Rehoming Our Dog Was The Right Decision, But I Knew We Would Be Harshly Judged

I adopted a dog earlier this year. I've wanted it for years and spent months trying to find the perfect dog for my family. Saw cutest dog through a local rescue that I followed on social media. Its previous owners, who had it since he was a puppy, couldn't keep it. He has a sweet old man's face and the most soulful brown eyes. We got it, but unfortunately we weren't home forever. Rehoming a dog isn't enough what we're talking about, but sometimes it's the only right thing for a family and their pet.
I met someone a few weeks after Hank's arrival and we started dating. She would sleep with me, but I couldn't be with her for more than a few hours because the dog would make himself sick. Separation anxiety is normal in pets, especially in a new home. They say it takes a rescue dog three months to really feel at home. It was only two months so I knew we had time. During that time it got better and we were all pretty happy. He would sleep in bed with my son or me. We had lots of cuddles and abdominal massages.
My friend lost her job because of COVID. In the summer she moved in with me with her two cats. She has had the cats for six years, but because she came into our room we agreed that the cats' rehabilitation would take place before the dog. If and only if the merger of our furry families proved unsafe. I could never do this to Hank again - everyone had to adapt. And it actually went surprisingly well. The cats were slowly warming up and the dog seemed perfectly satisfied.
Things soon began to change. The dog became sluggish and more stubborn than normal. The vet confirmed he was fine, but he had been through so much and was now going through another transition. Sudden changes are a lot for humans, including a dog, of course.
But he was our dog - he was family. I was confident that we could help him solve his problems and that we could all live together peacefully.
Then, on a trip to see the family out of state, things went really wrong. Hank is a cute dog, but he has some problems with other dogs. That is why its previous owners took it in. His aggression was usually nothing more than a warning growl or bark. But during our trip, his constant opposition to her dog was too much. His behavior caused fear and distress to my son.
I hadn't given the dog anything but love, patience, and grace since we got him. He deserves it. But the aggression with other dogs on the walks, his stubbornness, all of that in addition to work from home and distance learning, became overwhelming. It was affecting my sanity now too. Even with my fear, it still seemed wrong to rehoming him. You don't do this to your pet. Once you commit to them, they are yours forever. We couldn't just get rid of him because of his challenges. This is a subject that I had very strong and firm feelings about. But I had never been in a situation like this before.
One night Hank crawled into my lap and looked at me with his big brown eyes. And that's when I saw it.
Hank wasn't happy. There was nothing but sadness in his eyes, and I knew we had to think hard about taking him back. Of course, I still didn't want to, but slowly I realized we had to. Because if we didn't do something soon, there could be no recovery for him. And he's such a good dog that he deserves to be where he'll be happy. He needed a home with his own garden and space to run and play. Our cramped studio apartment in the city did not meet his needs, even with several daily walks.
As much as we wanted it to work, our family shouldn't be home forever. There were many tears and sleepless nights when I came to this conclusion.
Rehoming a dog is not easy. Since he's a rescue dog, we can't do this alone. Writing the email to the rescue manager is one of the hardest things I've done this year. He was a family and I sent him away. My stomach was knotted when I retyped the email. In it I gave every detail of the past few months. When we took him to the vet because I thought he was scared, he was diagnosed with allergies. I described the barking and aggression with other dogs and their relationship to my son's fear. In the end, I emphasized that we didn't take him in because he was a bad dog. But our house wasn't right for him.
After weeks of to and fro with the rescue, Hank's rehabilitation had become a reality. They had found a family that wanted him and wanted to arrange a meeting. Unfortunately, they scheduled it for my son's 7th birthday and made it clear that this is our only option. My son cried every time we talked about it. I didn't want him to spend his birthday which was already a disappointment because of the pandemic and said goodbye to his dog. But we didn't have a choice. We need to get to know its new owners and they are perfect. It was hard to say goodbye, but we knew he would be so much happier.
This is the first time I have spoken about it with someone close to me. Rehoming your dog isn't exactly the kind of advertisement. A big part of my inner struggle was how others would see and judge me. I knew the judgment would be quick and harsh. I'm not a bad person, but it may seem that way. Trust me when I say nobody wanted it to work more than me. I loved our dog, but I also knew that I couldn't help him. Sometimes you need to know when you are doing the right thing. I couldn't hold the dog for fear of what others would think of me. That would be selfish. That wouldn't put the dog's needs first.
It's never easy, but sometimes it's the right decision. Hank is super happy with his new family. You have a large garden and a pool. We are in contact and they invited us for a future visit. We look forward to seeing him again. We have no plans to add another dog to our family.
Rehabilitation of a dog is not the right decision for everyone. It's hard and emotional. But sometimes it's best for everyone involved. Only you know what is best for your family, despite the judgment it might bring.
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