Are you a foster dog parent?
Or a previous owner who can’t get over rehoming your pet?
Rehoming a pet is a difficult decision, not to mention a sacrifice, and there are lots of factors to consider before making such a tough decision.
Truth be told, we all have our reasons, and they’re all valid.
But one thing is certain, we have to prepare ourselves on how to deal with the emotional impact of losing our pet.
But before we dive into it all, let’s talk about why we do it.
Or should we?
Common reasons for rehoming a dog
Life happens, and whether we like it or not, there are life circumstances that provoke pet owners to give up their dogs and seek help for rehoming.
1. Your dog has shown signs of aggression and other behavioral issues – Bad news, if you don’t pay enough attention to your dog, they may develop difficult behaviors that are hard to correct. Dogs are incredibly loving and gentle to their humans. But if you don’t have the patience, you may find yourself nagging your dog for not behaving properly.
2. Your dog has bitten someone in your home – At a young age, puppies develop bite inhibition for two reasons. One, he’s teething, and two, he’s learning how to moderate the strength of his bite. Unfortunately, there are instances where dogs overdo it without knowing how dangerous it is for you and your family, especially if you have kids. Behavior issues like this can be corrected. But sometimes, we get to the point where it can become too much to handle, or your dog is becoming too stubborn.
3. You got yourself a new job/promotion that you simply don’t have the time to take care of your dog anymore – It’s always nice to have some quiet time after a long day’s work. But if you have a dog, that’s almost impossible. Sure, you can doze off on the sofa with your dog lying beside you. But he’s going to beg for playtime and lots of it.
4. You’re moving into a new place that doesn’t allow dogs – This one is very common especially if you’re going to move to an apartment building.
5. Financial difficulties – Choosing to care for a dog doesn’t start and end with love and affection. You need to allot a budget every month for their needs ie. food, supplements, grooming, vet consult, toys, etc. Most people right now are struggling to make ends meet. And if this is your situation right now, it’s really difficult to provide your dog with a happy life.
6. You feel that your dog deserves better – I think as humans, we always tend to feel that we’re never enough, that we can do more and be more. Sometimes, I feel this whenever my dogs get sick. When I found out that my Shih Tzu is suffering from a yeast infection, I blamed myself for it. Thankfully, it isn’t life-threatening. Still, the feeling of guilt never goes away.
7. Your neighbors hate your dog – Not everybody loves dogs, and you can’t make them. Neighbors can be annoyed by excessive barking, especially the smell. Moreover, there are instances where your dog and your neighbors aren’t getting along. These types of conflicts are hard to resolve. One of you has to give way, unfortunately, that one could be you.
8. You can’t keep them all – If you are a foster parent, you know for a fact that dogs will come and go. Unfortunately, it’s hard not to get attached. And if you do, letting go is simply heartbreaking.
9. You found out you or someone in your family is allergic – Assuming you don’t have any medical history of allergies from animals, then all of a sudden, you start experiencing different symptoms like watery eyes, runny nose, hives, and shortness of breath. If you have any of these symptoms, go to the emergency room immediately. Allergies can be fatal, and if your dog is the root cause, rehoming is the humane option.
10. A sudden change of heart (for some reason, or for no reason at all) – Puppies are affectionate, fun, and loving. You may like them at first. But reality kicks in and you start to realize how much work a puppy really is.
How to decide what’s best for you and your dog
Whether you decide on a permanent or temporary rehoming for your dog, chances are, you need to be sure that your pet is getting a chance at life, even if it means you’re not going to be a part of it.
You’ll want to think about whether you’re ready to let your pet go, and if you are, then you’ll need to decide where he/she will live, etc.
1. Just ask. Talk to a friend, a family member, a roommate, or anyone that you trust to help you weigh the pros and cons before you make the final decision.
2. Reach out to the nearest animal rescue shelter or non-profit organization near you. They will educate you about your options like adoption procedures or temporary rehoming.
3. If your dog has behavioral issues, get in touch with an animal behavior expert. If time and money are not the issue, hire someone to that can help you establish a bond with your dog. Remember, you don’t have to figure out everything all by yourself. Talking to an expert can give you peace of mind, knowing that you’re doing what’s best for you and your dog.
3. Use social media to find fellow animal lovers and ask them about your situation and advice. When I decided to get my Shih Tzu, I didn’t have a relative or a friend who owns this breed. Thankfully, I found some Facebook groups moderated by breeders which gave me all the information I need to decide if getting a Shih Tzu is the best dog for me.
4. Check your financial status. If you’re income is barely enough to feed you and/or your family, chances are, you’re not in the position to care for a dog.
5. Do a self-check. We’ve witnessed a lot of cases regarding animal cruelty from all over the world. If you think that you lack the patience and discipline to take care of your dog, the best thing to do is to find him/her a new home.
Should I visit my dog after rehoming?
No, you owe it to yourself and to your dog. If you’ve been living with your dog for more than a year, rehoming your pet is going to cause an emotional turmoil. A visit will only make it worse. Besides, there are consequences that comes with this decision, and the only way for you get over it is to let go and move forward.
Aside from the burst of emotions, here are some valid reasons why you shouldn’t visit your dog after rehoming:
1. Your decision is final and cannot be undone – We only want what’s best for our pets, even if it means having to give them up. But once you do, there’s no turning back. Otherwise, it will cause more problems for you and your pet.
2. You’re making it hard for the dog to adjust to his new environment – Dogs are very sensitive. Therefore, they can tell if something’s going on. Rehoming your dog may cause fear and panic, and if you keep showing up, it won’t be easy for him to adjust.
3. You’re making it hard for you to move forward – Feeling guilty towards rehoming your pet is normal, but you have to face the fact that the decision has been made. Your dog is in good hands. Now, it’s your time to heal.
4. You’re making it hard for the new owner to bond with his new pet – Have you been told that you’re always welcome to visit? Sure, but honestly, the new owner is just being polite. It’s rude to disrupt other people’s schedule just because you want to see how your dog’s doing, etc. Remember, he’s not yours anymore. You have relieved yourself of the responsibility by rehoming your pet. Now, it’s time for the new owner to take over. He can’t do it if you’re always sneaking around.
5. Visiting your dog after rehoming may result to legal actions – If your dog is causing serious grievances towards his new owner because you’re always visiting, the new owner may file legal actions against you. Also, regular visits after rehoming your dog can make the new owner feel uncomfortable. Therefore, it’s best if you keep your distance to avoid fines and jail time.
How do you say goodbye to a dog when rehoming?
If you have ever had a pet, then you know how much they mean to you. They give unconditional love and support, and they always want to be around you. However, sometimes life gets in the way, and you find yourself having to say goodbye to your beloved pet.
Here are some tips to help you say goodbye to a dog when rehoming.
1. Take him for a walk – Morning walks are perfect, especially if the weather is great.
2. Buy toys and treats – Bring your dog to his favorite pet store and get him anything he likes, toys, treats, ice cream, etc.
3. Watch TV together – Or just cuddle in bed and fall asleep.
4. Cook his favorite food – How about a juicy steak with mashed potatoes on the side?
5. Have a proper send-off party – It doesn’t have to be fancy. Have your friends and family come over. You’ll going to need their love and support. Also, don’t forget to invite the new owner to the party. This is an excellent opportunity for them to bond and get comfortable with each other.
6. Have a visit with the vet – Before you hand him over to his new owner, you need to make sure that your dog is healthy, and his vaccines are up to date. There are certain illnesses that need preventive measures like rabies, fleas and tick infestations. Your vet will tell you if your dog is healthy and ready to go to his new family. Also, don’t forget to hand over your dog’s medical records to the new owner.
How to cope with guilt and grief after rehoming your dog
When you rehome your dog, you’ll probably feel guilty and sad. It’s natural to feel these emotions after parting ways with your beloved pet. However, if you let yourself get overwhelmed by guilt and grief, you could end up making some serious mistakes that may cause harm to you, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
1. Don’t get another dog
2. Know that your decision has brought happiness to another family
3. Be gentle with yourself as you grieve
4. Write a letter to the dog
5. Forgive yourself for rehoming your dog
Why should you let previous owners visit?
Previous owners often seek closure, and sometimes, the only way to do it is to allow visiting priviledges. But, as a new owner, it’s your call whether to allow it or not.
If you see that the dog is having trouble adjusting to its new environment, or the previous owner is making it hard for you to bond with your new pet, it is your right to set boundaries.
Besides, the dog is under your care now. Therefore, it is your responsibility to make sure that his needs are met. And if the previous owner is stopping you from doing so, you have to make him understand that his visits is not in the dog’s best interest, and that it needs to be stopped.
If the previous owner is persistent, you can file legal actions, or get help from your local animal shelter for advice.
It’s funny how we put ourselves into a situation where we think we will be happy, without realizing that nothing in this world is permanent. A dog can change your life, but if you don’t give the love and attention they deserve, it will take a toll on you.
And this is where rehoming comes into picture. It hurts to realize that your dog will start a new life without you.
But at the end of the day, our top priority is to do what’s best for our pets.
And if letting go is the only way to do it, then by all means, accept it and move forward.