your dog, I encourage you to write your own letter to your dog in the comments section below. This might help ease the pain for you.

Dear Marnie and Camelia,

I miss you, but I am very happy and glad to be in my new home! I get lots of love and attention here. My new Mama and Papa don’t have human kids to take care of, so I get all their attention. I have a Big Sister called Georgie, who is a dog like me. She’s bigger, but not nearly as smart as me. But she is showing me how to run and jump and play.

You should see me now – I’m so fast, racing through the forest like a speeding bullet! I run and sniff and get to follow all sorts of exciting new paths that take me on fun adventures. I chase squirrels and raccoons and birds – but they’re too fast for me. I don’t care, I just am so happy to run around after them. I feel big and brave in my new home, and when I bark I am even bigger and braver!

I’ve met all my Big Sister’s friends – she has so many friends, and they all fell in love with me as soon as they saw me. They’re called Nico, Shore, Benji, Hunter, Ivy, Bumpy, Senna, Kyla, Ruff, Diablo, and Smokey. See how many new friends I have? They think I’m cute, and the big ones finally stopped stepping on me (it took them awhile to remember how itty bitty I am).

My Big Sister Georgie taught me how to work the thing called “Kong” that gives us yummy treats. Did you know I get homemade chicken soup every day, for breakfast and dinner? And most nights I watch Papa Bear cook steaks or chicken or pork chops on the bbq. Sometimes he drops pieces of meat, and they are more delicious than anything I ever tasted.  Mama Bear always makes sure I have real chicken and crunchy bits to eat with my chicken soup meals. I love it so much, I lick the bowl clean every meal! Sometimes I chew on soup bones, because Mama and Papa say it’s good for my teeth. I don’t know anything about that – I just love the way the bones taste!

Even though I am very happy in my new home, I remember you in my dreams. I have a special place in my heart for you, and when I dream of where I was before I came here, I remember how good it felt to be held and hugged and kissed by you. You will always be in my heart and soul, and I will always love you.



rehoming a dog
Tiffy and Georgie…rehoming a dog isn’t all bad!

If you find faith comforting, read Comforting Prayers for the Loss of a Beloved Dog or Cat.

Dealing with the guilt and grief after rehoming a dog is perhaps even more sharply painful than dealing with heartache after a losing a pet to death. Most of our pets’ deaths are natural and caused by old age or ill health. The feelings of loss, shame, and guilt caused by rehoming a dog are traumatic.

Healing your heart after rehoming a dog

How do you grieve the loss of a your dog? I wrote How to Heal Your Heart After Losing a Pet: 75 Ways to Cope With Grief and Guilt When Your Dog or Cat Dies to help pet lovers deal with death.

how to heal after losing your pet

Give yourself time and permission to grieve. Rehoming a dog is a painful experience; find ways to process and express your emotions in healthy ways. Take time to read through the comments below. You’ll see that you are not alone, and that rehoming your dog was the best possible decision you could have made.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs.

Your comments are welcome on how to cope with rehoming a dog. Woof.


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162 thoughts on “Are You Struggling After Rehoming Your Dog? You Are Not Alone”

  1. We fostered a dog last year and decided to keep her since she got along so well with our other dogs. This poor dog was 3-4 years and had been neglected and abused. We were able to work through her issues and teach her some manners and all was well for a while. Then one day she lunged after the one dog and a vicious fight followed. My husband was bit several times but we did manage to get them apart. After a day or so, they were back to BFFs. Approximately a month later the same thing happened but the failed foster continued to be aggressive to the other dog. We worked with a behaviorist and our vet for months (3-4) but could not get to a point that we were comfortable putting them together. We ended up surrendering her back to the rescue. I have felt absolutely sick about it ever since. We adored this dog and planned to be her forever home. I keep thinking I should have done more…but don’t know what that would have been. Unfortunately, the rescue has not been kind and will not even allow me to financially support her until she’s adopted. I am devastated.

  2. hello, i know i should not be as sad as the other people rehoming pets as we only had him for a trial period its just very upsetting knowing i wont have a dog now. we got him on monday for a trial however only on thursday we had to give gunther back due to us not being able to cope, we go out lots of places and i know it was the right choice we truly couldn’t cope with a dog. after this i found out i will never get a dog probably even tho i have wanted one for years iam only 13 hopefully when i move out i can look further into it and get one. if anyone sees this the dog we got was on @petpalsgc (pls check them out try to adopt them) on facebook they rehome many dogs from gran canaria some stray/abandoned ones from the pounds, i was so happy knowing i was going to give a animal a better life seeing their past might have not been that good🥺. i know its the right decision i will just miss him alot i hope him and all the other doggos in this world get a home soon animals are the best and dont deserve to be treated bad at all!!

  3. My Mother made me re-home my rabbit 🐰 who I loved and took care of her along with my Dad. How do I not hate my Mother. I miss my 🐇.

  4. Thank you for this blog I have just re homed my best friend and I feel broken hearted and I suppose I think she feels the same but reading this makes me believe she is living in the moment and I know she is experiencing love from being with another family and their dog and cats and is settling in. I loved her more than I think any human which makes it difficult to come to terms with why would you re-home your fluffy friend but due to my circumstances changing and not being able to spend time that she needed I made the tough decision to find her new friends… They keep me updated on her progress and I love your blog it helps put it into perspective so thank you. xxx

  5. My family have decided to give our 6 month old Jack Russel cross Chihuahua Zuma away (I am 16. He became to difficult for us to handle and decided he needed to be somewhere without a small child and a big place to play. We all wanted to be with him for life and we do not believe in re-homing dogs but its not fair for Zuma. And i am really upset because I feel as if its so mean to re-home him because he is settled and i know how scary it is to move families and i feel so guilty. I love Zuma so so much.

  6. Dear Hachiko
    You were my first dog, and what a dog! A gorgeous akita inu with all the energy in the world. Unfortunately you were too dominant over my little sister.. You wouldn’t let her touch me or mom and dad.
    Due to the aggression that couldn’t be changed even with our trainer we decided to give you to a man who lives alone and will give you all the attention in the world.
    I know we had you for a short period of time and I’m sorry we have to rehome you but we all will be better after this.
    I’m so depressed because I fell in love with you at first sight and I think you did too.. But we have to do what’s best for our family.
    You will always be in my memory as my first and most beloved pet.
    Goodbye Hachi…

  7. I want some advice, i gave my dog to a rescue and then realised i made a terrible mistake, the rescue are ignoring me, how would i get my dog back, any advice please

  8. Dear Guus,

    I have taken you to your new home yesterday. You were happy to go there because you stayed there before as a trial period. I made this decision, and they are so so happy with you. But I regret it now even though I know I have made the best decision. I wish you were here. My heart is aching. I had you since you were a very small puppy. I’ve had you for nearly 5 years. You were so happy when the baby arrived and you couldn’t have been more happy or gentle with him. But as a single mom, working full time, my situation changed. I don’t want you sitting alone at home for so long, and I can’t afford daycare or a dog walker anymore since the baby arrived. And I don’t want to not do evening activities like baby swimming because I feel so guilty when I am not home with you. Your new family, they are retired and they have time for you all day long. They have been sending me pictures and messages saying how happy you are making them. And I cry when I read them, and I want you back, but it is just not feasible. I will love you forever, and I will miss your crazy energy, your kisses, your enthusiasm and love when you saw me coming home. I am so heartbroken that I am not sure if I will ever get over this. I am so sorry for letting you go.

    Love your dog mom

  9. This post and these comments have definitely helped, as I sit here and cry through reading them all. I am in the process of re-homing my boy. He’s a black lab, and I’ve had him since he was a puppy for now 7 years. He has been with me through the happiest of times and my darkest moments. I’ve nursed him back to health and spent a fortune after he was attacked by other dogs a couple times. He’s been with me through 3 or 4 different moves, he also is registered as my emotional service dog and has been just that for me in times of depression, anxiety, bad health, you name it! He has truly been my rock! And my best friend. Crazy to say but, he’s like a son to me (as I don’t have kids of my own.) I’m only in my late 20’s, pretty young but I’ve been through so much and been through a lot the last 7 years with my boy. He’s the best dog I could ever ask for!

    Now getting to the re-homing situation… I was always the person who swore they would NEVER re-home a beloved pet. However, I find myself in that situation years later and now, understand. I recently have gone through a divorce, which also had caused me to have to step away from a current job, also causing me to take a job that pays much less and now be on one income. With this, I am realizing I can no longer pay to live where I am at, and the place I’ve found that I can afford- I unfortunately cant bring my boy. Also, this isn’t the only factor causing me to re-home. While I’ve exhausted many options when it comes to living, I also realize how much I’ve had to be working and away from home. Leaving my boy alone for hours on end. I come home during the day and can let him out but then often have to race back to work and leave him again. I know he loves me so much and I love him- but it’s selfish for me to keep him to avoid being heart broken, when I have found someone who has other dogs and can devote time to him. And it’s also good for me, to be able to get back on my feet with much less rent after my divorce. I am absolutely heartbroken but I know this is best for the both of us. I promised I would never drop him off at a shelter, because he would be terrified and broken. Which is why I’ve spent countless days trying to find the right fit (and been super picky.) I found someone who also has been a vet tech and worked with rescues and someone I know, who also stated after he adjusts that I can come and see him whenever I want. Because she’s worked with rescues, she also has strategies for helping him cope with the re-homing. I know he’ll be broken for a little, but with two other Labrador brothers he will be so happy! I feel guilty and selfish at times, but also remind myself that he’s had such an amazing life with me and blessed my life and now he can bless someone else’s… I remind myself that it’s not fair for him to have to live out the rest of his life locked in a house alone all day (an apartment with no backyard), it might seem selfish to re-home, but would also be selfish to keep him just to keep him locked up in the apartment while I work, or worse, end up on the streets with him because I can’t afford my rent here or find a place other than what I’ve found. I know he will be so happy in his new home and I pray it all works out because I’ve had a hard time finding someone I trust- so I’m praying this does work out !!

    I totally understand now, that certain circumstances call for having to re-home. I’ve exhausted my options and also realized, it’s best even if it breaks my heart! ? I love you my big boy! More than anything and I know you will be so loved and hope I can see you again once you settle into your new family. Mom will never forget you, and please don’t ever feel abandoned, I truly am doing what I believe is best for you, and it breaks my heart! ♥️

    1. I love what you wrote I am going through the same thing right now, not due to divorce but due to leaving him home alone while we are working and it so unfair to him. I don’t have any place for him to run and play, and I found myself yelling at him even though he was such a good boy and just being a dog! I’m heartbroken but found a great place for my Bernese and I love him and am so sad I can hardly stand it. I know it is better for him and he will be happier.

  10. I had been thinking on getting a new dog to go with my 12 yr old Chow-Australian shepherd mix, so when someone abandoned their dog in my fenced yard,it seemed like fate. I had her spayed and gave her all of her shots. I thought I would be her forever home, but on Wednesday I surrendered her to the local animal shelter. I only had her 10 weeks when I gave her up. A Blue Heeler and Border Collie mix, and only 8 months old, I felt like it was the best thing for all of us. My old dog couldn’t stand her. She learned to jump the fence to escape. She constantly wanted to play. She would constantly jump on me and nip at my arms and legs. I’m currently covered in bruises and scabs. I loved her (in spite of everything) but at age 64,felt that rehoming was my only option, especially after she knocked my down (twice) and started nipping on me. I still love her and regret giving her way, but for both our sake’s, I hope that she finds a home with a some one who can give all the exercise,love, and attention she deserves. I miss you Katie.

  11. Dear Hunter ❤️ You will be leaving us in two days you’re a wonderful golden lab who is our first son ? you will always be our first son but with the arrival of your little brother and his oxygen condition and your dad been busy with everything we feel like we are neglecting you which we really don’t like doing therefore with the greatest difficulty we have decided to send you to a new home where you will be looked after better than us hopefully and loved? you’re a wonderful companion. My son you have been there for me in my darkest hour I feel so guilty and hear broken ? I don’t know how I will survive and your dad will have a hard time I know this decision might be killing him inside coz I know how much he loves you and your bond is soo strong. I hope you will be happy in your new home and hopefully one day we will meet again please don’t hate us and be strong my love. Your mum and dad love you very very much I promise there will be no other pet in our family again coz this is hard and I can’t stop crying I will miss you my angel you’re the cutest dog ever. Please god let him be happy in his new home and May he be showered with unconditional love and give us the strength to let him go and be happy for him. We love you so much Hunter

  12. Guys I’m desperately yelling for help, I have to give up my 2 pits :( and it’s killing me inside I can’t sleep/eat/crying all the time…I read your blog and it made me feel a little better but my baby’s are going to be gone in 2 days and I just can’t, any other tips or anything that could help me? it would be great thank you.

    A sad mama,

  13. I have recently rehomed/sold my beloved Shelty in order to keep the harmony in my marriage. The shedding, the barking and time consumption was normal when you commit to caring for a puppy, but for 9 months it caused great strife, anger, unhappiness with my husband and I and our 13 year old Pomeranian. My Shelty lovvvved to herd my Pom, bounce on her back, trying to play, but my Pom is old and frail, could not handle it My Shelty would run outside every 20 minutes and bark at the neighbors and their dogs, causing constant stress in our household. I took the time energy and $ to have my puppy professionally trained, put extra screening on her pens, took her for 1 mile walks every day, played fetch and ball and we loved each other greatly. I have been crying nonstop, am depressed and would love my lil gal back. I realize that I chose the wrong breed as a pal for my Pom and for our home. Shelty is in a loving home with huge back yard and 2 big Shelty sis, so I am very thankful for that. Coping with the decision to rehomed her is killing me.

  14. Myakka Max ,

    dear max I know I only had you for three weeks with me but you captured my intentions were good when I was finally able to capture you. You had been on the loose with several sightings for months. My plan was to find you a good home as I already have 3 dogs and am planning to move from this house to a condo. It took forever it seemed for me to gain your trust but once I did you were awesome always following me and loving me. My little lulu was very scared of you and when people came over you freaked out so I enlisted help of an experienced rescue who found a foster for you. last night I loaded you into a strangers car and let them take you away. I feel so guilty that I did not keep you. I cant eat or sleep I hope you will forgive me and will find happiness in a new home and be less scared of people.

  15. I had to rehome my ACD Achilles because my bf also the father of my daughter who was born in July of 2017. My bf has an older dog who is dog aggressive and has hurt other dogs including Achilles so we had to keep them separate constantly, at first we built a gate to keep them in different rooms but Achilles would become destructive on occasion when his dog was in the room we were in so we ended up crating him. I tried so hard to keep Achilles but my bf would lash out at him often in anger for barking or chewing instead of proper correction. My bfs parents would tell me every time they came over how it wasnt good for achilles to be here and that he needed to be on a farm or how he might be aggressive towards the baby but my bfs they siad was great with babies(i was pregnant at the time). I would walk achiles everyday and he would spend time outside but I stopped walking my bfs dog after he went after a neighbor dog who happened to be the dog of the local judge…so in order to create less jealously between our dogs I walked acchilles less than I normally would. In the end my bfs parents found achilles a good home with a dog trainer whom I still talk to about Achilles who is now buck. The only reason I gave Achilles away was to save my daughter from having to hear her fater yell all the time at Achilles as well as her fathers violent bahvaor towards my dog. I miss Achilles everyday and it hasnt lessened up yet, I miss him more than words can express, our bond was special and I habor resentment towards my bf and his parents for pushing me so hard to rehome Achilles, the guilt is incredible. I hate that because I hadnt had Achilles as long as my bf had his dog was the sole reasoning that Achilles had to be rehomed. His dog is 12 Achilles just turned 2 years this January 12th. Achilles was still a puppy and those behavoirs could have easily been changed and worked through not only that but Achilles was far better with my daughter than my bfs dog is/ever was n fact his dog contstantly gets between the baby and I because he gets jealous and the yellinng hasnt stopped because he yells at his dog now for his bahavoir constantly. I feel betrayed, guilt ridden and heartbroken, I dont know how to cope.

  16. I have had to make the heartbreaking decision to rehome my dog. I have had her for 5 years, since she was a puppy. She is a 6 pound yorkiepoo and I love her with all my heart. Unfortunately she does not get along with my 9 lb morkie who I’ve had for 8 years. I’ve tried training and it’s not working. The stress level in my home is so high. I never know when a fight will start. So for the safety of my other dog and anxiety in my home I had to make this horrible decision. She needs to be in a single home dog. Right now I keep them barricaded away from each other and that’s no way to live for us or the dogs. I’m thankful that I will still have my other baby and I’m looking forward to some much needed quality time with her but I don’t know how I will ever get through this. The quilt is killing me and my heart is broken.

  17. I’ve had my rescue dog Finn for almost a year now. He’s extremely high maintenance and I’ve been working on training him. He’s potty trained now although he still has the occasional accident. He is part jack Russell terrier and as such he is very high energy. I didn’t expect such a high energy dog when I adopted him and now I’m worried I may never adjust to it. I try to give exercise him whenever I can unfortunately I work two jobs and just don’t always have the time so he only gets one or two walks a day. He also has extreme separation anxiety and can’t handle himself whenever I even go close to the door leading out of my house. He barks until I return home and I’ve tried everything to help him through this but nothing seems to work. He takes up so much headspace for me that I’m always thinking about him and what I can try now to help him. He’s a sweet dog when I’m home and he’s in his usual routine but I’m not sure I’m what’s best for him anymore. I feel like I’m letting him down whenever I can’t give him the attention he needs. He’s also quite destructive whenever I so much as leave the room. He’s chewed through my laptop charger once and another time he knocked my very expensive computer to the ground and it had to be replaced. Another time I left him alone in my room for 5 minutes in the middle of the night to get a glass of water and he chewed up my eyeglasses. Pretty soon I won’t be able to afford taking care of him because he keeps destroying things whenever I leave. I usually leave him locked in a room whenever I have to go to the bathroom or get water so he won’t run around but just letting him out of the room isn’t a solution because he can’t always be with me. I don’t know how to help him anymore because it seems unhealthy for him to be so dependent on me. For example, I set up a camera once to watch what he did in his crate when I went upstairs for a bit. I hadn’t even left the house and I made sure he could hear that I was still home and he didn’t lie down or stop barking and scratching until I came back into the room. Then I tried leaving the house and the same thing happened only it was more intense. I love him but I also want what’s best for him and I’m not sure what that is anymore. I know he loves me and that makes this so much harder because I can’t imagine never getting to see him again. He’s also so high maintenance I don’t know how to ask a friend or relative if they want him because I don’t want him to making anyone else’s life harder. I’m at a loss at this point and would really appreciate some input. It feels like a betrayal to let him go but it might also be what’s best for him.

  18. We gave our dog, Duke, away a little over a week ago and I’m so sad about it! I keep seeing his scared face and then today I came across his smiling one on the day I adopted him…it’s tearing my heart out! We got him as a 7 month old 70 pound pup (wow, right?). Now he’s a 110-120 lb 7 year old and I feel like the biggest heel for giving up and failing him… :(

    My husband works out of town and we have 2 children now, one just a toddler. When we got our Duke the situation here was so different. We had only one child, lived in the country where the dogs could run and my husband was home every evening.
    Since we moved this spring things have been so different. We’re in a subdivision now and our smaller dogs are doing fine. They get more attention and walks from kids (my 8 year old and the neighbor’s 8 year old) because of their size, but Duke was just too much to manage. He’d only been on one walk since we moved in, poor guy. I just didn’t have time to do more that let them in the back yard. He also was part hound and wanted to roam. When he started breaking out of the fence things started going downhill. He fought a neighbor’s dog and severely scared the neighbor. I was scared he would bite someone accidentally, as the only way he could be outside was while tied up (he was going over, under and through fences and gates…we’d fix one thing and he’d find a new way out). He and the others stayed in the garage so much because it was chaotic when they were inside, and dangerous for my toddler. He and our boxer even got into fights because of jealousy, right between my baby and I! That never happened before the move. :(
    I had such high hopes for this move too. I thought the bigger house would be the answer and that all the dogs could spend more time with the family (they stayed outside a lot at our old place) but the smaller outdoor space and more things in the neighborhood to explore made him want to be free, which just couldn’t be. After 7 months here we decided to rehome him. I’m convinced that if he hadn’t been escaping I couldn’t have ever made that decision, even though it’s best for him and for us. That was the push I needed because him nearly biting a neighbor was a wakeup call. I would’ve felt awful for her and for him, bc he would’ve been pts and he didn’t deserve that, if the humane officer had to come get him after a bite.
    So, bless you, sweet Duke. We miss you like crazy but I trust you’re much more content and treated like the king you are! You give the best hugs, baby boy…my big lug!! I’m so sorry you’re not still here! I will miss you forever, I promise. I hope we did the right thing.
    Love You Always…

  19. Today, I had to rehome my bulldog/lab/boxer mix, Baxter. I had only had him for a month. He showed up at my driveway deep in the country, and I took him in. He was my best friend. I loved Baxter with all my heart, but one day he got into the neighbors chicken pen. I thought he would grow out of it, but it happened again and again and I had no choice but to put him somewhere where he could do no harm. I gave him to a breeder friend of mine so he could find a good, loving family. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I feel like I betrayed him. The pain is sharp and throbbing in my heart like I’ve never felt before, and I’m absolutely miserable, but in the end I know I made the right choice. Baxter will find a good home full of people who love him as much as I do – and no chickens.

  20. It has always been my childhood dreams to own a dog of my own. Growing up that dream came true when my father bought me a jack Russell on my 13th birthday. Shortly 5 years later my father passed away and my mother decided to give him away without consulting me properly, it broke my heart. As soon as I had a place of my own my partner and I brought home the sweetest malshi. I haven’t been able to sleep from her barking for over 3 months, keep getting sick from not enough rest and have tried everything and my tears won’t stop so we are now planning to rehome her. Thank you for such a beautiful article xx

  21. I just had to re home my two large dogs due to my husband’s health. We have to move to a smaller home and large dogs aren’t allowed. We have raised them both since they were puppies. They are our children, our babies. I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach and cry all the time. All I can think about is I want to get them back. I feel panicky. I know they feel lost and what happened to mommy and daddy. I only hope this is temporary. Feeling extremely sad?

  22. I had to let my Dog Rex go today he was 11 months old we got him when he was 8 weeks old. He was a lovable Dog he was very active and loved to play we had to give him away because of our sons illness and I am extremely confident his new owners will love and care for him just like we did! The pain is like nothing you will ever feel but I know deep down it was the right decision! I hope and pray that he will live a long happy life and maybe one day our paths with cross and he will remember us! Love you Rex take care my buddy x

  23. I just gave my best friend away to a family 5 hours away today. Its much harder then I thought. I love diesel with all my heart and I feel guilty. I know I made the right decision but the pain isn’t going away. I’m confident the new owners will love and care for him and I know he will love them too cause I raised him with love for 3 years. Please God bring love and protection to every rehomed pets including mines and please lord bring peace and happiness to everyone who had to make this very difficult decision including me.

    1. Thank you for your prayer! I need it. In a couple of weeks, I will be giving away my Reuben who I’ve had for 6 years, since he was 8 weeks. I’ve been crying on and off for months after making this decision and coping with grief.

  24. Thank you so much for sharing this!
    I am in the processes of re-homing my dog, and it is absolutely heart breaking!
    I am moving overseas for a while and i have ask friends and family to look after him but no one can. So this is so much harder then i thought! A lot of people dont understand the guilt and sadness this brings over you! They havnt done anything wrong but yet in these types of circumstances it is hard to figure out what else i can do for my precious friend! It is nice to hear other peoples stories as well, in their process of re homing their dogs and thinking that they have gone through the same thing. I am still trying to find him a forever home, so i hope the next family he gets loves him as much as i do!
    I know i will miss him dearly but its the right decision!

  25. Thank you so much for writing this post. I just had to rehome my beloved dog Jake. He is a Golden Retriever that I just couldn’t care for anymore. Its been no more than 24 hours and I am in so much pain. I am sad. I am wondering if I’ll ever be able to truly forgive myself. I hope his new family treats him like a gem! I have faith that my God has a plan not only for Jake, but for me! Again, thank you for posting this.

  26. dear alaska i love you so much i cant live without u but our nighboor dont want you around tem i know ur so hyper and active u want to play every second u cant sleep without me iknow its hard so much its hard to give you away iknow that i know im always alone in the house and im sick i cant get you out everyday iknow how much u love me iknow how much u care about me i love you so much its hard and painful dont be sad i wll see you every week 2 times i love you so much and my friend hes so good and he can take care of you and take u to play always i love you alaska i will miss you so so much i will never ever have a dog after you ur the last thing i will love <3

  27. Thank you for being here, and sharing the difficult and painful experience of rehoming your dog. It is like giving a piece of your heart away, and there is no way to avoid the grief and pain.

    My prayer is that you find peace and self-forgiveness. I recently wrote an article about forgiving yourself, and hope you take time to read it. I don’t believe rehoming a dog is a mistake — that’s just the title of this blog post!

    But I do believe we need to learn how to forgive ourselves, even when we make the right decision. Sometimes the more right a decision is, the more painful it is — and the more we need to practice self-compassion and self-forgiveness.

    7 Practical Ways to Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes

    Take care of yourself, and know that your dog is a survivor! Your dog is happily adapting to a new home, a new bed, and a new family. Life is good — that’s what your dog knows! Life is good.

    Take care of yourself,

  28. Thank you for this. I am in the process of rehoming my dog and I am just overwhelmed with the guilt. I feel like I have failed her. I know it’s for the best, I just can’t give her what she needs. She is a sweet dog and this is best, I know that. I will miss her and know she will be happy with someone who can give her everything I can’t…my total attention and devotion.

  29. This article is a huge help for me as we are getting ready to re home our dog Rosie tomorrow. We adopted her about a year ago, she was just a few months old at the time. Over the past year our lives have become much busier than they were when we adopted her, between our work schedules, the kids sports and activities, she spends way too much time each day in her crate… Sometimes in it two or three times a day, only coming out for an hour or so until we have to leave again for the next thing. It’s just truly unfair to her. Along with that, she is very high energy and needs a big yard to run and play, which we cannot provide. She also has separation anxiety, so us constantly leaving her has made her a mess to the point where she pants and cries for hours on end. We tried medicating her but that just seems like a bandaid… On top of that, she is so overly excited when around new people and dogs that we haven’t been able to have anyone over for the past 6 months. The kids haven’t had any sleepovers, I hesitate on allowing them to have friends over, and we haven’t had adult friends over either because of how she acts. We love her to pieces, she’s a fantastic dog with lots of love to give, but the fit just doesn’t appear right for our family. I am ridden with guilt just for even having these thoughts of wanting to give our dog “back”, but I know we need to do what’s best for all of us. Luckily the rescue where we adopted her from is going to take her back and find her a new home, and I know she will go to a great home with a wonderful family who can give what she need, but that still doesn’t take away the pain and the hurt.

  30. Dear Deeohgee, (D.O. G.) I want you to know that I do love you. It’s because I do that you had to be rehomed. You know that Mike hurts the most and it wasn’t his decision. Since he works out of town, I just couldn’t take care of you alone. He is so unhappy about my decision. If he was home you would be too. I didn’t think that I would feel so much pain, guilt and grief but I do. Mama and us couldn’t dream of you going to the pound so your new family is her trainer and family. They are retired so no more long hours in the kennel while we worked. Mama (Grammy ) sent us a picture of you and your new family at your meeting. I see that you were able to ride shotgun instead of the kennel. You looked so happy. Perhaps, when we come home for the holidays, we’ll get to see you. I love you big guy! Enjoy life, be happy and healthy! Mama has already been keeping us posted.

  31. Dear Preston,

    I’m sorry buddy that I had to give you away, I’m finding it so hard to get over it, I hope you enjoy being with your new family, who will take you out with the shooting. I need you so much and so does Mum, I can’t stop crying, Willow must be really upset to see her big brother going, but we will teach her to be a good little puppy.

    You mean the world to me Preston, I’ll never delete our photos or my photos of you, I want you back, but I can’t have you. Your a dog and won’t understand what’s going on, you’ll be wondering why you aren’t with us. I know that every morning I’ll wake up and feel guilty, especially your sister.

    You was the best dog I could ask for, but we had to give you up for a certain reason, though you won’t understand why. I wish you could hug me and tell me everything will be fine. I wish this was a dream, I didn’t want this day to come, but it was for the best, for this family and for you.

    I love you so much Preston. Love from your sister and one of your owners ~ Ashleigh

  32. Dear Sunny-Joy,
    I’m sorry that I couldn’t keep you anymore. Your Big Brother became allergic to you, so I had to give you to a nice farm family. You’ll be much happier there, than you were here with me. I’ll always love you. Even now as I’m writing this, I’m crying, because of how much I miss you. I can’t look at anything that used to belong to you, because then I start crying. You’ll always be my greatest little 4 legged love. You’ve saved my life 3 times, and I had to return the favor by giving you a new home, because a shelter is no place for you my sweet little girl. I hope that you’re happy with your new family baby girl. You’ll forever hold a very special place in my heart.

  33. Dear Harley and Buster,
    I hope you are happy in your new home. I miss you so much and i wish i would have fought harder for you both to stay. I think about you all the time and I hope your happy, and i wish i never gave you away i feel lonely with out here and I felt so much happier when i knew i could come home to you guys but i can anymore. I always talked to you both when i felt sad and now i feel like i don’t have anyone to keep me company. I will always remember you and i love you very much. You two are and will always be my best friends.

  34. The feeling of guilt, anxiety and regret I am feeling right now is enormous. Two days ago, I surrendered my 11 month old pitbull baby, Mushki. My family and I made this harsh decision, because Mushki’s dad Chatras got in a very rough fight and almost killed my Mushki. I tried to help them get along like before but it was just no happening. Chatras kept growling at Mushki and I know for a fact if I was to keep Mushki, he’d probably be death right about now.
    The morning my younger siblings and I had to say our goodbyes, was one of the hardest days of my life. My baby Mushki did not want to get out the car, they had to cary him, this broke my heart. I had abandoned the baby I had loved since he was born. Guilt and regret are taking over me. I want to run over to the shelter and bring my baby back. I’m worried he is not being treated right. I can’t help but to feel angry towards Chatras everytime I see him. I know one of them had to go, I just wish it didn’t had to happen the way it did. Idk how I’m going to heal from this pain, I feel a big hole in my heart.

  35. I had to rehome my dog because my neighborhood do not like him. There are 3-4 dogs around the neighborhood but they live longer than we are. So, there’s lots of comments saying that they found poop in front of their house. They went to my mom and ask her not to bring our dog there. But my mom said it wasn’t him. I know that the dog next door loves to pee and poo everywhere he wants to. He almost poo infront of my house if the owner didn’t see me. But no one are brave enough to go to him and talk to him because he’s quite older and lives there like for 30-40 years.
    So, on 31st August, my mom were walking with my dog, he was peeing and suddenly someone hit my mom with a big wood saying that my dog is pooing there. My mom said no! he is peeing, but unluckily, some cats just poo there and HE keeps forcing to say it was my dog’s. He hit my mom several times and tried to hit my dog. My dog even make a sound like he’s scared. My mom try to save him. After that, when my mom wanted to went home, he waited outside and trying to hit my mom again. My mom got bruises but afraid to tell my dad because he might get mad and gave my dog away. But later, she told him. My dad immediately went to the police, and my dog was given to his friend the next day. The morning before he was rehome, i took him out, but he was scared. and one of his legs looks limp(?) and he looks sad. I was very sad because my dad gave him right away. I was afraid that his leg might not get better although it didn’t look that bad and I am afraid that he would think it was his fault. He is my first dog and we’ve been living together for 3 years. I’m afraid that he isn’t going to get as much attention and loves. I’m afraid that they’re not going to understand what he wants. My dad doesn’t allow us to visit him because he knows that we would cry and ask him back. I hope he can forget us and adapt with the new family. And I also hope that his new owner will love him.

    1. :( I was in the same situation. I gave my two dogs, Rocky and Rambo away to a family friend because my neighbor hates German shepherds. My dogs never said anything to him but he threatened to shoot them if he seen them. I’m devastated because they were trained and very well behaved dogs. I’ve also had them for 3 years and it hurts so much. I miss them terribly. :( and I don’t want to visit them because I want them to adapt to their new home.

    2. I hope you get to see your dog again, as we had to give our dog that we had for a year and a half a new home 3 hours away. The guy is retired and can spend a lot of time with Chase. It is just really sad when they have been a part of the family. We work and he was home in the house for most of the day. I really feel that he is going to be a lot happier.
      Please take care and pray for your dog.

  36. Yesterday we rehomed our dog Penny that we had for almost a year because our lives are too busy to have a dog. She is so sweet and loving. We know she deserves a better life where her owner has more time to spend with her. We still have her brother that we are looking to rehome. It was so hard separating them and it kills me to think that when we find him a home I will have to go through all of this pain again. I didn’t expect it to be so hard. I miss her so much but I know her life will be more enjoyable now. I hope that she is doing well. Her brother misses her terribly. The new owner was very excited and fell in love with her instantly. I feel bad for getting those precious pups to begin with. I regret falling in love with them because giving them up is so painful. I know this is the best thing for them and our family st this time but it was not an easy decision to make.

  37. Dearest Theo,
    You were the first dog in our life. We thought a lot before adopting you. We counted days and hours and finally you reached us. We had only seen your pics and two short videos of you. You were a handsome golden labrador and the videos showed you happily running about with your friends.
    We were taken aback when we saw you. You were larger than we expected and of course, much more stronger and energetic. We were only told that you are a high energy dog and would need 2 walks of one hour each a day. We thought we could manage.
    Theo, it is not your fault, not ours either. The people who sent you to us did not tell us what high energy and playfulness meant. It meant that you ran like a bullet, and also meant that you would jump at and grab the arm of any visitor and strangers. As first time owners, we just could not understand you or do justice to you. We could not open your mouth and take the visitor’s arm out like how a friend showed us. That’s why in just a few days, we had to send you back to where you came from. We were scared that you might accidentally nip someone.
    Theo, despite five walks a day, you had tons of energy. That energy needs to be put to good use. you are in the best phase of your life and we want you to be able to run, jump, play, swim… spend that energy happily. It cannot happen in our tiny apartment. We just do not have what you need, except love and food and cuddles and treats and toys… But not space. Which you need and need a lot of.

    We will always love you and pray for your happiness and good health. You are an amazing boy and you will always be our love.

    Mamma n Papa

  38. One year after rehoming my boys Winston and Deuce, and I still cry about it. I had them for 5 and 6 years, but as a single mom with two kids and busy lives, we just didn’t have the time to devote to them. I wasn’t single when I got them, I became single when the boys were 2 and 3. Their lives consisted of being in a crate all day (because they couldn’t hold their pee all day and would pee in the house), then out of the crate after work/school until bedtime, where it was back into the crate. We loved them very much, but I felt like they deserved better. So I placed an ad to rehome them. When I made the decision to do so, I did the research. I told myself I would ask the right questions, that I would do a home visit, that I would get references. But I ended up rushing through it anyway. I feel like they went to a good home, but I wish I had taken more time to be sure. I wish I had gone to the home. I wish I at least had an address. The person who took them agreed to keep in touch, to send pictures and videos. Only she has stopped responding to my texts and I have no other information to contact her. I worry about them. I hope they are happy. I hope they aren’t waiting for me. I feel so bad and I dont know if I can ever forgive myself. They loved my girls and me so much. I am so sorry if I let you down Winston and Deuce, and I love and miss you very much. I hope your days are spent running and having fun, and that you get to sleep in beds and get lots of snuggles <3

    1. I feel for you! My husband works out of town and we have 2 children now, one just a toddler. When we got our Duke the situation here was so different. We had only one child, lived in the country where the dogs could run and my husband was home every evening.
      Since we moved this spring things have been so different. We’re in a subdivision now and our smaller dogs are doing fine. They get more attention and walks from kids because of their size, but Duke was just too much to manage. He also was part hound and wanted to roam. When he started breaking out of the fence things started going downhill. He fought a neighbor’s dog and severely scared her. I was scared he would bite someone accidentally, as the only way he could be outside was while tied up (he was going over, under and through fences and gates…we’d fix one thing and he’d find a new way out). He and the others stayed in the garage so much because it waschaotic when they were inside, and dangerous for my toddler. He and our boxer even got into fights because of jealousy, right between my baby and I!
      I had such high hopesfor this move. I though the bigger house would be the answer and that all the dogs could spend more time with the family but the smaller outdoor space and more things in the neighborhood to explore made his want to be free, which just couldn’t be. After 7 months here we decided to rehome him. I’m convinced that if he hadn’t been escaping I couldn’t have ever made that decision, even though it’s best for him and for us. That was the push I needed because him nearly biting a neighbor was a wakeup call. I would’ve felt awful for her and for him, bc he would’ve been pts and he didn’t deserve that.
      So, bless you, sweet Duke. We miss you like crazy but I trust you’re much more content and treated like the king you are! You give the best hugs, baby boy…my big lug!! I’m so sorry you’re not still here! Love Always…

      Eva, sometimes circumstances change and we have to do what’s right for our human kids and our furbabies. I used to be in animal rescue so I know better than many how awful the guilt is. Spending years with them makes it harder, I do think. That’s why I responded to your comment. I hope you have peace about it now. I know they are happy and they are loved!

  39. Niko my sweet Niko. You stole my heart from the moment I saw you!!! I went for a little girl but came home with my first baby boy. I had never been away from home and was lonely until I got you. You changed everything for me. You were my first love!!! Then so so quickly everything changed. I met your daddy and he moved in then shortly after that his 3 ur old son moved in. We got married and then had our own baby. And because I felt bad I couldn’t spend as much as ch time with you we got your sister. It all happened so fast and you wanted it to be just you and me. I know that the kids would get rough with you accidentally pull your fur and they made you very nervous. I tried so hard with training for you and scolding the boys for hurting you, I tried to keep you guys separate but it was just too hard. And the you bit my baby 1 too many times I couldn’t risk you actually hurting him. I am so so sorry that I had to give you up!! You will always be my first baby and I will miss you so much!! You will alway have a huge piece of my heart. I pray to the lord above that your new forever home is all that you want and deserve. Someone who can give you all the love and time you deserve!!! I hope they love all the cuddle time you love to give. I will always miss you!!! I just hope that the pain will lessen and all the good memories will fill the hole and ache in my heart!!! I pray you are happy and completely loved. With all my heart love. Your first mommy. ???

  40. ANNIE, my sweet Annie. I am so sorry I had to leave you. It has only been a week and I’m am so very lonely for you. I only hope you are adjusting and living the good life! I felt so terrible each time I came home. You were terrified of being alone. You needed much more time and attention than I could give having to go back to work. I know your new mama loves you too. Know that I will think of you every nap and every meal I don’t share with you anymore. Please forgive me punkin?

    1. I deel the very same way you do. I gave my dog Mercedes up about 11 hours ago and cant stop crying. I look down & expect to see her laying there or to beg for my food & shes not there. Fortunately she was able to go to her original owner but that doesn’t stop my pain.

  41. I had to rehome my dog two years ago and the pain remains just as painful as two years ago. The guilt is driving me crazy.

    He was my very first dog, I got him when I was 19. My family had a dog and I had been around dogs otherwise too for my whole life, but this one was truly mine. He was an American Staffordshire Terrier. I was certain I could train any dog and be fine with any challenging breed. I even wanted a challenging breed because I was so confident and wanted to put my knowledge in action. I had trained my family’s dog too and never had any problems with dogs.

    I told the breeder I would want the calmest one of the litter if possible because it would match better with my personality. She agreed to it, and so I got an 8 weeks old puppy. Things were difficult from the beginning, it was hard to make him take “no” seriously. I was consistent and eventually he started to believe me. He was the wildest dog I have ever seen. Even two jogs a day weren’t enough for him when he was just 4 months old, he had so much energy. I’m not high energy myself but took him for a one hour run twice a day with a bike. He wouldn’t be at one place for longer than a few seconds.

    He didn’t have any respect for other people in the house than me and he was constantly testing me too. My family’s dog didn’t get along with him from the start (I lived in the same house with my parents) and I think both dogs stressed about it and made them get anxious. He would chew on everything, I couldn’t leave him alone even for a second. When I was away, I would keep him outside.

    I was very disappointed in myself, I had read about dog psychology and dog training and succesfully trained one dog, but I could not make anything work on Garrus. It was a fight every day. I was doing my best to be calm and assertive. I knew he was bored so I got him toys to play with, trained him to give mental stimulation and took him for long runs to drain his energy. Still nothing worked. He was jumping on people, being a stereotypical “problem dog” (there’s no such a thing for real, it is always a human’s fault). He was very dominating and it was getting more difficult each day.

    I was completely drained and ended up keeping him outside for the most of the time. I felt awful because he would look at me from the window. I know he would have wanted to be in the house with me and others. I was a failure, failed him. I tried everything I knew with him but I wasn’t able to make anything work. It was awful to admit we weren’t right for each other. It felt awful to give up. I don’t know why I never asked for help. Only after giving him away I realised I could have asked for help. I loved him and still do. I have dreams about him. His breeder got very angry at me which I understand.

    I found him a new, good home and Garrus and his new owner seemed to connect immediately. He got a really good home. It should make me feel better but it doesn’t. He wasn’t sad to leave, he jumped in the car immediately. Garrus is having a great life now. The guilt and pain is still following me every day and I can’t seem to get rid of it. His new owner doesn’t tell me anymore how he is doing and being judged as an awful, irresponsible person hurts a lot. I failed Garrus and myself. I never thought this would happen to me. I used to judge all the people who decided to rehome their dogs. I don’t judge them anymore, I share their pain and guilt. I don’t know how I could ever get a dog again, my confidence is crushed and I don’t want to feel this pain ever again.

  42. Dear Rhiannon,

    I’m sorry you had to rehome your dog. It’s a sad and heartbreaking experience to know that Buddy is living somewhere else, and that he may be scared and unhappy. But, you have to remember that dogs are very adaptable! They are survivors, and they don’t think about things the way humans do.

    I don’t think your dog is made at you, and I agree with your mom. Dogs are very much living in the moment; they don’t dwell on things the way we do. Buddy is a survivor, he’s a happy dog, and he will fall in love with his new home — just like his new owners will fall in love with him!

    My dog Tiffy was rehomed. That is, I adopted her from a woman who couldn’t take care of her anymore. Tiffy was 3 years old then, and I know she wasn’t mad that her previous owner – who she loved very much – had to rehome her. Tiffy loves me, and she attached to me very quickly. She knows where her food and love and walks come from :-)

    Buddy will adapt to his new home the way Tiffy adjusted to living with me. Rehoming a dog is probably harder on the humans than the dogs! Trust that your dog has found the right home, and that he will be fine. He misses you – I have no doubt – but he isn’t dwelling on the past.

    Take care of yourself. Grieve your loss – for rehoming a dog isn’t easy to cope with – but allow yourself to be happy again.


    1. Thank you so much for your advice really helped me I rang the kennels where he is and they said they have someone in mind for him to be rehomed to do I guess that’s good news just sucks it’s not me I guess

  43. I need advice, I had a dog called buddy who was a staffy mix and I loved him more than anything he was my absolute world however he has a slight temper and can be dangerous he has previously escaped from our house and has attacked other dogs and sheep, the other day he actually attacked a dog again and my mum had enough and rang dog warden I was absolutely heartbroken becuase I know how lovely he is and i love him so much, after he was taken away the dog warden said to my mum he will be rehomed to someone who’s able to walk him all the time and that was it I was absolutely crushed so I got my boyfriend to ring the kennels and they said to him he will be being rehomed but I at the moment he’s at the kennels I think and I’m so hurt thinking will he hate me? Be waiting for me? I just want what’s best for him and I know he needs a good owner who’s got the time to walk him daily my hearts completely broken if anyone has been through anything similar please help. Will he be happy when he’s rehomed? Will he always want to come back to me? My mum said dogs forget things quicker than humans and he will be okay but he was my world and I’m worried he might be mad And that’s not what I want I knew he was unhappy staring out the window daily but I couldn’t walk him becuase he was way to strong for me it breaks my heart going bed at night without him ????

  44. Thank you so much for writing this post and to everyone that has shared. Tomorrow I have to bring my beautiful Lorelei to a foster home because of aggression problems with my little kids. It hurts so bad. It feels like giving up a child. We have had her for about a year since she was 3 months old. She is a gorgeous Great Pyrenese and Amatolian Shepherd mix. I will miss her so so much. I know she do well with the foster family and I hope that the family she ends up with loves her as much as my teenage daughter and I did. Dear Lorelei was the first dog that was mine and not my parent’s. I don’t think we will ever own another dog again. For if I had to rehome another loved one I could not take it. Again thank you for this post and much love to all who have been in this situation. <3

  45. I really needed this article and these comments. Today I’m rehoming a dog I rescued from the streets and 2 of her puppies that I helped her deliver and bottle fed and kept in my room/bed for months. I cannot stop crying. I feel so guilty bc I raised and trained them and they are so attached to me, but I know that I can’t afford to keep all 6 of them. I would do anything to keep them, but I know it’s best for them to be given to a new home. I’m just hoping they give them the attention and love that I have given them. This is really tearing at my heart. Thought I’m keeping 3 pups, it’s bittersweet bc I’ve taught the mom so much and she is my best friend. I can’t even type anymore bc I’m so emotional. I just pray I get updates and pictures.

  46. Today i rehomed my pet, i gave him back from where we had brought him when he ws a puppy as we weren’t able to take full care of him and he ws very hyper and destructive as we couldn’t give him the care he needed he is now living with the other dogs of his family. He ws very scared when we left him there i am really pained and not able to cope up with this pain as i took care of him and loved him from all my heart for an year i just hope that he feels happy and contented with the other dogs and is properly taken care of i hope he forgets us. I am really sorry that i had to leave him like this and couldn’t take care of him

  47. This article was a God sent. Thank you so much to everyone for sharing your stories. I had to surrender my darling lil man to a no kill shelter last week. I’ve missed work because I keep caving in to the guilt, sorrow and loss. He was an amazing dog, but had severe anxiety and with my work schedule, and my husband traveling he was confined to a crate 14 hours a day. He needed constant companionship and behavioral therapy, but all I could do was medicate him. I wanted a better way of life for him. I pray over and over again, his new family will have a puppy playmate for him and the time and resources to cure his anxiety. I was also told by the shelter not to come and visit. I can’t stop torturing myself. It may have been the right decision but it feels as though the guilt is eating me from the inside out. Please God, find Moe a happy family. Let him find love, acceptance and happiness with a family that can home him until his last days.

  48. Luna, I found your new home at the end of 2014. Giving you away was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. My beautiful girl. I think about you every single day. I saw you today, it had been a year and a half. You still remembered me, I sobbed as my heart broke all over again. You looked so happy, healthy and strong. You have a best friend called Rafa and I know you are both super spoilt. You have a huge garden and instead of a doggy bed, you and Rafa share a comfy big sofa!! I know that you are so well cared for and have a friend of your size and age that you can play with constantly but I dearly wish that I could have given that to you. I’m so so so sorry. They say it gets easier but I think really you just learn to live with the guilt. That is exactly what I feel, guilt. We went to lots of different homes me and you, to see where you fitted in best, and we said no to lots of people, it just didn’t feel right! I’ve always wanted the best for you, I was so young and I loved and love you so much. We spent a long time searching for the right family for you, and we would spend the evenings together. I remember everytime you came over for a hug I would whisper in your ear how sorry I was and how much I cared for you. I hope you understood and I hope you understand now that all I ever wanted for you was the best. I love you so much that I can’t put it in to words. Seeing you today was amazing, you remembered me, and in my heart you’re still my little baby girl, you always will be. I was so young when I found you in a box at the market on April 1st 2012. You had been left in a box with your brothers and sisters on the street during the night and were taken down to the weekly market the next morning. I saw you in that little hot box and you came straight home with me. When we got home you were starving, and a mess, and you were so young that you would bump in to chair legs and door frames, you couldn’t even see properly yet. I know you’re happy now, I just wish that I could have been good enough for you. I love you so so so much Luni, my baby girl. I’m so sorry. Mum xxx

  49. I had to rehome my best friend Buddy almost 3 months ago. He was the best dog that I ever had. Even though I know that rehoming him was what was best for him, it still hurts me every day. I hope and pray that he is not feeling as much sadness as I am. I will never forget about him, but most of me hopes that he has forgotten about me, at least enough to enjoy his new home and his new owners. I was the third home he had been with & I never thought that I’d rehome my dog, I thought I’d have him forever, but then the circumstances changed and rehoming him was better for him than being with me. It still hurts me everyday.

  50. Thank you so much for this post. I googled “how to feel ok about giving your dog to a rescue” & this was the first one that was right on. It made me cry lots as I felt so understood & realize the emotions are so strong. I haven’t even re-homed my dog yet but will be this weekend. This really helped me as I was definitely asking if I was making the right decision. Thank you!

  51. Dear Bella,
    I want to start off by saying that I love you and miss you very much. I miss everything about you, the most is the way we played with eachother. Yesterday, I gave you away, after having you for 1 1/2 years since you were a puppy, to this couple that also have another Yorkie ( Bella was a Yorkie) and have a much bigger house with a lot of room for you to play in. I lived with my parents and they didn’t allow you to go around the whole house, so you had to be locked up in a certain area. Our yard also was very small. I know that in your new home you WILL be happy. But I miss you so much and I’m scared that when I’m ready to get a new dog, he/she won’t be anything like you. You were the best dog anyone can ever have. I hope your new owners will realize that. They said they will be sending pictures! All I want for you is to be happy. I hope you’re not mad at me. Let’s hope I can visit one day :) you’re life at my house wasn’t the best, and I know that. The past year, I’m being honest, I mostly relied on my parents to do work around you because I was unmotivated. You don’t deserve that. You still have a whole life ahead of you. I love you so much and I really wish my parents never decided to give you away. The pain that I’m experiencing right now is so bad :( I just want you to be happy.
    Love, your mama

    1. I wanted to say that you are so brave. I know how much it hurts because tomorrow my dog will be leaving my family. My parents did exactly the same thing as yours. I’m going miss him so much because he helped with my anxiety and depression. I’m still only in high school, and it just hurts. Do you know if your dog is happier now? I’m worried my dog will be whimpering for us and waiting for us to return for him. That’s what has been hurting me the most. I’m sorry that you and everyone else here had to go through it. It’s the worst feeling I have ever had, and I would never want anyone to go through it. Much love!

  52. My Beautiful Moo Moo
    My heart is broken , I cannot stop crying. I hope you are not feeling the same pain as I am.
    You were my everything and made me happy and licked my tears when I was sad. I am sorry I had to give you away, I miss your hairs allover my bed, your wiggles and playfulness and your love of eating everything I did.
    I see your photos from your new parents and I think you look sad. I know they love you but I loved you more.

    Why is life so cruel. Wish I could have kept you my baby girl. Can I get you back ? Will the pain go away? Will you forget about me and be happy? Will your new owners play with you like I did?


    I love you Moo Moo
    Love Granny

  53. Hi Liz, I haven’t seen my dog after I rehomed him. When I called the SPCA to see if I could go for a visit, they said it’d be better if I didn’t, that it would be confusing for him if I saw him. He might thing he’s coming home with me….so I didn’t visit him.

    It might be good to give your dog time to adjust to the new surroundings and life, before visiting. You might also ask the new caregivers what they think and if they’d be comfortable with it.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this – it really is hard to cope after rehoming a dog. But letting go may be the wisest and healthiest option, at least until the dust settles.

  54. I just rehomed my dog and does anyone know if it’s ok or not to visit every now and then? Would it make your dog happy to see your still around sometimes it just harder and more confusing for him/her? Has anyone done this ?

  55. I had to rehome my pure bred pitbull . His name is Big and his new owner came and got him today. My heart broke. My family and I had no choice due to living situation had change. My two youngest sons 12 and 13,just cried. Big has always been a good dog. We didn’t have to crate him and he had free range of the house except the kitchen. It’s killing us to know he’s gonna be in a crate and no freedom. He’s one year old and very loving. I am feeling so guilty and trying to say to myself he is in a good place. But I feel like I made the wrong decision. However living with my ex in a car wouldn’t be good for him either. Periodically I keep crying . But I try to tell myself he’s in a good home and that family loves dogs.

  56. It’s been roughly 4 years since I gave my 3 year old pure white male Siberian Husky “Chance” away to his new home and I am still racked by guilt and regret that brings me to tears every few months. When I gave Chance away I was 19 years old and had just gotten medically discharged from the Navy. I was going active duty and knew I had to give him away, but I ended up getting sent home before my mom could give him away… so why did I go through with it? I’ve talked to my mom and friends over and over about it and all say I just wasn’t ready and he went to a great home. A married couple with two kids and another female husky. I know he went to a great home, but that doesn’t ease the pain I feel very much. He and I were inseparable, we literally went everywhere and did everything together. If I went to a friends house, he came or I didn’t go. I had him trained so well and to do so many different tricks, all verbal and with hand signals. He slept in my bed every night. He was the only thing that kept me sane after a hard break up. We might as well have been chained together.
    Then I gave him away. And over the last few years I’ve been finding myself asking myself WHY? I gave him away with tears running down my face and I couldn’t even face the people when they came to pick him up. Maybe I was at a selfish point in my life and wanted more independence and less responsibility. Honestly it doesn’t matter to me at this point, because I regret it. I have regretted it since the second I walked into the house after saying goodbye.
    A few months ago I was feeling better about the whole thing and decided I was ready for another dog. I got her two months ago, a black and tan Pomeranian named Frankie (my bf wouldn’t let me have another husky so I settled for a smaller fluff ball). The feelings of guilt and regret over Chance have been back in strength ever since then. I find myself comparing the two, wishing she was him (horrible I know) and feeling like I failed Chance by giving him away only to get another dog, even though it’s been 4 years. I’m trying my best to move on, after 4 years it shouldn’t be this hard.
    I would feel better about the whole thing if it was an act of love giving him away, to give him a better life, to give him to people who had more time for him. But if I said that, it would be a lie. He had all those things with me. I just had to be a selfish twat. And that’s why the pain is so strong still. If I could change anything in my life, going back to that moment and keeping him is what I would do. Chance, I love you still and I never stopped.
    My message to anyone who reads this, and is thinking of giving away their dog, REALLY think about it. Your reasons. If it is not 100% necessary, and I mean 100% not 99%, DO NOT DO IT. You will regret it, you will have so much guilt you won’t know what to do with it. You will find yourself crying over it still 4 years later.

  57. Thank you, Laurie, for your post and for giving people a place to express how they feel about rehoming their dogs.
    We had our German Shepherd Roscoe for nearly two years, since he was a little fuzzy puppy. He is beautiful, super-smart, loyal, affectionate — in some ways the best dog I’ve ever had.
    But over the past year, he had been getting increasingly territorial and scary with guests or anyone who came to the door. We did obedience classes, reactive dog classes, even sent him on a two-week immersion program for behavioral problems, followed up with the trainer, and he made a lot of progress. But last week he bit a woman who came by the house, not deep, but hard enough to leave tooth marks.
    I love him and I don’t want it to happen again and for him to risk being put down. When I called the trainer, he said he might want to adopt Roscoe himself, because he knows he’s a great dog, but he may be too much for my family and me to handle safely. I know that living with the trainer and his family would be fantastic for Roscoe, cause he’d have a strong, steady pack leader, a family to love him, and dog friends to visit every day. But it’s hard. I dropped him off this morning for a test run and, even though I truly hope the trainer will take him, I also want him back and want to try again. I really think it would be better for Roscoe (and my friends and neighbors) if he goes on to this new life, but … I loved him first.
    And thanks to all you guys on this thread, I know that Roscoe will always remember his first family with love. It is harder than losing a pet to old age, because it wasn’t supposed to happen. But I hope that with time, we will all come to terms with our decisions so that our dogs can have the best lives possible.
    Thanks, guys, Margo

    1. I just had to rehome our 1 yeat old Shepard hound mix. after he bit my 8 year old niece in the face. We have two young children that adored him and he had shown only love to our family. I found him a trainer that works with rehoming dogs. Even though I know he is in good hands I too have a broken heart. I am filled with grief and a sense of failure. I failed to do what I promised him when we rescued him. I said we were forever and it just couldn’t be so. I hope the pain will fade for me and my kids.

  58. I surrendered my beloved Arty boy back in January. We were beloved companions for almost thirteen years. I got him when he was just six weeks old, he was my first dog. Twenty pounds of poodle hair with a Westy/terrier personality inside. What a smart playful mischievous faithful little buddy he was.

    I have so many fond memories of him. So many…him and I in the garden together, how he dug up a fist sized toad when he was six months old his first spring, how he would jump up into my arms when I came home from work every day, so happy to see me. Giving him “poochy breakfast” on cold winter mornings, warm meat broath on his kibbles with a little Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, walks in the local dog park, rides in the car, playing games with him with my significant other the last two years, having Arty parties.

    But the last eight months were very difficult. I decided to sell my house, and did very quickly, only to discover I couldn’t get a loan for a new house because I had changed jobs just a couple of months before that. I was totally blind sided by this. I’d never had trouble getting a home loan in my life before this. Rents are very high here in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and I was trying to “buy down”; suddenly my housing costs were going to be even higher.

    We first moved to my significant others place; but the owner had three dogs who wore diapers and peed and pooped on the deck upstairs–and we were on the walk out level below. What a horror! Those dogs were a potential bad influence on Arty’s behavior. It was inexpensive to live there, but what with the nasty home environment, and the fact that we had told his friend the home owner we were only going to stay until I purchased a new home, then I couldn’t, we had to finally sublet an apartment for for five months.

    Then we decided to take an extended road trip to Mexico and beyond, to Coasta Rica. We knew we couldn’t take my beloved Arty with us, what with crossing international boarders, and Arty is very protective and territorial in the car, he might try to bite a federali, not a good thing traveling out of the country, and finding lodging would be especially difficult. We were going to look for less expensive places to live. I had to leave my Arty boy behind. I tried to find family and friends to take him, but no one would.

    So I surrendered him to a Westy rescue place not far from the cities. He was adopted out to a family in Fargo that understands Westies/terriers temperaments. The agency told me he has adjusted well and that the family loves him. But how do I know this for sure? How do they know? They have another dog, a Scottie, a friend for Arty right? But Arty is one dog who liked to be an “only”. I know, because I had two standard Poodles, at seperate times, and he was always jealous of them, and they trounced him, stole his bones, they were always wrangling over who was the “alpha”, after us humans that is. I’m not at all certain he is happy there. I continue to miss him terribly. It makes me crazy, depressed, I’m inconsolable, that I can’t have him back in my life, that I made this choice, to give him away. In doing so I broke my own heart. I don’t think I’ll ever recover from this loss of my dear Arty boy. I’ve tried to let go, but just when I start to come close, the despair of his absence sets in again, then I’m awash in grief stronger than before. I am lost without him.

  59. Thank you so much for this… We just had to rehome our beagle, Honey, a few days ago. We got her at 12 weeks old in 2011 and loved her dearly. My daughter is one, and Honey was doing ok with her. But she snapped and growled last week… When I was 6, my uncle’s very friendly dog suddenly turned violent. I was laying a few feet away, gazing into his eyes (something I had no idea you weren’t supposed to do). He lunged and bit the left half of my face, earning me a trip to the hospital, emergency reconstructive surgery, and 78 stitches. That being said, I love dogs and I had them as a kid. But I take their warnings VERY seriously. I can’t imagine in a million years that Honey would have hurt my daughter. But, then again, my uncle never would have imagined that his dog would have done such a horrible thing. Any way… We found a home for Honey with a co-worker’s sister. She is retired, has a fenced-in yard, and another dog Honey’s size. She LOVES dogs, just like she would a child. However, she lives 9 hours away. I can’t begin to explain the guilt I feel about giving Honey away, even to such a wonderful home. I just keep picturing her thinking ‘didn’t they love me? When will I go home?’ This article gave me faith that Honey will be ok… That she will probably adjust quicker than I will. Not to mention that she’s probably having the most fun and receiving the most attention that she has in a long time. But I digress… Even if this comment goes unread, I feel better simply putting my situation and emotions into words. I am so grateful for this article… And the fact that most dogs are as resilient and adventurous as they are furry. Have fun with your new mama, Honey. I will always love you!

    1. This is so helpful because i had my dog Faith since she was a puppy and now im 5 months pregnant i stay with my mother in law and this home is filled with 8 children (2 four month old twins) ever since they where born my dog has to stay outside and now its summer and she hides in the thorn bush in the back to stay cool ive been wanting to find her a better home for the sake of her living condition but i keep holding ob to her hoping we could soon have enough money to move into our own place but realistically not to soon tryna to prepare every thing ima need for my baby i Just feel once my baby comes she won’t get enough love from me between me working and giving so much attention too my fist child so the best decion is to take her to a rescue shelter never the pound where she could be killed but i pray to God she gets a better home i don’t want her too once day become jealous of my new born and attack my child i love my dog too the point i cry every time i think about giving her away and then she puts both her arms over my shoulder and lays her head on me which makes it harder she only knows me but yesterday when i seen how she interacts with our neighbors she is just the same with them as me so then i decided it would be okay to take this leap in faith somebody will be able to give her the better home with love then i can offer her

    2. Thank you. I read your comment. We had to give our 8 year old terrier away because he was becoming anxious around our 1 year old and had nipped a few times. It’s so hard. Ours went to a friend of a friend. He’s getting much more attention with him and no kids to compete with. I can’t hold back tears when he is mentioned or asked about yet but I am hiding it from those who ask and coping quietly. I know it will get better.

  60. It does get easier to cope with rehoming your dog…but it never really goes away completely. I have to be honest – the feelings of guilt and grief don’t disappear.

    But they definitely lighten up, and you do learn how to live with the disappointment and sadness! It helps alot to devote some of your energy and time to caring for abandoned or abused animals in some way. For instance, I donate $50 to my local SPCA every month. It’s not alot, but I know every dollar helps!

    Forgive yourself. Your dog is a survivor, and will adapt to the new home. You made the right decision for you. Take a deep breath, and know that you did what you had to do.


  61. I had to relocate my second dog, Lab mix. The place where we live it was not working out for her. She kept destroying the backyard and just kept getting worst. Unfortunately, the house I live in is not mine so it made matter worst. Constant stress on both the owners and myself. (We could not keep at the house anymore.) My husband love his lab but, she needed a different environment. So, the only options was either re-homing her or moving her to my husband work shop. I really wanted to find her a new family that could suit her personality. But, my husband was not hearing it, he only wanted to keep her. I understand him and I feel terrible. So he decided to take her to his work shop and though he still gets to see her. Its taking a toll on him, he upset with me because I pushed him to make a decision. I feel terrible, I miss her all the time. But, she is happier with the other dogs that live at the shop, where are able to roam free. He still gets see her everyday and take care of her. I just miss her a lot.

  62. Very soon im going to have to rehome my two large beautiful fur babies..
    my financial situation is slowly getting worse.
    two large breed dogs that need lots of exercise have to stay in a small basement 9 hours a day while i work thens when i com9e home they just go in the backyard,
    A i cant walk them myself..
    If a vet bill comes up i cant afford it, and the bill of dog food is rapidly increasing, and i cant afford toys or cool things.
    i can no longer afford the place im renting, and its the cheapest i can find right now that will Accept two giant puppies.
    3 places in my city will allow them..
    i know its in their best interest. They deserve space, time, high quality things and a backup plan. I cant provide any.
    Of those now.
    How do i deal with the emotions that i cant let go? That they are better with me? That things will eventually get better?

  63. My sister’s friend gave us their dog (pug) so that we could take care of him as they were shifting and they could not take proper care of him. So we got him for 2 months but we could just keep him for 3 days as we already have a dog and he can’t stand any other dog in the house. Although he was with us for only three days but really got attached to him so much. He was just one month old. He was so little. I used to be with him 24*7 as he needed constant care and attention. He was like my baby. He would sleep on my lap for hours. He wouldn’t let me go away from him. He would follow me everywhere. He was really really special to me and to my sis. Today we returned him to his previous owner with HEAVY HEART. I haven’t stop crying. Its been a whole day but I am unable to get over him. I know 3 days are such a short span of time but I don’t know I got so attached to him. And when we contacted his previous owner he said he is so sad and keep sleeping all the time and he seems to be missing you guys so badly. This really made me more sad. He was so nauhhty when he was with us and now when he is with his previous owner he is so silent and sad. And the worst thing is we will not be able to see him again because his owmers live very far from us. I really need some help to get over this thing otherwise I might go into depression

  64. I’m so glad I came across this. In three days time, my beautiful and wonderful 4 year old girl will be heading off to her new owners. I’m totally heartbroken, I wonder if I will ever get over it. I’m moving away…4000 miles away across the Atlantic. It was always my plan to take her with me. I didn’t study enough on her being shipped by air cargo. I didn’t think about the 15 or so hours that she would be in a cage in cargo.I know she would be terrified. Petrified. I can’t let her go through that stress. I didn’t think of climate change. I didn’t think about her not being able to walk for miles with in the hot summer months. All I wanted was for her to come with me . I was thinking about me , I couldn’t part with my girl. Then I thought ,wait a minute. I can’t do what’s best for me, I need to do what’s best for her like I always have done. I wonder if she will miss me, or pine for me , or Weill she just forget. She is such a loving big dog a lab who is a lap dog! Her new owners are amazing. They live in a huge house with big grounds. They don’t have many neighbours around them .my girl will still be allowed to sleep on the sofa or in the bed. They are always at home. And the best part is she has a big brother waiting for her. He is a black lab like her. 4 years older. She loves the company of other dogs. Always makes her happy. I know shge is going to love this new home. I miss hetr already and she’s not away yet. I look st her and hate myself for leaving her. My head and heart conflicting . I know what’s best for her but it doesn’t make it any easier for me. I will miss her for all eternity. I just feel so sad but I will start to look at the positives. I will love her forever

  65. Rehomed my 9 week old pup today it was heartbreaking she has gone to a loving family but it doesn’t make the guilt any easier as I work full time and have a daughter we only had her 3 weeks but she was adorable, I will never get another dog now I only hope she settles well into her new family

  66. Today we had to rehome my dog called Cookie. We had him since i was nine. im fourteen now. we only recently moved and he wasnt settling in, and barking at everything. he was never himself. i miss him so much eventhough i know it was best by him to give him another new home. this helped me so much because i realise there are other people going through the same thing. god bless.

  67. We had to give away my husky Max yesterday. He will be 2 years old tomorrow. I have been crying all day and looking at his pictures. I know it was the right thing to do. We moved in to the city with a house with no yard and everyone in my family works all day and didn’t have time to give him the walks he needed for his energy. Max is also aggressive towards other people and we were always worried he was going to hurt someone. He is the first dog we have had in my family and I really love him. I know it’s for the best that we gave him away but it hurts. It’s helps to know that there are other people out there that know how it feels. This sucks and can’t wait for it to get a little bit better.

  68. I had to give my chihuahua Duke away to my sister who lives 200 miles away.I had him given to me by my son who got divorced and couldn’t keep him,so he just decided to drop him into me and my wife’s life.We had him for 3,years and Duke became family but my.grand.daughter developed allergies because he shredded more than any dog and licked. constantly nervous from being in a strained relationship. I loved Duke and am grieving if I made.the right decision.My wife likes.dogs but not really attached like myself.Thank you for this blog I know I’m not alone.

  69. At the moment I have to rehome my dog Perseus. I’ve had him for two years and im absolutely heartbroken. I’ve been crying for the past day and a half. But I know im doing the right thing as keeping him here with me would only bring him harm. The reason I have to find him a new home is because he and his brother (both pitt bulls) have been getting into terrible fights for the past 6 or 7 months. The last of which was probably the worst. His brother(rascal) was injured on his face and I nearly broke my finger trying to get them to stop fighting. The only reason we decided to give percy away instead of rascal is rascal is much calmer than percy and I believe percy deserves some one who will play and run with him more. Even though I know its whats best for him I cant help but feel immeasurably guilty about it. Every time I see him I just burts into tears.

  70. Sm you are the happiest thing that happened in my life it was my happiest year I need you to know I love you so much a day can’t pass without me looking at your photos and crying Iam sure you are happy with your new home I just need you to know giving you to them doesn’t mean I don’t love I could die for you puppy and you deserve the best love you so much please don’t forget how much I love you! !♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

  71. The only way to cope with rehoming your dog is to believe with 100% certainty that not only will your dog be better off in a new home, he or she will adjust quickly and easily. Dogs are survivors! They’re adaptable – especially those tough little dogs who know how big the world is.

    I adopted my teeny weeny 7 pound poodle/bichon Tiffy when she was three years old. She loved her old owner with all her heart, and now she loves me with all her heart! There is room in a dog’s heart and soul for lots of love.

    Believe you are doing the right thing. Rehoming a dog is a difficult decision, but you have to make it. And then you have to trust God that your dog will be happy, safe, and protected.

    It is hard. But it’s a choice you must make every day, or your guilt and grief will eat you alive.

    I wish you peace and self-forgiveness. Keep talking and writing about how you feel – it will help you heal.

    In sympathy,

  72. Tomorrow I rehome my 2 1/2 year old Chihuahua Lily. She was my first dog on my own but shes been living at my parents since the place I moved into doesn’t allow pets. My parents cant care for her anymore.
    I feel so awful about rehoming her. Im scared about what she feels. I know she doesn’t understand. She wont know who these people are. She doesn’t understand that that last car ride, she isn’t coming back with me. I don’t know if I can go through with it.

    1. If you really love her, move to a place which allow pets. Why did you moved to a place where pets are not allowed? Do everything you can to keep her. She will not understand, she will miss you. Your effort will pay because both of you will be happy. Giving dog away was the most painful thing I experienced, try to avoid it if you can. Maybe just me, too emotional, I don’t know. From the day I gave away Major I get depressed, guilty, I could not sleep, eat, thinking only about him. I knew he is looking by the window waiting for me. We have been together 5,5 years and I gave him to adoption due to my cancer. Had cancer clear eventually after long and horrible treatment, on my own, but still exhausted, that’s why this adoption. Two weeks later I wanted him back, but the new owner did not want to, nor me to visit him. Well, I was suffering as hell hoping he is not missing me. But I knew him and the bond which tied us. Many thoughts came to my head – why I did not try so many things which could help me to keep him? Why I did not ask for more help? But it was too late. Missing him was a nightmare. Luckily, two months later the new owner contacted me asking if I want him back. I said YES straight away and just reversed my car driving to her house through massive traffic long time to collect him, crying and laughing in the same time. Major when he saw me, jumped under the ceiling and knocked me down on the floor! It was fantastic half an hour explosion of joy! The lady said that Major tried to escape from her house every day, jumping over the fence, opening the door, escaped on the walk, did not eat, eventually she was tired and scared. Now he is back and I can’t tell how relief I feel. He is cuddling to me all the time, following me all the time. Now I am trying to adjust my life, work, social, everything to him, and ask for help if necessary, because I love him, we are together no matter what. When I am reading about these poor excuses to give dogs away, it makes me sick. I had real reason – cancer and lack of energy (I am clear but it is only 1,5 years, hope cancer never get back) – but now I know I want to be with my dog unless I die. I love him, he loves me and that’s it. If you love your dog, you will do everything to keep him. Good luck.

      1. I have tried everything. But I could not afford to live somewhere that I can’t pay the rest of my bills. I live in Alaska where I pay over a thousand dollars a month for a 700 Sq ft 2 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment. If I want a place that allows pets, I need to pay over 1600. It’s simply not feasible. I love my dog. But she needs a home that would be able to have her live AND be able to eat.

    2. I know exactly how you feel. I am taking my fur baby to my mom’s sometime this week and it gets harder and harder. Packing up her things. I’ve tried everything I could but my dog is a pit bull and that is always a restricted breed. Good luck! If you wanna email or even text me you can! It would be great to have someone to talk to about it! 8432460796

  73. I read all of these and it is not helping haha. I give my best friend of 8 years away tomorrow to a family that lives a little over an hour away. They seen like a great family and everything. But luke and I have been thro alot in our 8 years together. From high school to college to me n him moving from home to my first song being born. That’s why I need to let him go. But it’s so hard. 5 pm tomorow. He’s gone. When I went to college he didn’t eat for over a week. I’m afraid he won’t be able to cope with the transition. Idk maybe it’s guilt that my life has changed too much for him to be in it anymore. Idk how I’ll cope with this myself. I guess that’s y I’m on this site

    1. I’m in the same boat. We have had our 65lb border collie lab mix for 7 years. We just don’t give him the love and attention he deserves. I feel so bad about that and that we are giving up on him. It’s like giving a family member away. It feels so wrong. I’m not sure I can go through with it. I keep saying, he’s not that bad. He loves me either way. But I also know his new family will take such great care of him. I hate this and I hate the guilt. My daughter is almost 2 now and I’m worried he will miss her and she will miss him. He has become her protector. I am feeling worse writing this. Ugh.

  74. I just had my three year old lab taken back to the shelter because he unexpectedly snapped at a person while on a walk. My older brother who originally adopted him said he couldn’t deal with the liability. I grew super close to that dog and feel as if it was our own fault that he was in that situation to begin with. I really just want to better understand and help dogs that fall into the same category and in most cases I feel people give up on good dogs way too soon.

  75. Dear All, thanks for your stories. I pray for your health and peace. You all help me to understand why I feel how I feel. I feel devastated. A week ago last Sat 20 Feb I gave my Major to new home. He is beautiful, sweet, loving, perfect behaving at home 5,5 years old whippet-saluki cross. I had many reasons to give him away – too small flat, too small garden, too long work hours, cancer 1 year ago, lack of energy after chemotherapy, not enough exercise for him, struggling with costs, living without partner, only with daughter who is cat lover and only walk Major to the garden 5 minutes, garden without fences near natural wild park with horses and lots of small wild animals which provoked my dog hunting instinct. It was scary to let him off the lead because he disappeared for half an hour, he was tried to catch cats, foxes, he treated small dogs like cats. I was scared what happened when eventually came back to me, happy, smiling, steamy, running like a rocket – no chance to catch him. He is fast! I had many strong reasons to find Major a new home. Two years all people around tried to convinced me that I have to give my baby dog away to give him better life, to have time for me to heal after cancer. Major used all my energy. True, I was exhausted. Eventually I gave up, when I was catching infections every month after cancer treatment, had a week off work every month, which causes trouble at work. Eventually Major is in new home. But a lot went wrong. Family found by professional organisation – elderly retired couple living in quite big (compare to my flat) home, garden and meadow behind the garden – promised me to be in touch, to visit Major sometimes. But after my 2 phone calls in 1st week(in 2nd conversation the lady told me that Major is not eating at all and looking by the window all the time), and one call to this organisation (reasons below) they asked me not to contact them anymore. I agreed to give him away ONLY if they stay in touch with me. They agreed. Now they don’t want talk to me. That’s not fair. Why I contacted this organisation again: when I eventually walked Major to their new home 1st time, I noticed that the husband of this lady who decided to adopt Major is seriously ill, almost blind and in very advanced age, much older than her. I was convinced before that they are retired healthy not working couple at home all the time who will give Major all attention all day long. I noticed that their large garden is full of clatter, glass house, lots of decorations and there is no space for a dog to run free at all. But it was too late, I believed in this organisation professionalism, they made home checking and said this home is suitable for Major, and these people had couple of rescued dogs before, so I signed the form giving my dog to this organisation, but I did not see adoption form from these people and I know only their names, and the address where I took Major. Maybe I don’t need to, I don’t know. How do I know now they are legal owners? I was so concerned after all that, I asked this organisation to give me my dog back as I spoke at work and my company eventually agreed for my part-time work. But both the dog rescue organisation and the new owners refused further cooperation. They said – you are not the owner anymore, you have not any rights for Major anymore, you have health conditions and you can’t have Major back. I am worrying to death. I am sick thinking that I will never see my dog again. I see I was naive and I agreed for this adoption too quickly. These people are too old, one of them too sick, garden is not suitable for dog, they broken the promise to be in touch. Yes, SAID promise, not written – my fault! I should say NO straight away when I noticed that the new owner’s husband is seriously ill, and this hopeless garden. I am not suitable for Major 50yrs old after cancer all clear part time but this 90yrs very ill not moving from the chair almost blind is? Yes, his wife, but she looks like in her 70ties. How long they will live? What will happen with Major when they die? I am crying almost all the time, guilt is killing me. I believe that dogs can adapt quickly in their new homes, but the fact I can’t even ask how Major is doing, is devastating. I am tormented by thinking that they will die soon and my dog will have horrible life somewhere in the kennel, unwanted, cold, hungry, or put down to sleep because nobody wants him. I know that my grief and guilt is normal in this situation, but I have strong reasons to be not happy after this adoption. Even if the lady from this organisation tried to be nice to me and help to cope with sadness and guilt, which I appreciate. But everything is worse that I thought, I feel like a piece of rubbish throwned away by strange people who don’t care about my emotions nor broken heart after cancer and giving my beloved baby boy away. HELP. What to do now? xxx

  76. Maddie, your words could have been written by me to my dog Oliver. Tonight, I meet a wonderful foster mom who has agreed to take him until the rescue we were working with can find him a new home. I am sickened by what I am about to do and don’t know if I will have the courage to follow through. But Deborah, I feel the same deep, horrible, guilt and pain. And I know, like you, the life I can provide is not the life he needs. His fear of my housemate has him crated when I cannot be there. His puppy curiosity has him crated when I sleep. That is no life. I have to tell myself he will be better off without me and trust that he, in fact, will. But it doesn’t remove the feelings that I am failing Oliver. He has only been with me 2 weeks. But I loved him deeply before he came to me and will love him forever. Until this week, I had only harsh unfair judgment for those who re-homed a pet. I viewed it as selfish, as “dumping,” as cruelty. I had not concept of the depth of the hurt it causes the person forced to make such a decision, forced to send a dog they love to another home, to sever that bond, to break their own heart and hand it to another.

    Deborah, I hope you find peace and heal. I hope I can too. But I do know I will never be the same. I am changed.

  77. I had to rehome my Bichon Lexie.. I miss her so much. my husband passed away and I had to move in with my kids who already had a pit bull. Today the new owner for the last year stopped by my work and brought her to see me. I miss her so much. She didn’t act like she knew me for the first 10 minutes
    Almost like shewas mad at me. :( My husband and I were on theroad for 7 years and she was always with us
    Gosh I miss her. How do I cope?

  78. After rehoming a dog, you have to trust you made the right decision! I know this is easier said than done, but if you keep second guessing yourself (like I did for 2 years after rehoming my dog), then you’ll never find peace.

    Trust that you made the right decision. I know it hurts and you probably feel guilty and sad, but you made the decision to rehome your dog for reasons that are right for you.

    Let your dog go. Grieve your loss, and know that dogs are incredibly adaptable! They will survive and thrive in their new homes…just like my Tiffy is thriving here in her new home, with me.

    Your dog is a blessing, and is bringing joy and love to the new owners. Trust, and know you made the right decision.

    1. I’ve been reading your article and I want to thank you for the kind words. People can be so mean to dog owners who need to rehome their dogs. Reading this article made me feel like I’m not alone. Although, I am deeply saddened about rehoming my dogs today. I truly hope and pray they find a much better loving home than mine where they can go running and playing with their owner. Much blessings to you and your family. Please pray for me.

    2. This makes me feel better but I’m still sad. The new owner are driving 5 hours to pick up my lovely Diesel and I font know if I’m actually going to let him go. Hardest decision ever

  79. Yesterday we had to take our 1 year old dog, Keno, back to the shelter. We had him for 3 months but our older dog, Bucky and him just didn’t get along. I miss him so much that I’m crying as I’m typing this.
    Today my husband brought home another dog. I told him I didn’t want another one so soon but he brought him home anyway. It makes me feel even worse because it feels like he’s trying to replace Keno. I also don’t know if I’ll be able to bond with this new dog while still mourning Keno.
    I just hope Keno finds a good, loving home soon as I sit here and wonder if I made the right decision…

  80. Thank you for this article…it’s been helpful to read an article on helping us cope as I feel a lot of people look down upon re-homing but in our case, we tried everything – training for 1.5+ years, spent $1-$2k working with a variety of trainers/behaviorists and all 5 have now recommended we re-home our rescue dog before we have our first baby this July as he’s shown aggression towards young children and territorialism so he needs a new home without young children. We sadly have just begun the search for the right new home for him.

    We adopted him about 2 years ago and he’s like our child, so loving and a big mush with us but issues with other people. This is the hardest decision my husband and I have ever had to make but it’s nice to know we’re not the only ones out there…appreciate the helpful article.

    1. Hi Kerri,
      My husband and I have the same situation. Our beloved dog of 10 yrs has been our baby. He’s sweet with us but super territorial around children. We’ve tried every trainer and they agreed we had to rehome before our first baby- also due this July!

      We found a nice home 2 days ago and handed him over. It was emotionally brutal and I’m sick with grief. I miss him terribly and everywhere I look in the house reminds me of him.

  81. Dear Skyla,

    I hope you are doing well. I hope you are safe and happy and being loved just as much as we loved you. Making the decision to rehome you was and always will be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I still don’t know if rehoming you was the right decision, even though I became unwell and couldn’t afford to keep you. It hurts so so… much to wake up everyday and then realise your not ever going to jump on my bed again to lick my face and wake me up and tickle me when you give me a big slobbery lick and make me giggle, which makes you even more excited. Im going to miss not waking up to that gorgeous doggy face of yours and those beautiful green/blue eyes staring back at me waiting for your usual cuddle. I was relieved and happy when I found your new home, it was close enough so that I could be updated with your progress, but I never thought those new owners wouldn’t want you anymore because you were a staffy and just being you. I couldn’t help but laugh at you after I scolded you for being naughty or chewing something you shouldn’t have. I never thought your new owners wouldn’t want you because you were just being…you. You now have new owners whom I don’t know. I have no idea if your happy and safe..I have no idea where you are, and the owners I sold you to won’t tell me anything. This makes me feel angry and upset at myself, that your only just 2 years old and already you’ve been through 3 different owners….your anxiety, your being scared, confused and never seeing me again….Is all my fault….I caused that and it’s something I can never forgive myself for. I would love to see you again, but I know that would cause you more pain, confusion and sadness then anything and that is the last thing I want to do, as I’ve already caused you enough in your young life. I would be so happy again if I knew your new owner and would be able to get updates on how you are, without causing more grief to you. I love dogs but the pain of having to let you go and now not knowing anything about you is all my fault…I would still have you if things had worked out and I would have happily kept you until you went to dog heaven…..I would love to get another dog in the future to ease this pain..but I can’t…..I just cant do it. I’ve lost you and my heart is broken and your an irreplaceable piece. I hope and prayer to god everyday that your happy, healthy, being looked after, receiving daily cuddles, being able to sleep on your humans bed, curl up on the coach and being loved and spoilt rotten by your owners, like I did. I miss you every day Skyla…..I just hope your happy. I don’t think I will ever see you again..I will treasure the memories and photos of you forever..

  82. I had to send my dog who is 18months back to the no kill shelter we got him from. I had him 15months and I am devastated. I can’t eat, can’t sleep and I am run down. All I think of is my big boy. He is a black lab hound mix. I love him so much. I am falling apart. My relationship is falling apart. I live eat and think ONLY of him!!! I am lost, guilty and confused and feel like my heart has been ripped out. What do I do? It’s been two weeks and I am losing my mind. I have a therapist appointment. I need to vent. I am sick with grief, anxiety, pain, depression and confusion. I feel like I failed him. He was so needy and was crated a lot. He developed some aggression because of the crate. I work full time. I felt I wasn’t doing right by him and yet I didn’t want him to leave me. How do I get over this? My heart is broken. I am broken. :(

    1. Deborah, I’m so so sorry to hear your pain is so deep. I know how you feel I was feeling the exact same way but it’s been since Nov 14 since I re homed my boy and I’m doing much much better and I promise you will to with time. It doesn’t seem like it will but it will. You did the right thing. You did it because you were thinking about him and what’s best for him and not yourself. Stop punishing yourself, it will get better he will be loved again and homed with someone that can give him what he needs. Hang in there, I know it’s hard but time always heals. My best to you and in my thoughts : )

  83. It’s been about 5 days that I gave my chocolate lab Zoey away. I have been so heartbroken ever since. I never owned a dog and I had Zoey since she was about 3-4 weeks. I remember having to bottle feed her. She was the cutest thing. My son who is 12 always wanted a dog and I decided to get him this one. I rescued her from being thrown away. We had her since November 13th and ever since then our lives changed!! We worked on potty training her and getting her used to our new home. My husband and I work full time and the kids are in school all day which means Zoey was left alone for 10 hours each day of the week. I had to leave her in the laundry room because she was still getting potty trained. At night we would put her in her kennel for 8 hours. It hurt me to hear her cry but I had to do it. She chewed on everything, she was a little aggressive but nothing we couldn’t handle. She loved us and we loved her. She loved going outside and digging into the mulch and bringing anything she could inside. I made the decision to give her to a family that will love her and spend all day with her. I am so devasted, my kids are sad but nothing like me. I miss her wagging her little tail all over this house. I miss her when I open the freezer because she knew her kong was in there. She loved ice so every time we would get ice, she’d come running. I miss her a lot and I would take her back in a heartbeat. I even wonder if I asked the people I gave her to if I could have her back. My husband said she’s better off and I know it. I just feel so lonely, my heart is aching for her. My husband is going out of town in February and I am not looking forward to it at all. It’s going to be harder not having her here. I love you my Zoey, I miss you and I hope you are doing better in your new home.


  84. Thanks for this. Now it is time to write my letter.

    Hi K and V

    You are not aware that your lives will change dramatically in the next two months. It is scary as I talk to you both all the time, especially when you jump on the bed at the middle of the night for a cuddle. You may have noticed that lately I have become more tolerant of this behaviour of yours. The reason, I have to move thousands of miles away to another continent in another country. I want to take you with, but if I do I will be a very bad parent. You guys have a wonderful life at the moment and I tried my best to make all your experiences something you will remember for the rest of your lives. You have a very large garden which you love to run around in, you have a swimming pool which you utilize in summer and even winter. I just can not be so unfair to you to take you to that very cold place, lock you up in a small apartment and seldom see you due to my new job requirements.

    See, you deserve better than what I can offer you there. I dread the 30th of March when our paths will finally seperate. I can not tell you how much you mean to me and always will. Your jokes, your playfulness and most of all your loyalty.

    I am currently actively working with proper rescue organisations and your breeders to find you a home just like you have with the space you are used to and the love and attention you are always prepared to give unconditionally to anyone you encounter.

    I know you will make one or perhaps two families very happy and enrich their lives. I know you love one another so much, and I pray daily, even though I am not really religious that both of you can find the same forever home! Unfortunetly people these days prefer young dogs and because you are slightly older the chances that you will be seperated are real and this further breaks my heart. I wish I could explain to people that while puppy is cute, you guys are the best, but you have to understand that us humans are a selfish specie and although we sometimes think that we “own” you, you are by far a superior species than us. You love and care unconditionally with loyalty.

    I wish I could explain the anxiety and absolute sadness and depression I have fallen into due to me moving away. I wish there was another way. I want to stay here with you forever, but my selfosh human brain knows that I will be without a job and money soon and we will lose our little paradise if I dont go through with this.

    Guys my heart is breaking but I have to trust and believe that you will be so happy in your new forever home(s). You will meet great people and make new friends, and you will one day leave this life knowing that you were loved and that you touched many different people’s lives.

  85. It really is weird and tough to rehome a dog, and we have to move on without knowing for sure how our dogs are coping! But I do know dogs are adaptable, and they’re survivors. They don’t hold on to guilt and other negative emotions the way humans do (though I know they are prone to anxiety and fear).

    Having adopted two dogs who were rehomed, I can say with 100% certainty that most dogs adjust very well. My dogs are fully devoted to me, and would follow me to the ends of the earth. They may love me more because of their past…they know of other homes and owners.

    Accept that you did what you had to do. Rehoming a dog is difficult, but sometimes it really is the best solution.

    Choose peace.

  86. We took in a 8 year old dog 2 years ago. She saved my from being lonely. We paid to have her painful (rotting) teeth pulled in return, she felt much better. Since then, I have had a baby and I feel as though I have been neglecting my fur baby. At the same time my in laws just list their dog.. with my father in law (as he is unable to work) at home all day alone. He has shown interest in our dog in the past (has dog sitted many times) and so in a few days we will be giving our dog to him. He needs a new pal and she needs to feel like #1 kid again. My husband is happy as he has grown to dislike her (she pees with high anxiety). I am conflicted and will miss her. I know she will be taken care of and we can babysit and visit. Still feels weird and tough. But she will be okay.. right? Love you Patches.

  87. Words can’t explain how much I miss you Bentley boy. Mommy never thought that on January 5th 2016 @ 3:00pm that it would be the last time that I would see you. My heart is not filled with regret, but emptiness. I had to find you a new mommy that could provide for your medical needs. Even though we aren’t together we will always be together in spirit. I can still see you run around the corner every time I open the refrigerator. But, when I look to my left I realize that it’s my imagination and you aren’t there. It’s killing me every day because I miss you so much, but I did this for your health and because I love you so much. God take the pain away. I miss my baby boy so much. I pray that his new mommy will love and enjoy him like I did and still do. People that choose to give their pet away I never judge because you don’t know their situation. Just because I made the choose to give Bentley away it wasn’t because I couldn’t handle him it was financially he cost more than what I could provide. It took me 3 months to find the perfect person to love him. I will always love my little boy always and forever.

    1. Lauren, your so very right in saying nobody should judge because nobody wants to re home there beloved pets but sometimes there’s unforeseen events that occur and we cannot predict them ever happening. I’m so sorry your heart is broken, I rehomed my beautiful GSD I had for a year in mid November and I still cry at times missing him. I took my time like yourself to find him a wonderful home, I see pictures get updates etc and he’s so lived and happy. It’s truly unselfish for you to do this, your thinking not only for you but what’s best for your fur baby. May your heart heal and don’t punish yourself you loved your dog and searched for a good home that’s so commendable!

  88. Dear Bobbie,
    I love you so much and my heart is breaking. Your sitting in the back seat peacefully taking a nap. You have no idea, that this may be the last time we see each other. You will be two in April and your new mommy and papa are so excited to have you in their home and be apart of their family. Your new papa is a police officer, he can’t wait to get you trained and show you off. And your new mommy owned a German Shepherd who was her heart, and you will also be apart of her heart. It was hard trying to find ways to keep you, life just became extremely difficult. But you are my best friend. I know that you will be very happy and never feel lonely. We went to the beach today and I took so many pictures of you while crying my heart out. I’m sad but this as heartbreaking as it is for me is all for you. You are beautiful, smart, there are no words. I love you so so so so much.

  89. Gave away my puppy Elly the husky a week or so ago. First morning waking up by myself without her and I truly feel lonely even though I know for a fact she is so much happier with her new family. She hasnt been left home alone once since they took her. Shed a few tears this morning, something i can’t remember the last time I did. This story helped though, thank you.

  90. Dear Sadira,

    After 8 months, I have made one of the hardest decisions of my life by rehoming you. Today, two ladies and their daughters came to look at you and within seconds, you were running and playing with the little girls. You looked so happy! As you drove away, I saw you stare at me like “what is going on? why am I leaving you?”
    I want so badly to let you know that it was not you or anything you did…you are the sweetest thing in the world and you deserve better than being in an 700 sq ft apartment for 9 hours a day while I am going to be working. I did this because I love you so incredibly much and you deserve more than that…please don’t be sad or mad at me.
    We spent practically every second together for the past 8 months as I worked from home. I cannot predict the future but I can confidently state that I will cry many times, over and over, again and again because of my decision to rehome you.
    I cant help but think, what if I would have taken you with me? Would you have been happy with me or are you going to be happier with your new family?
    I don’t know think either of which can be answered definitively, so I am going to assume that you are going to be happier with your new family.
    I love you sooo much and I am going to miss you more than anything I have ever cared about in this world.
    I hope one day I can see you again, but Caesar Milan says it will be traumatic to you and you will be reminded of me. I don’t want to cause you any pain, maybe I will ask your new owners to send me pictures of you from time to time as I will be living 3000 miles away.
    I am sooo saddd right now and I am crying incessantly. This was for the best, and one day I will hopefully come to terms with all of this.
    Even though you have been gone 3 hours, it feels much longer and I am feeling empty without you.
    I hope the day never comes that I regret this decision, may your new family and warm sunny days that I and the awful weather in Georgia could not give to you.

    Love you always and forever,


  91. I meant to say, these babies were not well socialised, they had not had great lives, I wanted to offer them that and although I know they are safe, loved and happy, I still feel a failure.

    I was prepared for the cost, the time, the training, I was not prepared for the animals not to get along after an initial figuring out of the pecking order. I really had thought same breed, same size, all would be OK. The new dogs were so high energy I think two was too much for my scaredy cat to handle, and I had to think of all four.

  92. I came here and all these stories bought a tear to my eye. My story is a little different. We recently had to return two rescue pugs to their foster home, where they will now stay – it left me heartbroken and feeling like I had destroyed my kids Christmas. We got them as we had previously had a pug whom we loved dearly, we rescued him when he was 8 so he was very docile and calm, couldn’t jump, didn’t really do much but sleep and curl up with my little girl. These two new girls were suggested to us by the adoption centre at the beginning of December and we were thrilled! Two new pugs to love and adore, they were 5 and 3 and we were chuffed. We got them home and we’re so in love. However, our cats? Not so much. I hadn’t counted on the cats having issues with them, as a pecking order had been established within days with our old dog. Less than two weeks later I found myself making a 200 round mile trip to return them because one of my cats was viciously attacking them at every opportunity, and they were fighting back. They were never left alone, introduced slowly, and all ate treats together fine, but the attacks from both sides were nasty and unpredictable. I made appointments with trainers, sought advice, my cat was that bad she was put on anti anxiety medication.

    She’s the most placid cat ever, runs from her own shadow, but around these dogs she was horrid, it upset the household terribly. The cats were scrapping, the dogs were on edge, blood was shed daily in those short two weeks.

    I couldn’t be around all the time and in the end we agreed it wasn’t working, and yes we could give it time but the dogs eyes being that breed are so at risk and after one altercation a cat lost a claw that was hanging from the dogs lip.

    It’s only been days but I feel awful. My kids are sad, I am crying all the time, the cats are still not good. The dogs? They’re great. The foster mum said I did absolutely the right thing, she said the charity would refund my adoption fees but I don’t want it, I want it to help the other dogs out there, they will also carry over their vaccinations for life I paid for, it never was about the money, it was about their health and wellbeing and that of my cats.

    Everyone I speak to says it was the right thing and I have a huge heart putting my cats and the dogs welfare first, I could have kept on but there was no guarantee one wouldn’t get seriously hurt. I could have separated them when we were in the house but would that be fair on any of them? Teh attacks happened so randomly. As soon as they were back in their foster home they had a spirit about them I hadn’t seen, as they were too scared of an attack from my cat. They were so happy to be there, and I felt like a massive failure.

    Clearly this feline canine mix was just one of those ones that wasn’t working and I keep getting told I can’t beat myself up that it wasn’t, and in time maybe we will find the right fit for us and the cats but the guilt I feel is keeping me up all night every night.

    Everyone seems to be doing ok, but me. The dogs are beyond loved, like they were in the short time here. The cats are fighting but more relaxed, the kids seem ok, slowly but surely.

    I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive myself. Even if they will forgive me.


  93. Dear beloved favi,

    What did you not do in the last year since I had you. You scratched a hole in the carpet and you chewed up all my sandals and even then I still loved coming home to you wagging your tail and behind until it almost felt like it was going to fall off. I hated having to go and hearing you bark uncontrollably. I hated not being able to spend so much time with you. Even when I was upset with you, you always found a way to cheer me up. I remember your little sad puppy eyes you would do to me when you wanted to go for a walk or you wanted me to pick you up and hug you. I miss you terribly and I cry every night for you. I would do anything to have you back. Unfortunately, that is impossible. I just want you to know that even tho snoopy misses you he will be ok. Occasionally he will stare at your bed all confused and just lay next to it as if he were waiting for you. I think he is very sad too and it breaks my heart. I wish you the best of luck and happiness in your new home and I hope and pray to God that our paths cross again. Be good Chiquita.


  94. Dear Red,
    My family and me will always miss you, you are a year old now. You are probably confused and sad. You’d chew things up and scratch and bite us, but we all knew it was play. We gave you too a nice, single woman, without any other pets. Dega, our other dog, is very depressed. We got a knew puppy. And he won’t even pick up his favorite toy. My family couldn’t take care of you so we had to rehome you.
    You will always be in our hearts, Red
    -from Harper and her family <3

  95. Hello my lovely little Mannypoops,
    Yesterday morning we had to give you away because we aren’t able to give you all the attention that you deserve. You have been such a perfect dog even though everyone told us to not buy a staffy. We all love you so much and will never forget all the love you gave us and even all the times you bit us because you were so tiny. We only had you for three weeks but in that time you taught me so much about myself and above all you taught me patience. I know you are going to be happy wherever you go and you’re probably going to forget us because you are still a puppy, but we will never forget you. Your little paw prints on the floor, your cute tiny face when you got scared of something. Your funny gallops you did when you jumped. I miss you so much. I’m so sorry I couldn’t look after you. I will love you forever. Be happy always. I love you so much Mr Mannypoops.
    Love from Ammee.

  96. Chevy,
    We found you a new home this weekend. I know you are feeling confused, sad, and wondering why we left you. I am feeling the same way. I miss you so much. Just know we did it because we love you and wanted the best for you. It will get easier over time. You will come to love your new place and new owner as much as you did us, maybe even more. I will always remember the good times and the bad times we had with you. From tearing up our shoes, going potty in the floor, to all the cuddles and affection you gave us. You taught us what unconditional love was. There will not be a day that I wont think about you. This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. You were there for me when I felt like I had no one else. I will forever be grateful to you for helping me get through those times. You were the cuddliest and most loving dog I have ever known. Please don’t be sad. Please don’t ever forget us and remember all the love you felt with us. Maybe one day we will get to see each other again. Hope you have a good life like you deserve.
    Love you forever,
    Previous mommy Lori

  97. I’m very sorry Jo and Alex to hear about your stories. It’s so hard, there such a huge part of our lives and bring something so wonderful into our environment that we miss greatly when there gone. It’s been only just a week and a day since we said goodbye to our boy but I know as you do that it was for the best and it’s unselfish of you both to put your heart aside and think about what’s best for your dogs. I still am very sad, I miss him very much and I probably always will. But I feel comfort in knowing he’s so loved and appreciated for his amazing qualities. He’s smiling in his pictures now, so I think he’s adjusting to his new family. I believe they always remember us, but just try to think about the fact that you did this merely out of love. Nothing less, it’s helped me and I truly hope it helps you.

    My warmest regards and please don’t feel guilty and know that your putting them before yourself.


  98. This has brought a tear to my eye. My husband and I have recently rehomed our 7 month old pup to a wonderful family. Since the day we got him, he had terrible separation anxiety and had boundless energy. We both work full time but made provisions for our pup such as a dog walker etc. Although we had a trainer, walker and did everything possible to make our pup feel safe, we endured 5 months of him crying for hours at night, crying and howling for up to an hour when we left for work and generally him being unhappy. Despite two to three good walks a day, he just couldn’t settle in our house, always on the go, getting up to things, stealing, jumping etc. His energy never ended. We both found it v stressful and taxing. We had a pup who couldn’t settle without us, and couldn’t settle down with us. But despite all this, I really loved my wee man. He was so adoring and loving. The cutest wee man and v intelligent. In the end, I loved him so much that we came the the gut wrenching conclusion that our boy needed company and a family where he could be walked for hours and always have someone nearby – something we couldn’t give him with us working. I hated him being lonely without people. We found a great family with another dog, 4 children and one parent works from home. We knew in our hearts that it would be the best life for our pup. So why does it hurt so bad? I loved him and I miss him terribly. Honestly if they said they didn’t want him, I’d have him back, even though I know we’d have all the same issues again. I hope he isn’t sad and doesn’t feel disregarded. It was the hardest decision we’ve ever ever made. It wasn’t cause we didn’t want him, we just couldn’t handle it and he will be happier, I know that for sure. I just wish it hadn’t come to this and we didn’t have to make this decision. I wanted it to work so much…..

  99. Dear buddy,
    It hurts to know that tommrow I will be rehoming you . You were best part of my life, I mean I had you since you were 4 weeks old. I still remember being able to hold you in my hand easily, and you cuddling up next to me in my bed to get warm so you fall asleep. The amount of stress we have in the home is terrible, and I know you feel it . We don’t have a big yard enough yard for you to run around and be the crazy dog you are. Im so sorry that we are unable to spend the amount of time with you that you deserve, because of the fact that me and my other two siblings are attending college. I know that you will enjoy the new home you will be living in because they have kids that will play with you for hours, and they have a big yard so you can easily dig as many holes as you want. It hurts so much, I feel like I’m abandoning you and you have no say.I wish the circumstances were different that we could keep you but it’s impossible at this point. I know I’m being selfish saying that, but I love you so much and you were the puriest aspect of my life. I hope and pray that one day you can find it in your heart to forgive me for causing you this pain, and I hope that you can forget about me and the rest of us quickly and enjoy your life. I truly am sorry for doing this, but it’s for the best. Just know that no matter what you will always be my best friend, and my favorite welcoming committee when I came home especially when you act like you haven’t seen me in years. I love you sooo much buddy, and I’m sorry for the pain that I’m going to cause you. Enjoy your life, you earned it and maybe someday I’ll swing by and visit you. I’ll never forget you and that grunt you made when you collapse on my bed before you sleep. We love you, and will always be there for you. Best of luck to you buddy with your new family. You changed our lives for the good, and I’m sure you’ll do the same for them. I love you buddy.

  100. Thank you Karen, Naomi, Nora, Terri, everyone for sharing your experiences with rehoming your dogs. It’s almost unbearable, isn’t it? But I know it is bearable because I did it…and my dog adjusted very well.

    I adopted my dog Tiffy when she was 3 years old; she and her first owner were very happy together. I know it broke both the owner’s and Tiffy’s heart to be separated. It is a very sad, very tragic thing to leave your home. It is something to be grieved — and that’s what you’re doing. You’re going through the grieving process. I believe rehoming a dog is worse than losing a dog to death, and the grief needs to be experienced.

    Your dog will adjust. Your dog may be scared and uncertain at first, but they are survivors! My little 7 pound Tiffany has taken over our house. She is bossing everyone around, and she hogs the whole bed at night. She has elbowed her way to the top of the line here in our house.

    Our dogs love us, but at heart they are survivors and they will adapt. They remember us — I know Tiffy remembers her past owner because she always, always greets elderly women. She won’t give kids or middle-aged adults the time of day, but she goes right up to senior women and stares up at them. But I also know she’s very happy with us, and she loves us dearly.

    My heart goes out to you. It is a heartbreaking type of grief, to give away your dog. There is no doubt that it is painful and sad. Allow yourself to grieve, and work through your guilty feelings. Accept that you made the best decision. Give yourself time. Talk to a grief counselor if you feel like you can’t do this alone.

    Your pain will lessen in time. Your dog will be happy – and I suspect if you saw how well he is adjusting to his new home, you would be hurt!

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers,

    1. Hi Laurie,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond to my message and most of all your experience with this and understanding. I had a terrible night last night, but as I said it’s a week tomorrow since I rehomed my GSD so very fresh. My other dogs seem ok with him gone, I don’t see anymore anxiety with my Boxer now and or stress either. It was so difficult living under such stress and seeing my dogs going through it all to. There a wonderful family, we do talk and they have shared pictures and kept me up to speed with his transition. But, I do agree with you seeing the pictures of him makes me miss him so much more. I know he will be adored and loved for life and know I did what was best for him and my other dogs. Your also right in that time heals, and I just need to keep reminding myself that I did this for him and his well being most of all happiness. Thank you so much again, I’m grateful for your words. They mean a lot.

      My warmest regards, Karen

  101. I’m am so heartbroken. I had 3 dogs, a Bichon a Boxer and GSD. My GSD was my last addition and I was so thrilled to own another GSD again after years prior my Buddy GSD passed. They all got along very well, at the beginning. But, then my Boxer and GSD had a pretty bad fight and there was a lot of blood and honestly I was terrified traumatized thinking my Boxer was going to die. After I took my Boxer to the vet and he was healing from his wounds we were told by the vet to keep them apart and wait until I got my GSD neutered. So, after I got my last baby netuered nothing had changed. In fact, things were so stressful. Having no harmony in the home my Boxer was always nervous and I could feel the anxiety and tension in the home greatly. The Boxer is my sons dog, he’s 2 and a half the Bichon is male also and he is 6 my GSD had just turned a year. This tension went on for quite a while, despite all my efforts muzzles ( which I couldn’t use because I felt it was just cruel to muzzle them just to coexist in there own home) using gates trading etc. My GSD had obidient training as a pup is very friendly and just an amazing dog. I could have not ever foreseen this ever happening between them, they were so close played slept together everything. I honestly have no clue what went wrong? Due to all the anxiety and stress in the home between the dogs and my children and myself I made the very difficult choice to re home my GSD. We were so attached, very very close. I never left his side and he was with me everywhere all the time from day one. I’m devasted, I cry so much. I miss him and I don’t know how to accept that it was best for him because the situation was not healthy for him and he deserved a better home with harmony. I found him an incredible home. I was not going to give him to anyone because he was truly the best dog! I screened so many people and although I do talk to his new family see pictures get updates my heart is truly crushed. I hate myself and feel like I’ve let him down and broke his heart. Some of the pics you can see he’s sad, I know he’s confused and doesn’t know why he’s not with me anymore. The Boxer never showed any issues he would not adjust to another dog because he was good with my fist dog the Bichon. So I believed all would be great. But our Boxer changed and suddenly did not accept our new addition and he was the aggressor starting the fight with my GSD. I re homed my boy not that long ago it is fresh, but I honestly don’t know how to cope with him being gone. I adore all my dogs and have never gone thru such heartache. Only when I’ve lost my previous GSD to age. My home feels empty even tho I still have my other 2 boys, even tho there was so much anxiety stress etc I feel guilt and want to find a way to accept I did the right thing for my boy getting him out of the environment he was in. My 2 boys get along just fine, but it doesn’t make me feel any better that my GSD is gone. Any advice offered would truly help, the guilt and sadness is just overwhelming it’s so much worse at night cause he would be right at my side while we slept ; ( he’s very loved by his new family, there wonderful people but somehow I just don’t know how to move forward and will he be ok because we were so attached? Thank you for reading my story ; (

  102. This may sound so stupid, but I took in a puppy a few days ago as she was badly neglected and starved by the breeders. When I seen her I couldn’t just leave her there so i took her home and began looking for a nice home for her(I am a full time student and am not aloud dogs in my apartment). I was contacted yesterday by a couple who already had two dogs so I met with them to see how the puppy would be with the dogs she seemed to be fine with them and after a LONG discussion with the couple i decided they could adopt her. However as soon as i did it i felt sick to my stomach and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I really don’t know if this was the right decision or not. I hope it was and I know it would not have been fair to keep her as she would be so lonely during the day.

  103. We are retired and I am the one who researched beautiful golden retriever puppies and found the beautiful dog we got. He is loving and sweet and very trainable. I love him but don’t love owning a dog at this point in my life. He is our fourth golden in twenty years. My husband absolutely adores this pup (he is now one). I don’t even know how to tell him how unhappy I am that there is no more spontaneity in our lives that everything we do has to revolve around our pup’s feeding schedule or walking schedule. No spontaneous trips, no staying after golf for dinner. I did this and now regret it. Unfortunately, our pup has bonded with me especially. I am overwhelmed with sadness both for our pup and for me. If I tell my husband how I am feeling, he will be the one overwhelmed with sadness which would be cruel. I don’t even know what to do.

    1. Nora, I’m wondering how that went for you. I am in the same boat now. we adopted two dogs a year ago and then retired. They are great little dogs but I really want more freedom to travel and do things. My husband does not want to rehome the dogs.

  104. Because my asthma allergy is so severe to dog dander and shots wont help i had to give up my rescue and i had her registured as an emotional suport dog. She came into my life when I was in a dark place we literally saved eachother. It kills me to know what i had to do but had no choice. She went back to helping hands little paws and is up for adoption now. I have survivors guilt cry still everyday its only been 2 weeks since that awful day hapoened. I also wrote a letter to my little girl CeCe she was a diva princess had 3 drawers of clothes, coats bling collars you name it. She was spoiled. Sometimes when im alone or going to bed is when it hits me and sonetimes I feel like i am going crazy. I see her everywhere, hear her it has been and still is devestating.

  105. Brienne, although I only had you for a little while, you were the cutest and sweetest puppy in the world. It wasn’t the right time for you to come into my life and it wasn’t my choice, but you are so wonderful and I really enjoyed getting to be with you. While it makes me sad to part with you, I know that you will be so happy. I know that you are going to a great foster family who will know just how to take care of you, who will play with you and love you and teach you all of the things you need to know. You will feel safe and secure. You will probably even meet other dogs like my Cassie to play with, like you loved to play with her! I bet you will have the best family in the world. I hope you don’t miss us at all. I hope you get held and played with so much that you feel nothing but happiness. You’re a good girl and I know I am doing the right thing by letting you go. I love you.

  106. Dear Baby Blue,

    I’m so sorry I couldn’t have you with me right now. When you drove away with your new daddy and were looking at me the whole time, I couldn’t handle it and had to look down to cry. I’m sorry you had to leave us. I miss you forever and I’ll never forget you and I know you’ll be super happy at your new home with your new brother and sister! I hear they’re super playful and I know you’ll love that! Now you can run around all day long with them and not live in fear anymore. I trust your new daddy and I know that you’re gonna be so happy there. Don’t worry about me. I know you’ll be scared at first but I promise you’ll be playing in no time and you’ll never have to be scared again. I’ll never forget you Bluedini, Blueberry, Baby Blue, Bluesky Doosky. I’ll love you forever Blue and I hope one day I get to visit your beautiful new home on your awesome farm, and once again I’m sorry that you had to leave me. I know it hurts to trust someone and then have to leave them, but I promise you’ll love your new home in no time. I hear they cook your meals, and feed you all types of meats and carrots and loads of other yummy things. You took my heart with you when you left me today, I’ll always love you my sweet boy. Love, mommy xoxoxox ❤️

  107. Dear Milo,
    My heart is heavy with sadness, regret and guilt. I did not want you because I could not deal with you. So I gave you away. When you were with me, I tended to see your flaws, and now that you’re gone, I see it all. I realize now that love is more powerful than inconvenience, and although you can easily get rid of the inconvenience, it isn’t so easy to stop loving.
    I hope with all of my heart that your new owners will love you as much as I do, and that whey will take better care of you than I could. You are such a sweet, beautiful dog, and you deserve a good life.
    Please forget about me soon.
    With undying love. Your old mommy.

  108. I hope that I can offer some relief for pet owners who have had to rehome their best friend by sharing with you how my parents welcomed two dogs into our family home in different intervals when they needed a new environment. The first was our fox terrier and the second is our current pup, a miniature schnauzer. They both went through a similar reacclimation period where they seemed to feel very unsure of what was going on and didn’t seem overly happy. Within a couple of months, though, they both rebounded and truly grew to love their new Mom and Dad. With time and patience, they felt perfectly comfortable and content in their new home and became beloved family members. Lots of snuggles, barking, chasing through the yard, etc.

    The fox terrier was always delighted to see her first family when they came to visit. She never forgot them and greeted them differently than other guests. However, she was fine when they went home. She seemed to realize that she had a pretty awesome homelife with us, so that made it easier.

    In the end, rehoming a dog that needs a new start can bring its new family much happiness. Yes, dogs seem to go through transitions in a similar way that humans do. There may be tears and confusion at first. After some time, though, they are often able to open their hearts to their new “pack” while remembering the love that their first home gave them.

    1. Matt, I cannot thank you enough for sharing this story! It helps so much to hear the other side of a family welcoming a rehomed pet. I’m giving up my boy of 6 years and the part that hurts the most is wondering how he will feel. Abandoned? Alone? Scared? It kills me to think he’ll feel that way because he deserves none of it.

      But it helps to hear you say your dogs grew to love their new Mom and Dad after a few months and didn’t mind when the previous owner visited and left. That means everything to me! That’s what I want for my boy. For him to forgive and forget me, and feel a sense of belonging and stability in his new home.

      I will be sure not to visit for at least 3 months so he can adjust to life without me. I pray that it goes painlessly as possible for us both! Thanks again.

  109. I would love to hear the answer to the last comment about visiting your pet. I think if i visited my pet and he wanted to come with me it would be so much worst for me. I had to give my 1 year old rottweiler away because my landlord said i couldnt keep him and people were telling me that if i moved it would be the same thing-no landlord will want a rottweiler on their property because they have such a bad name so i decided to give him away. Hes on land where he can run and there is another dog there. I cant get him out if my mind. I feel so awful and full of guilt and miss him so much. Uts been 2 months and i still cry. I txt the girl that had him-she says hes good and very brief on her answers to me. I thonk she doesnt want me feeling bad. She knows how i felt when i had to give him up. I try not txting her but i have meltdowns and need to know how hes doing. I feel selfish giving him away-at least i shouldve tried to look for an apartment who would accept a big dog. I feel like hes wondering why i left him and where did i go. Do dogs adapt ok to a new place?

  110. Oh Snoop my dearest friend , I know you are smart but how could you understand, I took you away to a strange place and just left you there scratching desperately at the gate , shouting that I had left you behind , I had a couple of e mails from your new family they said you where having fun with your new pack , how much I put you through I wish you could know how I love you still , first your big sister died of old age and we where sad , then I broke my back and you stayed by my side , gently encouraging me to get out and about , dodging the new wheels , then when your human dad my beloved husband died in a terrible accident, I tried and tried to keep us both healthy and happy but I just couldn’t give you all you needed and deserved, I wish you could know how much I love you and that I never intended to desert you I wanted the best for you and I pray that you are as happy as your new mummy said .

  111. My parents are pretty insisted on giving my dog, Sadie, my Australian Shepherd away and finding her a new home. They’ve already started looking for new dogs and they don’t know how bad this hurts me. Sadie gets really aggressive and ran next door to our neighbor’s yard and bit him. I think she deserves another chance, but then again I don’t have time to walk her twice a day with school and sports and homework. The situation still could have been a lot worse and I think its my fault. I’m just really really upset about it. This is the hardest on me because she was born out of my cousin’s dog’s litter and I have literally been with her since birth, back in December. I didn’t even expect to get a puppy but she was so sweet and adorable that we got her. I’m very upset that I let myself get so attached to her and I knew she was too good to be true. She’s my best friend and even passed obedience school. Parents think I’m just going to move on but I just love her too much. I guess this letter helped but the thought of her being with another owner makes me sick.

  112. Bernie….Bernie Veltema…is that you?!? I haven’t seen you in forever Bern Dogg!!! I miss you buddy. I know that you are having a great time with Dwayne and Mary. I bet you are playing with your brothers Burt and Ernie. Burt, Ernie and Bernie!!! I have so many great memories of our time together. Remember when we would go on laps everyday, in the sun, rain, morning, night. Twice a day, everyday. Can’t get em all in if we didn’t start early!!! All the different routes we would take? Or camping trips? Remember running and jumping in the ocean? Playing ball in the backyard? And how’d you’d beat me most of the time, but others I would win? Remember that time you won Dog of The Week at DogTopia? We had your picture with us the whole time Bern Dogg. Remember when I would visit you in your bed? Like every night? I really liked it when we moved and you switched sidesof the bed, so you could be by me and let your new brother sleep by mom. We love you so much Bern Dogg, we know that you are in a better place now. I printed a big 8X10 picture of you today Bern Dogg. Its in my folder of very important pictures that I’m going to keep forever. You see that, you were right Bern Dogg!! You always told me, that you’re my first Puppy Dogg and you’re gonna live FOREVER!!!

    PS…Don’t worry Bern Dogg. You can always update our Fantasy Football Team on your iPaw. The Berning Bernies are going all the way this year!!!

  113. i was so very comforted by this that I felt the need to leave a comment. We rehomed our young dog today, I’ve been sobbing on and off since, my husband doesn’t understand why I feel so sad since it was a joint decision we made weeks ago and it was a decision made for the best of our children who were always getting hurt by our incredibly boisterous pup and for the dog herself who will have a far better life on a farm with all that space to run wild and another dog for company, but I just feel so sad, I thought I was the only one who felt like this, it does feel like a loss, my heart is breaking even though I know it was right. I hope it gets easier.

  114. I used to have 6 dogs with my girlfriend and family. The mother was a cocker spaniel, the father was a maltese-yorkie mix and the other four were their pups from 3 different litters. The mother passed away about 3 years ago. The smallest one named Benny we weren’t supposed to keep and last year we re-homed him through a work friend’s family and he is having a much better life (he didn’t get along with the Alpha male dog Todd). Rehoming Benny didn’t really affect me as i wasn’t attached to him and we weren’t supposed to keep him initially and i knew he was joining a great family. Todd, Toby and the father Mup we are keeping as they get along together the best and are the most well behaved of the bunch, however the remaining female of the family Stella i had to re-home tonight. Todd and Stella were my first two dogs that i had since their birth, so i am very attached to both of them. Stella we were also not supposed to keep as the family that bought my girlfriend’s old house wanted her as pup as part of the deal to close the house, but i blocked that as i had fallen in love with her immediately. Unfortunately as she grew up she started to develop bad habits of barking at anyone she didn’t know that would pass by our house, especially other dogs, and not listening to anyone in the family except myself. Unfortunately with my work schedule and recently having a baby it became increasingly difficult for me to give her the love and attention she deserved and it was becoming a lot for me to ask of my girlfriend to take care of a dog that she “extremely dislikes” because she doesn’t listen so i had to find a new family to adopt her. We met with the new owner tonight, and though she was quite quirky and nervous, she was very nice and seemed like a dog lover. Unfortunately that wasn’t much of a comfort to me as Stella kept trying to pull towards me or my girlfriend as she was scared and not sure what was going on. I understand that dogs live in the moment and do not experience very complex emotions that we humans do, but it is very hard for me to think that she does not share the same emotions that i do. It pains me not to be able ensure her future from this point on, nor to know at all times that she is okay and not scared even though this decision is probably what’s best for her even if it hurts me. I write this letter to Stella to let her know that even though i will eventually disappear from her mind that she will always have a place in my heart and i will always love her dearly.

    Dear Stella,

    I want you to know that i am sorry that i had to put you through the ordeal of re-homing you as you must have been scared and confused as to what was going on. I did it because the life you were living with me was not one that was fair to you. Even though with the other dogs you tended to be a trouble maker, i know that as a solo dog in a family that you can be a very good girl. You deserve to have all the love and attention without having to share it with other dogs. You deserve to be walked every day, played with every day, and yummy food that you don’t have to share. I remember all the memories we shared from when you were just a pup all the way to now and i will never forget them. I hope you forgive me for failing in taking care of you, i always thought i would be there with you until the very end. I hope you live each day to the fullest and that you never forget me and how much i love you. You will always be in my heart and i want you to know that if it doesn’t work out in your new home i will be there in a heart-beat to bring you back because even though you are no longer with me you will always be apart of my family and i would do anything for family.

    love always,

    Andrew May

  115. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thank you for being here, and sharing what you’re going through as you’re learning how to cope with rehoming a dog. It’s such a difficult decision to make….and even more difficult to live with afterwards.

    Nobody can tell you what the right decision is. Only you know, deep down in your heart, what you have to do with your dog. It’s a sacrifice, no matter what you decide, and it hurts.

    Know that if you do decide to give your dog away, he will bounce back! Dogs are incredibly resilient and adaptable. They are full of love and they have big hearts. Dogs love their owners, but they are able to attach to new owners if they are rehomed. They’re survivors, and they aren’t held back by human emotions such as guilt, regret, or unforgiveness.

    Your dog will embrace his new home with all four paws. He’ll remember you and miss you, but he’ll bond with his new owners. He will be happy and peaceful, and he’ll always own a piece of your heart.


  116. This is very fresh to me as I just re-homed my dog last Thursday. I was debating back and forth about it for almost a year, then started a new job and have also had some additional responsibilities. I would take my dog to daycamp 3x a week and to the dog park on nice weekends, but I still hated leaving him home alone and I always wondered if he’d be happier with a family and other dog(s) – I’m single and trying to juggle a lot of things.
    Eli came into my life 3.5 years ago when my mom had an accident at work and was confined to her house. Her doctor advised her not to get a dog, but I influenced her to go ahead and get one because I had gone for 7 years without one (I had given up my dog for adoption during my divorce). Eli was really “our” dog, but he grew too big and too strong, knocking my mom over a few times and pulling her on walks. Finally she gave an ultimatum of me staying and him going, or both of us going. I couldn’t bear another loss so I moved into my own place with Eli. At first it was manageable and things progressively became more difficult with money and work balance.
    Eli stayed with me another two years before I arranged to have him fostered by a goldendoodle rescue group. I had to drive four hours to meet the transport driver who would take him to his foster home another 2.5 hours away.
    I berate myself over this in that if I had been better with money, this wouldn’t have happened, or if I had just listened 3.5 years ago and not persuaded my mom to get Eli, I wouldn’t be hurting like this. And yes, I’m one of those people who fears he is confused, lonely, afraid, wondering why I deserted/abandoned him. I didn’t want to do this but I knew my job would require me traveling soon and I wouldn’t make a dent in my debts if things continued on the same path. But that isn’t his fault. That’s why I feel terrible. He didn’t bring this on me – I did. I loved him and my family/friends knew it from my social media posts and my talking about him all the time. So they were shocked to learn of what transpired.
    I know he’s in a great foster home, surrounded by two other doggies and a retired couple who can dote on him constantly. My prayer is that he will never think I didn’t love him or want him. I pray he will know how loved he was and that I wanted him to have an even fuller life and never be alone. I tend to ‘humanize’ and project my emotions on him, thinking he’s just sad, bewildered, wondering where I am and when I will come get him. My prayer is to remember that dogs do live in the moment and they don’t think that way (where’s mom? when is she coming back? why am I here? didn’t she love me? what did I do wrong?). I just need prayer to grieve and heal and that God would fill the void in my heart with His good things. I love you, Eli. I will always love you. Mommy misses you so much and misses your cold nose, snuggles, warm fur, jumping up to hug me, your wagging tail, your love for fetch and running, always being by my side, and being such a good boy. You’ll always be in my heart and I will love you forever.

  117. Ive recently had to rehome my best buddy?
    His name was jaxon and he was abused in his old home. On my way to school i would always wave or talk to him(the dog) i was late one day because we would bothe sit up against the fence and it was almost like he listened to me… So everyday after school i was the first one out. Jaxon always was waiting at the doors for me… No matter how cold it was.. He was there and i would always pick him up and bring him home? finally after 4 months of bringing him home his owner had to move thankfully. So she gave him to us as a 8 month old puppy
    He was the best thing that ever happened to me?? He listened to me. But my parents got divorced and it stressed him out with all the crying and yelling so we decided until after all this calms down we will give him to Bree(my moms friend) and then we can get him back.. Little do i know my mom gave him away forbsure and i hated my mom for months…

  118. Hi, reading these comments have been very helpful for me. I’m in the process of trying to rehome 2 of my dogs. 1 of them is the most perfect dog you could hope for, and the other one, well it’s just Rusko but I love him. I live with my mum and she has stupidly decided to get another 2 which actually brings the current members of dogs in my house to 5. The other one I couldn’t rehome he has been with me for 11 years and simply couldn’t cope emotionally in another family. We have moved into a smaller house and there is Noway enough room for 5 dogs. To make matters worse my mum has all of a sudden decided to hate my 2 cocapoos, and now only pays attention to the lab puppies. It causes so much tension with the other dogs, furthermore, It literally breaks my heart to know I have to give away my dogs because my mum decided she wanted more against all advice and as expected this just hasn’t worked out. I can’t sleep, they are brilliant dogs, and I hate that this is the reason they have to go. I just need confirmation, am I doing the right thing? This will 100% destroy me as they are at the ages 7 and 8 thus have been with me for a while. I’m 26 and in my teachers training so I won’t have enough money to move out for another 2/3 years. Do I hold out or should they go? Please please give me some advice. Thank you. Michael

  119. This letter did help, I am in a situation where my fiance and I have had to give away both his dogs that he brought into our relationship… Princess, a Sheba inu x Pug, was aggressive with the Shepherd puppy we had just brought home,, Rehomed to my aunt and uncle who love her very much and she is doing much better than she was with us.. Bear, the Pomeranian we are currently trying to rehome is aggressive to ALL dogs, female, male, fixed, intact, gentle, playful, young or old.. He turns his anger and frustration out on the humans around him and we have now realized (after taking him alone camping with us this weekend) he is the most amazing dog by himself, no other animals just him… Its heart wrenching knowing that he has to go and its worse knowing that we had to rehome TWO and not just one… Sometimes I feel like I’e let them down but I know they will be happier in a home with all the attention and love they could ever need where as we cannot focus on just one… My heart breaks when I think about it but I just try to remember how happy he was playing with all of our friends when he was the only dog… It’s whats best for him and its the time in our lives that we cannot selfishly keep him where he does not want to be…

  120. Thank you for this entry, Laurie. Our family just gave up the stray dog we rescued from the streets last week. His name is Bruno, a one-year old mixed breed dog. He is such a kind, cute dog but he has food aggression issues due to his traumatic experience in the streets. We’ve had him for about 3 weeks but we’ve learned to love him as though he’s been with us for a long time. He has also learned to love his new home with us, not wanting to leave anymore. It’s been very painful for us to give him up just like that… we are all working 8 hours a day and no one would be left to care for him aside from my mother who is weak and suffering from cancer. Bruno, we hope you know that we’ll always love you and we’re missing you everyday. I don’t know if we can ever get over the guilt and the pain we’re going through right now…

  121. I know that this post is about giving away dogs, but I am having a terribly similar dilemma I need advice on. A year and a half ago I bought a baby ferret. Her name is Cracker and I love her very, very much; Unfortunately as ferrets mature the ‘oils’ or musk they produce changes and I have learned that I am allergic to it. It has become so bad I have developed congestion, burning eyes, lung problems, and a terribly sore throat. I love her so much, but it is at the point that I cannot give her the care or exercise she needs to thrive. I know with all my heart that it would be better for both of us if I re-home her… but it just hurts so much. I am just so scared of trusting her with another person. How do you give a pet away, knowing that they would be taken care of properly? How do you let go?

  122. My boyfriend and I had been looking for a puppy for months. We both love dogs and wanted to get a friend for our cat, Tawny, since she often seems lonely and requires a lot of attention. I found the sweetest brindle little man on our local humane society’s website July 8 and knew he was the one for us. We talked about it all evening and made a plan to arrive at the society right when they opened to get the best chance at meeting him. We met him and were instantly in love. Unfortunately, that week proved to be extremely stressful with me working 60 hours and him leaving for jobs across the state at all hours of the day. After long conversations and many tears, we’ve agreed it’s best to take him back to the society tomorrow morning with holes he gets adopted by a family that can give him all the time in the world. I can’t stop crying and feeling insanely guilty for putting him through this, but I’ve been reassured that at his age of only 10 weeks, he will adapt and not be scared. That doesn’t make it any easier though. My heart is breaking knowing that I have to take him back in the morning but I am trying to focus on the positive knowing this is what’s best for him. It’s not fair to him to be kept in a room all day trying to hold his bladder waiting for us to get home or a stranger to come by and let him out for 30 minutes. I’ve tried to find him a home through my friends, but with everyone working crazy-long hours, no one can commit. I’ve been warned about craigslist and posting an ad online and the terrible people that lurk out there. I am hopeful that he finds an amazing home, because he is so smart and deserves the best and honestly, we can’t provide him that. I’m crying as I write this, this is the hardest decision I’ve had to make, but in my heart and gut, I know it’s the right one. I’ll probably never be the same, but he taught us a lot about ourselves and for that I am forever grateful. I will always love you and miss you already, Ranger. I know you’ll make your new owners forever happy. I hope I can learn to forgive myself.

  123. Yes, Meredith – and everyone who is coping with rehoming a dog – a little memorial service in honor of your dog would be a good thing to do. Take time to remember the good and frustrating parts of living with your dog, and review why you need to find your dog a more suitable home. Let yourselves cry, grief, and even get angry that you had to make this decision.

    No matter how it happens (by choice or by accident), losing a dog is painful and even heartbreaking. In some ways, making the choice to rehome your dog is harder to deal with than losing your dog to a natural death, because you’ll always wonder what happened to your dog. But you have to remember that this is the best decision for you and your family, and allow the natural course of grief to unfold.

    My prayer is for healing, for all who have to cope with rehoming dogs. It’s so hard to make this decision. I pray for peace, forgiveness, and freedom. Have faith that your dog will be well cared for in the new home — just like my little dog Tiffy is so loved here, in her new home! Your dog will be loved and cared for….and you need to grieve and then forgive yourself.


  124. Thank you for being here, and sharing how you’re coping with rehoming your dog. It’s such a difficult and sad decision, and I don’t think we’re ever the same after. But, we have to keep telling ourselves that it has to be this way…and our dogs are happy! They’re such awesome animals, so adaptable and loving and “in the moment.” Dogs don’t live in the past and have regrets, and they don’t hold it against us that we had to find them a new home.

    May you find peace and acceptance as you adjust to a home with out a dog. xo


  125. I’m re-homing my Corgi who I’ve had for 7 years because she’s not getting the love, attention, and training she needs to be able to get along well with my other 2 dogs.. It’s gotten worse and worse – she’s fighting with the smaller dog almost daily even after keeping them separated while I’m not home.. I love her so much and am going to miss her more than I even know right now. She’s such a good girl and I know if I had only her, she would be so happy and I would be able to give her my utmost attention. Thank you for writing this blog and the letter from Tiffy. It is helping me understand how positive it could be from her standpoint even though it feels so hard for me right now. I would like to write a letter to my Vixen to try to help me get over the pain I feel and maybe it’ll help someone else..

    Dear Vixie,
    You’ve been such a good girl. Over the years, I have watched you mature from an easily-frightened, food-aggressive dog to a brave, intelligent, warm-hearted girl. You’ve even made friends with the cat who you welcomed with open arms when we found him abandoned in our backyard. I had no idea a dog could be so sweet and affectionate while also being so spunky and fun. I am not giving you to your new home because you were naughty – you were not. You have always expressed your personality in just the way you are supposed to. I have chosen you, out of my 3 babies, because I know you’re the sweetest and someone will fall madly in love with you. It won’t take long.

    As you move into your new home and begin this new adventure, remember everything we have taught you over the years. Have an open mind, be brave, and be yourself. Remember to be kind to the other dogs as they get to know you. They will love you soon enough. Don’t be shy with your new parents – ask for pets and belly rubs. It’s really cute when you do. And feel free to make the little noises you do – these are all things I know I’ll miss. Oh, and don’t forget! When you get pokey stickers in between your toes, trust your new mommy or daddy to pick them out. They are just helping you and love you very much.

    I want you to know I love you so, so much, Vixen. I’ll miss everything about you. Especially those soft ears and stubby tail wagging when I get home to see you! I will always remember you and I’ll dream of you in your new home- running and playing and getting lots of love. Enjoy every day, sweet girl. I miss you already. XOXO

  126. This article did help me a lot. I had to give away my havanese Maltese mix (havamalt) puppy because I couldn’t give her enough support. I didn’t have her for very long at all, but I miss her a great deal. After reading this article, I realize that she’s in a better home with a better family for her. Thanks for this :)

  127. I have to re home my mini schnauzer soon for many reasons but mainly he needs a home with another dog to kerp him company and a family that are home a lot. It’s breaking my heart. I cry all the time. But I know I’m doing the right thing for him. Will I ever recover from this loss. He has been my baby since he came home at ten weeks old. He is two and a half now :( :(

  128. Jinx, Its been almost a month since you’ve gone to live with your new family. I miss you so much and think of you often. You were my best friend. I had a dream the other night that we were reunited. You licked my face and i hugged you and we were both so happy. Then i woke up to the sound of my alarm and realized that it was only just a dream. But for those few seconds in the dream i was the happiest girl in the world. There was never a bond closer than the bond i had with you and with any luck, i will see you again on the other side. I did what i thought was best for you, despite what i really wanted. And i know you are in wonderful hands with two other dachshunds to play with and to keep you company. I dont think youll ever be lonely like you were when i had to work those long hours and be gone from you all the time. I know you have a better quality of life where you are now and that is my only consolation in giving you up. I love you jinxie boy. Always. And i cant wait to see you again. And when we get there, we’ll be together for eternity.

  129. We had to rehome our beautiful yellow lab after 8 years of ownership. We miss him soooo much!! We have a 2 year old daughter. He was growling at her from the time she started walking. It became too hard to try separate them. Our schedules became hectic with having a young child and trying to keep him occupied and give him all the attention the he desired and deserved. We found a home for him where he gets all the attention. His new owner has no small children or other animals. I think made the best decision, but it hurts a lot I would take him back home right now, but we know he’s going to do awesome and seems to really love his new home.

  130. I’m so happy I found this page. It helps to hear how others are dealing with rehoming a dog. We just made the heart breaking decision to give up our sweet 2 year old lab. From the moment we brought him home he has been a loveable handful. He eats everything despite our best efforts and training. Seven months ago he almost died after eating a dish rag. He reguired two surgeries and over $12,000 in medical care. It was devastating emotionally and financially. It was recommended he wear a basket muzzle at all times. We tried this for a few weeks, but it created a sore where it sat on his snout. We chose to keep him close instead and this worked for 7 months.Last weekend he ate his collar during the night. We didn’t realize it had gotten loose enough for his brother to slip off. Unfortunately, he quietly ate everything but the metal clips while we slept. He reguired another surgery to remove the collar that had unraveled in his stomach. It has been a terrible few days since we gave him to a vet tech at our vet’s office. What’s worse is his brother, our other lab, misses him. It is hard not to have closure as we had to say goodbye the moment we signed him over. I don’t know how to help my children understand. I wonder if it would help to sit as a family and have a little service to help us with the loss. Thank you for listening.

  131. I hate to say it, but try craigslist. Go see the people’s homes, get to know them a bit. I just rehomed my dog.. he was everything to me. I had him for a year and a half, but he became too hard for me to take care of, living where I am. He was aggressive because of people I live with, and I couldn’t stop it. I gave him up to A woman I met on Craigslist, named Hannah today. She took him after about an hour of getting to know him, he warmed up to her quickly. I’ve gotten a few pictures and a video of him running in the huge backyard. There are neighbor dogs, she works from home and can give him all the attention he needs. It hurts, really bad. I’ve been crying since I gave him up. And I’m sure she’d let me visit, but it’d hurt too much. Realizing he wouldn’t be waiting for me when I came home today.. it was one of the most hurtful things I’ve ever experienced. He already has three pet beds, collars, leashes. She’s booked classes for him on Monday. She’s taking care of him, better care than I ever could, but it’s soul shattering to give him up. Even my tiny kittens can’t help fill that hole. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over this..
    But, craigslist. Get to know the people so you know it’s a good home. If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t put forth the effort.

  132. I am having too give away my basset hound Cookie and it’s tearing me apart. I’ve had him for 3 years, practically since he was a baby. So 3 years is definitely a long time for me to get emotionally connected with him. I have 2 other small dogs, both miniature schnauzers. My mom has had enough of Cookie though, he tends to be pretty rough on us by jumping a lot and he sheds sooo much hair. My mom wants him out. I’m only 15, which means I practically have no choice in this matter. I didn’t want to give him away. Neither did my 11 year old sister, who chose the dog herself. My dad who lives in Mexico offered to keep him, and I reluctantly said yes. My sister was all for it, but I still had my worries. It’s not like I don’t trust him or anything….I’m just worried about his feelings. Cookie’s. Will he miss us? Will he get sad? I’m currently 1 am and I’m crying in my bed in the dark thinking about his feelings. The comments and the story itself helped me feel a little better, I still feel pretty sad and guilty. I just hope Cookie will love my dad and his new family, and I hope they love him very much……


  133. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Karen,

    I was told this as well, that I shouldn’t visit my dog Jazz after I rehomed her. I was told that it’s confusing for the dog, and doesn’t really help with adjustment or bonding with the new owner.

    I didn’t visit my dog after rehoming her, because I can see why people advise against it. It may also be stressful for your dog, and cause unnecessary anxiety.

    It’s sad, isn’t it? But probably the best way to cope with rehoming your dog is to have email or phone contact with the new owners…and not plan any visits or walks together.

    I’m sorry you have to rehome your dog. It’s very sad, and the pain never really goes away. But, remember that dogs are TOTALLY in the moment! Your dog is a survivor, and will adapt and adjust and be happy.

    In sympathy,

    1. I wasnt able to sleep right for two nights after rehoming my 4 year old dog….I really have to ciz my husband kick him and after that his mood changef and easily gets angry and doesnt want to be cuddled anymore….many times my kids and I tried to play with him but he sometimes hesitant. I am really so sad and very lonely coz when I am alone at home….he is always go near with me wherever I go and we always play with his toys….I really want to hug him right now which I always do everyday.

  134. Hi. Your letter did help. I am in a situation to give my dog joshi away because i am going to the United States for my graduate studies. And my family is moving there as well. So we have to rehome our dog. It breaks my heart at the thought of rehoming him but we are trying to find an even better home for him. Like a family with dogs so that Joshi will have doggie friends to play with. I heard from someone that after giving your dog away, you shouldn’t visit your dog at his or her new home because then your dog will be reminded of you and will be sad. Is this true?

    1. Thank you for this article. We just had to re-home our one-year-old black lab/hound mix yesterday. He had been with us for 8 months. We got him about 5 months after we lost our 13-year-old beagle to cancer. I had a hard time sleeping last night because he slept in the bed with us and have been reading all these comments through my tears. I KNOW that it was the right decision, but the selfish part of me misses him sitting cuddled up next to me. I spent an hour at his new potential owners’ home yesterday watching him interact with the family and their other furbabies. Seeing how happy he was playing with his new sister running around the fenced back yard reassured me that it was the right thing to do. The new family works from home and often goes to their family farm on the weekends so he will always be free to run around which is all he really wants. Here my husband and I worked too much, and he would spend all day in the mudroom alone except for brief periods when my neighbor would take him out. We don’t have a fenced yard or another dog for him to play with. It just wasn’t fair to him. Our 7-year-old son had wanted a dog that would play with him, but once we got the Oreo, he felt overwhelmed by the dog’s energy. As I work through this pain, I have to keep reminding myself that this is an act of love for the dog who I know will be exceedingly happy in his new home.