How to Decide if You Should Give Your Dog Away

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

giving my dog away“There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people [and dogs] we can’t live without but have to let go.” ~ Unknown.

And that’s exactly how I feel: I can’t live without my dog, but I had to let her go. One of my regrets about giving my dog away is not learning more about dogs from books such as Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know.

The more you understand your dog, the better equipped you’ll be to make the seemingly impossible decision of whether you should give her away.




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

Should You Give Your Dog Away?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do what’s best for you and your family

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

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

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

rehoming a dog

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

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

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

Are you struggling to decide if you should give your dog away? Comments welcome below.

A reader suggested these articles, for people who are struggling with the decision to give a dog away:

I welcome your thoughts on how to decide if you should give your dog away. I know it’s not an easy decision to make, and I wish you all the best as you decide what to do.




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



Stay in touch - sign up for free weekly updates

Get Laurie's Blossom Newsletter

Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen on twitterLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on pinterestLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on linkedinLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on googleLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on facebook
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
Welcome - I'm glad you're here! I can't give advice, but you're welcome to share your experience below. I'm a writer in Vancouver; my degrees are in Psychology, Education, and Social Work. I live with my husband, two dogs, and cat. We are childless, & have made peace with it. It helps to love Jesus :-)

You may also like...

267 Responses

  1. Nancy says:

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

  2. Anon says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  4. Ambika says:

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

  5. Neva says:

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

  6. Lisa says:

    Hi there,

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

  7. Ashley C says:

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

  8. Kellie says:

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

  9. Lisa says:

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

  10. Alice Kho says:

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

  11. Danielle says:

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

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

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

  12. Fenny says:

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

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

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

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

  13. Laurie says:

    Dear Jennifer,

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

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

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  14. Jennifer says:

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

  15. Laurie says:

    Dear Tiffany,

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

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

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

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

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  16. Tiffany says:

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

  17. Laurie says:

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

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

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

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

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

    The study revealed several findings.

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

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

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

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

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

  18. Laurie says:

    Dear stop yer whining,

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

    In peace,
    Laurie

  19. Stop yer whining says:

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

  20. Laurie says:

    Dear Kayli,

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

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

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

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

    In peace and sympathy,
    Laurie

  21. Kayli says:

    Thank you for this article.

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

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

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

    Take care,
    Kayli

  22. Laurie says:

    Dear Naira,

    How are you doing? Did your parents make the decision to give your dog away?

  23. Naira Tarek says:

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

  24. Laurie says:

    Dear Shilene,

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

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

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

  25. Shilene says:

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

  26. Laurie says:

    Emily,

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

    Yay! :-)

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  27. Emily says:

    Hi Laurie,

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

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

    Hope things are well with you. :)

  28. Laurie says:

    Dear Joanne,

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  29. Joanne says:

    Hello Laurie,

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

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

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

  30. Laurie says:

    Dear Yuki,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What do you think of this?

    Stay true to you,
    Laurie

  31. Yuki says:

    Dear Laurie,

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

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

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

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

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

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

  32. Laurie says:

    Dear Emily,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Let me know how it goes.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  33. Emily says:

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

  34. Emily says:

    Hi Laurie,

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

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

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

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

  35. Laurie says:

    Dear Emily,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  36. Emily says:

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

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

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

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

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

  37. Emily says:

    Hi Laurie,

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

  38. Laurie says:

    Dear Amber,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  39. Amber says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

  40. Laurie says:

    Dear Ken,

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  41. Ken says:

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

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

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

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

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

    I have learned that he is only aggressive towards dogs in my neighborhood. I’m guessing it’s a territorial thing. I took him to a town 20 miles from here and walked the downtown area and dogs would be 15 feet from him and he would just look and smell, not bark and lunge. These are things that take time to see and learn about your dog.

    A good trainer is key. PetSmart was good training for my dog (I recommend it to anybody), but I felt Blackie and I needed something different in our training to get to where I wanted us to be. Some training requires a choke collar & some say that it’s cruel. My new trainer put a prong collar on my dog, much to his and my dismay (in the beginning), but in 5 minutes Blackie was used to it and he learned quickly. You would be surprised how little pressure I need to use to get a response out of my dog. I can walk with him now. To me it’s just like how some kids can learn in a certain environment and some can’t. Change up the tools and the trainer for the kids who couldn’t learn before and now they can. You need to find the right teacher and tools for you and your dog.

    Sorry to babble on here, but I hope this may help someone else. Or encourage them to write out their feelings if they are in a similar situation. As I said before it has helped me a ton. The furry S.O.B. is laying at my feet still. Unconditional love from a dog is amazing.

  42. Laurie says:

    Dear Rich,

    I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time taking care of your dog. You obviously love her very much! She’s a huge part of your life, and giving her away is painful and heartbreaking.

    Have you considered a dog walker or doggy day care? When I have to leave my dog alone for more than 6 hours, I have a dog walker come in and take her for a group romp. I’ve also tried doggy daycare, but find that Georgie isn’t as happy there.

    I also do everything I can to include Georgie on my socializing. I’ve left her in the car if I can’t take her into restaurants or friends’ homes, so at least she gets to be out and about. I’m learning which friends welcome her into their homes with both arms, and which are kind but stand-offish. I’m also inviting friends to do dog-friendly social activities, such as walking or hiking.

    Having given a dog away, I now think it’s better to make sacrifices and do everything you can to keep your dog. I’m not telling you that you should keep Sai — I’m saying that if I had to make the same choice, I wouldn’t have given Jazz away. The pain and guilt doesn’t go away — it actually gets worse as time goes by, because we tend to remember all the good things and forget the bad.

    I think it’s a good idea to give a dog away when there are safety issues with children, dog obedience or behavioral issues that are not resolvable, or other issues that can’t be worked out.

    The most important thing is that you make the decision that allows you to go to sleep at night in good conscience.

    I hope this helps – I know it’s such a difficult decision! Feel free to talk it through here.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  43. Rich says:

    Hey, im struggling with a decision to give away my dog and i have no clue what to do. Every time i think about it i break down into tears and can barely think. My dog Sai is 2 years old, ive had her since she was old enough to be away from her mother. When i got her i was living with someone and I had more time on my hands. In the past few months ive started living on my own and working more. I work 12 hour shifts and barely have time to take her for a short walk sleep eat and shower before its back to work. My days off i spend more time with her but i also spend time with friends leaving my dog alone for hours. I feel guilty about it but i also know id loose it if i didn’t socialize. I really dont know If i can continue with the guilty feeling i have every time i leave the house, but i also dont know if i could live that alone. Im stuck between a rock and a hard place and really just need an outside oppinion.

  44. Laurie says:

    What have you decided to do — did it help to write out your thoughts here? I don’t have any answers for you, but hope that something has happened to make the decision more clear for you….

  45. Gabby says:

    Hello Everyone,
    I have thought to give Lola away for the last 4 months, I still cannot decide what to do. Lola was the only left from a bunch of puppies in a shelter, no one wanted her because of her look and ways, she doesn’t really look like a breed in particular, she was the one on top of everyone, biting them, steeping on them and she definitely had a not submissive attitude, but it broke my heart seeing that every puppy was leaving except her. Then, I convinced my husband to adopt her. He was not happy about it, but since we didn’t have children, he agreed with me. I got pregnant in December last year, and I have been dealing with her with all sort of things she does; she destroys everything, from underwear to her own bed, she eats all sorts of bugs, she doesn’t listen and she tries every way to get what she wants. She is very, very smart, too smart for her own good, I try to follow a routine, and play with her twice a day, taking hikes, even now that I’m almost 6 months. I have to take care of everything at home, my husband works long hours and I am the only one dealing with everything. Lola is not helping the cause, she gives me a lot of work, and as much as I would like to wait for her to grow and give her that space I cannot see it possible with a baby coming. I have another dog, he is very sweet, he is my husband’s and he is 12 years, so he is trained and very submissive, Lola doesn’t stop busting his chops. My main concern is that, when she does things I get very frustrated, for a second I cannot breath, I get dizzy, I feel my heart bumping so rapidly that my chest hurts. This is unfair for both of us, there is no need for her to feel miserable in this house, I don’t want to go through a health problem and specially with a baby coming. I am so sad and confused.

  46. Kevin (& Laurie) says:

    We’re still trying to decide. What should we do with this dog (mutt?} We’ve spent oodles of $$ on him, & so many hours of research (mine-Laurie), and many, many hours steam-cleaning our carpets.
    Night before last- he woke me up by throwing up something beside the bed and then eating it. I was so tired I didn’t even care. Yesterday evening I had my book-club over, and he knocked a glass out of my friend’s hand, & then ate my cake. Mind you- all while on a gentle leader in my hand. His food obsession is extreme, but since he came to us so emaciated (to the point of death) I tend to give him a lot of lattitude. (He’s pulled a roasted chicken off the table and porkchops off a platter-not to mention the plates he’s knocked out of our hands and stuff he’s stolen out of our hands.)
    But the question is- can a dog like this be saved? Are there some dogs that just should be put down? The manners I’ve taught him are forgotten when food is the question.
    Our older lab has been very tolerant-with the food aggression etc, and he has the scars on his face to prove it. We are not new at this DOG-THING. But I try to take in every animal that shows up at our farm…cat dog, deer, turtle, bird…
    This dog, I can’t figure out. I’ve never seen anything like him-and as the grand-daughter of a game warden, I’ve seen my share of animals…But i have to tell you that i love him.
    I’m afraid he might bite others, but that’s only his scared/abused-self reacting.
    I’ve started hand-feeding him his food & only on signal allowing him to eat… trying to break his food-aggression and make him realize all his food comes from me.
    I home-cook all his feed- (getting away from his bowel-troubles and the dog-food industry) this week it’s Pork roast with rice, cottage cheese and broccoli. Every week is different. My family (husband and 2 teenage sons) are not as committed as I am, so when I’m busy with say my book-club, and I ask them to take care of the boys…and they just let them outside to run wild, I end up with explosive diarrhea on my bedroom carpet at 6:30 in the morning. An hour later, I was able to get in the shower to get ready for an 11 hour day at work. (and no- the dogs aren’t left alone that long (my sons get home at 3 and take care of them.)
    After I led the boys downstairs this morning, I started crying and i couldn’t stop. The dogs were worried. The Boys were too. I’d had enough.
    This is I guess an essay. Modern life… Mom takes care , and when Mom breaks down…?
    I’m done, i can’t clean up any more messes- Giardia is cured, food allergies are cured, obsessive humping-cured.
    He ate my half-grown baby chicks out from underneath my hen. He chewed the weather stripping off our garage door. He destroyed a Wii controller. He broke his crate.
    He ate my kids Easter baskets -shit tin foil for a week.
    When I’ve tried to tie him, he chewed the leash to get free- many, many times.
    Is this a dog who should be put down, or can he be re-adopted?
    We have the space for him…the energy…what is it we’re lacking? If we don’t have it- who would?

    It’s the whole food thing. Can a dog who was so starved…eating road-kill to survive, can he be rehabilitated?

    Brittany, bless you- you’ve tried so hard. Don’t feel guilt- you’ll adopt another dog when it’s the right time and the right dog.

  47. brittany says:

    Its an extremely hard decision to make and other peoples opinions are harder to cope with. I adopted a kelpie x german shep over a year age and have struggled with keeping up with her energy needs she destroys everuthing digs everywhere and barks all the time. We have everything in our power but I think I have to realise that this is just not the right home for her. I know its the right decision not only for me but for my dog. But how do you deal with the guilt? Its heartbreaking to think im giving up on her and I hate myself for it…

  48. Laurie says:

    Hi Ken,

    Thank you for your comments. It’s a very, very difficult decision that you’re facing! I really respect the fact that you feel like you made this commitment, and should stick to it.

    Have you thought about a dog walker to come in and take him for a walk in the middle of the day? When I have to be gone for more than 7 hours, my dog walker takes Georgie for a romp for 2-3 hours mid-day. This leaves Georgie tired when I get home, which relieves me of a long after-work walk.

    About your question about giving him away to this family, and then watching him while they’re on vacation. It may be best if you could stay at their place if you take care of him, so he learns where his “real” home is. I think that may help with all the transitions. I’m not a veterinarian or dog expert, though. It may be worthwhile to call a shelter or vet and ask what they think.

    Having a dog is a huge sacrifice, even when things are “perfect.” I love Georgie and would never give her away (like I did Jazz), but I almost daily get irritated with her. She wipes her bum on the carpet, costs me lots of money in medications and vet bills, and really restricts my activities. But, she gives me that unconditional love you mentioned! And I love having her in my life. I can’t imagine life without her, and I know someday I will have to.

    I hope you’re able to make a decision that you know in your heart is the right thing to do. Remember that the right decision isn’t always the easiest one. Sometimes it hurts more to do the right thing.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  49. Ken says:

    Thank you for this article.
    I have been hemming and hawing about giving away my dog that I have had since June 29th, 2012. I was his 3rd owner in his first 6 months of life.
    He was a nervous wreck when I got him. The poor guy didn’t know what was going on. Now, he is my shadow in the house.
    It’s just me and him. I am at out of the house 10-12 hours Monday thru Friday (sometimes Saturday) for work. He is a Hound/Husky mix who has a ton of energy. I would walk him a mile in the morning and more than that in the afternoon. Also visiting the dog park in the evening and he was still going.
    I have don’t have much patience to begin with. Put that on top of working construction all day, coming home tired and crabby, and having to go on a 2 mile walk as soon as you get home. If he doesn’t get his exercise he gets whiny and fidgety, which makes me more crabby.
    I have had him for over nine months and there are weeks I love him and weeks I can’t stand him. There are days I just don’t want to deal with the responsibility I have decided to put upon myself. I feel he would be better with an active family. But, I feel bad being gone for up to 12 hours or getting frustrated at him when I am tired and he needs to go on a walk or when he gets a little out of line. You know you blow things up when you are tired and crabby. I don’t beat him, but I have yelled and scared the crap out of him by doing so. Yet this guy is still my shadow in the house. It is true of the unconditional love a dog gives you.
    I have been trying to rationalize this in my head by saying that he would be better off with someone else than me, but the argument in my head keeps coming up with the conclusion that I am selfish and only thinking of myself. It was me who decided to take on this responsibility of owning a dog. It was me who kept saying I was going to make this work when I just wanted to let go of the leash when he was pissing me off. And now I feel like I am giving up on him. Why, because I want to go out after work and can’t? Because I don’t want the responsibility that I chose to take?
    I won’t take him to a shelter. So I have been asking friends and family if they know of a family that would want a energetic dog. I have found one family that are very interested in getting a dog. They came over to meet the dog and were very nice. They wanted to pick him up and take him to their house tomorrow for a few hours, but I said only if I could come with. I want this to be so much less stressful on him then the stress he had when I took him. I told them if they were in a hurry or if they had a problem if this process took about a month or so then this won’t work . I want them to come over a lot so he gets used to them so the transition is seamless. And if they decided they didn’t want him, they better bring him back to me. I don’t want him going to a shelter.
    After reading a few dog books, the one thing I can’t stress enough, and I wish I did when I got this dog, is research the breed or the breeds in the dog you are thinking about getting. Had I known what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have taken him.
    Sorry if this is incoherent or doesn’t make sense. I am having a hard time with this whole process and I am just scatter brained right now.
    One question I have is if this transition worked out and they took my dog, they asked me if I would watch him if they go out of town on vacation. Is that good for the dogs mental state to have an old owner watch it for a week or so?

  50. Laurie says:

    Dear Kevin,

    You have been through a lot with your dog! I was diagnosed with Giardia 4 days ago, and am currently taking the exact same antibiotics as your dog is.

    Have you had the dog for 3 months? Sometimes it takes a long time to get a dog adjusted to the routine. It took my current dog, Georgie, almost 2 years to really settle in with us. She finally doesn’t wreck things in the house when we leave her alone for a few hours.

    Having a dog is a sacrifice, and it’s possible that the worst sacrifices come at the beginning of the relationship. That is, it takes both dog and owner time to adjust to each other. If you’ve never had a dog before, it’ll take you time to figure out how to be a leader.

    Have you taken dog obedience courses? That may be a good first step. What do you think?

  51. Laurie says:

    Dear Jon,

    Have you tried obedience training? We hired a dog obedience trainer, and she came in to our home for 2 hours and gave us tips on how to handle the dog. It didn’t work with Jazz, but I think it’s a good idea to at least try that route before giving the dogs up. Your dogs are still puppies, and need to learn what is and is not theirs.

    What do you think?

  52. Laurie says:

    Hi Eileen,

    I’m glad to hear you got your dog back, and things are going great! Enjoy your new relationship with your dog :-)

    Laurie

  53. Kevin says:

    He’s a stray= first came to our house the first of December. He was totally emaciated, but he had a collar on, so I thought maybe someone was missing him and would get a Christmas present. After 2 months, when no one had claimed him, my family paid $100 to take him home.
    He was covered in his own excrement, still emaciated, and after his baths was humping our old lab. Next was his neutering. Stitches removed.. still having diarrhea, but no longer compulsively humping. Next tried improving his food, feeding him $6/lb food, still diarrhrea. I’m determined to end this cycle.
    I started cooking all his food-chicken/salmon, + rice + vegetables. I’ve tried everything. Every combination.
    His diarrhea wouldn’t quit so I looked into the causes of such rampant diarrhea, and found out it was Giardia. Metronidazole for 1 week cured that . So now, I’ve been through humping=neutering, diarrhea=home-made food, anti-biotics, still loving him, but my home-life is crumbling. He’s still food-agressive-biting,-not-house-trained. My life revolves around him. Help Me.

  54. Jon says:

    My family has two 6-months old Schnauzers, they love them and I have gotten quite attached to them, but they bite everything they can find. They ripped out the phone line, tore a whole in the hose in the yard, destroyed two bowls where we put their food, and tore some electrical cables from my truck (quite pricey I might add). We have tried to fix and replace these objects but they just keep trying to go at them as if they were toys, which they have – tons of them. We have tried to teach them not to keep destroying our possessions but it hasn’t worked. My question is, should we keep trying or just give up and get rid of them?

  55. eileen says:

    Laurie,

    I’ve written to you back in June of last year with my situation about giving my dog up. He was with my friends for a few months and I’m so happy to tell you I have him back. I’ve had him back for awhile and I’m so happy and everything is going great.

  56. Laurie says:

    Dear Terri,

    I’m sorry for what you’re going through. It sounds so frustrating and heartbreaking, that you’ve tried everything to stop your dog from guarding you so fiercely. It’s a terrible stress for you, your marriage, and even your friendships.

    I don’t have any easy solutions. I’m not a dog trainer, so I can’t offer tips.

    You have to protect your grandchildren – I think that’s more important than keeping your dog. If anything happened to them, you would never be able to forgive yourself – and your kids wouldn’t either. So, you need to prioritize your human family above your dog family.

    You need to decide if you want to keep your dog and organize your life in a way that protects her from other people. Unfortunately, that means she’ll never come into contact with others, which may escalate her behaviour when she eventually does interact with humans.

    For your grandchildren’s visit — maybe they need to stay somewhere else?

    Or, perhaps your dog could stay with your friend (the one who might take her), and you could test that out while your grandchildren are visiting?

    What do you think of these two options?

  57. terri says:

    we rescued an abuse maltese 2 years ago and she resource guards me, meaning when some people come near me or in same room she attacks, including my husband. Once she attacks she is all love on that person. We’ve tried everything to break this, even hired a trainer, nothing has worked. the fear of her attacking our young grandkids is forcing me to find her another home, but it’s killing me & hubby is not happy about getting “rid” of her. I might have a friend interested but wary of giving her to someone I know (even though it will be good home). People say Im giving up on her, bad dog owners, etc. Im so torn I cannot sleep. My grkids are coming in June and Im scared. I dont know what to do. I love her so much, but we cant help her. Its getting worse. please help me.

  58. Laurie says:

    Dear Amy,

    It sounds like the methods you’ve tried to teach your dog to go to the bathroom outside have not worked. Is it possible for you to learn and try different ways to toilet train your dog? She is still just a puppy, and needs to be taught where to pee and poo. It is a time commitment on your part, but once you teach her, she’ll remember!

    The hardest stage of owning a dog is often when you first get him – especially if you get a puppy! They take alot of time and energy. But, in the long run, they are totally worth it.

    Can I give you some links for puppy training blogs and forums? Do you think that would help? Let me know.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  59. Laurie says:

    Dear Shaun,

    You’re experiencing the pain of giving your dog away — you’re going through the normal, healthy grief response! I know it’s not much of a comfort to be told you’re grieving, but…you need to give yourself time to deal with your loss.

    You made a huge sacrifice to give your dog a better life, and you’re paying the horrible price.

    Even though you know you made the right decision, and you know your dog will be well taken care of, you want him back. I felt the same way. Even three years later, I still feel sad about giving Jazz away.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. It WILL get easier, my friend. You may never be totally “over” giving your dog away, but you will move on and be happy again. And maybe you’ll get another dog one day, and that dog will help to fill the gap. My dog Georgie is not a replacement for Jazz, but I am so glad she’s in my life. Some day, you will share your life with a dog again, and you’ll remember Boo Boo with love and a little sadness. But you will know you did the right thing, and you will know his life is better because of the sacrifice you made.

    I hope this helps.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  60. Amy says:

    I have a 9 month old yorkie that will not learn how to go to the bathroom outside. My parents got her for me as a present but my mom takes care of her all the time since I’m at school. She’s getting really sick of taking care of her all the time so I feel like giving her away is the best option. I am afraid she will be depressed & miss me since whenever I’m home she’s always by my side. I don’t know what to do

  61. nicky says:

    hi laurie
    this sunday we gave our dog back to his original owner , (she had relationship difficulties so we took him off her hands 6 months ago) im sooo gutted i feel so sad yet really angry , he was a perfect first dog for our lil family of 4 .. i was always under the impression that he was my husbands dog , then the kids and i just looked after him when i wasnt working , to be honest i found it hard to bond with him at first due to the fact that i am really allergic to him ,( i was taking antibiotics for the whole 6 months ) i fed him , walked him , played with him a little but couldnt really have to much contact =( but i did enjoy it … my house feels sooooo empty now , i didnt realise that the routine i was in, i loved , even down to clearing the muck in the garden , i feel lost , every time i walk past where his cage was i cry , i actually feel really empty too … i do feel guilty as well , he did nothing wrong , he was perfect , i grew up with dogs and im finding it very difficult to deal with that its me who is allergic him… its been 2/3 days now and im still so sad … i know there is light at the end of the tunnel and ill get over it & i actually feel a bit better having read through what ive written , i have plenty of videos and photos , i just miss him <3 i never would have thought that i could have felt this heartache over such a small amount of time … thank you nicky

  62. Shaun Dail says:

    Hi Laurie.

    I just gave my dog away today to a gentleman whom I know will be awesome for my little Maltese I had. The name of the dog I had is Boo Boo. He is awesome and so so loving and loves to cuddle. I have been a mess all day and cannot stop crying. I took him in a couple of weeks ago from a family who did not have the time for him. His teeth need cleaning so terribly bad and could not afford it due to trying to get back on my feet. He also needed other things as well. I know I should not have taken him due to financial reasons and I’m also very lonely and I know this is the reason why I took him in. I cannot stop crying because I so miss him snuggling and miss him in general. The person I gave him to is retired and lost his wife in 2009 and recently lost his dog after 15 years. I know he has the financial means to look after him. I just feel so lonely and guilty. I want him back but for selfish reasons I know. Please help! Shaun

  63. Laurie says:

    Dear Coca,

    I thought that’s what you meant – that giving your dog to someone you know would be more painful for you because you’d see him and be sad. I don’t know what’s worse. I’d rather see Jazz, and know she’s being loved and taken care of! I hate not knowing where she is or who’s taking care of her. I pray she is happy and safe.

    You did the right thing, Coca. It feels awful and heartbreaking and horrible, but your dog will be taken care of. He’s got a pack to be part of! Dogs LOVE to be part of a pack — they hate being by themselves. You have given your dog a big gift — a better life.

    But that doesn’t make it easier to cope with the loneliness and guilt. I still feel sad and guilty when I think about Jazz, and I have to remind myself over and over that I did the right thing.

    You made the right decision, Coca. Now you’re mourning, but eventually you will be happy again. Plus, you get to see your dog and know that he’s happy, too! Dogs are super resilient; he’ll adjust to his new home and pack in no time.

    Come back anytime and let me know how you’re doing.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  64. Coca says:

    Thank you so much for your reply.
    I think giving him to someone I know is a bad idea because I would see him & want him back & it’d be harder for me.
    Last night I gave him back to my friends grandparents, they have his mother along with 2 other family dogs so she said he was running all over happy.
    Me however, I cried all night long. I can still hear him whining when he hears me walk in & its really hard. I have moments where I’m fine then I’m a complete wreck but I know it was best for him.

  65. Laurie says:

    Dear Coca,

    I totally understand falling in love with a dog, only to later realize that you aren’t equipped to take care of him! Dogs take a lot of work, responsibility, and energy — not to mention money. They need a yard and fresh air. They need to run and wrestle and play with other puppies! Being hidden away in an apartment isn’t a good life.

    I think you know what you need to do. You have to make the best decision for your puppy, to ensure he has the best life possible. If you can’t sacrifice your time, energy, and money to take care of him, then you have to sacrifice your love. That is, if you can’t give him the life he deserves then you need to give him to someone who can.

    Why do you think it would be a bad idea to give him to someone close to you?

  66. Coca says:

    Laurie,
    Hi, I’m 21 years old & live in my own apartment. This is my dillema, the apartments I live in have a $300 pet deposit & its $25 extra a month. Since Dec. 2012 I have been hiding my puppy. I worked with a girl whose grandmother just had puppies, I fell in love with the only boy & got him. Since then I have fallen completely in love but now regret it. I honestly don’t have the money for him. I was in luck getting him around Christmas so used my gift cards for pee pads & food. He has gotten just a tiny bit bigger but since he can’t go to the bathroom outside my apartment smells disgusting. I want to take him outside to “potty” & take him for walks but I don’t want him to get sick.
    Basically, I can’t afford the extra charges ($300) to rent & I can’t afford his shots. I feel so bad for even getting him but I thought I could work it out. I am so depressed lately, I don’t want to give him away but know that I can’t give him the life he deserves.
    I wanted to give him to someone close to me so I could see him but I wonder if that would be a bad idea.
    I just need an outsiders opinion.
    Thank you.

  67. Laurie says:

    Dear Tina,

    I think giving your dog to a family member who knows her would be better than risking the possibility that someone else won’t take her! It might be especially beneficial for her to be with another dog, because that may help her get more exercise.

    About her weight – have you looked at how much you’re feeding her at mealtimes? My vet told me that dogs only need a very small amount of food, and are almost never at a danger of being underfed! We feed our dog a handful of kibble twice a day, plus a few treats, and her weight is good. What and how much dogs eat may be more important than how much exercise they get, in terms of weight gain.

    Anyway, if you have to give her away, I think it’s probably better to keep her in the family!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  68. Joanna says:

    Thank you for this post. We were in your shoes with a Golden Retreiver puppy and committed to do the work, believing it would only be a couple of years before he matured and calmed down. We had him 9 years and he never out grew the puppy stage. And since then we added a baby to the mix. We tried so hard to make everything work but when my son became a toddler (now 3) Bear, our dog, considered him a play mate. A 30lb toddler and an 85 Retreiver aren’t really a fair match. Bear was constantly grabbing toys from my son causing him anxiety. I’d have to keep the separated which is torture for a golden. Finally, a couple of weeks ago we were all outside and Bear mouthed my son’s hand trying to get a toy. He didn’t hurt him but we just couldn’t take the risk. Bear is not malicious, he is just big and full of energy–a Retriever! Friday we returned him to the Rescue so they could find a more fitting home with older boys and other dogs to wear him out. I’ve sobbed for 4 day. Thank you for this post. It’s not an easy decision. And yes, I feel horribly guilty about it but it just isn’t fair to keep him in the backyard either. He needs lots of attention that we just couldn’t give him. :(

  69. Tina says:

    Hi Laurie, I have a really complicated situation right now :/
    My dad really wants to just give away my 7 nearly 8 year old golden retriever. Our house right now is okay for her but we will be moving in a few months and the back yard will not be able to accomodate her needs. However, we are possibly able to get her to stay with other family members. However, the problem with our dog is that she is quite obviously over weight. I have tried taking her out for walks but she doesn’t cooperate, she tries to run away and after she gets tired, she lies down and she will not get up. She literally grips the ground and makes you drag her, which is kind of impossible. I love her to death because I’ve had her ever since she was a few months old but I don’t know, would an “old” dog like her that is overweight be able to find a home easily? Or would sending her to another family member be a better option? Because if so, I would try to look around to see if my brother-in-law is going to get a decent house because he has a dog too.

  70. Laurie says:

    Dear Ashley,

    It sounds like you and your husband are too busy to commit to raising a puppy! Puppies are adorable and fun, but they are also a TON of work…as you’ve learned.

    If you can’t give Ralphie the home he needs and deserves, then you need to let him go. Dogs need to be with people – they are pack animals. Leaving them alone all day isn’t good for them or you – or your neighbours.

    Do you have any options for re-homing Ralphie? Finding a good, loving, caring home for a dog you have to give away will help you cope with some of the guilty feelings. It’s awful, but sometimes giving your dog away is the best possible choice. And, the SPCA told me to do it sooner rather than later, for the dog’s sake.

    Where will Ralphie go?

  71. Ashley SImmons says:

    Me and my husband just recently got a 2 month old shih tzu named ralphie… We thought it would be a lot of fun and neither of us have had a pet before. But we didn’t understand how much responsibility it would be, he keeps us up every night whining and wanting to play, and we are exhausted! I am always worried about whether he has to go to the bathroom and what he needs because he is always whining. I don’t work until 3 but both me and my husband are going to school and work full time, next semester I will start classes at seven am and get home around eight pm. When we put him in his kennel he freaks out and yelps and bangs on the cage. We live in an apartment complex so this is not good for our neighbors. He hates being left in his kennel. We have only had him for a few days but we have not enjoyed it. We love our puppy so much and I have been an emotional wreck at the thought of giving him up… but I am also an emotional wreck at the thought of keeping him. I just don’t feel like we could give him the best home especially when we have to keep him cooped up in the kennel all day. To also just be honest, I really miss the way it used to be with my husband when it was just me and him, when we try to have a moment to ourselves our puppy starts whining and it really drives us crazy. I feel so guilty… can you offer some comfort?

    – Ashley

  72. Laurie says:

    Dear Hector,

    I am so sorry your dad is forcing you to make a choice like this. It is not fair!!

    What will you do? I want to tell you to keep your dog, and tell your father that you cannot choose between the two of them. It is not that you love your dog more, it is that they are both very special and meaningful to them. I want to tell you to put your dog above your dad….but I know that is easier said than done.

    Whatever you decide, you will survive. You are a strong person – and your dog will survive, too! She will survive whatever happens next, because she has experienced your love and compassion. She will be able to forge a connection with someone new. She knows what it means to be part of a pack, and will adapt….because that is what animals do.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  73. Laurie says:

    Dear Nicole,

    I am in Peru, and not keeping up with my comments as much as I can normally! And every time I see a dog, I remember how much I love my dog Georgie, and how hard it was to give Jazz away. Our dogs sure steal our hearts.

    Regarding your husband and your dog…I think the dog is not the issue. I think there is something else going on with your husband that is triggering his extreme reactions to the dog. The dog is not the problem, but I do not think your husband will be able to see this. I do not know if it is a control issue, or if your husband is being triggered by memories from his childhood – when we are triggered, we often do not even know what the exact memories are. All we feel is the response, the reaction.

    You cannot change your husband, but perhaps he is willing to consider looking deeper into his reactions about the dog? That would be so great, because I believe that giving your dog away will not be the end of this problem. I believe this will come back in different ways, perhaps when you have kids or experience other stresses as a couple.

    Or, you can just give away the dog. But I do not think this is a good way to solve this problem. When my husband and I gave away Jazz, we cried on each others shoulders. I do not mean to say your husband should have the same reaction…but this experience should bring you closer together as a couple somehow, should help you know each other better.

    What do you think?

    I wish you all the best as you work through this. My thoughts and prayers are with you – all the way from Peru!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  74. Hector says:

    I’m struggling with the decision to give up my dog for adoption. I’ve had my dog for almost three years, and I have never had an issue with her. Getting her from the shelter was one of the best decisions I have made in my life, and I thank God for this wonderful experience. Since she was abused (or I thought she was), it took her quite some time to warm up to me. I love my dog. I might not be the best owner, but I love her. When I lost someone I loved very much, my dog helped me cope through the pain and agony that I was feeling. I had to push myself to take her out to relieve herself, feed her, and even to take her to the park. While I was mourning my loss, so many nights she would get on the bed and kept me company. Now, before I got her, I was the type of person that thought that dog owners were odd for giving so much importance to their canine companions. I understand now.
    I currently live with my father to help him financially, and there had never been a problem with my dog, until a guy set his dog loose, got in our property, and attacked my dog. My father had to separate the dogs. Since then, he’s telling me to get rid of my dog. Now my father has not always been kind to me, but I love him. He’s the only parent I have, and I have to take care of him. Today he gave me an ultimatum: him or my dog. I don’t want to give up my dog. Unlike my father, my dog has never belittled me. I’ve barely had a dad growing up. I know God tells us to love our parents, and I do. I really don’t know what to do. If I give her up, I don’t know how I will cope with the sorrow.

  75. Nicole says:

    Dear Laurie,

    I am currently wrestling with what to do about my 9 month old mastiff mix Apollo. My husband is in the Army and we recently moved 4300 miles away from my family and friends to our first duty station in Alaska. We are newlyweds and the first couple of months up here were awful for me. I was depressed and lonely. We adopted a cat, and while she was sweet and low-key, she did not provide the companionship and affection that I craved. I started a job in which I worked with dogs all day and it made me want a dog of my own so badly. I found a dog that I wanted to check out at the shelter, and my husband surprised me by bringing him home. We quickly discovered that he has extreme separation anxiety (would physically hurt himself if ever put in a kennel, even if we were home with him). We recently started letting him roam the house and the destruction is now minimized.

    The main issue is my husband. He HATES the dog. The destruction that I view as minor (from work and my experience of owning a dog growing up) is monstrous and awful to him. He’ll yell at the dog and punish him when he gets home before me. I’ve tried to tell him that punishing the dog hours later doesn’t teach him anything and that it’s just mean, but he doesn’t care. If there’s a couple of good days in a row he decides that he loves the dog, but the second something gets chewed on or destroyed he hates him again. We’ve been fighting constantly and it is a huge strain on our new marriage. He says that he doesn’t even want to come home and see the destruction. While I don’t say it, I think he’s being immature and over dramatic.

    It’s become pretty clear that the anger and the fighting is going to continue as long as we have the dog. I get mad at him for yelling at the dog (bopping him on the nose, locking him in the yard when he wants to come in) and he gets mad at me for defending him and not getting upset over the things he does. I’m afraid that rehoming him will make his anxiety worse, but I’m also afraid that the way that my husband scares him is also making his anxiety worse.

    I was raised that when you adopt a dog it’s for forever, and I already hate myself for considering giving him up, but I’m so tired of the fighting and the crying. My husband is so happy when the dog isn’t around and seemed so relieved when I said that I would consider rehoming him.

    I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid that I’ll become depressed and lonely again if he leaves. Him and my husband are my only real friends up here.

    Any advice?

  76. Rita says:

    While you have to consider what’s best for you and your family, you have to also consider what’s best for the dog. If you don’t have a rescue group, someone you know, or a foster parent to give the dog back to, are you going to give your pet away to the pound, where it will more than likely be euthanized before its time? If you don’t have someone you can safely give the dog to without worrying it will meet an untimely end, I suggest you keep looking before you decide to give away your dog.

  77. Laurie says:

    Dear Shanna,

    Thank you for sharing your experience — I know how hard it is! But it sounds like you did the right thing.

    Your daughter is going through so much pain, it’s awful. All you can do is hold her while she cries, and keep reminding her that your beloved Shorkie had to find a new home for all the reasons you listed. She may never really accept it, and will always have pain in her heart because of it….I know I still feel terrible about giving our dog away, and I’m the adult who had the power to make the decision! Eventually the pain fades, but I don’t think it’ll ever really disappear.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  78. Laurie says:

    Dear Susanne,

    I think it’s important not to let people guilt you into feeling bad about any decision you make in life. A few readers have commented here that I did the worst thing ever, that giving a dog away makes me the most horrendous person! They’re allowed to have their opinion – I’m always glad to hear from people. But, I had to do what felt right to me. It was awful and I feel guilty, but not because of what people say or think of me.

    It’s hard not to care what people think, that’s for sure. I care what people think…but I have to live my own life and make my own decisions.

    You have to do what you have to do, and not let people take power over you. Take your power back by letting people think and say what they want, and reminding yourself that you did the best thing for you and your family.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  79. Shanna says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Today we gave our beloved Shorkie away. It has been the most heart wrenching thing to watch our 11year old daughter cry all day and demand he come back. The decision has been along time coming and one we had put off for months. But with our daughters allergies, our older dog (who has never been aggressive) becoming aggressive towards our Shorkie, and potential relocation in the near future we felt we just did not have a choice. We had to make the best decision for our little guy. I do not even know how to beginning to comfort our daughter. Reading the various post about all the difficult decisions others have had to make, give me comfort in knowing we are not alone. I know we made the best decision we could. I just wish it didn’t hurt so much.

  80. Susanne C says:

    Our neighbours bought a Beagle pup when he was about 6weeks old and had him for 10 months – they offered to give him to us when they were moving, but then ended up placing him in the local Animal Shelter – we adopted him 2 weeks later after he was neutered and microchipped – he has been with our family now for about 4 months, however we don’t feel he is happy :-( We do not have a fenced in backyard, so we have to put him on a lead out back – we also have a 10 yr old cat that is NOT happy he is here. Although our 3 yr old gets along with him fine, he tries to “dominate” our 6 yr old and our 12 yr old is just too lazy to walk him, so mom is doing all the work with him and I just don’t have to time. He is due for his most recent check up at our vets – they told me $133.00+tax but I haven’t taken him yet because we just weren’t sure we were gonna keep him :-( He is just over a year and I just don’t feel like he is “banding” to our family. We have him house trained, but since we baby gated the upstairs and the basement off, he has snuck down to the basement more than once (kids keep forgetting and leaving that gate open) and stealing stuffed animals, clothing and stuff and chewing it up or just takes it in his cage OR pees on stuff in the basement! It’s not an every day thing, just a once in awhile. We will go a few days with him being on his best behaviour, but then (usually after we spend extra time withhim) he acts up! I have some telling me to “wait it out” and “it’s only been 4 months!” and “you wouldn’t give your kids away!” – I owned a shepherd/samoyed for 10 yrs before we had our 3 girls and he was the BEST dog EVER!!! I was totally in love with him! But this fellow we have now, he gives me this “look” and I cannot get past the fact that he trie to be the dominate one. If we didn’t have so many “owners” trying to “teach him” MAYBE this would work? I am just NOT very happy about his behaviour to our 6 yr old AND the indignant look he gives me instead of a look of love and devoution – I just don’t want ANY of this GUILT that others are making me feel about all this :-(

  81. Laurie says:

    Dear Maria,

    I know how you and your daughter feel – even though you did the best thing for your dog and your family, the feelings of guilt and pain are still so strong! There doesn’t seem to be anything to erase that pain, other than to keep reminding yourself that you made the best decision you could. Giving a dog away is a very difficult thing to do, but you did it out of love, compassion, and necessity.

    We gave our dog away 2.5 years ago, and I still feel bad about it. It sucks. My husband believes we did the right thing, but sometimes I wonder if we should’ve tried harder.

    But what’s done is done. You can’t go back. You have to keep telling yourself that your dog is in a better home, and you made the decision to make everyone’s life more peaceful and happy.

    I’m afraid your daughter is feeling the natural consequences of giving a dog away. I know it’s heartbreaking to see her in such pain, but you can’t take it away from her. This is one of those horrible life moments that we just have to experience. She’ll never forget it – and either will you – but hopefully you both can somehow use this experience to make your lives and the world a better place.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  82. Maria says:

    Hi Laurie,

    In May 2012, my daughter and I fell in love with a pup we saw at a street fair. We already have a 5 year old German Shepherd & 4 cats, but this dog stole our hearts. I debated the entire day getting this dog. My husband was against it. When we came home, sad, without the dog, my husband said “go get him”. Against what I knew what my better judgement, I went.

    We crate trained him and taught him basic commands. He loved shoes, toys (the kids toys) and anything else he could chew. We pup-proofed the house. We have a yard, so house breaking was made fairly simple. BUT – he was a digger. He dug up our yard. When he wasn’t digging, he was playing with our German Shepherd. Not a bad thing, but, they killed all the grass in the yard. We were left with dirt. When it rained, there was just mud. There is constant dirt/dust throughout my house and there’s no way to keep up with it. It became a battleground between my husband and me because the mess in the house became something we could not keep on top of.

    This went on for a few months. The solution ended up being finding a new home. I love the couple that took him. They are dog people and seemed perfect for our dog. He took to them right away. My 12 year old daughter is devastated. I told her well in advance what was happening. She met the people and was able to say goodbye to the dog on Saturday. Now, she just stands and cries and tells me she wants him back.

    I tell her that I made a mistake, I never should have gotten the dog. I put it all on me. Nothing on her, nothing that she can do. But, it breaks my heart. I feel very good about the people we gave him to. My daughter even helped me write a letter of the dogs likes/dislikes. I told them that they have an unconditional return policy. If for any reason, ever, they feel that they cannot take care of him, they should call me. Not sure what else I can do. I am feeling so guilty and helpless.

  83. Laurie says:

    Dear Katie,

    You made the right decision for yourself and your family. Giving a puppy back to the rescue group is so difficult and sad, but you made the decision based on the best thing for everyone. It sounds like the puppy needs alot of attention and care, to help it become less aggressive and protective (if it’s even possible to train her out of it).

    She will find the right home. You have to trust that she will find owners who will love her, and be able to discipline her and teach her how to be a good dog. You also have to trust yourself, that you made the right decision — even though it feels terrible. Sometimes the “best” decisions are the ones that make us feel the worst.

    I hope you’re doing better, and that you find ways to trust that your puppy will find the home she’s meant to be in, with the people she’s meant to be with.

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  84. Laurie says:

    Hi Chris,

    Having a dog is a huge sacrifice — even the most obedient, well-behaved dogs need to be looked after when you leave for the weekend or day! We’re going to Peru for two weeks next month, and my biggest worry is my dog. Our dog walker will be staying at our place and looking after her, but I’m still concerned about how my dog will be while we’re gone.

    If I was in your situation, here’s what I’d be thinking about:

    1) It takes dogs time to adjust to being in a new home, especially if they’re not used to kids and lots of activity. Some dogs take longer to adjust than others. You need to give the dog time to settle into his new environment — this is a big deal for him. Dogs feel fear, confusion, etc. We can’t expect them to just adapt to their new home overnight.

    2) Puppies are alot of work! My neighbor got a 6 week old puppy whose mom was killed, and it’s been very difficult for them. House training, walking on a leash, chewing, getting the puppy used to a routine…it’s like having a baby.

    3) It takes people time to adjust to having a dog! Because a dog is a significant sacrifice of time, energy, and money, it can be difficult to get used to. When you adopt a dog, you need to give your family time to rally.

    4) This is a huge life lesson for your kids. If something is difficult or requires sacrifice, do you just give it away? If a relationship or commitment is bigger or harder than you expected, do you give up after a week?

    A dog can be one of the best experiences a family can have — if the family is willing to try to include him in the activities and adventures, or take care of him when he can’t be included.

    When the dog can’t go, then maybe a dog walker can break up his 10 hour day of waiting. That’s what we do when we have to be gone for more than 6 hours; our dog walker takes Georgie for a romp with the other dogs.

    Another thing to remember is that kennels can feel safe and protective to puppies, if they’re trained early. We don’t kennel our dog because we got her when she was over a year old, and hadn’t been kennel trained. But some dogs love and feel safe in their kennels — but not for 10 hours!

    Those are my thoughts. Deciding if you should give your dog away is difficult — and the tricky thing is that you want to keep the dog long enough to give it a real chance to assimilate into your home, but short enough so it doesn’t get too attached to you and your family.

    I know lots of busy, active families who have dogs. It’s an adjustment, but once the routine is established, things do get easier. It takes more than a month for a habit or routine to become rooted in your life…are you willing to invest another month in your puppy?

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  85. Katie says:

    This article has helped me with the very difficult decision I have made about giving our puppy back to the rescue group we got her from. I have been crying and not sleeping now for 3 days because I feel so guilty about giving her back, but she has shown aggression toward me and my husband and I just can’t have an aggressive dog around my young children. She is not even three months old yet but has tried to attack me when I got close to her as she was eating something outside. I had to get a broom and hold her down with it while my son got a leash. She is a great pup other than that. She follows me around and knows sit and come already. We have only had her for a little over a week and part of me is wondering if I am making he right decision because we haven’t given her enough time. My kids are scared of her because she bites (just puppy bites, but she is a large puppy so it hurts) and no matter how we try to train her not to bite she still does. When I get stern and tell her no she snarls and lunges at me. My best friend who is a vet tech told me that puppies her age should not have that kind of behavior and I am doing the right thing. But I feel so horrible! She is just a baby and I know she thinks I am her mama already. What if I give her back and her new family abuses her because of her behavior? I am so distraught.

  86. Chris says:

    Hi Laurie,

    My wife and I have a 13 year old boy and a 7 year old girl. The kids and I have been trying to convince my wife to get a dog for about 3 years.
    She finally gave in and now we have a 3 month old miniature labradoodle. We have it a week and are wondering if we made the right decision. We cannot leave the dog (Kona) on his own for a second; he is very active and wants to chew on everything. Also, my daughter got an unintentional bite from the dog and now she fears it and wants nothing to do with it. We are trying to coach them both to get along but I think the Kona smells my daughter’s fear. Our family is very active with soccer, skiing, going on trips, etc. (mostly a dog free environment). My son likes the dog very much and he realizes that he will have to pick up his sister’s portion of the responsibility (at least for now), but he also has other interests that take him away from the dog. It seems like the dog was a very short lived novelty and now it’s a chore. I would have thought that both kids would be head over heels for it and play, train and spend way more time with it, but I guess I was wrong. Ironically my wife looks to be the most upset about giving the dog up. However she thinks it’s probably the best for both the dog and the family dynamic. People tell us that the dog can be in a kennel while we are away, however we don’t like the idea of having a dog locked up in a cage for up to 10 hours while we ski, work, go out, etc. I’m thinking we need to find the dog a home that has more time for it. Thoughts?

    Chris

  87. Laurie says:

    Dear Ashley,

    I think it’s a good idea to take your dog to the veterinarian. They’re used to dogs that could bite them – but it’s probably good to give the vet and the vet techs warning that your dog may be aggressive or feel defensive.

    Have you talked to any dog walkers? We have a dog walker who takes Georgie for a romp when I have to be gone all day. It helps (but Georgie isn’t aggressive – that makes a big difference).

    I wish you all the best as you decide if you should give your dog away. It is such a difficult decision, especially when your dog has bitten someone.

    Your first step may be to take her to the vet, and see if there’s something health-related or physical going on. Sometimes physical issues or pain makes dogs irritable, and affects how they behave.

    Take care – let us know how things go!

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  88. Ashley says:

    Im thankful to have found this site and all these comments. I’ve had my black lab/German Shepard mix for almost 5 years. She’s always been a little skiddish and awkward but also loving. Recently I’ve had some problems with her becoming very over protective of me which has resulted in her biting two people. I’m at a loss for why this is happening and can’t seem to fix the problem.

    I had gotten her in college and she was always around a lot of different people and loved whenever someone would come over. She loved the attention. About a year as a half later I had to move her to my moms because I couldn’t keep her in the house I was living in. I feel like I messed her up by doing that because that’s when the issues started.

    The first time she bit someone was when a plumber came over without anyone home. She barked at him and ran upstairs to hide. He followed her to try to get her outside and she bit his hand. Since then it’s happened with a roommate that she can’t seem to warm up to.

    I’ve tried training classes but am afraid this is a huge issue. I have to take her to the vet and am afraid that she wil feel threatened and bite the vet.

    I’ve been thinking about what would happen if I gave her away, but I don’t even think a shelter or anyone would taken her because she’s bitten someone. I’m going to try behavioral training, but constantly think about the option of giving her up. I work full time with a commute and I’m not around enough.

    Whatever I choose to do I’m glad I read these comments and know I’m not alone.

    Thanks.

  89. Laurie says:

    Dear Brittany,

    Your story will help other people who don’t know how to make this difficult decision. I believe you did the right thing by giving your dog away, and hope you will be able to remember her without feeling guilty or bad about it.

    It’s hard. My heart goes out to you, and I wish all the best for your dog. It’s possible that someone will adopt her, because some people feel called to take care of dogs with high needs.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  90. Brittany says:

    I took my dog back to the Humane Society this morning. To say that I feel bad and guilty and terrible would be an understatement. I adopted her a little more than a year ago when she was a puppy.

    She was neurotically shy and downright unfriendly toward people at times. She was very afraid of males. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 11 months, and she still barked at him aggressively every time she saw him. She also barked at his 13-year-old son and his son’s young friends. I don’t blame him for not wanting her around children, especially his. We also couldn’t keep her in his back yard because he has the kind of fence that has iron bars (instead of wood) and she would sneak underneath and run away and wouldn’t come back when I called her. (She came back eventually, when she was ready.)

    She also pulled very hard on the leash whenever I walked her – so hard, that I fell a couple of times. She could be very difficult. When I took her to the vet in October for her annual shots and checkup, the doctor saw her problem (without my having to say a word about it) and recommended that we put her on Prozac. I tried that for a month and it seemed to help her, but I couldn’t afford to keep paying $70 a month for Prozac, plus the additional doctor visits that treatment entailed (on top of heartworm/flea prevention every month and all her shots, etc.).

    I tried, everybody. I tried so hard to make it work. On week days, I came home every day at lunch (from work) to walk her. Every morning I drove her to the dog park so she could run and get some exercise. I took her on five walks a day (I live in an apartment). I loved her, in my own way, and she loved me in hers.

    Recently several people have made comments that she had “gotten better.” Unfortunately, not better enough.

    I tried to find her another home myself. I posted signs, put an ad on Craigslist, talked to everybody I knew. But to no avail. To be honest, no one really liked her, especially anyone who happened to be male.

    In the end, it came down to a choice between a human (my boyfriend) and a dog. My boyfriend and I are planning to get an apartment together but he couldn’t see living with her and having her bark at him every time he came in. I chose the human over my canine companion.

    The saddest part? Knowing how anti-social she can be, it is unlikely someone else will adopt her. Although she is very pretty. But people don’t want a neurotic, difficult dog. People want normal, good dogs. Life is difficult enough on its own. People want easy. She is not easy.

    It’s an ugly issue that no one wants to talk about. There is no clear-cut answer. There is no black or white; there is only murky gray ambiguity and the harsh reality of choice and circumstance.

    Thanks to everyone who has posted their stories and to Laurie for providing this forum. I don’t feel so alone knowing others have had to make this difficult and painful decision, too. Thank you and God bless. Take care.

  91. Laurie says:

    Thanks for your comment, Brittany. I’m sorry you had to make this decision, and I wish you all the best tomorrow.

    Giving your dog away is awful and painful, but sometimes it’s the best decision we could make – for ourselves AND for our dogs. :-(

  92. Brittany says:

    Laurie, thanks so much for your posting/article. It’s a tough subject to talk about and no one seems willing to tell the truth, as you did. I am taking my dog back to the Humane Society tomorrow. It is the most painful decision I have ever made. At least it’s a no-kill shelter and they have a lot of successful adoptions, so I tell myself someone else will adopt her and give her a good home.

  93. Laurie says:

    Thank you for sharing your stories of giving your dog away. I know how hard it is – it’ll be painful for a long time. But you made the best decision you could, which will be better for your dog in the long run.

    My neighbour got a dog a couple weeks ago, and regrets it. The dog is just a puppy, 9 weeks old, and is totally different from their last dog. That makes it difficult for my neighbour to adjust, and she mentioned taking the dog back to the spca. I told her about my experience with giving Jazz away, but didn’t tell her to keep the dog (which is what I sometimes wish I would’ve done).

    Anyway, my heart goes out to everyone in this situation. It’s a tough decision to make.

    Laurie

  94. Kaye says:

    Boy, did I think I was alone, after reading these comments. I adopted a dashound/lab mix 3 months old a month and half ago. I have no children or husband and am over 50 and disabled. I thought a puppy would be perfect boy was I wrong. I did teach her to potty outside. I was exhausted. She showed me mixed signals when to go outside so I was taking her out everytime she looked at me. I couldn’t stop watching what she put in her mouth rocks, dead birds, dirt, poop. I was taking thngs out of her mouth more then some mothers with their children (maybe). Because of my age and disabled I found myself laying down after we were going for a walk, rather, a run. She is the cutest little girl but I gave her back then cried my eyes out so they let me have her again but the same thing…I became moody, I felt unhealthy, my sleep insomnia was worst. I wanted her to just pee on the carpet rather take her outside but I never alowed this I just thought it. My favorite moments were her sleeping with me putting her little chin on my shoulder and listening to her breathe then scoot down by my side and cuddle with me. Then I thought these are the moments I wait for..her to sleep so I can get some peace then I thought this isn’t way I wanted a dog. So, my heart became heavy again and I had no transportation if she was very sick I’d have to call on a neighbor at night? The list went on and on. So, I called and they came and got her again this time I cursed myself and cried and cried. My puppy’s sister was still at the shelter so I could only think they were meant to be together not apart. The shelter won’t let me adopt again I think I have to wait a certain amount of months. That hurt more because she was loved very much. I chose the wrong temperment for my personality…but I thought what if I don’t fit with a certain animal type I just say here take her back? Decent parents don’t do that and that is where my guilt is deep in my heart. One day she is warm next to me the next in a shelter cold…I don’t know. I do know I will never do this again …I miss her everyday…she did play and as I speak I am smiling of how she held her squecky toy in her mouth to make noise…now I better stop.

  95. Andrea says:

    Hello:

    I have been struggling with the decision of whether to get rid of my dog. I know that no one can tell me whether it is the right decision or not but it is so hard to decide. And I feel really alone in the choice.

    I have had my dog for 6 years. I adopted him from the humane society when he was a puppy. We went to puppy school (two rounds) and also took a reactive rover class when he began to exhibit aggression issues. Initially, I got him because I run at night and I thought I would feel safer with a dog on the larger side. And as a black lab, they have a reputation of enjoying running. However, maybe because I ran with him too early but he has never enjoyed running and I eventually gave up.

    If I am totally honest, I have never really enjoyed having a dog. But over time, the stress of having my dog has become overwhelming. First, he ran over a woman in the dog park and broke her leg. This could have resulted in a lawsuit against me, but that fortunately did not happen. Then he ran from me in the dog park and was hit by a Suburban. This resulted in a $1,000 vet bill. I am single and don’t make a lot of money. And then approximately two months ago, he attacked and likely killed a very small dog. I was not able to follow up with the family, but this could have turned into a large vet bill (although my dog was on leash and the other was not).

    My dog has leash aggression which means I can only walk him late at night and when I see other people I have to cross the street because I am not sure what my dog will do. I initially got a dog because I wanted to be more engaged in my community. Instead, I feel more isolated because my dog is already home alone all day and so I don’t want to leave him in the evening hours, but I can’t even take him on a walk because it is too stressful. And I feel guilty.

    During the 6 years I have had my dog, I also had a significant other who loves the dog and cannot understand my decision to give my dog up. He keeps talking about the commitment I made and that to give my dog up would be so so horrible. He is a true dog lover and lives for his dog. We broke up approximately 1 year ago but are still overly emmeshed. He is not willing to adopt the dog.

    I have posted ads trying to readopt him but no one has responded. What makes this decision so difficult is that in reality, surrendering him to a shelter ultimately means he will be killed. So this is not like a decision where I can try and look on the brightside and act as if I am signing my dog on to a happier life. He would in all likelihood be killed.

    My parents both died in the last couple of years, and I miss that feeling of people who would unconditionally support your decision. I know that my parents would support this decision but having hypothetical support is not as good as having people actually in your court. It is very difficult to be your own support. I feel so bad and so guilty. But if I keep the dog, I sacrifice my life in a way. But the question seems to be which pain is greater. The pain of getting rid of him (and his likely death) or the pain of keeping a dog that mostly makes me miserable and could potentially be a financial liability. Life doesn’t get any easier as we get older!

    Thanks for this forum, reading all these comments has been really helpful.

  96. Laurie says:

    Dear Allie,

    I can’t tell you if you should give your dog away — it was hard enough to make that decision for my own dog, much less for someone else! It’s a very difficult decision.

    If you think your dog isn’t happy being outside all day, then you need to figure out how to give him a better life. That may mean giving him away, or it can mean finding ways to break his day up.

    For instance, when I have to be gone all day, I have a dog walker come in and take Georgie on a 3 hour hike. It costs $23 every time, but it’s worth it! Some people take their dogs to “doggy daycare” every day, but I know my dog doesn’t really like it because she balks at going into the dog play area. She doesn’t rush in; I have to almost force her to go in. But I’ve taken her there for 2-3 hour stints, and she’s always been fine. That costs $5 per hour.

    Or, you could ask a neighbor who is home all day to take him for a lunchtime walk.

    Most people who have dogs have full-time jobs and can’t be with their dogs all day! It’s a challenge, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give your dog away.

    Ask your parents about the dog walker and doggie daycare ideas. Maybe ask them about a neighbor coming in to give your dog a lunchtime walk, too. See what they say. Maybe you can save up to help pay for the dog walker, or put your allowance towards paying him or her. My dog loves going with her dog walker, because she gets to hike in the forest with a pack of dogs! I know my dog loves her walker because when we run into her at the dog park, Georgie jumps up and down with joy.

    Let me know how it goes with your parents, about the dog walker.

    If you do decide that it’s best to give your dog away, know that you’re doing the best thing for him. Giving him away doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or you don’t love him. It means that you can’t take care of him the way he deserves, and you’re doing it out of love and kindness.

    Even though you’re doing the right thing for him, you may still feel bad for a long time. We gave our dog Jazz away 2 years ago, and I still feel awful about it. I hope she’s in a good home, but the sadness and pain I feel about having to give her away has not gone away. I just live with it, and I keep telling myself that I made the right decision.

    Let me know what your parents say, okay? I’m glad they said they’ll find an excellent home for him. If you decide to give him away, you need to trust that he’ll be happier in his new home.

    Laurie

  97. Allie says:

    Yes I talked to both my parents and they say they will look for excellent homes but I am the one who has to decide and I don’t know I want him to stay but he isent happy he is out side from 8am to about 6pm because I have stuff to do what should I do

  98. Laurie says:

    Allie,

    What do your parents or guardians say about giving your dog away? I don’t think you should make this decision alone! It’s a very difficult decision, and nobody should face it without getting help from other people. I’m really glad you found this article, I hope it helped, but I think you need to talk to someone in person about your dog.

    Being outside all day isn’t always bad for a dog, but it really depends on the weather and how much space he has. My brother-in-law has 2 dogs that are outside all the time, but he lives on an acreage and the dogs can go into the garage for warmth. That’s all those dogs know – the outside life – and they seem fine. I think they’re lonely because my brother-in-law is single and has no kids, and dogs love company. But the being outside part isn’t a problem for them.

    So, I think you need to talk through your dilemma with someone in person, before you decide you should give your dog away. Then, the next question may be, “Where do I give my dog away?” That’s a big challenge.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful! But I’d love to hear more about your problem. I can’t tell you what to do, but sometimes it helps just to write out your problems.

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  99. Allie says:

    I am 12 and I don’t know if I should give my dog away he is out side from 8am to 5pm I love him with my entire heart but I don’t think he’s happy? What do I do?????

  100. Laurie says:

    It’s been 2 years since we gave our dog away, and I still feel sad and guilty whenever I think about her. This doesn’t mean we made the wrong decision, but it’s just so hard.

  101. Jorge says:

    About 2 hours ago, we gave Reese away, our Pomeranian-Poodle mix. He was the first dog we got after my wife and I married 2 years ago, and we got him when he was just 6 weeks old. He was our baby, up until we had a real baby of our own. Reese wanted a level of attention that my wife and I were unable to give him, especially after our daughter was born. He learned to jump one of the walls of our back yard about a month ago and I had no choice but to leave the poor little guy either crated while we were at work, and later, tied to a 25 ft. cable at all times. At that point, my wife and I decided it was best to find Reese a home where he will get the attention he deserves, and where he won’t have to be tied up or crated all the time.

    The decision was thought over very carefully, nevertheless it was made nonchalantly. Up until the moment came that it was time to say ‘goodbye’, we realized what was happening. We had our brave faces on as we physically surrendered Reese, I told him, “Well, Reese, our time together is up, buddy. I love you very much, and this is for the best.” I can see in his big, light brown eyes that he knew something big was going on. He was scared.

    Shortly after we went back into the house, my wife and I burst into tears. We had just let go of our “baby”, and I couldn’t block the thoughts of when we raised him, comforting him in the middle of the night because he missed his mama, and most of all, the sound of his cry, which I’ll never forget. I’m overwhelmed with sadness and guilt for letting him go, and as I finish typing this, my eyes are filling with tears. Be that as it may, Reese had become more of a burden than a relief–his extremely high need for attention, his incessant barking all night, and his wall jumping and running off. With three other dogs to look after, we couldn’t take it anymore.

    Evenso, I’m still feeling very guilty and sad that we let him go because it makes me feel that I wasn’t a good enough companion to him. As hard as I tried to tell myself that he’s just an animal that does not bear any more significance than a human being, when the time came to hand him off, it hit me like a wall of bricks, and I’m creeping towards devastation. Even my other dogs were whining and whimpering for a while after they realized he was gone. I guess only time will heal my wounds, but as I type this, my eyes fill with tears and I feel very terrible for having let him go.

  102. Estelle says:

    I am moving countries soon and gave my beloved and adored 2 year old miniature pom away to a lovely family. I am absolutely devastated. It’s been 5 days now and I am still in a state. I am in constant tears.

    How do I get over it?

  103. Carmen says:

    Hello, I have a 3 yr old Havanese named Behr. My husband and I are trying to decide if we should find him a better home. My husband (fiancé at the time) and I drove 8 hrs one way just to get him because we fell in love with him! I’m also allergic to most dogs and i needed one that didnt shed very much. When we Adopted him into our family it was just us two and we lived pretty simple lives. I was able to give Behr the attention he deserved!
    Since then things have changed so much. We got married and 6 months ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy! Before my son was born, I told myself that there was no way things between us and Behr would change. Well little did I know I was completely wrong. Since my son has been born 100% of my time has been spent trying to be the best mommy I can for my son. Being a full time mommy and wife with a husband that is always working is not as easy as most ppl think.My husband works up to 7 days a week sometimes , 70 hrs at the very least. And neither of us are able to show Behr the attention and love he deserves. It breaks my heart but it’s the truth. He was my Pride and joy before my son came along. I still love him but just can’t give him the love he deserves. I’m so scared that ppl will judge me and I think it’s what’s getting in the way of me finding him a better home. I’m also scared that I will one day regret it. I know the decision is totally up to my husband and I but I could seriously use some advice!

  104. Meredith says:

    I read your post and instantly wanted to cry (I would have if I wasn’t at work). I was researching how to put a dog up for adoption when I came across your own experience. I adopted Journey (a “Toller” mixed with a lab) when she was 6 months old from the SPCA – she was much bigger than I was looking for, but after she came into the room there was no way I could leave without giving her a home. At the shelter, her demeanor was more shy and relaxed but after a week or so of having her at home, she changed. My mother thinks that they must almost sedate the animals at the SPCA slightly so their true natures are not evident.
    I’ve had Journey for over a year now and we have had our ups and downs (and quite a bit of crying on my part when it’s really tough). We have overcome a lot (and have gone through training), but the last month and a bit, her personality has reverted and actually become ageressive towards men. The other day she got a hold of a stray cat. Her jaws were locked and it took me a lot in order for her to let the animal go. Unfortunately, the cat didn’t survive and I can barely look at Journey. I think I may be at the point where I need to give her up, but if anyone knew what she was like, she would never be adopted. Just one of life’s tough decisions.

  105. Tyler says:

    I have a dog, a pom terrier mix. I rescued her about a year and a half ago from an abusive family. When I got her she was very terrified of me and my husband, now she isn’t as much but if you move towards her too fast or try to pick her after something happens she freaks out a little. I will admit she has also bit me when trying to put her outside after having an accident. Between getting bit and my husband and I’s failed attempts at training her even with the aid of a trainer, I feel I’m not doing her any justice and feel the need to re-home her. I’ve been struggling with the thought for about 4-5 months now. If I do go along with it I can’t figure out if I should just post her on a site similar to craigslist or take her to a shelter. I only fear they would put her down, but she’s super cute and is only 3.5 years old, and despite her short comings is a really sweet happy little girl when she feels like it.

  106. Laurie says:

    Dear Galina,

    I’m sorry – I don’t know what to suggest about your cat! I have no idea how to give a way an 11 year old cat who is so afraid of other cats :-(

    Is there any way you could get help taking care of her? I’m thinking of a friend, family member, or even a volunteer who could help with whatever care your cat needs.

    Maybe you could put up notices at local churches, or call the different veterinarians in your area? You might also try Craig’s List,if there’s one in your area.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. Let me know how you’re doing, and if you successfully found a home for your cat.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  107. Galina says:

    I’m thankful for everyones posts. My problem is giving away my 11 year old cat who VERY afraid of other cats. I have multiple neurologic conditions and feel it is better for me not to have to care for an animal. But, all foster care programs are loaded with cats and cannot take any more of them.The “no kill”cat shelter wants $1000 to take her.I’m disabled and will never have this kind of money. I put up ads for over a year, but no one wants an old cat. If she goes to APA or Humane society, they will put her down fast when they see her extreme fear of cats. I don’t know what to do to find her a home.My cat worships me making it even harder for me to give her up, but my health is not good. I would like to hear from others about what I can do. Thanks!!

  108. Laurie says:

    Dear Eric,

    It’s such a difficult decision – I’m sorry you have to make it. I don’t know if you should give your dogs away, and I can’t tell you what the best decision is. I know how hard it is to be faced with it.

    Whether or not you keep your dogs, you’ll have to make a painful sacrifice. If you keep your dogs, your life will continue the way it is. IF you give up your dogs, your life will be easier in practical ways, but you’ll have to deal with the guilt and pain of giving them away (and that guilt and pain does not go away!).

    I guess you need to ask yourself which is worse: the sacrifices of living with your dogs, or the pain of giving them away. Neither decision is easy…but one is easier than other. I don’t know which one is easier for you.

    When you decide whether or not to give your dogs away, I encourage you to make changes that make that decision easier. For instance, if you keep your dogs, can you sit down with your sister and dog and talk about the household chores? If you’re carrying the full load of chores, maybe they could pick up the slack. Or, they could walk the dogs?

    I know it’s not easy – there are no easy answers. I wish you all the best as you cope with this…and I hope you let us know what decision you made and how you’re doing.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  109. ERIC says:

    I was looking to give my dogs up for adoption and i fell upon your site,i am deeply troubled and need help.So here’s how i am in this situation.2 years ago my mom brought a stray pup home after reading an add in the papers.I trained her and looked after her i was jobless and going through depression so it was easy to look after her.I few months down the lane i resuced a pure breed stolen labrador from my neighbours.Long story short they had stolen it and tied her up for 5 hours in the sun without food or water.We called the cops and the ngos and lawyers,living in India they went scot free and i ended up with the labrador.
    This lab is the best dog in the world,she just wants to eat and sleep and.We tried to give her up the very next day after i got her,knowing the responsibilites we would face.No buyers for the lab after seeing the ticks and the bruises she had, so i was stuck with it,our family decided to keep her even though we live in a small apartment.
    2 years have gone by since i have been with the dogs.i had a few odd jobs and mom and me would share the work when i would go out.
    Now my mom has gone abroad for work for 6 months and i cant take care of 2 dogs.I am cleaning and cooking for my sister and dad(we still live with our parents) so i need to give them away.i am stuck what should i do?noone seems to want them.They want the pure breed and not the stray,i am not willing to give them up to 2 individual homes.i am tired of cleaning the house, the dishes, laundry,cooking,groceries,the dogs.
    i dont have time to go out or relax.i cant apply for a new job even if i wanted to.
    should i keep them and and keep doing all the work?should i give them away and miss them but move on with my life?will it be wrong if i gave them up?
    We cant hire somebody coz we aint rich.
    Please advice me as im so confused in life and with my dogs.

  110. Chickiepea says:

    Thank you. I found you through a general search for people grieving after having to give up their dogs. My family adopted what was promoted to us as a Border Collie/Pug mix (turned out to be part Sheba Inu, according to vet.

    He was with us from 6 weeks old (too early- I now know better!!) and got progressively more and more aggressive and dominant, first toward my kids, and then toward adults. We read that aggression can be a sign of needing more exercise, and he behaved when outdoors on walks, so it got to the point where we were taking turns running him practically ALL DAY LONG. When we weren’t giving him attention, he barked nonstop. We had no idea that he was “bullying” us and demanding attention was his way of becoming pack leader. I also think, in hindsight, that I should have crated him away from the kids and chaos so that he could rest, as he was probably OVERtired, not needing MORE walks!!

    He was my children’s first dog, and we had him for 6 months, making him like part of the family. I have cried almost daily that I had to give him up, and I see that he is up for adoption again with hardly a mention of his issues, other than “not good for small children” in his description, and he is listed under another name, which I am sure he has not learned in the 3 weeks since we gave him up. Why they did that, I do not know or understand.

    We did adopt another dog (soon, I know!!) after spending days and nights researching what we did wrong, and what breeds are good with children this time. We now have an older (year and half) basset hound/lab mix, who is mild mannered and somewhat lazy, and the perfect fit for us. He’s a doll, but not half as smart as our other puppy, and I am having a hard time really connecting with him as I am still missing the first puppy, even though I know, logically, we could not keep him. I keep dwelling on the “what ifs” which is ridiculous. I really need to find a way to let it go.

  111. Laurie says:

    One of the most difficult things about deciding if you should give your dog away is that only you can make that decision! Nobody can tell you if it’s the right thing to do…but it does help to get an objective perspective.

    If you can’t take care of your dog the way he or she deserves to be taken care of, then I think you should give your dog away.

    Even if you KNOW in your heart of hearts that this is the right decision, you’ll still feel guilty, hurt, and sad that you had to give your dog away. Just because it’s the right decision doesn’t mean it’s an easy one! Sometimes the best decisions are actually the most painful ones.

    I’m really sorry for what you’re going through – I know how painful it is! I don’t regret our decision to give our dog away…but I’ll always feel sad and guilty about the whole thing.

  112. Yesenia says:

    i have the most perfect 6 month old chihuahua. She is super friendly and loves people. she is my company and is like a daughter to me. but due to circumstances in my grandmothers home i had to move back to my mothers house where my step dad hates dogs. i almost had to move back out because of it. hes managed to let me keep her here under one condition she must be in a cage in the garage. ive always said that i hate the whole cage thing i want her to feel free not trapped. im also going to university in the fall and even if i wont be living there im going to be very busy. im not sure if its better to have her in a cage or give her to a family that can give her more attention. and the subject has pretty much been depressing because i love her so much.

  113. antonia says:

    I have not given up my dog yet but it’s about to happen . Just the thought of it breaks my heart and makes me cry and that’s how I ended up on this site , I wanted to read about other people’s experiences…

    3 years ago, I took Gypsy in as a foster after seeing her on Craigslist day after day desperate for a home to go to . At only abt a year old, she ‘d already survived the kill shelter twice and in between homes , she was viciously attacked by other dogs and she became dog aggressive from lack of proper handling and socialisation.. I am from the UK and because I knew I would be going back eventually , I didn’t want to adopt but wanted to help by taking in fosters.

    The first week I got her , I got her a trainer to help with her dog aggression issues because I wanted to help her to become more adoptable . She had 6 sessions total and I spent hours, day after day training with her but it didn’t really help. She had been in my care for 8 months when the rescue finally asked me to adopt her. Nobody else wanted her and I’d grown very attached to her by then so I agreed.

    Abt a month ago,just when I was abt to start obtaining papers for her to go back to the Uk with me, my mum told me it was no longer possible for me to take her back because my brother will be moving back with his 2 young boys who are both allergic to dogs. Ever since then I have been overwhelmed with the guilt and pain of having to leave her behind . I have been trying to find a home for her myself rather than just hand her back to the rescue because I want her to go to somebody I know and trust. I am even more than happy to send money for her food , medical bills etc until her dying days but I haven’t had much luck so far. It’s hard enough to rehome a cute, friendly little dog in NYC , let alone a 35lb shepherd/terrier mix that doesn’t like other dogs. I know I most probably have to give her back to the rescue because at the end of the day, I HAVE to go back and the thought of it is killing me. Nobody understands . Everything just keeps telling me to put myself first but it’s really, really hard. I think it makes it more the harder because of her issues and I know it will take an extra patient, understanding person to handle her..

  114. Rori says:

    These tips were really great with deciding whether to give away my dog…but I still have some doubts about it. She’s a Shetland sheepdog who turned 8 just a few days ago, and whom I’ve had since she was a puppy. She has always been able to run in around in our backyard and play with the other neighborhood dogs, until we moved into an apartment a year ago. Since then, I feel bad about keeping her cooped up in our apartment, and I don’t have the time to take her out for long walks every few hours. My mother has a friend who owns a farm and is interested in taking her. I just really don’t know what to do!

  115. Monique Morones says:

    So I have a 3 year old Pomeranian whom is not very I guess u can say trained he uses puppy training pads to use the restroom and is an indoor dog, my parents have decided to remodel our home And the dog previously started urinating whereever he wanted, so they refuse to let him back outside he only barks when he is put outside,and I don’t know what to do my parents suggest getting someone to adopt him, i love this dog to death he has been my companion the last 3 rough years of my life, I want to keep him with all my heart but he would have to live outside, which may not be the best for him but I just want him in my hands, my parents claim to give him up so he can have a better life, rather than “suffering” in our yard which is meant by he is a very fluffy Pomeranian, I really don’t know what to do keep him here in my yard, or give him up?

  116. eileen says:

    Thanks Karen I actually have read these before and I saved them so I can read them daily if need be to heal.

  117. Karen says:

    Eileen,

    I ignore those who make general condemnations. Here are a couple of links which helped me make the decision to find a new home for my 9 month old Mastiff. At this point she has other mastiffs with whom she rough houses without the constant, “gentle, gentle, settle down, stop” which I had to say to her when she was wild with my cocker spaniel and my cats. Now she can be who she is! Do not despair, you made a thought out choice to help your dog.

    http://www.theotherendoftheleash.com/tag/rehoming-dogs
    http://www.cesarsway.com/training/dogtraining/do-Foster-Dogs-Feel-rejected-When-re-homed

  118. eileen says:

    With my situation my dog had everything he needed before I even went grocery shopping.I enjoyed the long walks 2 to 3 times a day.he didn’t go to someone he didn’t no and i still see him and he seems happier with them.he’s now with a family with another dog to play with.thinking of the consequences down the road was exactly what my fear was if i kept him.I for whatever reason couldn’t control the anxiety that I felt since I never had it or felt that feeling. I didn’t enjoy for a second how I felt or enjoy the fact that giving up my dog was a decision I would have to make.whether its pathetic or not that was my reality and i felt I did the best thing for him. He’s alone less often,has a playmate, soon a yard to run. At that time I made my decision he was in training classes which he snapped at the instructor.my nerves were shot.I did try maybe not hard enough looking back,this was my 1st time doing this and i thought I was doing ok.when u have your vet tech pretty much telling u ur screwing him up didn’t help me in the least and i actually thought i was screwing him up and that was the last thing i wanted to do.I trusted the person who knows first hand about the breed and i was so unsure of myself and nervous afterward.I really don’t even know y I’m responding it just rubbed me the wrong way that someone is saying what someone else’s going thru pathetic not knowing the whole story

  119. Tanya says:

    There are plenty of dog trainers, dog therapists, etc. out there to help you. I’ve personally rehabilitated dogs of almost every breed over the course of 20 years. The agony I’ve seen in dogs who have been given up because they “needed to go on too many walks” far outweighs your inconvenience. It’s nothing short of pathetic, and you very well know it.

    When you are thinking about giving up your dog, replace the word “dog” with “child”, then reconsider. You are an adult. You’re not 14 anymore. You know big dogs need exercise. You know old dogs need medical treatment. You can think down the road of consequences. You have no excuse. Period.

  120. Vienna says:

    Hi. I have a Maltese and I really don’t know if I should give her away. I am only thirteen and is so called her owner as I am the one taking care of her. I hadher for almost three years and I love her dearly. But sadly,she has a lot of Problems. She has very severe skin problem(seriously very severe) causing our family to spend a lot of money on her,causing them not to like her. she doesn’t like dogs and would go crazy seeing them that’s why I couldn’t bring her for walks often. She eats everything she sees. Plastic,hair,paper and vomits all the time. I really feel very stressed out as my parents doesn’t like her so except for me,nobody will play with her. Im afraid she’ll be lonely. My parents told me that if we get a new dog,they’ll love it a lot and the decision lies with me. I am very confused. I kept thinking that if I give her away,her owner will give her away too. I just want her to get a good owner. What should I do?? I really love her. I feel that if I get another dog and love it I’ll be betraying her. Please help me

  121. eileen says:

    One last thing to add it clearly wasn’t me making him act this way.he is showing more signs of aggressive behavior even with a male.yes he was probably to much for me.I wonder if i could of done it but i keep thinking of that feeling i had in the pit of my stomach and the knot in my throat.its just the second guessing of myself.the thought of him not being my responsibility anymore and the thought of something happening to him makes me still feel responsible for giving him up

  122. eileen says:

    Laurie,

    Thank u for responding.I’m starting to do charity/fundraisers and volunteer at local animal shelters I just feel I want to pay my debt to society so to speak.even tho I will never get over this but maybe ill save a few dogs along the way when im ready.I have alot of love to offer a dog,I know this.it won’t b for awhile but down the road this is my plan, and learn along the way.I am just having a real hard time letting go since I worry still about him with things I see with him and there’s nothing I can do about it.I don’t want to get into specific about things but i worry about him and i don’t want anything to happen to him but i can’t prevent it anymore I don’t have him.

  123. Laurie says:

    Dear Eileen,

    I’m sorry you’re going through this — it’s such a terrible feeling, having to give up your dog and wondering if you did the right thing. And the guilt and pain never seems to go away (though it does get lighter and easier to live with!).

    Getting counseling is a good idea, because it’ll help you deal with the guilt.

    Try not to let it people who make nasty comments about people who gave their dogs away bother you! Only a couple of people have made negative comments here on this blog, and I allow them because I believe it’s their right to speak their mind.

    But, I also don’t have much respect for people who condemn, criticize, and judge others. We’re all on different journeys in life, we have different reasons for making the choices we do, and we’re all doing the best we can. Maybe we made the wrong decision to give our dogs away – I often wonder if I did! – but we made the best decision we could at the time.

    If you feel guilty for giving your dog away, you need to learn how to accept, love, and forgive yourself. I’m working on that – I want to be more compassionate towards myself, so I can be more compassionate and loving towards others.

    You did the right thing — giving your dog away was the best decision you could’ve made at that point and time in your life.

    Also, I keep forgetting how much I cried when I had my dog Jazz! She was TOO MUCH DOG for me – I cried the day after we got her, and cried almost every day we had her. She was too big, too energetic, too hard to handle, too needy, too everything. She even farted too much! Now when I feel terribly guilty for giving her away, I forget how hard it was to have her in my life.

    That’s what I mean about self-compassion: we have to remember that we made decisions based on what we were going through at the time, and know that we did the best we could.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  124. eileen says:

    to add to my post:
    i even started counseling because the guilt is killing me. ive become depressed and i am so hard on myself for being irresonsible, for being a failure and failing him. i am crying while i write this. i never thought this would have turned out the way it did and i wouldnt wish this on anyone. i didnt mean for this to happen. i know people will be hard on me for giving him up with horrible comments maybe i deserve it. i honestly felt i was doing the right thing for him.

  125. eileen says:

    this was my first dog, a cane corso which i gave up at about 6 months old.i did obedience training, neuter, doggie daycare maybe not enough. im guilt ridden over this. i can accept being irresponsible with this breed by getting him but i never imagined being in this situation. ill start by making the mistake by asking to many people opinions on how to do this since i was learning as i went. luckily i had a vet who knew the breed well but at the same time made me a nervous wreck and made me question alot of how i was raising him. not to put total blame on the vet but comments like you dont know what you got yourself into or im nervous for you caused me such anxiety, then the bigger and stonger he got the more protective he bacame which is the breed and made me more nervous to the point i couldnt relax for anything. he started to show some aggressive signs by snapping if someone got to close growling at almost everyone. i felt i was making him act this way because i was nervous. being a single female and maybe not pack leader material i thought he needed a more firm leader(a male). i said to myself if im making him be like this id rather give him to someone i know who would be better for him then to keep him and have something terrible happen and have to put him down. this is how i thought.i felt it was in his best interest regardless of my feelings for him. so thats what i did. its been 3 months im still very sad without him and im still not sure if i did the right thing. he is 9 months now and about 115 lbs. i still see him alot and dogsit him. even though he doesnt like pretty much anybody outside the people he knows and even starting to witness aggression with other dogs i dont have the nervousness i had. he does need training for those issues but i dont have him anymore and i worry about him so much.he is just so unpredictable that you just dont know what hes going to do.

  126. Tanya says:

    I have a year and a half old poodle/chihuahua and I’ve had her since she was 8 weeks old. I got her on my dads birthday, 6 months after my dad passed away. We fell in love with each other instantly and she helped me get out of my depresion. She follows me every where even into the restroom and lays down next to my feet or on my lap all the time and sleeps under the covers with me. We really are inseperable. I take her for car rides and she loves it. I recently got a divorce and has always been there for me emotionally through my dads death then my divorce. I moved in with my mom and now she’s moving out of state and the apartment I’m moving into doesnt allow dogs and I dont know what to do. If I keep her then i’ll be homeless, but I cant give her away. I cry at just the thought of it. I will be enrolled in a job training program for 3 weeks so even if I am homeless and keep her where is she going to stay during those three weeks. I know I have to give her away but I cant. I wish I knew someone to take care of my lulu temporarly until I finish the training program and find a job so I can keep her and we can be together :( I just dont know what to do. Any suggestions?

  127. Karen says:

    Update on giving up my Mastiff: After months and months of indecision, some very wild play behavior injured one of my cats and I decided it was time to act. I returned her to the breeder where she had a traumatic experience and he said it was not good for her to be there, so I picked her up again. Two trips across state and a lot of crying. I felt shaken and worried about her behavior to my small pets, but once home it got worse. She was aloof and then attacked my cocker spaniel for no apparent reason several times in the next couple of days. She stopped on command and was crated afterwards for a long long nap over an hour and a half. But I became frightened of her. I contacted a breed rescue and they have now met her and will be picking her up tomorrow afternoon. This has all taken place like a slow moving hurricane over about two weeks and since they met her, she has grown more and more like her happy old self, prancing and playing and sharing toys with cats and dog alike. I am filling out the surrender paperwork and it is hurting me again. What if I burst into tears again when they come? She was very shy with them until they had visited about an hour, then cautiously engaged them. I do not want this to be a scene of grief.

    I have done a lot of reading and it seems to me that this is the best decision for her and for me. She will have people at home and other mastiffs to play and run with on a large fenced in yard of about an acre. I am permitted to visit her any time and they will send me updates. And at home she is still chasing the cats roughly and Trusty, though I noticed the other day she did what my previous mastiffs have done and lay down and played at his level with him. A real sign of maturity. Punch punch punch in my stomach it is such a hard move to make. Life will be consistently safer with her in a real mastiff home rather than my little animal refuge of adopted cats and my cocker spaniel. And from what I read, once the transition is made, she will find great joy in her new lively world. Still it hurts as I sit here and sign her away.

  128. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Meghan,

    You made the decision to give your dog away, and you have to let it go. I agonized for weeks after I gave Jazz away, and finally my husband had to firmly tell me to let it go.

    You did the right thing for your dog, your family, and yourself. You couldn’t take good care of her – she needs more than you can give her!

    So yes, I really do think you did the right thing. Now you need to forgive yourself – which I now is MUCH easier said than done! I haven’t forgiven myself for giving our dog away, even though I know we did the right thing.

    It’s so complicated, because we love our dogs. But once you make the decision to give your dog away, you need to accept it and move on.

    You did the right thing. Your dog will be happier in her new home, because she’ll be matched with a family who can give her what she needs.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  129. Mary says:

    My dad’s dog had 5 puppies on April 1st. We live in different states and when he sent me pictures of the puppies i fell in love with them. I wanted one and my dad agreed to give me one. However my brother who lives with me also wanted one. So we decided we would take two of the puppies. Then my dad said he was going to keep one puppy and give away the other (one puppy didn’t make it after it was born). I felt bad for the puppy that didn’t have a home yet, and i was afraid that he would go to a bad home, so i asked my dad if i could have him too. I ended up coming home with 3 puppies and although they were very good at not going to the bathroom inside, they were still a handful. We did not have the energy to keep up with 3 puppies. So yesterday I gave one away to my neighbor. I know she will give him a great home and all the love and attention he needs. Although I only had him with me for a little over a week I had already fell in love with him and I miss him so much already. Sometimes I wish i wouldn’t have given him away, but I know it is the best for him.

  130. Meghan says:

    I am having a very hard time with giving our puppy away but she is actually leaving today after going through the pros and cons for a month now. Sorry for the long story, but here goes: my aunt got a puppy back in December, but then found a job and also lives on a busy street. She brought the puppy over the day she got her and my husband actually fell in love with her. After she had her for a week or two, she realized that she just couldn’t handle her, so we grabbed her. We literally had no time to think about it. When we got her, I was a stay at home mom and I am now a working mom. The puppy is literally home alone locked in the kitchen for about ten hours a day. I also have a 12 year old Rottweiler, Madison, who we’ve had since she was 15 weeks old. She is older and does NOT want to play with this new puppy, so we have to keep them separated. The new puppy, Molly, is a black lab-border collie mix and I did the research and found that they are VERY hyper. We do not have a fenced in yard and she has gotten out several times. The kids open the back door and try to be careful, but she sneaks right by them and runs like hell. We would be devastated if something were to happen to her if she went in the street or something. The kids so far get upset when we talk about it, but then actually move on pretty quick. I think I am just feeling extremely guilty and sad about the decision that we had to make. I found it very cruel to keep this poor puppy locked up all day. I guess I am just looking for reassurance or something. We all love Molly very much, but I felt that we had to put our feelings aside so that she could have a better life and place to live. Did I do the right thing?

  131. Myst says:

    I have a back and forth on keeping a dog also.
    4 mos ago i got a pug he is a year old. I already have a pug at home, I love her so much. But the new boy, i just don’t love. I have tried, I have walked him, played with him, tried to train him. He wants constant attention, always pawing at you. I cant take it. I have tried to bond with him. But cant. The worst part is right after we got him our girl went in to heat, and well they had puppies. Would it be bad of me to get rid of him and keep a puppy?

  132. jasenia says:

    Our dog buster is about 4 1/2 anf our other dog reese is about a year. My family loves the dogs dearly but they have a lot of health issues and we cant afford it. The best thing for them would be to give them away but these dogs love us and we love them so it is hard to cope with. We havent gave them away yet but i know we need to but i cant stand the thought!):

  133. sarah says:

    i have a 11 yr old pekingese who has a disc problem and after meeting with a neuro surgeon decided not to proceed with surgery. however, his hind legs have gotten weak and shows signs of paralysis. We took him off meds and he’s been trying to walk. he is healthy otherwise, but not being able to walk and not being able to control his ability to use the restroom has taking a toll on me and my husband. it has effected my work as well leaving early, coming into work late…i guess all of this would be easier to accept if our dog was not aggressive, but he bites and it become a huge ordeal trying to get his bottom half of his body washed twice a day since he urniates on himself…diapers have started to give him a rash and diapers are not so effective with male dogs…FYI. Aside from that doing 2 loads of laundry daily and contant wiping the floors and the stench of our dog urine is starting to get frustrating. i know this is wrong but there are times when i think about just putting him down…i know it sounds selfish…but i don’t know what else to do…i wonder if anyone out there can help me…should i put him down, do i need to continue with this lifestyle, or do i give him up…please don’t get me wrong, i love my dog. I have had him since he was 6 months old and it’s hard to imagine my life without him moving forward, but all of this has been so difficult physically and mentally…

  134. Hayley says:

    A few weeks down the line, my partner not happy with the smell and the flies in our apartment – we found a willing dog lover with a massive house and garden with two golden retrievers to have our puppy.

    I cried after I got back from giving her to the young guy. She licked and warmed to him instantly. He obviously had a rapport we didn’t
    But she needed a lot of time, we don’t meet any of the criteria.. Mostly I was just sick of getting extra-stressy when we already had problems. Every day it was ‘she’s gotta go back.’ A friend who was a dog lover mentioned she had a friend who would adapt her.

    We miss her so much. Those little character traits. But on news, she was going to a dog lover with other dogs to play with we were chuffed! Alternative was Lucy back in a tiny shop cage :(

    A dog is for life not just for christmas could never be so apt here! We bought ours because she was an impossibly cute baby beagle locked in a tiny cage. I agree with the poster outlining criteria. Make any decision very considered before you pick your dog/ breed up.

  135. J.R. says:

    We just had to give away our 3 month old mini-dachsund, and it is killing me, it is all I think about! We have 3 kids ages 9, 3 & 1….Our 3 year old was way too rough with her! I was so worried that he was going to hurt her. So my husband and I decided that we needed to find her another home. It has only been a few days, but my my oldest son has been crying himself to sleep every night….It just breaks my heart! Sometimes I feel like calling the family who took her in, and ask for her back. But they were very nice and caring and also have kids, and I know they have grown attached to her, as well. I just feel so awful!

  136. Amy T says:

    Hi, we are a young family and we have an 8 year old dog. She is very lively and needs more attention than we can give her. She also panics in thunderstorms and we have secured our home as best we can (steel panels on the fence) however during thunderstorms she gets out. Often we don’t realise until she has well and truly gotten out. We have recevied about 10 fines over the past two years. She has even cost us over $500 in repairs to windows and gause. We only have a rental so can’t keep her inside, we can only put her in the laundry when we know a thunderstorm is coming. I just feel we aren’t managing her properly. We have had quite a sick child too. I just don’t know what to do, but these fines are becoming way too much financially. Plus she seems really un happy.

  137. kim says:

    I had a dog name Lucky since sept.of 2011,we found him in the street,,we him to petsmart got him shots,made sure he had insurance,my partner at the time said we can keep him as long as we get him nudered,so we did now that the dog is close to me ,follow me every were ,she can’t stand it,he loves me and i love him,so now she decided that he is to much for her,so she was on me every step when u going to find him a home,so without reguards to my feelings about lucky,she refuse to see reason,so i found a home for lucky but it didn’t sit well with me the house was not kept from what i can see,through the window,woman said that she just moved there 2months,but i can’t stop thinking about how unkept the house was,backyard grass was everywere,to high,she claims she cut grass and grows back fast,just didn’t believe her,bottomline how do i ask for my puppy back,through court system,she said i can visit lucky,now she don’t answer her phone,What can i do,more to story,Please Help,it’s been 2days,so her family not attached yet

  138. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Tania,

    It’s such a difficult decision, isn’t it? Even when you know that the best thing is to give your dog away :-( .

    Some people say we should keep our dogs at all costs, while others (like me) think we need to put our lifestyles, family situations, energy levels, and abilities first. I think that if a dog isn’t adjusting to a new home – or if the new home isn’t adjusting to the dog – then the best option is to give him away.

    I think you need to put your family’s best interests first. Maybe that means teaching your son how to live with your dog — maybe it means working through the problems of dog ownership together, to teach both your kids the importance of following through on responsibilities. Or, maybe it’s in their best interest to give Max away.

    It’s alot of work, having a dog. Even good dogs are lots of work!

    I can’t tell you if you should give your dog away, but I do know how difficult the decision is. I wish I could be more helpful…but I just don’t know what the right decision is.

    However, it sounds like you’ve already decided! The hard part is taking the next steps.

    Let me know how it goes.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  139. Tania says:

    I am also looking for advice regarding keeping our dog.
    My son is autistic and I read that the right dog could help autistic kids significantly. As I worked full time, I did about 6 months research into the perfect dog for our situation, and decided on a Greyhound. They are known to be good with special needs children, and don’t actually require as much exercise as you would assume.
    We adopted from the Greyhound rescue centre after advising of our exact situation. I was a bit surprised at the recommended dog’s size but after travelling 5 hours to meet him with excited children we adopted our Max.

    Max was perfect for the first few weeks, but then started to pick up bad habits. I know some were partly my fault. Being my first dog, I was not firm enough with him at times, and didn’t know to not encourage some behaviours because they were ‘cute’ (cuddling of soft toys). Unfortunately Max has often now scared my children due to them getting close to where he was sleeping (even 2 metres away) and he has rushed at them (and me). He has also bitten out on a couple of occasions – just warning nips, but enough now that I can only let Max inside when my kids are in bed. Anytime I go outside, my son runs to his room.

    We have now had Max for 8 months and being winter months we aren’t able to walk him nearly as much. I won’t be working full time in a month, so more walking opportunities, but in light of my son’s reactions and the fact that Max was recommended as a family dog I’m thinking it may be time to find him a new family. I had a trainer come to our house who said my reasoning for a greyhound was correct but we somehow managed to find the most hyperactive greyhound he has ever seen.

    I have been putting off this decision for ages because regardless Max is a very sweet dog and I adore him as does my daughter (even though she does get nervous). However just the other day my son and I came across a lady with a puppy Jack Russell, and my son had absolutely no fear with the dog… and I see that he has absolutely no fear with the 2 small dogs at his dad’s house. I didn’t choose a small dog to begin with because they can be yappy and get lonelier when family is away all day… but it seems that would have been a better choice.

    I don’t want my son to spend the next few years running in his room, and I don’t want Max to spend the next few years staying outside without companionship until my kids are in bed. I think I know what I should do, but I’d love some advice anyway.

  140. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Kerry,

    I think that dogs are very resilient, and your little “foster dog” Chihuahua will adjust to a new home. Dogs are survivors, and respond to love and affection!

    My dog Georgie has been in 2 homes before ours. I don’t think moving around is idea, but I do believe dogs adapt. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t exist!

    So, you need to decide what’s best for you and your husband. Maybe that means you should give your dog away as planned, or maybe it means you need to re-evaluate your original decision.

    I just think it’s important not to keep the dog out of misplaced guilt. I’m not telling you you should give your dog way…I just think that you need to make the decision that’s best for you and your husband. Maybe that means keeping her — I don’t know!

    I hope this helps a bit. I know finding your dog a new home isn’t easy. I had to find a new home for my cat, after I got a job teaching in Africa for a 3 year contract. It was so awful, but I had to live my life. I don’t regret giving my cat away, because I want to live my life fully and completely – and I believe that other people can love my animals as much as I do. Maybe even more!

    I wish you all the best as you decide, and encourage you to come back and update me.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  141. kerri says:

    We have a cattle dog/ kelpie, she’s is a very nice dog, we got her as a 6 week old puppy, she is now almost 8. Our only problem with her is that she barks a little bit. She has up set our neighbours a few times over the last 4 years……. and we are now trying to work out if it’s better for us to give her up or keep her or try again to crack down on the barking…. She doesn’t bark non stop its more of a yip or short bark, but kind of often…. atleast each hour…… not at night because she’s in to sleep. She seems to yip at things like.. people walking past… people at the door… the neighbours cat…. sometimes birds… but it not often that it’s more than 1-3 yips at a time!! The neighbours have got very mad this time and they want her gone I think… they threatened my husband… and told us that they have to sell up an move because the dog has driven them mad!!
    We need some advice!!

  142. Sequoia says:

    You know what. Sequoia and I are going to be just fine. Because she is my soul and we will find a way. Shes getting better at interacting, and with other dogs in her space. You know its work. But we were going through some hard times and I obviously wasn’t thinking straight. Because I couldn’t live without her and that is a fact. I’m 21 now and becoming a pilot. She will always be free and that is just how we are. Free and wild. But also willing to achieve a better well being. Why on earth would I give up my pack? Especially when we were are one. I love her and she loves me. End of story

  143. Jordanna says:

    Hi All,

    I was wondering if anyone could spare me advice, as I am trying to decide if giving up my dog is the right thing to do or not…and is tearing me apart.

    The long winded story is;
    I’ve had my lil man for 10years, and he was a gift from the mother of my x partner (who i was with for 9, ended 3yrs ago). In summary, it was a very controlling relationship where I barely had a friend, let alone living a life that made me happy. And I came from a descructive family I detached from at 19 before tis. Being a big animal person, I fell in love with my dog quickly, he has been my whole family ever since and we’ve been through everything together. Batman and Robin.

    Now several years after leaving that relationship, I have gone through a helleva lot to keep him with me (ie renting a house alone = big financial pressure, never really going anywhere so hes not alone, sticking to jobs that don’t need travel, dealing with dog aggression and seperation anxiety etc). I know I love him a lot…and I know I’m everything to him. But at 32, I realise my younger days are slipping away. I’m sad, lonley and desperately need the freedom/finances to finally find out who I am again, and what my calling in life is. And the more I become aware of it, the more powerful my desire to fulfil my dreams to travel are becoming. So much so, I have become depressed over time, lost interest in my work and generally find myself lost/powerless and don’t know what to do next. I know if I could get away for a decent while, do some travelling and gain new scenery (ie live for me for once)… I’m sure could figure things out. But I don’t have anyone to take care of my lil man for that kind of time and a kennel long term would be torture for his anxious and affectionate little heart! I posted a job ad recently too to gauge the option, but so far no one is willing to “babysit” and bascially want me to give him up and disappear. A thought that breaks me and just makes me run from the option…so far (weak I know).

    Lastly, I’ve considered letting go of my dreams and accepting I won’t be going nowhere til he passes away, but that fact is causing this dull ache in me and I’m worried how long I can keep up sustaining circumstances I am carrying for my dog.

    Quandry huh.

    Anyway, thanks for listening, sorry is so depressing and does anyone have any wisdom?

  144. Mari says:

    I have read lots of the posts, I just dropped by.
    I just dont understand this as a very experienced dog owner – getting and then ridding of a dog. Getting a dog is a very considered decision. Lets cut the emotion here. There are real pros and cons.

    you work full time, someone needs to be there – dogs get bored
    you have very small children and babies
    you live in a flat with no outside space
    you already have a busy life or other worries
    remember dogs are a tie, kennelling is expensive
    you have lost your pet very recently
    you want a high profile status breed for wrong reasons
    you are very short of money
    your landlord says no pets..he/she could make you get rid of your dog
    your partner does not support you and doesnt like dogs
    you know you are allergic to dogs
    Your partner brings a dog home without discussing it with you. Dogs are not presents. Take it to an animal shelter.
    THEN DO NOT GET A DOG–AT ALL until you can meet the criteria for owning one – the opposite of all of the above

    If you genuinely have done your homework and you have room in your life for a dog, think carefully get the right dog for you and your lifesyle, do not rush. E.g you may adore the look of huskies – but if you want a dog you can train, let off the lead,leave for 3 hours home alone, will not demolish your home – a husky does not fit the bill. Look at crossbreeds for healthier animals. A rescue dog can be a wonderful pet. Be wary of fighting/guard breeds if you have children, certain breeds of powerful dogs are not always safe with tiny children, unless you reaally know their history. No dog should be left alone with young children unsupervised.
    Remember you have to exersize dogs. Dont get a dog ‘for the children’. Make sure they really want one, make them wait for it and can help in its care.

    Rescue centres will help match you to the right dog for you.
    Sometimes you do end up with the wrong dog and peoples circumstances change. The elderly lady with Alzeimers who can no longer care for her beloved pet. Help MUST BE SOUGHT TO REHOME THAT DOG PROPERLY.
    Lady with baby sleeping on the floor, up at 2.30 a.m., working all day..get real you do not need a dog. Grow up, be a a good focussed mother to your child, social life has to be child friendly. Do your job to keep your family intact and find a good home for your dog with people who can care for it properly, someone who has the time and energy to love a dog unconditionally

    People need to get real, a DOG IS FOR LIFE NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS!

  145. Kerry says:

    I have just recently taken my friends little long hair female Chihuahua and she is absolutly lovely My husband and I promised each other we would have no more pets after our two dogs ages 15 year and 14 years both died of cancer 3 years ago:( We both want to start traveling and dont want to commit to another 15 years to raising animals. I am having a hard time the thought of finding her a home, since i have become kind of attached over the past 3 weeks of having her. I have been bonded with her since they got her at 6 weeks old and I know finding her a good home is whats best for her, but we have become so close I am worried she wont adjust to a new home? how will I know she is ok? or do i worry about that? I love the idea of having her, but I know I dont want to commmit 15 more years. do you have any suggestions for me?

  146. Karen says:

    I think another name for this blog should be, Dogs are a lot of work.

    What ever your mistakes were in taking home an unhousebroken dog from a friend, if you decide he is worth the work, then you have to take the time to read a book or go online and learn about housebreaking. So you will now be potty training a baby and a baby dog. 9 months is not full grown and he just lost his whole familiar world when he came to your house so be patient with him.

    Personally crating and using a leash as a tether when the puppy is not in the crate have worked for me. When you can’t be with him, put him in a crate that is just the size for him to lie down and stand up in. Don’t leave in there for hours. Take him right out when you come home or are ready to work with him. When you are around, watching TV, having coffee, etc., and want him out of the crate, put his leash on him and tie one end to your belt or just hold it. It takes patience, but if he starts to go, take right out and praise him when he goes. Don’t scold the mistakes you miss. As they say it is the owner’s fault when the dog makes a housebreaking mistake.

    Lots of work, but some dogs learn quickly once they get what you want. I think he is showing you he has no idea what you want. And remember the positive, the praise when he goes. And remember you have to go out with him to praise him the instant he goes.

    Good luck.

  147. Kelly Cartwright says:

    Hi there, We have a 9month old tiger brindle staffy. one day we decided we would like a family pet so we brought him off a friend. He was so cute and playful who loved playing with our son who is 2 now. He was great he was a fast learner for all the basics i.e sit stay paw etc.
    But his one biggest fault was because we live in a maisonette we had to keep taking him outside to do his business. But thats the thing he is nearly one and still hasnt done his business outside! as soon as we got back in he would relieve himself. So then we would tell him off and take him back out. we could be out from 20minutes up to 2 hours but still nothing! we dont understand where we have gone wrong? And the other fault he has is when we have gone out we leave him in the kitchen. We can be 10 mins and we can come back to a complete mess. he has pulled off and broken our microwave, our deep fat fryer. and anything else what we have on our units. we have also came back to a flood where he has turned the taps on. WE are stuck now and would like him gone. But the good thing is that he really gets on with our son and everyone else. Please we need help…

  148. Ky says:

    We gave our Maltipoo we had for a year away May 16th and I regret it big time I wonder if she looks for us or wonders why we gave her away my heart is sad and I cry everyday and I wish I could have her back. We got rid of her because she has biten my 4 year old a few times and this last time she bit her on the eye and it scared me because she could of really hurt my little girl I also have a baby to worry about who will be crawling in 3-4 months and if he would of messed with her who knows what would of happened. I did break down the 2nd day and call the lady we want her back and she said she couldnt do that as she already loves her :(. I now have to figure out how to get past these sadness and guilt.

  149. bella says:

    I need some advice… we adopted a lab/hound mix dog about a year ago; she’s a little over 14 months old. she’s around 50lbs and very high energy level dog. Must be the hound in her but she barks constantly and is causing stress between hubby and I (plus our neighbors have commented on it also). My hubby is very… hard… on the dog and wants her to behave. we have taken her for training and while she knows the commands, it takes us 5 times of saying “sit” before she’ll do it. we leave the house @ 7 am and don’t get home till 5 so she’s in a crate all that time. when we let her out, she’s a nut… which i understand b/c she’s been cooped up. but i have 2 children (7 and 4) and we just don’t have time to exercise the poor dog and our yard is not fenced. I’m coming to realize that we maybe made a hasty decsion in adopting and didn’t consider the needs of the dog before our own. But i feel tremendous guilt and sadness at the thought of giving her up. Am I being lazy, selfish? I just need advice on what i should do… or someone to tell me that it’s ok to give her up b/c it’s just not working out. But i wouldn’t just give up my child if she was a “problem” so why do i feel it’s ok to do with the dog? But then do i soldier on for 15 years with the dog and my husband is miserable? HELP.

  150. Hayley says:

    Kayleigh,
    First, least you have that option of giving it to a farm. That’s a huge relief for whatever decision you end up making. I’ve seen so many people give their dogs away because they’re all at work all day. Our dog is a hound dog beagle puppy. The same. Whenever we got back it seemed to enjoy doing particularly naughty things – things it’d get picked up for, anything it could do to get that light tap on the nose or a stern ‘NO’. I was screaming inside (it hated me! we just had to get the nightmare dog!) then realised maybe these temper spasms and ‘what can I do to get shouted at’ was a need for attention and responses from us. Cos other than throwing it toys and letting it watch TV with us we were ignoring it. It’s just one dog, so it has no brothers or sisters. My parents dog i grew up with always had kids playing and interacting with it – no sudden rages cos it got lots of attention.
    If there’s no kids for a dog to play with, like it’s just you, or you and another person who kinda leave the dog to its own , maybe it will do things, try to make us angry to get attention. (Mine is biting my computer lead now cos it wants a play) I think your/ our dogs are looking for attention when they do this.

    Sure enough when I stopped getting mad as she had these naughty spells, I started playing a bit rough, the tug of war stuff, giving her attention – all the naughtiness stopped. I thought they don’t want a toy thrown at them for play or a walk, that’s not social, they want attention. Instead of getting back from work and resting, doing your own thing, unfortunately give them positive attention, pet-talk, and lots of play. Your play might not be social enough for her – you’re her pack. she sounds really excited to see you.

    Like our dog, she’s fine with my boyfriend! — when I wake up she starts to pee everywhere, run riot, steal clothes and shoes, jump up, scratch. We realised 1) it’s a puppy, doing puppy stuff and it could be a lot worse 2) not to take our stress out on her 3) to give her attention, 4) to be patient with progress 5) to obviously remove what we could off the floor. No clothes or shoes on the floor. Tying our curtains up!

    I thought she hated me and would yell every day she needed to go back but realised she just got super excited. I think your dog’s going crazy cos she’s still a puppy and real excited to see you home from work. Drag her from the curtains and roll her on the floor, rub her tummy and play for a few minutes. She doesn’t have the rest of her litter to play fight etc, so she looks to you.. She might be jealous you’re having time with someone else, e.g a flatmate/ boyfriend or enjoying leisure time by yourself.

    Crystal – sorry to hear about your loss. You hear so much bad news about labs being kind and gentle but having an ability to snap so suddenly – even around children.
    The choice should be your own but if you decide to keep it make sure there’s loads of steps put in place to avoid the unthinkable…No matter how hard you train a lab, they’re clever you can’t predict the future and can’t go back in time after she flips.

    Update — We decided to keep our puppy, despite the 2 month return, as we felt it was too cruel to return it to a cage. Our big commitment considering we don’t need a dog, but taking a breath when she acts up, and reading other comments here made our situation look better.. She’s finally peeing/ pooing in the litter tray as we moved this into our toilet – she copies us, and even faces the same way.

  151. Steve says:

    Crystal, in the end, dogs are animals and should never be left alone with kids. You never know. I have 2 cairn terriers. Male and female. They are around our kids and I do trust them 100% but wouldn’t leave the room with the baby down…even though the dogs lick him whenever they can. You never know. I would say you had dog on dog. Territorial. I’m so sorry for your loss. I would never mix 2 females OR a larger dog with a smaller again! I think you’ll be fine but if you keep her I wouldn’t leave her alone with kids…no dog.

  152. Crystal says:

    Hey, My family has been placed in a very difficult situation. We found a beautiful yellow lab 5 years ago at a park and fell in love with her! She was so beautiful, smart, and adored my children. We found her owner and they said she kept getting out bc they did not have enough time for her. We were so happy! We brought her home and she was added to our family, including our 2 Jack Russells male and female. They got along fine most of the time but on occasion the female JR would tease and yap at her. 2 years ago our neighbor saw our lab kill our little female inside a kennell in our fence. We didnt know what caused it but thought that the JR probably instigated the fight. We watched her closely and being that she is so gentle let her and the male JR be together again.No problems, fights, or any sign of aggression except our little girls put them in a small cage overnight instead of kennelling them seperate accidently. The lab nipped at him but did not hurt him.We told teh kids they could never put them in such a small space again. Last weekend there were some gun shots out on the property behind our house, My husband stopped what he was doing to check on the dogs in the backyard and they were fine. Not 2 minutes later our girls heard the dogs making noise and ended up seeing from the fence the lab on our male JR in the same spot as she killed the female (inside the chain link kennel)biting him. We got back there and he was injured. The next day we ended up having to have him put to sleep because of his age and injuries. We are just devasted and our children are too! We never dreamed this would happen and our worried that our lab is not safe around our children. She has never been aggressive to anyone or other animal. My husband and I are going back and forth on what do with our lab. We love her so much and thinks she may just be territorial or they nagged her. We are heart broken to think we will have lost 2 dogs in one weekend. Would you trust a dog around children that has had dog on dog aggresion? Is it the same as dog on human aggression. What are our options? Do we find her another home and get a puppy for our children to fill the heartache we will all go through or keep her and pray she never turns on the kids. I have family who says we cannot trust her any longer? Is this true? Everyone is the neighborhood loves our dog. She is beautiful, loving , and good natured like most labs are.

  153. Nikita says:

    My brother got us a dog home as a surprise on the 27th of April this year. My mom was terrified of dogs, and climbed up on the sofa. He was a 2 month old labrador, the most adorable little thing I’d ever laid my eyes on. It was love at first sight. My mom too started to like him, and my dad was almost as ecstatic as I was.
    But we weren’t ready for a dog. My mom was convinced she could not handle another responsibility, and I admit even I shied away from it, something I regret very much. 6 days later we gave him to my cousin who had lost her dog a few months ago. She has a huge house, much bigger than ours, and he is the centre of attention there.
    He is on the other side of the country now. Even though he spent just 6 days with us, he won us over completely. I’ve always wanted a dog since I was a little kid, and I can’t believe I let him go so easily. It was in his best interest,the energy that he had at 2 months was infinite, and our apartment would have become hell for him as he grew.
    But I still can’t get over him, over the guilt that I didn’t try hard enough, over the fact that for the first time I felt that kind of love. He has a lot of fun at his new house, and has forgotten us since about the time he got there. My cousin keeps sending photos of him, and it leaves a heart-wrenching bittersweet feeling in me.

  154. Kayleigh Robinson says:

    My dog Patch is a 9 month old Border Collie, I fell in love with him when I saw him and did loads and loads of research before committing thinking 8 hours at work would be ok and as I love walking he would be a wonderful companion, and he is wonderful, we go on long long walks and I have trained him to respond to all his basic commands. The problem is when I am at work he is in a crate as when I have him free he totally destroys my house! He barks and barks and pulls down and rips up my curtains and netting and knocks everything over. I keep crate training him then thinking he will be ok out, but he’s not. Same every time. I don not know what else to do, he can not live in a crate all his life, I have stuck to a strict schedule to tire him out before and after I go to work. 4am an hours walk, then I get ready for work, then out again another half hour. Then straight out for an hour when I get home, tea time, then out at half hour intervals until bedtime. I leave kong toys and other things to keep him occupied. I think its time to give him back to the farm I got him from so he can run free in the fields all day again as he defiantly is not adjusting to house life.

  155. Hayley says:

    i also want to give our puppy back. We’re 70/30 thinking og giving it back and on the verge of doing our pros and cons.

    We walked past the shop with the tiny cage she was in all the time. Sick of the arguments in our flat we moved into moving abroad, I bought a dog in a frenzy to calm the energies. I’m also lonely/ depressed so it could be a good friend. We moved into our small working apartment (me and my boyfriend) in Spain. It filled a hole, with the tension we sometimes have so GREAT. we’d wake up and lots of pee and poos to clean up. If i’m honest I’m not emotionally ready to have a dog and our small apartment looks like a dog kennel now.

    My best friend gave up 3 dogs in a year. I’d give it back too, if there were shelters or places to advertise or give it to in this country. We’re waiting to give it up as a sniffer dog to the polic for training, but i’m doubtful.

    …. I’m not in love with the dog, it’s just around, peeing in a small apartment. Making it stink a bit and i’m OCD. we have a fine social life, she’s draining so much energy and time.

    Any comments on how to persevere? I’m getting a job too, along with my partner. I don’t want to give it back to a shop where it’s in a cage when it’s lived and slept with us. She doesn’t cause a problem, except we don’t have a garden, just a balcany, so the pee and the poop feels like we’re living in a sty now! Maybe if we gave it back we’d have a hole in our place and start arguing again?
    Maybe we need to build a relationship/ friendship with the puppy?

    I agree about being logical rather than whimsical. The apartment is small but bigger than the horrible tiny cage she came from! she’s 5 months. and if we keep her any longer, she’ll get attached, and giving her away will be harder – also we need to give her back while she’s still a puppy, so she’s not at the shop for long (people don’t really buy older dogs in cages)!

    Any first time puppy owners here struggling too? Or relate? Any advice for us?

  156. Karen says:

    Steve and Laurie,

    Thank you for your comments. I think that it is not an issue of aggression, just training. Mallow and I did puppy kindergarten and continued for another round of semi private lessons with Trusty, the cocker. I sometimes get a panicky worry that Mallow will accidently hurt a child. However, she has been great with the kids at the dog park and is never loose except there. I think I will face my physical limitations by taking another higher level obedience course with her, and my brother said he would take Trusty for me so both dogs get the training and mental stimulation. I am off for the summer and so the whole exhaustion after a day’s work won’t be an issue. I am not as strong as I was with my first two mastiffs (and I was married and had the help of my husband), older and more wary of life’s surprises (had two special needs kids). But now I am on my own and the kids are doing well as independent young adults and I think the worrying is a comfortable place for me and I need to move beyond it. I am not a Cesar fan but I need to forget my worries and revert to the confident dog owner I truly am inside. Thanks for your support.

  157. Steve says:

    Rob,
    How bad are the allergies? Try vacuuming more, like once a day, at least every other day if the dog sheds a lot. Put those 3m allergy filters in your furnace, and brush the dog more! Bathe once a month. Make it as clean as possible.
    Steve

  158. Steve says:

    Karen,
    First off never give your dogs rawhide for the reason you experienced…they gag! On your finger I believe that was an accident. Sounded like your dog didn’t show aggression…just an accident. No dog is perfect. Mine are close to perfect but they’re still animals. Sticking your fingers in any dogs mouth while they’re choking is unpredictable. I wouldn’t worry about that. As for the prey hold, I went through that too and it terrified me. I don’t scare easy! My 2 little dogs also had to be separated from the shepherd since the shepherd had large prey drive. It was rough. If I was only dealing with the shepherd puppy traits I could deal with the hard work. I’ve done it for 30 years in dog training! The issue was I never knew when an accident would happen. Never knew when te shepherd would break out of the kitchen, where she had to stay due to her prey drive. Always precautions against the other 2 dogs. It was really hard. Then add my 4 year old son and newborn son to the mix. And my job where I was gone 12 hrs a day! The 3 Hrs I had to
    Myself after work were spent in being with the shepherd. Neglecting my sons and other dogs. I loved my shepherd. After 3 months of not being able to make a decision I brought her to the breeder. That was 2.5 months ago now and it feels like a year! It still hurts but not as bad. Recently I found she went to another home. That hurts too. I feel like I gave up in her and that the last ride in the car, she was just going for a ride with daddy as she always does. I felt miserable leaving her there. It’s over and she has another home. My home is less crazy and I don’t have to worry about constantly separating 3 dogs. So in the end it’s up to you. If you don’t have to separate them you’re better off than I was. Only you can tell if it’s true aggression. If the shepherd wouldn’t release something I wanted I would put my finger in her jaw and stroke her tongue to let her know my finger was there and she would release. She could have snapped my finger off with no problem but that’s how much i trusted her. If it wasn’t for the little dogs I have she would still be with us.
    Steve

  159. Laurie PK says:

    Dear Karen,

    I’m sorry that you’re struggling so much with your dog! It’s such a hard decision to make — especially since we can’t predict the future. I don’t think anyone can tell you if your dog can be trusted not to bite or become aggressive when guarding her stuff…not even a veterinarian can guarantee a dog’s behavior.

    Dogs are wonderful, loyal, loving creatures – but they’re also animals, which means they can be unpredictable. I’ve heard it so many times: “My dog has never done that before – I’ve never seen her behave that way!”

    Your dog is still young – maybe 10 months old? Maybe she just needs time to mature, calm down, and learn. Or, maybe the fact that you’ve been wondering if you should give her away for this many months means that it is the right decision?

    This is why I don’t like to give advice — I don’t know what the answer is! I still don’t even know if I made the right decision by giving our dog away! So I don’t feel good about giving advice. I’m happy to share what I went through, but I can’t tell people what they should do.

    One thing I do know: if you give your dog away, you may always feel bad about it. I STILL feel terrible about giving Jazz away, and it’s been 1.5 years. I don’t feel bad when people write nasty comments here — they can’t make me feel any worse than I already do.

    But, just because you feel terrible about something doesn’t mean that it’s not the right decision! It just means that it was a hard decision to make. Sometimes the best decisions are the most painful ones – as you may know from divorce.

    Luckily, you have the breeder as an option, and you know they’ll find her a good home. I had to take Jazz back to her cage at the SPCA, and it was awful.

    I hope this helps a bit — I do understand what you’re going through. It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, and I just have to hope that my dog found a better home. The SPCA people said she was placed with a good guy who had lots of space for her, and that he could handle her physically. If you give your dog away, you may get the same type of feedback after she finds a new home…and it does help.

    Let me know what you decide…I really am glad that you pop up here every so often :-)

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  160. Karen says:

    Steve, I wonder what you suggest for my situation. I have posted a couple of times about my inability to make the decision. I got a mastiff (English) puppy in October 2011. She barely needed to be trained to go potty outside, she just did it with one or two mistakes when no one was looking when she asked (like at Thanksgiving dinner!). She is now at last weigh in over 105 lbs of puppy energy, bouncing and jumping and gnawing on rawhide, deer antlers, Kongs, and heavy duty stuffed toys. She does not play fetch, even though she will return a ball to me if I give her a treat. So exercising her requires me to drive to a large park which I do at least once a week and I play outside with her and my cocker spaniel. She chases the cats and pins them grabbing them by the scruff of their necks ( prey hold I believe). I have to watch her when she is in a wild mood. The other day, she was sitting next to me on the couch and chewing a rawhide chew. She had created a long long guey string out of the end of it. She started gagging it down and choking. I grabbed in her mouth to pull it out, and, boom, she startled and chomped down trying to pull it away from me. However. My hand was in her mouth. She chomped down on my ring finger below the first knuckle. I froze absolutely still moaning, but not loudly. All I could think was she would shake her head and tear off my finger. I commanded her to let go and she chomped again in panic that I was taking away her bone. Finally, I reach gently around her mouth and pried her jaw a little and repeated, let go, and she let go. When I got up my finger began to gush blood. I cared for it and still am actually. I was so upset I didn’t know what to do. So I looked into it on line and began some desensitization work with her. Rewarding her with a treat when she dropped a toy from her mouth while I reached for it. I then did it with the rawhide very cautiously. She got so she would drop it immediately if I told her to and let my hand take it from her jaws. After I took it she looked so panicky I treated her instantly and then waited briefly and gave her back her chew. So. What’s my worry? Well, she hasn’t changed. She still chomps on everything that moves, cats, toys, blankets. Is she safe? I love to lean on her massive shoulder and rest my head there. She loves to lick my face and rest her head on my lap. Is she safe? The breeder will take her back. But. She is my dog. I am willing to work with her. . . most of the time. Then I come home tired and frustrated by work and I ignore her and the cocker spaniel and they begin to knock over the furniture and then I let them out. Not good, but it is not this way every day. Do you think she can be trusted?

  161. Mich says:

    I tend to agree with those who are not in favour if giving up a dog. I do agree that in some cases it is better for the dog to be given a new home… Some people neglect and mistreat their dogs, and I would rather the dog be given to a loving home. Personally, I can not imagine giving up my dog. He’s 1 years old and a VERY active, high maintenance guy! He’s a shepherd/lab/bullmastiff mix, and very large. He’s so sweet and has a great personality, but he needs lots of attention and exercise. My fiance and I work full-time and literally as soon as we walk in the door, we take him hiking, running, walking, or to the dog park. We turn down social events all the time so we can spend the time with him. I really do believe that a dog is a part of your family, and you make the sacrifices you have to make so that he/she is happy and well taken care of.

  162. Steven says:

    Hi Laurie,
    I totally understand your decision. I myself recently got a Yorkie puppy and after two months with her, I am completely exhausted at the end of my rope. My partner gave her to me as a gift to help with my loneliness of working from home and also for my depression. The problem is that I am the only one taking care of my puppy which by the way is suffering from allergies, reverse sneezing, parasites/Giardia (we are on the 3rd course of treatment). My partner is not helping at all because he leaves home to work early and travels all the time. I am thinking of giving her away because I cannot handle all the work involved of taking care of a puppy by myself – just like you – several walks a day, feeding, giving meds, playing and so on. I begged my partner to let me think before buying a puppy because I knew how much work it would be and wasn’t sure if I could handle. So, he impulsively bought her and delivered her to my hands.
    I was right. I am about to make my decision soon to give her away. It’s breaking my heart because she is a beautiful dog that everyone on the streets adore. But the reality is I cannot raise a puppy by myself specially with the high level of energy that Yorkies have. They are unstoppable. They are working dogs and require very active owners. I feel my level of energy is not right for her. Also the costs for the Vet as she’s not a healthy puppy.
    I was crying this morning when I looked at her and I said to myself how can I give this angel away? But now I realized I have to separate my emotions and see the facts. Down the road, I don’t think I will be able to support her specially financially. I know deep inside that she’ll have to go, to my sadness but it’s better to do this sooner than later. I know I will be crying too like you but I just cannot handle anymore to the point that I myself got sick taking care of her. After all, the decision to have a dog was not mine – was my partner’s – and I begged him to let me think. He didn’t listen to me.
    Now my poor baby will suffer but I am sure I will find a good home for her.

  163. ann horn says:

    I have read all your comments and must especially agree with Petra’s attitude to planning for a dog as you would for a child. My husband and I have two children who for the last 2 years were begging for a dog – as a previous dog owner (20 years ago) I understood the commitment and we started our research – rescue vs. puppy dog, size, type of dog and characteristics, walking requirements, settling in time, cost of having a dog for the next 12 – 18 years, traveling and going on holidays, exercise etc. We finally fell in love with a Jack Russell Mini Fox Terrier mix – and she is perfect for us. We trained her within 2 weeks of being toilet trained, she is exercised every day for 1.5 hours as my husband and I love walking and we live next to a huge park, she loves my children and they play with her all day – and it was chaotic in the first 4 weeks – and it took me getting used to mopping up the occasional accident and having to monitor her needs and protecting her from being overly handled by my children and I was quite shocked how she turned from this cute puppy dog into this scruffy looking mutt – but still very cute and small. So, getting a dog is like planning for a child – you all need to be committed – and especially during early times and must also consider that if the dog gets really sick, whether you have the finances to support it. Unfortunately, people are lured into puppy ownership – by pet shops etc., the cute puppy stage is over within literally a few months. Please consider and check out the rescue website which has hundreds of puppies and thousands of unwanted dogs!! Also, there is so much free research and guidance on issues with dogs online – you don’t need to have a expensive dog trainer to do that. If you suffer from Asthma or allergies in general, I would suggest getting a dog allergy test or at least surround yourself by dogs for a while e.g. fostering a dog before committing to buying one.

  164. Steve says:

    Petra, although I agree with you there are circumstances. In my case, I have had dogs for 40 years. They are my family! 2 months ago I gave our German shepherd, 7 months old, back to the breeder. She was the best dog ever! NEVER an accident…I had her housebroken after 12 weeks of age! She NEVER chewed a thing! The issue: it was increasingly difficult to manage her and our other 2 small dogs. She was so attached to me, the leader, that she would stalk and attack my little older dogs (25 lbs each.) she never drew blood but when she took one of the dog’s heads in her entire mouth and wouldn’t release, even for me, I knew my little dog was dead. I managed to pry her jaw open and release my other dog’s head. She has been to advanced training and I worked with her daily! Walked her daily! Loved her! It broke my heart ro drop her off but she couldn’t be in the same room with either of the dogs and it never ended! I tried taking them on walks together and at times it was ok but once off that leash forget it. Then there was the time my 4 year old son let the shepherd out in the backyard when my 2 dogs were already out. That was bad. The jaws were clamped down into the little dogs back so tight there was nothing I could do! And I’m a strong guy. I called animal behaviorists who wanted $500 to come out without guarantees. I called my vet, other trainers…no one knew. I spent money and all my time with 2 little kids and a day job of 12 hours a day. My wife could only do so much. Again, it broke my heart and it still hurts. They will make sure she gets a great home and are aware of what happened here: I think it’s because she wanted to be #1 in my life. My wife was scared if a bad fight happened that one of our little dogs would be dead or one of our little kids would end up in the middle of it accidentally. Everything was great between the 3 dogs the first 3 months but the next 4 months meant nothing but constant separation. The shepherd spent her life in the kitchen which is unfair to her. In the end I believe it was best for the dog and our 2 dogs. I still feel miserable and think of her daily and have thoughts of getting her back but it wouldn’t be good I’m afraid. In the future I will more than likely get a shepherd and no other dogs…and the kids will be approaching their teen years. Good luck to you all !!

  165. Petra says:

    To everyone who gave or will give their dogs away. Are you kidding me ? And especially to Laurie. Do you think, that taking dog and trying for a month is enough ? Sorry, but you are all hypocrites. I have a very hyperactive German Shepherd, I am only 62 inches tall , when he stands he is bigger than me, and I am the leader and I didn´t get him until I knew I have the time to teach him, playing with him and be with him as much as possible. I taught him, when its time to play and when its time to relax, its all about comunication. He didn´t destroyed a single pair of shoe or anything else, because he doesn´t have a reason to. I also had to face a lot of rejections, when I had to move somewhere else. So I just kept looking until I found a great appartment with big garden and great owner, who doesn´t mind, that I have a dog. Dogs are not some testing creatures, whom you just take to your home for a month or year or so, and then realize. Oh, my got, she want´s to go pee, Oh, she needs attention, oh, she want´s to be with me and play. What should I do ? Really ? They are living creatures, for god sake. And the early months are the most important in their lives, same as children. So you actually shaping your dog for a future. Just imagine Laurie, that someone will do the same like you did and take her for another month or two and then give away again, just because they realize, that it is not the right dog for them, again ,ARE YOU KIDDING ME ?, how do you think her personality will shape ? DOGS ARE NOT TOYS WITH SOME RETURNS POLICY !!!!!
    DOGS ARE NOT CHOOSING YOU, YOU ARE CHOOSING THEM !!!! They don´t know who will take them home. So take some responsibility, please. It made me so angry, when I found out this site and it also brakes my heart to read about so much lost or abandoned dogs, only because people just don´t think enough. So please stop all saying, that you are devasted and sad and that you feel horrible, sorry, I just don´t believe you.
    And please Laurie, stop writing about dogs, if you don´t know anything about them. Thank you.

    PS: Sorry for the mistakes, I am from Czech Republic, and my english is not perfect. Thank you.

  166. laura says:

    hi, i know someone that has a german shepherd and this person hasnt trained him, and the dog only used to get a walk when i took him out. the dog has kicked another dog and has almost bitten two people. i dont live there no more, but i feel like i need to do something because the owner doesnt want to give him up because she loves him which i understand sand, bu german shepherds need walks,to be brushed and to actually get attention and the person with him doesnt do that, the vets has classed him as a danger to everyone but in my point of view and other people point of view the person is just making the dog worse, by not letting it find a new home where it can be trained properly, i need a number of a company that will help me to help the dog before it hurts someone or even attack someone.

  167. Rob says:

    I have to give my 2 year old German Shepherd up because we have found out that my stepson is allergic to her.

    I’ve had her since she was 9 weeks old and she is my baby.

    I’ve read a lot of posts on here where people are saying that their dog is going to a better home etc but I’m not sure mine will be. She gets lots of attention from me and although I am at work all day, I sacrifice my social life to stay in with her.

    I can’t help feel, that even if she goes to a loving family to walk her lots and give her lots of attention, that she could be as heartbroken as me when she goes. I won’t be putting her in a shelter, I will wait and find a decent homedor her myself.

    It’s gut wrenching. It’s 2am here in the UK, I’m up for work in a few hours but I can’t sleep. I just keep looking at my baby asleep on the bedroom floor, oblivious to what is going to happen soon…

  168. Karen says:

    There was a time in my life that giving up a dog was unheard of, absolutely not within my consciousness.

    I wish I still felt that unbreakable bond, but I now face other demands and must take care of myself first. That said, I agree that people should not think of adopting a dog as easy. As you said, a baby isn’t easy. And it would help if those adopting to others really talked to them about the commitment. I guess private rescues do, but SPCAs really hope the dog works out and take a chance to avoid euthanizing it.

    But every person knows in their own soul when they have to put someone before the dog. A rescue can suddenly start killing your other dogs and/or cats and I suppose even threaten your children. The positive methods of training require skill in making sure the dog knows what you are reinforcing. Trainers in my area cost upwards of $100 per session. People lose jobs and suddenly the question is, how cheap can I feed my dog or even can I feed my dog and my children???

    I dislike the seemingly holier than thou attitude of those who can not understand why some people may give up dogs. Why are you even reading this blog? Most resources represent your point of view, that to give up a dog is the ultimate sin. This is one lonely little blog that lets people express their pain and confusion about giving up dogs. Why not try making practical suggestions instead of criticizing?

  169. Michael S. says:

    Hi,
    I found this blog after searching for guilt after giving dogs up for adoption. We recently, just this last week, gave away our 3 little long haired female chihuahua’s and it wasn’t an easy choice but we were able to find them all homes without putting them into a shelter, which we are glad we were able to do. We lost our first chihuahua a male about three years ago and this devastated my wife and I because we were so attached to him, he was like our own kid. The decision to give away our little girl chihuahuas was based on many reasons one of them was because they were not getting enough attention and finding them individual homes we felt was the right thing to do. In addition to this is we now have a little boy who turns 2 in July, and a little girl on the way she is due in August. We have two older kids both 13 as well. It was a hard decision to make but after many weeks of thinking it was the right decision we finally followed through with it. Regardless of which decision we would have made, either keeping them or giving them away as we did, there was many pro’s/con’s for either decision. I think we decided that the con’s outweighed the pro’s for us and our little dogs. It is not an easy decision to make but we are confident that in the long run it was the right decision even when it hurts and you have guilt about doing it.

  170. Michelle says:

    My only thing is, is that you have a busy life and that is understandable I have 2 rescue dogs,a full time job, full time student, and my husband is in the Army. But if you didn’t want such a high energy dog then why did you get a Lab mix?? Did you not do ANY form of research on dog breeds AT ALL?? All dogs are different, and granted after a month I personally don’t think you gave the dog enough time to adjust, one of my dogs is still afraid of men and has issues from her past life when she was abused badly. But there was another girl on here that said she was tired of cleaning dog fur, well what did you think was going to happen? A dog sheds and depending on the breed sheds BAD, did you think when your baby popped out it was going to be perfect and obedient? No of course not, I don’t understand how people think that a dog just comes to them perfect and behaved, they don’t and they never will. I don’t agree with what you did and the reasons on here are not good enough to me because all that would have taken to prevent is looking up the breed their temperament, activity level, grooming level, etc. and this could have been avoided.

  171. Laurie says:

    I love reading your comments, even when you disagree with me! I’m glad to hear from you, whether you think I’m wrong or right.

    However, I do think there is a difference between voicing your opinion versus criticizing other people’s choices. You have every right to believe I was wrong for giving my dog away, and you have every right to tell me how you feel. But I don’t understand why you would deliberately try to make me feel bad about something I did over a year ago.

    You may be right – I may be irresponsible and wrong for giving my dog away. But what’s the point of making me feel even guiltier and worse than I already do? Why would you attack me like that?

    I think your comments would be more effective if they simply expressed your opinion. When you criticize me and try to make me feel bad, I shut down and stop hearing you.

    Few people can give a dog away freely and easily, as you can see from the comments on this article. It was a very hard decision for everyone who commented here, and I don’t think it helps when people you come stomping in, angrily imposing your judgement, criticism, and holier-than-thou opinions.

    I think it’s great that you rescued a dog. It wasn’t easy for your or your dog, but you stuck with it. If we were all like you, we’d probably have fewer dogs who need new homes.

    But we’re not all like you — and we CAN’T and SHOULDN’T be like you. We’re all different and unique, and I don’t think it’s right for you to blast and criticize people for making different choices than you would.

  172. so wrong says:

    How self indulgent. Not one of the reasons you gave for giving up a dog is legitimate. Your story paints you as a selfish and irresponsible person.

    You did not do the “best you could” for this dog. You got the dog “A LITTLE OVER A MONTH AGO” – and then just gave up on her. How on earth is that “the best” anyone can do? Maybe if you had worked with trainers and had struggled with this dog for like a year, I could be a little more sympathetic, but ONE MONTH? Come on! And yet, you claim you were “in love with her”? Every reason you gave for giving this dog up indicates that you had no idea what dog ownership entailed before you got her, and you had no interest in trying to figure it out once you had her.

    This blog coddles everyone who gives dogs up for selfish reasons – people who should not have had a dog in the first place. Sure, there are legitimate reasons to give up a dog, but your blog is a list of reasons you should not get a dog in the first place.

    Most appalling is this:

    “I was constantly worried that she might need to pee, that she was bored, that she was lonely without her SPCA dog friends.”

    Really? You think dog shelters are fun places where dogs play with each other all day? Are you a completely out of touch moron, or are you just trying to make yourself feel better? Shelters are stressful, sad, and lonely places for dogs. Even the nicest shelters I’ve been to have broken my heart.

    And if you were worried that she needed to pee, why didn’t you take her outside? Get a dog on a schedule, so s/he knows when bathroom breaks are, and that stress is immediately eliminated. Exercise your dog enough, and you don’t need to worry about him/her being bored. Socialize your dog, and you don’t need to worry about loneliness.

    I rescued a dog in November. She had terrible separation anxiety, fear of men, and trust issues from being abused in her previous life. She was also not well housebroken. And she is 2-3 years old so she has lots of energy.

    So I crate trained her, worked with a behaviorist, and woke up early every morning to make sure she got enough exercise and socialization. I readjusted my life to help accommodate her because I actually wanted a dog. 6 months later and she is a behaved, well adjusted dog. It just took some time and patience.

    You wanted an accessory and when it got too difficult you returned it. You gave this dog a home and let her love and trust you, and then you gave her up and she has no idea what she did wrong. A guilty conscience (“We couldn’t stop crying when we surrendered her to the SPCA”) does not absolve you of your irresponsibility or guilt. Grow the hell up. You SHOULD feel terrible – you betrayed this dog, who would have been loyal to you no matter what, and could not speak up for herself. Regardless of whether or not she finds a great home (which you did not even try to find for her), lives in the shelter for the next ten years, or is put to sleep in a week, what YOU did was wrong and immature.

    Millions of dogs die in shelters every year, and by writing this you are encouraging people to continue contributing to the problem.

  173. Akhil says:

    i’m having a germanshepherd male puppy i have got my baby just a couple of days before.and now he is having one month old.please help me guys when can i get the correct reaction from my baby i mean when he can understand my orders and react according to that .

  174. Jocelyn says:

    I don’t feel there are many good reasons to get rid of a dog. Sorry. I am a busy, working mother as well and this is not a good reason to dump a member of your family. When we give a dog a home, the goal is that it should be a ‘forever” home. To be fair and responsible to the dog and to the family you need to make sure you have the time, the money, and the knowledge before getting a dog. Millions of dogs are euthanized every year at animal shelters through no fault of their own. If you live a transient life and move alot…don’t get a dog. If you have family members with allergies…don’t get a dog. Personally, I am sick of the excuses people use..I don’t have time, I had a baby, I don’t like the hair, COME ON!!!! How sad that a dog that only knows you as their family is dumped at a shelter ( and let’s be honest here…many dogs at shelters don’t get homes, they get put to sleep). How confusing and terrifying for them. I understand that there can be some really pressing issues that make dog ownership immpossible ( medical conditions, loss of employment, allergies, an aggressive dog, etc) I have no problem with this. Unfortunately, these are not the majority of excuses people use, and it is not fair. Dogs are not disposable objects.

  175. Heartbroken says:

    We just gave up our dog today and know that it’s going to hurt for a while. Two years ago we adopted an older terrier from a local shelter. She was a stray, but we were ready and able to give her the love she needed. Sadly, she had many anxiety issues that we soon discovered. Her continual accidents while she was home alone made us to resort to putting her in a crate while we were at work, but she used the crate as an indoor bathroom. Nothing we tried stopped this, which was caused by anxiety and fear of abondment. We made the difficult decision to give her up, but knowing that we weren’t the best home for her–and with hopes that she will find someone who is home all day with a backyard and lots of love to give–makes the decision the best one we could’ve made.

  176. Kristen says:

    Thank you for writing this.
    In October, I gave birth to my baby girl 2 months prematurely. My significant other had been looking for a job for 10 months and was only able to find work an hour away pushing carts part time at Walmart and now that she had arrived early we were in a bind because we couldn’t afford for either of us to be out of work and she would be unable to go to daycare until RSV season was through. Finances were a wreak as it was and we had 3 dogs to care for in addition.
    My parents offered for us to move in with them to get back on our feet 4 states away but we would be unable to bring our dogs with us. These dogs were my babies and it shattered me inside to have to give them up. I searched for homes for them in the little time I had but in the end they had to be surrendered to an animal shelter. We took them to a location 2 hours away from both the hospital and our home to a shelter that fed only the highest quality food, was clean, and did not put animals down due to time spent at the shelter. It was the only gift I could give to them.
    It’s now 6 months later and I still cry, my heart breaks thinking about may have happened to them, and I’m not sure that I’ll ever forgive myself for allowing this to happen. I have attempted to find some sort of solace online but, of course, the majority of what I find are people who have never been in the situation condemning you because anyone who really loved their animals would have tried harder…done better…and wouldn’t have failed them.
    I am currently a student in a veterinary technician program and I have worked at an animal shelter. I am well aware of the consequences of my decision and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who loves animals more than I. I wish more people could understand and accept that sometimes you’re not a monster when you have to make a hard choice. The only thing that stops my tears when I think of my puppies is looking over at my daughter and remembering that I put her first and now her life will be better.
    There is a stigma that those who give up their animals just didn’t give a damn. I happen to know both from professional experience and personal experience that this is not always the case. For example, my pups had all attended and passed advanced obedience training, one had seen a behaviorist for hyperactivity, all had eaten super-premium dog food for as long as I could afford it, they were all neutered and up to date on their immunizations, none had ever had any medical need neglected. In fact, I remember many weeks of eating nothing but one peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch and one package of Ramen Noodles for dinner so they could see the vet or continue to eat their super-premium food. I skipped breakfast.
    So I hope that others will think about my story before they judge those who have had to surrender their animals and I want to thank you for writing this article in a way that makes me feel like I’m not alone and not the worst person who’s walked the planet.

  177. Karen says:

    I wrote a while back that I was struggling again with a dog. There was a lot of emotional stuff in the past 8 years, my child was diagnosed with bipolar and there were multiple hospitalizations, a divorce, school problems for my child, and then my own full time job got harder when they cut back employees and made each of us double what we do. So this time with this difficult wild giant breed puppy, I decided NOT to think so much about it and just live with her. It is working for me.

    Sarah, you have had your dog for 11 years I think you wrote and a fiance for 7 and he has never liked your dog. Are you sure this isn’t representative of other deeper issues between you? If you give up your dog, won’t you always feel like the loss is a sacrifice you didn’t feel like making, that your relationship put you into? How would you and your fiance feel about hiring a yard poop cleaner. I actually did that to help me with my puppy, because I was so overwhelmed and it has been great and not that expensive. I guess you would have to look up what is available where you live. Maybe that would ease the tension. Also, I found something online called an anxiety wrap. It is a simple little stretchy band that you wrap around your dogs face below the eyes and behind the mouth and attach it at the back of the neck. It is not a muzzle, just provides a little calming pressure on the dog and it seems to allow my cocker spaniel to settle down and stop barking. I don’t know if it would work for your dog, but it might. Another tool is the Thundershirt which works to calm dogs down for many reasons, not just thunder storms.

    Good luck. Take your time with your decision. It is irreversible.

  178. Sarah says:

    I have a terrier “Mutt” Charlie, I’ve had him since he was 6 weeks old, he’s 11 years old now. I’ve been with my finace for 7 years. He has always disliked Charlie, He can’t stand his barking and even though I try to clean up his poops in the backyard, my fiance’ spends most of his time out there and inevitable ends up cleaning up after not only the dog but the cats too. Its becoming unbearable the amount of tension it’s causing between us. I feel so torn, if I get rid of the dog will I end up hating and resenting my husband?

  179. Crys says:

    I’ve had my dog for 3 years now. he’s an older dog, just turned 10. about 1.5 years ago I decided I wanted another dog.. due to alot of changes in my life during that time (Divorce, moving, buying a new place, etc) I didn’t feel it was appropriate to try to get a new dog until about a month ago. I fostered the second dog for 2 weeks when the kennel said they needed to know if I was going to keep her, because there were other homes waiting. my old dog was still a bit up in the air, pooping down stairs, not quite himself. so I stalled a few days but ultimately let them know that she was a foster dog and could go if there was a good home. by that time the other families had taken other dogs… now its 2 weeks later.. and they need to know again (its that time)… I love both of them, obviously my first dog is my whole heart. he’s 10 and she is almost 3 (will be in 2 months)… they “seem” ok.. but I’m torn on what to do. they lay on the couch together, but not touching. He (the original dog) has always slept with mommy.. but now he doesnt want to come into the room. she is on her own bed on teh floor. I dont let her on the bed, mainly because she is a foster.. and I dont know what the next owners would like. I just dont know how to tell if the old dog is ok? Will our relationship still be awesome.. he’s my boy… I want 2 dogs, and I love her already. But more than anything I love him and I want him to be happy.. advice? I need to let them know today :(

  180. DJS says:

    My son(26 with a TBI) rescued a dog from the pound as theropy and rehab for his injury. The dog was way too much for him as she had puppy plus +++ energy and needed a lot of attention and training. Since my son couldn’t train her without getting angry, he realized he needed to do what was best for his dog, not his emotions. I couldn’t keep her because she had way too much energy for my much older dog and my dog was getting depressed. I interviewed many many wonderful people but needed to find the right fit for her, I would know when the right family came. Yesterday I met them, her new family. Here is a copy of the e-mail she sent me last night…

    “Just to let you know that Ruka is having a blast. She ate a good dinner and now playing with scout. She loves it here. I am amazed how well she is doing. They play really well together. We love her already.”

    All I can say is know your dogs needs, watch how people breath because that is the energy they will be living with, when you know it’s the right family, you feel good. (doesn’t mean I don’t cry for my loss, but it’s worth it because Ruka is now HOME)

  181. Nancy says:

    This morning my Greyhound (retired racer) got loose (backed out and got out of his martingale collar) and attacked the toy poodle that lives next door. 2 grown men struggled to get our Grey off the little dog. The poodle’s owner ended up with a cut on his lip and the little dog will need surgery. I’m totally devastated and I feel horrible for the nice people with the small dog. I drove the lady and the dog to our vet as soon as the accident happened. The husband went to the ER to get his wound examined. I know that my dog is not mean and that it did exactly what it was trained to do. He’s a loving happy dog with our kids and is well behaved. We always joke that he’s more labrador than greyhound. He’s Mr Happy Dog. We knew he was not cat friendly and by extension, not too friendly to any other little furry beasts. I have to prepare myself that they might ask us to get rid of our dog and I will have to respect their wishes. As mush as I know they understand how such accidents can happen, their hearts might decide otherwise. In the meantime, I know the poodle is in good hands with my vet. I pray that it will be ok and get to go home tomorrow. I fear the conversation I will have with the neighbours. I hope with all my heart that we won’t be forced to get rid of our dog. Please keep us in your thoughts.

  182. sue says:

    I had a baby 6 months ago and with working full time, being a mom and training for a half marathon I don’t have as much time to clean the house. The dog sheds sooooo much, it’s disgusting. My husband doesn’t mind as much so does nothing about it. I’m sick of cleaning up after this dog but husband refuses to get rid of him.
    I have no clue what to do. It’s starting to affect the marriage in a negative way.

  183. joanne says:

    I gave up my west highland terrier 2 years ago as she kept escaping, nipping my son and generally being naughty. I have felt guilty ever since. I did the wrong thing getting a dog in the first place, I was a bad owner as I gave her up….a dog is for life not giving up when everything gets tough. I will never have another dog again as I do not deserve one. If I cannot look after one dog how can I take on another? I did the wrong thing by her and I will never get over it or forgive myself…a dog is for life, not because you feel like having one….I should have trained my dog properly and she would still be happily living with us.

  184. Christine says:

    I have to share my story. I had a German shepherd and decided to get another. Me back then did not know how to let my first dog know that I was the leader. They were always going at it. My small backyard was destroyed. The new dog became nervous, started eating feces. I had two small children at the time. We gave her away. Just a few weeks ago I ran into the owner. They had to put her down 8 months ago at the age of 13! They knew something was really wrong when she didn’t want to go out with the girls to do chores. They said she loved going out with them. I felt so happy. I told the owner she wasn’t able to be who she was with us. She was with them. She was a great dog and she lived a happy life. I don’t regret giving her away. I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to make it work. It was a hard decision but the right one.

  185. Robin says:

    Hi Everyone I am in the same sad situation.3 days ago I rehomed my German Shepherd that I have had since birth she is 8 months old.I have been looking for a proper loving home for her since birth.Or should I say one day yes one day no..Well finially when the day came for her to go to a good home.Where the lady that took her had a Shepherd for 15 years.And after a year and a couple months she decided that yes she does want another. Well she got my girl..I miss her so bad it is horrrible.I know with me she wouldn’t have the time and love she’s getting at her new home,She has children there to play with and I’m sure lots of attention..I feel so GUILTY I feel shes looking for me to come get her :( But then I feel I did give her the love and attention that was required as if she was my child and I have to work and come home to my child.I wouldn’t give my child away because I work..WHAT WAS I THINKING!! I ASK THE LADY IF I COULD PLEASE TAKE HER BACK I WAS GRIEVING.AND SHE HAD A POINT I GUESS!! SHE SAID I SHOULD OF KEPT HER IN THE 1ST PLACE“` I MUST OF REALLY NOT WANTED HER…BOY WAS THAT A PUNCH IN THE FACE..This girl was born and raised here.I feel like I failed her.I want her back!! Am I wrong now since I did rehome her already? Please be Honest…. :(

  186. Erin says:

    Hi Ara
    I know how you feel. Right now you will be devastated. I think just be kind to yourself right now and know that it;s normal to feel this way as you are grieving. Just keep reminding yourself of the resons you made this decision. Unltimatley you are being a good num in finding the best home for your dog.
    Thanks for sharing
    Erin

  187. Ara says:

    I just gave my beautiful full stock black pug (Trixie) tonight and am heartbroken. I keep tellibg myself it was for her own good, but I still miss my lil black baby girl. She will be 6 on Aug 6th and I have had her since she was 8 weeks old. I am in college, work full time, my son is in high school and my fiance is in college also. Long story short…no-one is ever here and I felt guilty. Plus she stopped using potty pads because she was “mad” and I came home to messes. I know she is better off with the family I gave her to…someone is always there and they have a young daughter who already loved her. They live close so I could go see her if I wanted hut I know I can’t. The lady who took her said if my situation changes to let her know and I can come get her back anytime I want to. Sorry to ramble but needed to let it out and you all seem to understabd what I am going through.

  188. Steve says:

    Corey – this isn’t hard at all! YOU MOVE! I will never understand why people give up pets over such an easy thing such as living arrangements. There were a couple apartments I really liked but they didn’t take dogs so I kept looking! Fits question I always asked, do you take dogs! If not, I said thanks and moved on! You probably shouldn’t have gotten the dog if you knew the apt. Didn’t take over 20lbs! Too late now. You keep your family member and move out. Screw them! Your dog is more important than they are! You will hate living there if you give it up. Start looking today and get out! They can’t, by law, take your animal, but they can move you out! What would you rather have, living with your best friend or paying money to a Jagoff with your best friend gone? Pretty simple decision I think. Inconvenience of moving is a very small price to pay!

  189. Dennis says:

    Hi Corey,
    Thanks for sharing your situation with us.
    I know exactly what you are going through as I had to do the same a few months ago. I cried non stop for almost a month.. I am much better now but I will always miss my baby and my heart still aches over her loss in my life.
    Unless you are prepared to move to a place that accepts animals like the one you have – you will have no choice but to give him up. Can I recommend you try and find a rescue organization that caters to the breed of dog you have – these organizations will do everything to ensure the dog is placed in the perfect home that meets their needs.
    I used one of these organizations which helped me to rest easy knowing my baby was going to a good home and that she would be well cared for.
    There is no easy way to go through this.. it will be a very heart wrenching experience to say the least which is why this forum exists to help people such as yourself to get through the overwhelming emotions you must endure.
    I hope this helps – you must keep in mind what is best for the dog as heart breaking as it will be.
    Take care and good luck with finding your baby a new loving home.
    Dennis

  190. corey says:

    I have a 3 year old terrier pitbull and he means the WORLD to me, his name is julius. i got him about a year ago and he is the most humble, playful, obedient pitbull i have ever met. He only goes in my bathroom, i’ve grown very attached to him over the year i had him. anyways, i’m in a really tight situation can somebody please help me or give me advice?? the residence i’m living in right now doesnt accept dogs over 20 lbs, my baby is 74 lbs. i got a notice in the mail saying that if i dont remove the dog somebody will come take him from me or my lease will be terminated. i’ve spent multiple thousands of dollars keeping him in a pet motel but they wont keep him anymore. he was originally adopted, i’d hate to see my baby go back into a kennel or something like that, i’m scared as to whats going to happen to him, will he get lucky enough to find a family that loves and cares for him as much as i do? all these things race through my mind. i havnt even made my decision yet and i cant stop crying, i dont think i can handle this mentally or emotionally right now. he is all i have left i have absolutely no family that i know of. everybody always told me if i ever need anything or somebody to take care of him for a while to call them but now that i desperately need help nobody is willing to help me. i just needed to let all this out and possibly get some feedback. from reading all the comments above i understand im not the only one going through the hardships of this situation. this is why i feel comfortable talking about it to everybody on here. somebody please help me, i feel like i’m losing everything. he is all i have to talk to, he means everything to me, literally i would kill for him. i feel like a complete scumbag even thinking about giving him up and i’m deathly afraid of whats going to happen to him if i do.

  191. Becki says:

    This site has been really helpful. While it was a cat that I gave up, the aftermath is similar. To make the story short, I was fostering two cats as a deterrent to self-harm, then pressured by the rescue to adopt both after expressing that I wished to return them. A month later, I wanted to surrender the one because its changed behavior caused me so much anxiety, I contemplated hurting myself. The other one, however, became my best friend and improved my emotional health.

    Consequently they demanded both cats back b/c they wanted them to remain together. Two days later, I saw on their Petfinder profile that they didn’t have to be together. If I had known this, I wouldn’t give up the cat I wanted.

    Should I contact the rescue in a few months to get the cat back? I had fully intended to keep him, prior to the lie / demands.

  192. Karen says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. I have been going through some sort of emotional roller coaster the past couple of years since my children left the house (I am divorced) and have made some mistakes adopting dogs that I could not keep, but in each instance I found them a home that was appropriate by working with a shelter as if I were a foster home. So three times I took an old dog from a high kill shelter and within 6 months had rehomed it permanently or it would be given back to an appropriate rescue. I have followed up and all is well now 6 months later.

    But this summer my exhusband’s and my last dog together passed away in my home at the age of 12. It broke my heart yet again and I found a puppy from her breeder. Now here it is almost a year later and this puppy has grown to be enormous and hurts me and my little permanent dog and this week end injured one of my cats.

    I had vowed to keep her.

    I am so sorry to give her up, but she is not my other dog, not the dog my ex and I had together and I was mistaken in thinking that by getting a puppy from a breeder I would bond to her like every other dog I got as a puppy in my life. She is only 7 months old now and the breeder is more than happy to take her back and has many many many connections to find her a home where her size and energy will be appreciated and controlled appropriately. I am not going to get another dog again. My little fellow will be just fine for me. I don’t know why I was so overcome with the need to get dogs from shelters. I went to a therapist and she helped me give up the dogs, that is why so many were rehomed at once. I kept on adopting dogs in extreme need. They are all fine now, happy in their homes and I just did not anticipate this time not being able to handle the pup. And so I am very very sadly admitting to my foolhardiness. My little dog will be my companion. I will not replace my kids or my marriage with other dogs.

  193. Bridget says:

    I have given my border terrier to the terrier trust, after she bit my daughter on the face for the second time. The first time I was not in the room and we put it down to excitment, I called in a professional and vet and we worked with her and my daughter who was 3 and half. Then she did it again as my daughter was bent over her didn’t draw blood but it shocked me. My husband said that’s it she has to go. I know that it should have been right but she was so lovely little dog and I don’t think any thing was done in anger with her more instinct of a terrier. But since giving her up i have felt terrible crying wanting her back, I spoke to the trust and they were very angry with me which seeing that I was crying uncontrollably was a little harsh, i feel guilt anger, upset does it ever end i want to protect my daughter, but I loved my dog have I done right and would I have any right to get her back?

  194. Rebecca says:

    I recently had to surrender my siberian husky. My partner and i had her since she was 8weeks old, im 19 and my partner is 21 and works away. We had her for 6months when my partner finally decided it was too much to keep her. I am a uni student, and work night shifts. so while my partner worked away nobody was home for 10 sometimes 12 hours at a time which wasnt fair to my puppy. I know that surrendering her was the best thing for her as she now has another husky to play with and has a proper family with kids to look after her. But every now and then i remember how much i love her and wish we didnt have to give her away. But I cant help but blame my partner as it was a decision we made and he gave her away so fast i didnt have time to say goodbye really. And i look back and try and think of alternatives i could have done something different. Since learning we gave her away two of my close friends/family have said they would have taken her and i think if we had have discussed options she would still be in my life. She was always my baby, quite spoilt. We gave her away for free with everything she owned which would have easily been a few grand of toys, food, shelter and accessories. Im most angry at myself more than anything for not standing my ground and making my partner wait a few days before he made the phone call. =((

  195. Erin says:

    One more thing. Buddy is not too far away from me and I can visit him whenever I want. I visited him last weekend and got very upset as they had chnaged his name to George. It was a shock because no one told me and I found out by looking at his collar and hearing one of the kids call him George. I was really angry and upset, which astounded me, I did not think this would upset me this much and those poor people having to deal with me and my grief. I am now wondering if I should stop visiting him? It would kill me buy maybe its best?

  196. Erin says:

    Hi all
    My story is similiar to all of yours. I had a relationship split and my dog went with my ex partner as Buddy was always his dog. But in his typical style he and his mum coulod not handle Buddy and asked me to find him a home. Buddy is a labrador 14 month sold, very energetic and requires walking and play time. I work full-time and he would have been left home for 10 hours a day by himself. So I made the decsision to find him a home and I found him a wonderfull home with a family with four children and another male labrador one year older than Buddy. As it worked out Buddy and the other dog Bailey came form the same mother so they are half brothers. Wonderfull you say and yes it is for Buddy. Ever since I dropped him off I have been a mess and every time I talk about him I burst into tears. My heart is broken and I miss him terribly. Its been two weeks today that I gave him up and I don’t seem to be getting any better so I went to counselling this week to see if my reaction was normal. Apparently it is normal and I am grieving for him. I have not been able to open my blinds near where his dog house was for several weeks and can’t sweep us his dog hair from outside.
    Please tell me I will get over this?

  197. Steve says:

    Shannon – I was in a very similar boat as you. I took on way too much. We have 2 terriers who are 6 and 9, along with a 4 year old and a 3 month old. I brought a puppy german shepherd into the house. It was too much, which I hate to admit. I brought her back to the breeder after 6 months, which tore me apart! After 3 weeks I am sleeping and eating better and my mind isn’t racing but I still have thoughts of getting her back, which would bring us back to where we were. The only good thing is the house is more peaceful and I can focus on the kids, but I still feel terrible. I still haven’t brought up her food dishes…can’t bring myself to do that yet.

    Viv – I’m so sorry, and it will take time. If you feel you did the right thing, then you did. I didn’t sleep or eat much for first couple weeks. I would make coffee in the morning for the train ride to work and skipped doing that for first few days after since she would always play fetch with me in the kitchen as I made coffee…now she wasn’t there. I literally ran through the kitchen to get to work…had to get out of there. It’s been 3 weeks and although I still feel bad for leaving my baby, it’s better. She will have a better life, I hope, with another family who will give her more attention than I could. I’m gone 13 hours a day and my wife has her hands full with 2 little kids and our other 2 dogs. Your thoughts aren’t crazy at all. I was one of those people who left my dogs home for 12 hours at times and they were fine, but I felt bad…working is a necessary evil.

  198. Shannon says:

    I have no idea how to handle this situation.

    My husband and I have a 2 year old rottweiler. I became pregnant with our first child. As a result of the pregnancy, I became severely allergic to her. Petting or touching her made me break out in hives with terrible iching. Being around her made me sneeze non stop. It just kept getting worse. So, we kept her outside in a dog kennel with a huge dog house with everything she needed. Once the baby was born, I still suffered from severe allergies to her. Plus, I had the huge responsibility of taking care of our new baby as a stay at home Mom. I am pregnant again with our second baby due in September. The allergies are still there and now the extra stress of a newborn comes back into play. I can’t walk the dog, or be near her. I feel terrible about it. My husband gets angry when I try and come to a solution about the dog. I feel like the weight of the world is on me. 2 babies depend on me 24/7. I get very stressed. I just don’t have the time for the dog. I honestly feel like the dog would be much better in a home that people can play with her, take her on walks, and so on. My husband doesn’t see it that way. Any advice would be appreciated!

  199. Viv says:

    Thank you for all of your honest posts, they are helping me get through my grief of giving up my four year old foster dog this past Sunday. He was the first dog I ever cared for, I had him for a little over a month, and he was such a necessary companion as I emotionally healed from a miscarriage and he had been in the shelter for six weeks.

    He was perfect–bad breath and all. I live in a condo and he didn’t bark indoors, he responded well to “no!” and he loved to put his head on my lap. He was a serious squirrel chaser, my jogging companion and I loved him dearly. His initial shelter stress was all gone due to the love and attention my husband and I gave him.

    I gave him up because of my work schedule. I’m a vice principal at an elementary school and my after school administrator meetings are long, my commute is also 45 minutes from home. I knew that once my husband changed jobs in a month, my dog would have to be home alone for 12 hours twice a week and 10 hours the rest of the week due to my long work hours and my husband’s long hours. I figured I could get a dog walker or do doggie daycare for the two long days in my schedule but my town is expensive and I’d be spending $240 a month on this.

    I hope that I made the right decision in giving him up. I met the young couple that adopted him and their work hours gave him the attention that he deserves. I’ve been in tears since Sunday, and yesterday I started balling as soon as my work day ended and I drove home, knowing he wouldn’t be at the door to greet me as I walked in. I had to take the day off today b/c I woke up at 3am crying from missing him and I’ve been down and out all day.

    I’m starting to second guess my decision, wondering if it would’ve been ok to leave him at home during my long work hours, as I know dog owners who do that. But I guess deep deep down in my heart I know that putting his happiness before mine is part of truly loving another.

    My heart feels so torn. I hope to befriend his new owners since they live in the next town over, which is a 25 minute walk from my home. Gosh, I’ve been getting such crazy thoughts, like asking them if they’d give him back to me, offering to pay them double what the shelter charged . . . I don’t know how to get my mind to stop racing.

    Any thoughts that you can offer would be so helpful.

  200. Myrna Eubanks says:

    Thanks Laurie,and I know you are right but it will take time for my heart to catch up with my brain. My grand-children lost their 10 year old cavalier king charles spaniel to heart failure yesterday and as I helped them bury her I was able to put my situation with chewy into better perspective. Thanks so much for your emotional support. Myrna

  201. Dear everyone,

    Thank you for sharing your stories, and helping each other get through the horrible experience of having to give a dog away! I’m sorry I can’t respond to everyone – my full-time job, family, and other commitments prevent me from being more active on this site.

    I wish you all the best, and thank you for being here. I hope you’re healing from the pain of giving your dog away, and realizing that it was the best decision for you and your family.

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  202. Dear Myrna,

    I’m so sorry to hear that you regret giving your dog away – and that the family won’t return your calls. I, too, cried every day for about a month after we gave our dog away! I even went back to the SPCA, but they wouldn’t let me see her. I thought I wanted her back, even after a month…but taking her back wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.

    I encourage you to let your dog go. You CAN live without her – I think she is too much dog for you! You decided to give her up for very, very good reasons, and you chose a very good family for her. You did the right thing, and taking your dog back now would just put you back in the same situation – which wasn’t a good one.

    My heart goes out to you, because I know how you feel. I felt SO guilty, bad, and wrong for giving my dog away…but sometimes we have to make really hard decisions that are better for everyone in the long run.

    You made the best decision for your dog. It feels horrible, I know, but you have to stick to the facts and to cold, hard reality. Don’t let your emotions mislead you.

    Your dog is in a happy, loving home. Let her settle in and become part of that family. Take a deep breath, and send wishes of love, peace, joy, and happiness to your dog and the family.

    And, perhaps you might consider getting a dog who doesn’t require so much work? We’ve had our dog Georgie for 10 months now, and are extremely happy with her. She’s our dog – she fits our energy level, personalities, abilities, and home! Maybe you could think about getting a dog or cat that is more low maintenance and has lower energy levels (and less squirrel chasing tendencies!).

    Let me know what you think, and how you’re doing.

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  203. Myrna Eubanks says:

    I gave my dog away because she likes to chase squirrels which are numerous, and I have a busy street just steps away from my back door. I have a fence but she always finds a way to get out. I found a nice family and I finally gave her to them with the stipulation that I could have her back on request. I cried from the day she left and having heart problems and being 72 years old I realized that I could not live without her so ask for her back. well, so far they have refused to give her back and are not answering my calls. I call them everyday and leave a message. I am still heart broken and my health is deteriorating. Do I have any rights in this situation or did I just make a big blunder. How can I get my dog back. They now have had her for five days. Please help me.

  204. eileen says:

    Dennis thank you so much for your story.I’m going thru this now and I’m the same way you were.I believe its in his best interest so i have to keep telling myself I did the right thing

  205. Lisat says:

    Thanks April. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I don’t know if we can go back after making this decision. Maybe if your husband will take care of him more? Otherwise you’ll be back in the same boat. I don’t know why some dogs want to run away all the time. I walked my dog religiously and even after long “off leash” she would take off if given the chance. My memory is of driving around in circles looking for this crazy dog. People must have thought she was abused or something but she was well cared for.
    It sounds like you made a good decision but a tough one. Good luck and I hope your husband is ok.

  206. Steve says:

    I am struggling with depression and guilt over giving up one of my dogs, just a week ago, and it seems like a few months! I can’t believe it’s been a week. My story is long but I will try to make it short. I never thought I would ever be in the situation or position to give a dog away. I love them more than people. In the end, I think it was best for both her and I. Well, I have 2 terriers, 6 and 9 yrs old, along with a 4 year old son and a 3 month old son. I always wanted a german shepherd but my wife said no. In the end, after researching for months, we decided to get one, found the breeder, etc. Well, she was the best dog ever. First 3 months were great although the older terrier didn’t want anything to do with the shepherd. As the shepherd got older she became very close to me and started to protect me from the other dogs (I think.) She was now twice as big and would stalk the dogs, then clamp down into their backs and hold them there. No growling or barking, just the clamping down into their backs. I tried calling trainers and animal behaviorists and no one knew anything. They thought it was just female to female aggression until she started doing it to my male / 6 year old / terrier. So, the shepherd was either in her crate in the kitchen or gated in the kitchen. It was to be constant separation. She loved us and our kids but it was a lot to handle, especially with the separation. I brought her to the breeder a week ago, which was so very hard for me. We took walks every night, I would train her, and spend time with her. She loved the car and I had huge plans for us this summer…walking by the lake, running her with me on my mountain bike, etc. They said she will go to a good home but who knows for sure. I took on too much with the kids and 2 dogs. I admit, the house is much less stressed-out and I have more time with the kids now but I feel miserable. I cried nonstop the first few days.

  207. Margaret says:

    After a hard decision I gave my dog up wa the biggest mistake ever trying to get him back
    Though not getting much help :(((

  208. Jane says:

    I am currently deciding what to do with my 2 year old Husky. I got her as a puppy when I was still in Uni and had heaps of time for her as did my flatmates. Now that I am working fulltime I moved into a flat with a fenced yard for her to roam around in while I was a work but she gets lonely and has constantly been jumping the fence. I dont want to have to tie her up all day but I cant realy afford to make the fence higher and its not my house (I am renting). Im not sure if I should find her a new home or build the fence and get her a friend to play with? Im only 23 and I know the responsibility of 2 dogs will be huge and will mean I struggle with finding a place to live in future but I feel like a failure because everyone questioned if I could handle a dog when I got her.

  209. lisareen says:

    To Karen and Tammy,
    Its time to make the hard decision. Give the dogs away. That will be better than having the dogs lost forever or suffer because you cant
    give them the time, money and attention they need. It’s not like you dont love them, its your health first, physical and emotional and of course financial.

  210. april says:

    Lisat, I so feel you! My gorgeous 10 year old dog ran away constantly, ate the fence, and would take off even when we were home. I think our last move pushed him over the deep end. When he jumped out our second story window through the screen and a neighbor found him, my husband and i decided it was time. I called an old neighbor form our old house and she is retired and was thrilled to have him. since, my husband has changed his mind and wants him back but I am the one at home who has to take care of him, and with a 5 year-old and graduate school and job hunting-that has become impossible for me. My husband is so hurt. And I am grieving the loss of my “first baby” while my husband throws daggers at me. What a heartbreak.

  211. Karen says:

    Our dog came to us through our granddaughter. Her boyfriend gave her a Siberian Husky puppie. He’s a beautiful dog, brow and white, with one green eye and one blue. That was almost three years ago. We lived on a ranch and he had a huge pen to run and play. But, SH are not the type of dogs for families. Off the leash or out of the pen, and he’s gone. He’s extremely high maintenance. We have tried to keep him safe and I have tried to get him to settle down in the house but he just can’t contain himself. We have moved to town with a small yard and I know he is so unhappy. Also he has grown so strong it is very difficult for me to walk him on a leash. I did take him to puppy classes but he’s tooo hyper to behave. I love him a great deal, I don’t want him to be unhappy or sad, I don’t know what to do. He can’t go to a home with small children. Or cats.

  212. Tammy says:

    What do I do? My husband kept the puppy I got for our daughter for her birthday, that was 5 months ago. I am the constant care giver, the problem- I can not stand this dog. I did not want a dog, I do not want a dog. He “loves” her, yet he does not feed or clean up after her. I am the bad guy. This is causing a major issue. He does not want to give her up yet he does not take care of her. I am recovering from a horrible atv accident that I spent 7 days in the hospital for. I can barely take care of myself and the added stress I have from this dog makes things worse.

  213. rudzani says:

    My colleague gave me a puppy as a present last week, I only spend 5 days with it, In that 5 days, I learned to love it so much, but the problem was that, i work long hours, I stay alone in as flat, So i was worried about its i decided to give it to SPCA,Now am feeling so guilty every day, I really wants it back. My colleague does not know that i gave it away. Every time she asks about it, i always look away or lie. I just can’t do it anymore, and am not sure if it is still at SPCA.

  214. Jodi says:

    Dennis I was really touched by your story. My husband & I just surrendered out 2 lab puppies to labrescue.org I have cried & cried questioning did we do the right thing. Everything in your story is exactly whats going on here. We brought Grizzly & Dallas home last August 27, 2011 and decided that we weren’t giving them the time and attention that they deserve. With long work hours it just wasn’t enough for them. I can’t stop crying. Just got home from the grocery store and when I passed the dog food aisle here came the tears again. They were so beautiful & loveable & deserve so much more than we could give them. We had such a wonderful routine & now it’s gone. Oh I pray that God will heal this giant hole in my heart.As I get up in the morning, I would see their smiling little faces wanting to be fed through the window in the kitchen. Oh how I miss them! God bless you Grizzly & Dallas. I will always, always love you both. I hope you are happy in Monterey, Ca

  215. Dennis says:

    After a lot of carefull consideration and thought I recently surrendered my dog yesterday to an animal rescue organization. I have had my dog for approx. 5-6 years and she was like a daughter to me. My circumstances changed within the last year when I moved back to my home city to be closer to ailing parents. Not only was this a factor but I am also on a disability pension. It literally broke my heart to just think about giving my precious and dearest companion away.
    I had to come to the hard realization that I had a few strong cons that had to be addressed. One was the time I was spending away from home to care for my parents, secondly, I knew no one else in the city who would be able to walk my dog for me in the event I could not do so espcicially since I live in an apartment. Thirdly, my current income level did not allow me to provide adequate vet care for my dog should she need any major care as she is now getting up their in age.
    A friend of mine refered me to an animal rescue organization in my area. After reading all the content on their website I sent an email to them in which they responded by sending me an intake questionaire. I completed this questionaire and sent it back. Whithin 4 days I received a phone call informing me that a foster home is willing to take my dog and that they would like to pick her up the next day.
    I must say since submitting the completed questionaire I woke up in the morning for the next 2 mornings and cried. Since receiving this phone call I was an emotional train wreck. I was asked to meet the new foster parents at 2 p.m. the next day and to bring all of my dogs belongings plus any blankets she slept on to help her with the transition. The next 24 hours were an absolute roller coaster ride for me. I cried, cried, and cried. I don’t think I got much sleep that night as I was even up crying as my dog lay sleeping up against my legs as she always has. When I got up in the morning I took her for her usual morning walk and then fed her breakfast. It was while watching her eat her breakfast that it hit me so hard that I cried uncontrolably realizing that this would be the last meal I would prepare for her. When 11 a.m. came by I realized I only had a couple of more hours to spend with my precious baby (and now I am crying as I write this)to which I picked her up and sat her on the bed and attempted to talk to her by saying she is going to a good home and that I will always always love her and that she will always be in my heart forever. Of course I was balling my eyes out the entire time. I don`t know if she understood what I was saying but she sure licked alot of tears off of my face the entire time. Shortly after that when I semi composed myself once again I began to pack up her things except for the blanket she always slept on that was on the love seat so she would not get anxious herself. When the time came to leave I picked up her blanket and once again started to cry uncontrolably. After which we left. I held her tight the whole time while in the car and tried extremely hard to keep my composure. when we arrived at the meeting place I was presented with the form to sign relinquishing all ownership rights to her. Her new foster parents assured me that she will be in good hands and get all the loving and care she can have and some. They placed her in the back of their vehicle to which she quickly started to sniff around due to other dogs (theirs) being in the car before. I attempted to say goodbye to her as my eyes started to well up but fighting back the tears I kissed her on the head and said good bye.
    Once I arrived back home all I could do was pace from room to room not knowing where to sit or what room I wanted to be in due to the fact that everywhere I looked I seen my baby. This brought me to total devestation on an emotional level. It was 3 hours later I sent the foster parents an email asking how my baby was doing and that I just had to know since this was my first night without her. They quickly responded back saying she was adapting very well so far as she was very good in the car back to their place, sniffed out the entire backyard/house and was now laying down on her blanket I sent with her on the floor next to one of her new foster parent. They also assured me not to worry about her as they promised me that she is is perfectly good hands and will get all the loving and care I would expect her to have. This did help calm me a bit for the rest of the night, however, I still managed to wake up every few hours if that and cry. When I awoke in the morning I walked into the kitchen and immediately broke down crying as I looked the the spot where she ate her meals. Up until noon today I cried so hard on several occassions asking god why? and asking him to please bring her back to me. After I had finaly calmed down enough to rationaly start thinking things over again I told myself that it is because of the true love I had for my dog that I made this decision instead of selfishly keeping her and then watching her suffer in the end due to my inability to provide appropriate medical care as she got older. I also realized that I am getting much needed closure unlike most other people get when they lose a pet or give them up to people they will never communicate with again. I am still able to communicate with her foster parents. I now know for a fact she is being well cared for and loved. It is now this closure that has brought me comfort and peace. I will still be emotional at times as I get past the first wave of grieving her loss in my life.
    I say to anyone who is thinking of surrending their loved pet to please place their interests before yours. Both of you will be the better for it in short time. Yes it is heart wrenching and it will be a painfull process but we must experience the sorrow to see the deeds of our true love.
    I hope this helps anyone who is currently experiencing the same issues. I know it has helped me by writing about my experience.

  216. Lisat says:

    Oh my gosh! When I read this blog you have posted about what to consider if surrendering a pet, I thought Wow, I could have used your advice about 4 years ago. To make a very long, sad story short; I surrendered my dog and still feel guilty about it to this day. The Humane Society made me feel even worse about my decision. Just to warn anyone considering surrendering your pet, they advertise your pet on television as being up for ‘adoption’. So make sure it is a family decision. In my case, our dog ran away from home constantly. I could have thrown a party and filled a 3,000 sq.ft. house with all the kind people who found her on various occasions. The last time she ran away was the last straw for me. Because of this habit and other reasons too numerous to mention,I realized I couldn’t handle her anymore. My children were only with me half the time since the divorce and they refused to walk her or clean up after her. In the end I thought I had made a humane decision praying that someone who had an acreage would take her. To this day, I believe she was put down. I still cry and feel guilty about this…not a proud moment for me. I empathize with anyone who has to make this decision and certainly understand the feeling of being overwhelmed by a pet. They are supposed to bring joy to our lives and when they only bring chaos despite our best efforts, something has gone wrong.

  217. Tiffany says:

    I don’t know what to do. I have a 3.5 month old spaniel maltese mix that my friend gave me a week ago. Butters is still a puppy and I’m trying my best to potty train him but I’m a college student living in an apartment complex that doesn’t allow dogs. So far he’s been good and quiet but I can’t focus on schoolwork cause I’m always so worried about him, whether he’ll poop/pee on the pad…not bite the furniture…not getting the daily walks. I know it’s only been a week but I really do love him a lot. I regret not thinking the decision to keep him thoroughly enough. I know my housemates are getting a little annoyed of the messes he makes and how the pee pad smells. I’m just so stressed because I’m always worrying whether the apartment complex will find out. I’m debating hard about giving him back to my friend so he can find another owner for him. I really don’t want to give him away but I don’t know what to do. It’s making me cry thinking about giving him away, but I know my parents back at home don’t have the time to train him either.

  218. Geri says:

    We gave away our dogs yesterday. It has been a very heart-wrenching decision, one my husband and I struggled with for over a year. The dogs (two males) were the best behaved dogs when we were home, gave them attention, and kept them on a schedule. The problem was we weren’t home, didn’t give them enough attention, didn’t keep them on a schedule and I also started to get more stress than pleasure from them. Even though I loved them both so much, I lived in constant stress about what to do with them. Finally, we found them a home yesterday. The people who adopted them are a beautiful, dog loving couple, with plenty of time and attention to give them. My son, who is 17, was home and able to say a tearful goodbye, and my husband could not even walk the dogs out of the house and into the car of the adoptive owners. I was a wreck last night and a bit more today. Definitely feeling very guilty. On top of that, my older children, who longer live at home, are very upset that they didn’t get to say goodbye. I feel really horrible about that but the new owners said we could visit anytime. I feel really bad about the way they left, and that all of the children didn’t get to say goodbye, even though I know that my dogs will be happier and better cared for with their new owners.

  219. betty says:

    I had a 1 1/2 maltese x dog and we had to give him away today, I have 3 children and my oldest me and my husband cant stop crying we are so saddend by this loss. we never trained him as my kids are 8.9.10 and we had no time and he was always in the backyard barking and feeling lonely as we had no time to walk him or play with him as my children do so many activities, my husband works long hours and I just could get around to being with him. we feel so sad for our daughter which is so sad she wont stop crying will she get over this? im not sure if we made the right decsion. but it is not right to keep our dog just for a 10 min play with my daughter that he was having. he looked sad every time i looked in his eyes :(( did we make the right decsion my daughter how will she take this loss?

  220. Sequoia says:

    I’m thinking of giving up my dog Sequoia, she’s 2. I really really love her a lot. She’s my best friend in the whole world and she’s all I have. I’ve had her since she was 3months.
    I travel a lot, I haven’t stayed anywhere longer than three months at a time and she’s been on the road with me since she was 5 months. I feel like its not fair to her, that she doesn’t have stability. I wander, I feel like I’m lost and I’m just caught in limbo constantly moving never stopping to make friends, to get to know anyone. I’m just constantly moving. Its not fair to her, she’s so happy when we stop and she gets to know people and she gets so happy when she sees them, then they’re gone. She goes with me everywhere. I hardly ever leave her at home, I used to walk 2hours out of the way so I could take her with me. I found a job that lets me take her to work. She’s happier waiting outside of a building than waiting inside a house. My old roommate took her for a walk to the park offleash and she ran to my work and decided she was going to wait there until I got off. She’s all I have and love her so much. All I want for her is to be happy and the best for her. People tell me they’re happier with you than without you. That they are just happy to be with you. I don’t know if I believe that, I have friends who take their dogs out twice a day and just to the park across the street for ten minutes. The rest of the time they are inside all day. I have other friends who only take their dogs out to go potty and thats it. Are dogs really happy being inside all day? I can’t even stand being inside anytime. I mean I guess for an animal whose never known something they don’t know what their missing out on. But if you take a dog whose always been inside its whole life and send it to a farm with a nice old man. Are they really going to be just as happy as they were with their old owners or happier? Are dogs happy with owners who beat them, or can’t afford to buy them medicine if they have bladder infections or flees or other physical ailments. Are dogs happy being locked up all day in a cage (kennel) or a bigger cage (house) just to wait for their owners to get home, so they’re with their owners.
    I’ve always tried to give Sequoia everything she needed. We are always outside and she goes with me everywhere, she gets vet food that costs me $130 every month, I buy her toys and treats when I can and I brush her as much as she’ll allow me to. I used to take her to the dog parks everyday until she started becoming a little bit of a bully. Which I think is because I’m unstable. Its my fault she lacks the necessary social skills and I can’t help feeling like she needs a family. A real pack, not just a girl and a dog. She’s seem so happy when she has a family, when we stop and we make friends, she’s so happy. She gets a bounce to her and then its just her and I again. Suddenly its like she’s working, play time isn’t there anymore.
    Sequoia was raised in the mountains and she’s seen from B.C to Newfoundland. She’s spent two years of her life constantly outside, free. I’m young, I’m thinking I am too young to have a dog I’m only twenty. I can’t even settle down. I’m thinking about going to university and then am I going to leave her at home for 10 hours in the day. I can’t do that to her, but I give up so much to have her because I’d rather have her than have nothing. I refuse to get a full time job so I can spend time with her and she’s not by herself 9 hours in the day.
    I just don’t know what to do. She’s needs a family and stability and to learn socialization in an environment that isn’t constantly changing and even though I want to give her everything she needs. I just can’t provide that for her. I feel like I’m failing her as an owner.
    Her aggression is getting worse now and because of her breed once they hit 2 they start developing their natural instincts. Which means the problem must be dealt with and worked with now and continuesly worked with until she gets better socialized.I konw she’s a good dog and she just needs a chance to learn and continuesly work to improve. But how can we work towards it when we don’t even see the same vet twice. I just want to give her the best chance to live. She won’t be happy if she’s stuck on a leash her whole life because she can’t play nice with other dogs. She’d be happy on a farm with other dogs where they can form a pack. But I just don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m being selfish because I love her and she’s all I have. I know that she’ll eventually adapt if I do give her away and I’m hoping she’ll forget about me. But what if it ends up being not good for her. I’m sorry this is so long. I’m just confused and unsure. I’m like Chris from Into the Wild who realizes at the end of his life that the thing that mattered more than anything was love and sharing love with everyone around you. Except I’m a girl and not sure if I want to give up the one thing that matters to me so she can have a better chance.

  221. Kristin Weekley says:

    I do a large amount of dog rescue. Before returning your dog, especially to a county shelter, please keep in mind that 4 million dogs are euthanized in the US. If you are looking a rehoming to a family, be sure that you charge animal adoption fee so that your dog doesn’t go to someone who wants to use the dog as a bait dog for dogfighting or sell it to a research lab ( this happens!!). Also follow up with the dog for several months with a couple visits. When adopting a dog, do research on various breeds and be prepared for 15 year commitment that will cost 25k over it’s lifetime. Most dogs DO NOT make it out of shelters alive and those that do don’t end up in good homes. Reach out to your Local rescue groups for help ad guidance and always get some support when training your dog. Dogs need walks if they are larger than 15lbs- at least an hour a day. If you aren’t up for that you can always get a cat or a fish, etc.

  222. Dear Fernando,

    That’s awful. I remember my dog Jazz crying and yelping when she had to go back to her cage – it was probably the worst thing I’ve ever heard. Knowing that I caused her pain was terrible.

    So, I know how you feel. I can’t imagine taking my dog back to the SPCA; if she lied down and refused to interact with the staff, my heart would break.

    But, your dog is now no doubt going for walks, eating, and even playing with other dogs! The initial shock of going back to the shelter has probably dissipated, and she’ll adjust to her new home.

    You made the right decision for you and your family — and for her and her puppies! She’ll find the right family. She’ll find people who are so grateful for her, just like I’m so grateful for my new dog!

    I hope you’re feeling better, and welcome you back to vent anytime.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  223. Dear Cici,

    I think you shouldn’t worry about it too much – until you know for sure if you’re getting the job promotion. I agree that it’d be incredibly difficult to keep your dog while traveling to different countries, and the best decision may be to give him away.

    If you do have to give him up, maybe your family isn’t the best option. If they don’t have the time or ability to take care of him, then it’s better to try to find another home.

    Do you know if you got the job promotion?

    Laurie

  224. Fernando says:

    I just got back a while ago from turning my dog to our county shelter. We rescued her from someone who had thrown her away into the fields near our home. We brought her with us, however, we found out that she was pregnant, and although we would have been able to take care of her along with our other two pets, we wouldn’t been able to support any more dogs. She quickly got used to us and on our way to the shelter, she was calm and quiet the whole trip. As if she sensed that something was going to happen. Once I filled and signed the paperwork, I brought her into the office where she just lied on the floor and didn’t want to move or respond to any of the shelter workers. I feel even more bad because at the bottom of the page that I signed, had a disclaimer that said that due to the overpopulation of dogs, some may have to be euthanized. It didn’t dawn on me until now and I wish I could call them and ask if it could be possible to take the dog back.

    I’m using this entry to vent, but I do feel terrible because the dog did look scared from the moment we left the house, but her being pregnant was going to make things difficult for my family.

  225. cici says:

    I am thinking about giving my dog away. I got him when he was 2.5 months old and is now 8months old. The only reason I feel I should is because I’m a potential for this job promotion that requires me to travel for a year to other countries. I feel terrible and I would rather just leave him at home with family, but I’m not sure if they would even care for that responsibility. I want to bring him but know that it’s probably not a very good idea. I would rather do anything than bear the idea of having to give him up.
    Any advice?

  226. Dear Kelly,

    Thank you for sharing your story – what a scary experience, being in the middle of a dog fight like that!

    It’s great to hear from someone who has worked at a humane organization. My husband felt very judged by the SPCA staff when we took our dog back, but I didn’t notice because I was crying my eyes out. Maybe I felt like I deserved their judgment. But, returning a dog is NOT a sign that you’re a bad, inept, irresponsible, or immoral person!

    Aggression and biting are serious warning signs. If they’re ignored, the problem will get worse – and the solution won’t be as simple as taking the dog back to the humane society.

    Thanks again for commenting; it’s great to hear from you.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  227. Dear Ame,

    I’m so sorry you had to give Bruce away (that’s my husband’s name, so my heart is extra soft for you!).

    A good mom makes sacrifices for her kids, even when those sacrifices are painful. You’ve made one of your first sacrifices for your baby – and that’s a good thing.

    After I gave our dog Jazz away, I cried 3 times a day for a week — and I wasn’t even pregnant and riddled with hormones! It’s normal to mourn the fact that your dog isn’t at home with you. I cried about Jazz for a full month. Every day I shed tears, but they became fewer and fewer. It took a month to stop crying. I still feel terrible about it, but I KNOW I made the right decision to give her away.

    You made the right decision to give Bruce away – you have to put your baby first.

    I know he’ll be okay, because we adopted another dog five months ago. She was in 2 other homes before ours, and bonded to us immediately and loves us to pieces. Dogs are flexible, loving creatures who have room in their hearts for more than one owner. Bruce no doubt misses you, but he’s having the time of his life with his new family! He’s got kids to play with and more people to love and take care of him.

    Regret is a normal feeling, but it doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision. Your regret and sadness are signs that you’re a loving mom who wants the best for her kids and creatures.

    Let yourself mourn and say good-bye to Bruce with tears and memories. He’ll be fine – he’s already fine. And, start focusing on the joy and happiness that your baby will bring! After all, that’s what life is: bittersweet.

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best with your new baby.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  228. Dear Leila,

    I don’t think you’re overreacting! Giving away your dog is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. But you have to remember that you’re putting her best interests first. She needs to be in a home with people who have time to take care of her properly.

    Dogs have SO MUCH love to give — she will love and miss you, and can still love her new owners with all her heart! She is learning that there is lots of love in the world. When she sees you, she’ll be so happy…and so will you, because you’ll know you made the right decision.

    No matter what I say or how much you know you made the right decision, you’ll still feel sad that you gave Lilo away. The sadness doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision, or that you’re overreacting. It just means that you’re human, and you love your dog so much.

    Lilo is happy, and her owners are happy. Keep reminding yourself that you made the right decision to give her away. Let yourself feel sad, and get ready to meet her again with joy, love, and peace in your heart.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  229. Ame says:

    Dear Laurie,
    I’m suffering this morning after giving our precious weimarainer Bruce to a new family last night. I felt some comfort reading some of your letters and advice.
    My husband and I are expecting our first baby in March and have been concerned about Bruces energy level and bad behaviors for some time now. We found a loving family of four to be Bruces new family but I cannot stop crying and regretting our decision ( my heart hurts, but my head says its for the best ). Bruce is a little over 1 year and we have had him since he was 10 weeks old. He and I were very attached to each other, will he be ok?

  230. leila says:

    i gave my three months old beagle lilo away three days ago!!!i have been so sad ever since…. i feel so guilty!!!!8 months ago i lost my dog suddenly at the age of 5 and I was so shocked and heartbroken for months!!i was planning to move to italy with her but she just died!!!so now i have moved to italy two months ago and after a month i got lilo!!!she was the cutest puppy ever, but i couldn’t keep her because you see, i am here to study and i have classes every day from 9 in the morning until 7 and i had no one to look after her!!! so i had her for a month and just before my classes started i decided to give her away… it took me two weeks to decide!!!and it was the saddest decision i have ever made!!!i could not even go and give her to her new owner my boyfriend did!!!i live in florence now …. as you may know it is a very small town and the woman i gave lilo to lives near my university!!now every day i am scared to see lilo!!!! i realy dont want to see her until i am ready…. i don’t know what to do if i see her.. i am going crazy!!!!i feel like i betrayed her:(!!!!i wish she is not sad!!!i can not even look at her pictures!!!do you think it is normal for me to be like this or am i over reacting???

  231. Kelly says:

    I used to work at a Humane Society and I remember how the people who brought dogs in would be judged by the staff therefore when we had aggression issues with the dog we adopted I didn’t feel that I could bring her back. I was staff and felt that I was being held to higher standards. We have had this wonderful dog for 3 years, as well as another we adopted right before her. We already had 2 dogs in the house when we adopted. Unfortunately the aggression is a constant issue. Yesterday a fight broke out and I had no one to help me. I was holding the two dogs by their collars and I had another dog barking behind me and the 4th dog ready to fight back if I let go of either of the dogs I was struggling with. Earlier this year one of the littler dogs had her leg bitten when she was attacked by one of the adopted dogs and it’s just so scarey when they get into attack mode. So, after the fight yesterday I have made the heartwrenching decision to bring the two dogs back to the Humane Society (where I no longer work). They are my babies and after 3 years we have bonded. They have issues (one has fear aggression towards strangers and the other will attack if a dog is in her space)and I know the one with fear aggression is going to be terrified at the humane society but maybe they will put the two dogs together so it will ease the anxiety. Thanks for posting your experience with returning your adopted dog and everyone else for leaving comments. It really does help to know there are others out there who feel the same as I do.

  232. Fefe says:

    Thank you Laurie. I really appreciate your reply :) I’m starting to feel a little better, and rather than feeling sad and depressed I’m reminiscing on the good times!

    God Bless!

  233. Sarah says:

    I just got a five week old puppy two days ago. And well I kinda freaked out because I had no money, and no yard, and basically he wouldn’t have had the best life. I gave him to the local humane society which was so hard. Now I feel so much guilt. I just hope someone good will adopt him and give him the life he deserves. Everyone keeps telling me puppies never last long in the shelter as everyone wants to adopt puppies, but I still have my doubts. I just feel like such a terrible person =(

  234. Dear Fefe,

    I’m so sorry you had to give your dog away. You and your family are now grieving your loss…and even though you couldn’t handle Snoopy, you have every right to mourn the fact that he’s no longer with you!

    It’s an awful decision to make, and the grief is just as heavy as if your dog had suddenly died. Deciding to give your dog away doesn’t make the loss lighter or the pain easier to bear.

    Let yourself cry and mourn your loss. It took me 3 weeks to stop crying about giving our dog Jazz away! But eventually you will heal and feel better…and you will know that you gave your dog away because it was the best thing for him. He is no doubt loving his new home, and very happy there!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  235. Fefe says:

    I had a 6 and a half month old beagle (Snoopy) that my family had to give away yesterday. Financially and emotionally we just couldn’t care for him. He was a very high-energy dog and loved to play and because of our busy schedules he was in the kennel the majority of the day which wasn’t fair. My parents found great new owners for him yesterday and my dog seemed to love them! However, today I feel really sad and can’t stop crying. It just breaks my heart to think that I will probably never see him again :( I just want him to be happy (which I’m sure he is), but it still really hurts. We only had him for 3 months but I feel like he was a part of the family. The atmosphere in my house has changed…my brothers seem very quiet and reserved and I can tell my parents are hurting too. I just hope we can get through this, and it helps to have read the other posts. Makes me feel like i’m not alone! I just hope Snoopy is okay…

  236. Dear Sarah,

    I’m sorry you had to give your dog away – it’s so heartbreaking even when it’s the right decision! I compare it to getting a divorce: you hate to do it and it rips your heart out, but it’s sometimes the only way to survive.

    I wish you all the best as you heal — and remember that your Maltese will be happy in his new home! We adopted a new dog, and she’s SO happy with us. She was happy in her last home, and she’s happy with us. Dogs are happy creatures :-) it’s us who struggle with guilt, indecision, regret, and fear we made the wrong decision.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  237. Sarah says:

    Hi,

    I gave my Maltese away today. I can’t stop crying. Unfortunately it became physically draining for me and my fiance only because both of us have full time jobs. We weren’t able to give him the love and attention he required and made the decision to give him away. Not only that, we didn’t have time to potty train him either since we bought him when he was just a puppy, so with that, we always had some kind of mess to clean up. After I saw the other woman taking him away, he gave me the most saddest look that tore my heart to shreds. I’m so tempted to call her back and ask if we can take him back from her. But I know once I bring him back we will once again deal with the same issues we had before…not being able to give him the attention he so desperately desires. He was such a lovely and loyal dog. I just hope these feelings will fade over time, but I don’t know how I will ever forget him. :( He’s irreplaceable.

  238. Dear Natasha,

    I’m so sorry you had to give your dog away – it’s especially painful when it’s because of your neighbor, not you. My heart goes out to you…I’m sure you made the right decision. If your dog is in danger because of the neighbor, then you can’t keep him! You’re protecting him by giving him a new home to live in.

    But even though you gave him away for a good reason, it still hurts like hell, doesn’t it? I know :-(

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  239. natasha says:

    We just gave our dog away yesterday and I have not been able to stop crying since! I just keep looking out the back window and not seeing him upsets me!he is a basset hound we have had him for almost 3 years. We moved to a new home and our neighbor has threatened to hurt him and lately we noticed he’s been coming outside and screaming at him because of his barking,we have tryed bringing him inside but he likes to mark is territory in every corner and wall in our new house.we gave him to a family who lives on a chicken farm and has a lot of land for him to run and a female basset hound the same age as miles! I know he is better off there then in our small yard with a grouchy neighbor but I just don’t know if we made that right decision! I just keep wanting to call the ppl we gave him to and ask for him back. I’m just so upset over this!

  240. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Giving your dog away is SO painful, even when it’s the right decision!

  241. chantelle says:

    Hi, I’m sorry everyone is having a hard time with their dog(s). I have gone through giving dogs away, I have a huge heart and that is my down fall. I had 3 dogs at one point, and one had bitting potential which she did bite a child, so for the safety of my children I gave her away to a home with no chance of children around. I am down to 2 and my big one, who is a greyhound Siberian husky X has tons of energy and we adopted her from the SPCA a year and a half ago. She is super sweet and love able but supper excited and rambunctious. She is 2 1/2 yrs old and I take her for walks and play with her and it seems never enough. I have had dog training through brad patterson’s group at the end of my leash and its not enough… I have 3 small children, 4, 2 1/2 and 4 months. Now this dog is one big ball of energy and I can never do enough, she constantly escapes our yard and we have stopped her everyway and now has started scaling our fence to get out. I can get her back no problem, but she is now scaring me being out on the streets, cuz if she sees anyone with hats she barks crazy and I don’t know if she would actually bite. She has learnt lots from her training but keeping her in the yard and her barking at strangers concern me. Please help. If I give her away, then ill be down to one dog which is just fine but the spca won’t take her back unless I take a different dog out. I love her so much but have to not only think of my kids, safety of strangers and her. I can’t even take her camping because she wiLl take off.
    Sincerely
    Chantelle

  242. Jody says:

    Thank you for writing this piece..I have been looking for something online to make me feel better and your writing was the only one that did!

    We gave away our rescue dog last week (only had her for 6 weeks). Something I never, never thought I would do – and I do have regrets, major sadness & guilt…it has been so hard. We loved her. We hope we made the right decision and I hope someday I can forgive myself for what we did.

    As you’ve said, the most important thing to remember is truly educate yourself on what type/breed of dog would work best for you…few people do that (including myself) and I think dog owners & shelter/rescue staff need to BOTH focus on the importance of finding a dog that will fit well with the individual or family simply seeking a canine friend to love.

    I, too, fear trying again for another dog someday…your story gives me hope!

    Thank you!

  243. Helen says:

    I had to give away my two dogs a few years ago, and I’ve never fully recovered! There were many reasons, but the two biggest were my husband deciding to go back to college, coupled with an unexpected twin pregnancy! Financially, physically, and emotionally, we were too drained to keep them, plus I wasn’t comfortable with two big energetic dogs (that were strong enough to accidentally injure adults) around two small infants.
    I did re-home them both with wonderful families and I spent about 5 months making sure they were going to good homes, but it was still very sad, especially as they had to be separated.
    My husband is finished college now, and the twins are three and LOVE dogs, so we’ve gotten a new (much smaller) dog that they adore, and that is much easier to handle, but sometimes I still miss my two big mutts!

  244. Dear Christine,

    I am so very sorry for what you are going through. Giving your dog away is not an easy decision, even when you know it’s the right one! I compare it to getting a divorce…you absolutely hate to do it and you know how devastating it is for everyone involved, but you just can’t live with your partner any more.

    Taking care of a dog with health problems is emotionally, physically, and financially draining. I totally understand, and hope you’re at peace with your decision.

    If you’d like to share how your day went, I’m here! I vividly recall taking Jazz back to the SPCA :-( I never want to live through anything like that again, and my heart goes out to you.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  245. Christine says:

    Laurie,

    Thank you for posting this article. I have not been able to forgive myself for making the decision to surrender our dog back to the rescue group from whom we adopted him just 3 and a half months ago. He had developed so many health problems that we were overwhelmed both emotionally and financially. He is an absolute sweet dog, and my heart is broken over having to say good bye to him, but I know this is the best decision for him. I think it is selfish of people to look down on those of us who have had to make such a heartbreaking decision, and I would challenge anyone who has spent in excess of $3100 in 3 months for the healthcare of their pet to not feel the same way.

    The rescue group is coming tomorrow to pick up our dog. I am in tears and so sad to have to do this. It is a decision I never thought I’d have to make. Even though I keep telling myself this is for the better, I feel so low.

    Thank you again for sharing your story and for letting those of us who have felt the pain of letting go of our beloved pets a place to share our stories.

  246. Dear Alex,

    I feel for you — what a terrible decision to have to make! I’ve had to make a similar decision when I moved to Africa. I had to give up my cat, and it was so sad.

    I wrote this article for you, which lists a few options to consider:

    Can’t Take Care of Your Dog Anymore? Help for Pet Owners

    I hope it helps, and welcome your thoughts there or here. Please let me know what you decide about whether or not to give your dog away.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  247. Alex says:

    Hi, I dont know what to do. I have a two years old juck russell terier called Mailo. He is the best dog ever, friendly, well trained, full of energy but not too full :)
    I am going to start higher education this year and I dont know if I should take him with me or give him away. He spent with me last two years, 24h, 7 days a week, he is working with me in a riding school. I would love to take him with me but I dont know if I will have enough time for him at Uni. Uni plus work and time to do homework and extra study…is there any place for dog. I am thinking about that from weeks and weeks and I know I wont be able to do this on my own, I dont want to give him away but I dont want to make him unhappy by keeping him all day at home on his own. He used run around the yard all day long. I love him, he was always there for me when I was alone. But I want to make responsible decision. I could sent him to kennel every day and keep him but is that a good option for a dog? He loves people, other dogs but is very quiet and sad at work when I leave him with my friends for a day. But if I gonna give him away, will he survive? He wont understand why I left him… :( What should I do?

  248. Dear Claud,

    Thank you for sharing your experience of giving your dog Harvey away. My mom gave my dog Frisky away when I was 12 because we couldn’t look after her…even though she didn’t live with us (she lived with my aunt and cousin), she was ALWAYS my dog. Harvey will always be your dog, too, my friend.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  249. Dear Des,

    I’m sorry you have to give your dog away. It is heartbreaking…but it sounds like you’re doing the right thing for you and all your dogs. It hurts so much, I know. The pain will fade, and you will see more clearly that you made the right decision.

    May you feel better soon,
    Laurie

  250. Claud says:

    I have to give away my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to my grandma’s friend’s becuase my mum doesn’t like dogs, so he stays at my grans, but she took over a pub with no garden and I have become allergic to him and it flares up my eczma and asthma. I love Harvey so much and I have had him for four years and I suppose I can visit him but he won’t really be mine anymore.

  251. Des says:

    I give away my dog to our friend so we have chance too see him. I could not sleep and i cried. I feel so heartbroken. I love him so much.

    I got 3 small dogs. So hard to look all after them.. Should i really have to give him away. im devastate.. seems like its alwsys wrong to give away my puppy. My dog loves me

  252. You’re welcome, Lorraine. I hope you’re doing well…and that you’ve forgiven yourself and healed after giving your dog away…

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  253. Lorraine says:

    Laurie,
    Thank you so much for your kind words and support.

  254. Dear Lorraine,

    My heart goes out to you — I know how you feel! But, I don’t have a child, and I believe children should come first. Of course you need to spend time with your son…you love your dog, but your son is your flesh and blood.

    I think you made the right decision for both your family and your dog. In the long run, everyone will be happier, more cared for, and more peaceful.

    It’s the short term that brings us the most pain! You’re mourning and grieving the loss of your dog, and you feel guilty. That’s NORMAL. You loved your dog, and you only gave him away because you had to.

    Sometimes the right decisions – the best decisions – cause us the most pain. Just because it hurts so much, doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right thing to do.

    I’m sure Rudy is settling into his new home. He probably does miss you…but you have to remember that he is being loved, cared for, snuggled, fed, and walked. He is happy. He’ll enjoy his foster home, and he’ll find the right family to love him, and give him the time and attention he needs.

    I don’t know how dogs feel, as compared to humans. I don’t think they experience the same complexity of emotions as we do…but I just don’t know.

    There is a book about how dogs think, called How Dogs Think. You might want to give that a read…but I don’t know if it’ll give you the answers you’re looking for.

    I wish you all the best…I hope your heart heals, you forgive yourself, and that you realize that you made the best decision for everyone in the long run.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  255. Lorraine says:

    Hi Laurie,
    I also just came across this post after googling the pain and guilt i feel.I just had to give up my 5 year old Pug, its been 2 days and i can’t stop crying. I feel so guilty and keep asking myself if i did the right thing. I had Rudy(my dog)since he was 14 weeks old. I treated him as if he was my child. i instantly fell in love. he was my first pet, i moved out into an apartment for the first time and thought i was ready for my own dog. that was 5 years ago, since then i got married, bought a house and had a baby. Rudy through the years somewhat adjusted to the changes, however certain problems arose when we bought our home. Rudy began marking/peeing in the house. My husband and i bought a fixer upper and we did all the work ourselves so everything in the house is brand new and everytime rudy would mark in the house my husband and i would get really uspet. i just figured he was marking his new territory. Then after i had my son it just got worse. My poor Rudy just wasn’t getting any attention any more.Taking care of my baby just consumed every minute of my time. I also work full time and when i get home from work i would only have a few hours to spend time with my son before his bed time. Rudy would just sit in his crate all day, no one to play with him or even just someone to cuddle with. At night after i put my son to sleep i would try to play with rudy a lil bit or even just let him sit on my lap for a lil while before i ended up falling asleep. But thats not fair to Rudy, he had no quality of life. it breaks my heart.Plus we want to have another baby soon so i know it would even take up more of my time. Also not long after my son came along Rudy started having severe allergy symptoms. i brought him to numerous vets and finally a specialist and they told me he had to be kept medicated and on a special diet to control his skin allergies. the medication helped and Rudy’s allergies have subsided but the medication and vet visits just became way too expensive. We just cant afford rudies vet bills and meds along with all of our other bills. Bottom line is i just want my Rudy to be happy and with a family who will give him the attention he deserves. he is such a good dog. I am so upset and i just hope i did the right thing. I am trying to find out how dogs react to something like this. Is he really going to be ok once placed with a new family? do dogs feel like humans do? i just want to know if he feels like i abandoned him. his foster mom is really nice and even let rudy sleep in her bed so i know he must love that. i really miss him so much :(

  256. Dylan says:

    I had to give away my jack russell terrior that i got when he was 5 weeks old. we bonded straight away . he would sleep in my room and wouldnt leave until i got up. We Went Everywere Together I Trained Him Everything I Never Loved Someone So Much . I Had to give Him away because we got a notice from our landlord saying if we didnt give him away we would get evicted. its been 2 months and the longer were apart the more depressed i get. love him soo much

  257. Dear Allyn,

    Thanks for sharing your story of giving your dog away. It’s SO difficult, isn’t it? But sometimes things are the right decision, even if they rip our heart to pieces.

    I hope you come to remember your dog with love, peace and joy…and know you made the best decision you could.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  258. Allyn says:

    I miss my Jug(JRT/Pug mix) SO MUCH!!! For breakfast we had hard boiled eggs, my husband usually never eats the yolk but there is no dog to share it with. The house feels a little empty and quieter than normal. He was such an awesome dog and my kids just enjoy him… My landlord didn’t want us having a dog and we have only had him for over a year and he still just a puppy. Yes he destroyed the screen door, yes he destroyed the carpet, he chew almost anything new but he is a puppy. Those can be replaced, but it seems like nothing will could ever replace him. I would have been more eager to train him better the longer he would’ve been with us but my landlord gave us an ultimatum. But thinking with all my schedule and that of my husbands, it just no fair for my dog to not be given equal opportunity to have his walks. We will miss him for he is our very first family dog. We gave our dog away to a family that has older kids and I believe that he will be given more attention that he so much deserves. I never really liked dogs that much before but after having him, I really love that dog.

  259. Vicki,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s amazing how similar our circumstances are! We’re not alone, are we.

    After almost seven months, I still feel terrible for giving our dog away. My husband insists we did the right thing, and deep down I know we did. But I still miss her and wish I could have given her what she needed.

    Another huge lesson is the importance of choosing the right dog — one that suits your personality, lifestyle, and family! We had no idea how important it is to find the right dog.

    I wish you all the best as you heal and let go of the negative parts of this experience. May you forgive yourself, and accept that you did the best you could.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  260. Vicki says:

    Hi Laurie

    I have just stumbled upon this post when googling about the guilt, sadness and depression I feel after having to surrender my border x kelpie 10 month old pup two weeks ago (like your Jazz, a very large “pup”). I adopted him from a rescue centre in the country and brought him to our home in the suburbs when he was 7 months old. Lots of behavioural issues surfaced a few weeks into it, including lunging and lurching at other dogs while out walking – not in aggression but just wanting to socialise and play. He was extremely reactive when out walking, particularly around other dogs, and consequently pulled me over several times, resulting in injuries to my shoulder, knee and thigh (all on separate occasions!). I have spent thousands of dollars on a behaviouralist, three different trainers, a boarding and training program and new fencing, as well as medical expenses – a whole other issue (hip dysplasia)that required surgery further on down the track. Like you, our house and garden just proved too small for this active boy. Like you, I work from a home office and could not concentrate on my business or clients with Bo’s constant and insatiable need for my attention. In fact, if I left him for any length of time (we are talking about an hour!), he would dig up the garden or trash the house with separation anxiety. I have had dogs all my life and have had high energy breeds but I just couldn’t cope with this boy – I was developing anxiety, waking up in the middle of the night, worried about how I was going to deal with the next day – my work and family commitments as well as exercising, training and mentally stimulating Bo – I just couldn’t seem to meet those needs though I worked myself physically and mentally to a state of exhaustion. At breaking point, I sent him back to the foster carer at the rescue centre and have cried for two weeks straight – while I can put my hand on my heart, knowing I did MY personal best for him, the guilt, the worry about him finding a suitable new home (or worse), of it successfully working out (if he doesn’t end up with an experienced dog handler I can predict the outcome) is devastating for me. Like you, I have been tempted to drive the 8 hours and go bring him home but realistically, I would probably end up back where I was before and potentially spoil his opportunity of finding a better, more suitable home. I miss him, love him and feel terrible shame for having failed this beautiful dog. I wish I could have held out for another year or two until he matured and quietened down but I was against a wall after 3 months. People have preconceived notions about people who surrender their dogs – I have no doubt that there are people who see their pets as disposable and feel no remorse in giving them up. If you’d ever told me I would be capable of giving up my dog, I’d have told you that you didn’t know me too well. It’s taught me a valuable lesson about judgement – until you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes you really don’t know. My sympathies to everyone here – my heart goes out to you all.

  261. Thanks for your comment, Andrea. I’m thinking about getting another dog that requires less attention and care — and one that I can handle physically! It’s good to hear that you did it…even though you miss your first dog…some animals just burrow right into our hearts and souls.

    n.e., I sometimes think I was selfish for giving my dog away. And, even after six months, I’m still in pain. But we made the best decision for us, and it’s not up to you to judge.

  262. n.e. says:

    Selfish. Wow.

  263. Andrea says:

    I feel your pain. I had to give a puppy away that I loved so much, but I did not have time, energy, nor the health to be worrying with training a puppy and keep up with him. Oh my little Cody. I decided to get an older dog instead who does not destroy the house and is easier for me to keep up with. I lover her too, but something special came out of Cody for me.

  264. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Cathy,

    I’m so sorry to hear how bad you feel after giving your dog away! I feel exactly the same way, and it’s been a month since I let our dog go.

    It’s horrible — I, too, drive down the road and see me and her walking everywhere. I cried every day for two weeks — sometimes two or three times a day. I even went back to the SPCA to see her and talk about bringing her back home. But, she really needs a home that is better suited to her. I can’t give her the attention, time, and training she needs.

    There is no way to make the pain of giving your dog away go away, except to wait for time to pass. It DOES get better, but it takes awhile. After a month, I still feel bad, but at least I’ve stopped crying.

    Our dog has been adopted into a new home, and it’s a better place for her. She’s getting better care and attention where she is. I know we made the right decision.

    Keep reminding yourself why you gave her away, and how much better it’ll be in the long run. It’s horrible — I had no idea how painful it would be — but it’s the best decision. You made this decision for a reason, my friend.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  265. Cathy says:

    I just gave my dog away yesterday and I have been so depressed and sad since she left. I would drive in my car and remember our time together. I am regretting every moment of it. I know that she is in a better home now. I am trying to coupe in so many ways but every minute of the day I think of her all the time. It’s so hard. So whoever is reading this if you ever decide to give your dog away remember you will miss them everyday. I miss my dog and just thinking of her I CRy.

  266. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Marianne,

    Wow — your dog sounds like a handful! It’s such a difficult decision, whether to give a dog away for his own good and for the good of your neighbors.

    One possible option is a doggy daycare, or a dog walker to come in at lunch and give him some exercise. Tired dogs are much easier to handle — and much quieter — than energetic dogs! Or, maybe there’s a special dog collar that can stop him from barking.

    You might also call a dog obedience trainer, and ask if there’s anything you can do for Jack Russels in particular. Maybe there’s a certain dog toy or something you can do to get him to stop barking during the day.

    I wish you all the best as you make this decision — it’s definitely not an easy one!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  267. Marianne says:

    I have a 3 year old Jack Russel who has more energy than you could possibly imagine. He has jumped fences, got hit by a car, and manipulated the power windows and jumped out. Now I live in a 4 plex and the person below me often works graveyards. They complain that my dogs bark for hours. Indie, the JR, looks out the window, barks, then gets my 8 year old mid sized mutt barking and then he continues to egg her on until she is howling. I got him a kennel to sleep in while I am away. I feel bad that he is in a kennel to stop the barking. And then a lady with 2 older JR’s came to me and said she would take him. Now I have to make a decision. He cuddles with me at night

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>