5 Ways to Deal With Guilt and Grief After Rehoming Your Dog

Rehoming a dog – or giving your pet away – is incredibly intense and sad. You’ll find no judgment here, only understanding and compassion. I know how you feel; I had to rehome my dog a few years ago, and the decision was agonizing. Here, I share tips on how to deal with your guilt and grief.

How to Cope With Rehoming a Dog

Tiffy, star of “How to Cope With Rehoming a Dog”

First, the good news: your dog is a survivor! Your dog is lovable and adaptable, and will adjust to his new home so quickly that you’ll feel insulted. Here’s how I know: several months after we rehomed our big black Lab German Shepherd cross, we adopted a little white toy Poodle Bichon cross. Her name is Tiffy and she was three years old when we adopted her. Her previous owner was devastated that she had to give her beloved little dog away, and I was happy/sad to tell her that Tiffy happily made our home her home within three days. Dogs are survivors, they live in the moment, and they adjust so quickly it makes your head spin. So, while you’re reading through my tips on how to deal with the guilt and grief of rehoming a dog, remember that your dog is probably curled up in front of the fireplace or happily playing with other dogs in the dog park at this very moment.

One of my most popular articles about dogs is How to Decide if You Should Give Your Dog Away. I wrote it because I had to rehome a dog called Jazz – she was a 77 pound black Lab German Shepherd cross. Since then, I adopted two new dogs: Tiffy (the wee white one in the picture) and Georgie (a the black and white terrier you’ll meet later).

So, I already gave you the good news: rehomed and adopted dogs adjust quickly to their new environments. Dogs adapt because they live in the moment, and they’re survivors. Rehoming a dog is more painful for dog owners than the dogs themselves – though I have no doubt that our dogs miss us! I just don’t think they dwell on their loss, and they definitely don’t have to learn how to deal with their adoption.

The bad news is that the pain, guilt, and grief you feel about rehoming your dog won’t easily go away. The truth is that even though I may sound like I had no problem giving my dog Jazz away, I still feel terrible whenever I think about that day. We took our dog back to the SPCA, and both my husband and I wept like our hearts were breaking. Because our hearts were breaking.

The other bit of bad news is that the grief and guilt of giving a dog away doesn’t just disappear – even after you read my tips on how to deal with this type of pet loss.

How to Cope With Rehoming Your Dog

If you’re overwhelmed with guilt, you may find How to Deal With Guilt After the Loss of Your Beloved Dog helpful. Pay particular attention to the readers’ comments, because you’ll see that you are not alone. Our dogs are so important to us and we love them so much…and causing them any pain is incredibly difficult for us to resolve. Rehoming a dog is traumatic, and I want you to be gentle with yourself.

1. Write a letter to the dog you gave away

Take time to say goodbye to your dog. Allow yourself to grieve your loss and work through the guilt you feel about adopting your dog to a new home. Face those ugly feelings of shame and guilt – don’t push them down, or they will overwhelm you in the future. You need to process the pain of giving a dog away, or it will eat you alive.

How to Deal With Rehoming a Dog

Georgie, a year old when I adopted her (she was rehomed!)

One of the best tips on how to deal with rehoming a dog is to write him a letter. Tell him how much you love him, how sorry you are, and why you did it. Weep. Put your head on the paper and bawl like a little kid. Tell your dog exactly how you feel.

Read through the comments below – you’ll find several letters written by dog guardians who had to give their dogs away. You can write your letter here in the comments section, or in your own journal.

Wherever you write it and however long it is, be honest with your dog. Just let yourself be a kid talking to his dog.

2. Read the letter my adopted dog Tiffy wrote to her previous owner

Below, I share a letter my newly-adopted dog Tiffy wrote to her previous owner. Learning how quickly and solidly she adapted to my home might help you see that rehoming a dog can have a very happy ending. You might also begin to understand how incredibly adaptable and resilient our dogs are.

Dear Old Ma,

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

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

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

How to Deal With Rehoming a Dog

Tiffy and Georgie – How to Deal With Rehoming a Dog

My Big Sister Georgie taught me how to work the thing called “Kong” that gives us yummy treats. Did you know I get homemade chicken soup every day, for breakfast and dinner? And most nights I watch Papa Bear cook steaks or chicken or pork chops on the bbq. Sometimes he drops pieces of meat, and they are more delicious than anything I ever tasted.

Mama Bear always makes sure I have real chicken and crunchy bits to eat with my chicken soup meals. I love it so much, I lick the bowl clean every meal! Sometimes I chew on soup bones, because Mama and Papa say it’s good for my teeth. I don’t know anything about that – I just love the way the bones taste!

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



3. Know that your decision has brought happiness to another family

Last night, the person who gave my dog Tiffy to me emailed to say thank you for adopting her. She had to rehome Tiffy because she just couldn’t take care of her anymore. I am so grateful she gave her dog away! And she is so grateful that I was able to adopt her dog and love her fully and completely.

If you feel like you can’t deal with rehoming your dog, take heart. Know that your dog will adapt – and perhaps even be happier with his or her new family. After giving your dog away, you have to believe that the next home will be the right place for him or her. Otherwise, you’ll just keep spinning your wheels in the thick muck of guilt. Believe that your dog and his new guardians are very happy together.

Are you dealing with overwhelming sadness or depression? It’s possible that you haven’t dealt with past grief and trauma. Read How to Recover From Loss and Survive Grief.

4. Be gentle with yourself as you grieve

Are you beating yourself up for giving your dog away? I sure did, for the longest time. I regretted our decision, and wished I hadn’t rehomed our dog Jazz.

But regret and guilt got me nowhere. If I kept ruminating on my pain and condemning myself for taking our dog back to the SPCA, I wouldn’t have found the strength to write this article. Maybe I had to experience the pain of rehoming a dog so I could help you learn how to deal with pet loss. Maybe we really are all just walking each other home, through the dark late afternoons of our lives.

Trust that giving your dog away was the right thing to do. Have faith that your dog is being well taken care of, and that your souls will meet again one day. Give yourself time and permission to grieve. Rehoming a dog is a painful experience, and you need to allow yourself to process your emotions in healthy ways.

5. Let your dog go

Your current feelings of pain, regret, and guilt are normal — but they will get worse unless you deal with them. You’ll find yourself stuck in a downward spiral of depression and self-loathing! I know, because it happened to me. I was trapped in grief and guilt, and it was hard to pull myself out.

Farewell, Friend: A Gentle Guide to Saying Goodbye to Your DogI wrote Farewell, Friend: A Gentle Guide to Saying Goodbye to Your Dog to share how I grieved my dog’s death and let go of my guilt. I even opened my heart and home, and welcomed two new dogs into my life! This ebook will heal your heart, comfort your soul, and lift your spirits.

Each section contains 5 chapters of fresh insights, suggestions, and activities – all focused on helping you let go and heal.


To learn more about the book and me, visit Farewell, Friend: A Gentle Guide to Saying Goodbye to Your Dog.

I hope this article has helped you think differently about giving away your dog, and maybe even eased the pain a little bit. My prayer is that you heal from the pain and grief of giving your dog away. May you find freedom and self-forgiveness, and peace knowing that you made the right decision.

Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.


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384 thoughts on “5 Ways to Deal With Guilt and Grief After Rehoming Your Dog

  • Cindy

    We just rehomed our hound mix, Dixie, yesterday. We adopted her as a puppy 4 years ago from a rescue. I had tried contacting the rescue for assistance on multiple occasions, but was essentially blown off and forgotten about. Dixie always had some sort of aggression/dominance and we tried trainers/behaviorists. What made our decision final was when she growled/snarled at my son out of nowhere (no toys, food, etc. around and they were on opposite sides of the living room.) My pregnancy with him was extremely difficult with hyperemesis and it literally felt like I was killing him the week I was hospitalized for it. I told myself that I wouldn’t put him in the position to get hurt or possibly killed from an animal since I am the mom and in control. It took several months, but we finally found a home for our Dixie. Even with the struggles we had with her, she is a wonderful dog. I feel HORRIBLE that I failed her and it is killing me, as well as my husband since she was his dog and she definitely favored him over me. I did ask her new owners how she did the first night and they said she did wonderfully, which helped a little. I just hope that the guilt and tears will subside soon. I really hate that we weren’t her forever home, but my child’s safety comes first. Oh, Dixie…I hope you love your new home and we will always love you too, pooch. We miss you tons and hope you love your new home as much as you did ours.

    • Samantha

      I too am struggling. I adopted a blue chihuahua from a chihuahua rescue group 2 and a half years ago. He was only 13 months old and had spent 7 months in foster care. He was abused in his first home. It was rough from the start because in his mind I took him from the only good home he had ever known. I knew I had a lot of work to do and he wasn’t properly socialized. I showed fear in the beginning and he didn’t let go of that. I worked with a behaviorist for 2 years and even did a board and train with her for a month. Everything got worse after that. Even he and my cat that were super bonded before I sent him away were not as bonded when he came back. He developed apartment noise anxiety a year ago because I hit the wall and it just got worse. He was fighting me on everything and refused to see me as the one in charge. Baring his teeth, growling and nipping. I no longer trusted him alone with my cat and 6 months ago I would’ve said there is no way in hell he would have hurt her. They were so close and protective of each other. I surrendered him back to the organization on Saturday and I am heartbroken. It’s like I forget all the stress and anxiety he put me through. I can’t help but take it personal because he stopped being happy with me. I feel like I screwed him up and made him worse. Like a total failure. I went above and beyond what a lot of people would do, but it just kept getting worse. I miss him so much even though it was like an abusive relationship. I asked how he is doing and he is happy, which should help but just hurts more because he couldn’t be happy with me. I don’t know how to deal with this. I didn’t adopt him to give him back.

  • Denise

    Reading this article and seeing the comments is helping me cope with my decision that I will soo have to make. I broke up with this guy he left me with a 4 month lab name Chewi. chewi is amazing, loveable and the best love I ever received in my whole life. Now that my X is gone it’s been hard on me to pay all my bills, and taking care of the puppy. Knowing that I have certain things I haven’t paid off yet keeping chewi wouldn’t be a wise decision. I love him so much. I tired to ask my family for help because chewi has a lot of energy. My family members are too busy to help. I exhausted when I come home from work and feel bad having to leave him for 8 hours at home. while I’m at work. Since he is still young I think it best he moves with a family that will have the time and money to raise chewi. My heart is torn that I can’t keep him.

  • Natalie

    We had to surrender my mini dachshund that we had for 5 years. She left yesterday and I’m having the worst anxiety, feeling of guilt and just miss her so much. She has been getting increasingly more aggressive with our other dog and has attacked him more times than I can count. She has gotten more impatient with my kids as well and it was getting too risky to keep her. We tried everything but nothing worked. We placed her with a specific breed rescue who will find the perfect home for her. I’m so sad having to do this and can’t imagine what she’s thinking or feeling. I hope she’s ok and not stressed. My kids are devastated as well. I know we made the right choice but it feels so wrong and I am regretting it already. 😢

    • Samantha

      You sound like me. I just surrendered my chihuahua back to the rescue group I got him from 2 years ago and I am feeling the same way. I adopted a difficult dog that refused to see me as the one in charge. I worked with him with a behaviorist for two years and I feel like everything I did made him worse. He fought me on everything.

  • manu

    I just came home from surrendering my dog. I could not anticipate the heartbreak, the pain, the guilt. I feel like I am now forever damned. I feel like I ruined everybody’s lives. I feel like I am a monster and I deserve this incredible pain. I hope my dog forgets me right away.

    • Natalie

      I know how you are feeling 🙁 it’s awful and I feel like I failed. I am certain our dogs are fine and will adjust….. just hope I can forgive myself eventually.

  • Mikayla

    We got lucky and found the most wonderful rescue at a local shelter, a 2 year old pitbull/lab mix. He loved to lick your face and give you hugs and cuddle all over you at any time of the day. He got super excited when he saw leaves or snow or when you said his name over and over. He loved to run and absolutely loved us and our home. The problem started when he walked into my house and my other dog, who never was properly socialized and whose breed is just not into dogs, started to bark up a storm and stay on alert all day long. This dog would only respond to that with even worse and deeper barking and eventual fighting. Also, he would be completely calm and be playing or whatever and all of a sudden he would start growling at my mom or my dad, whoever was with him at the time. The main breaking point was when he pinned one of our cats to the ground, after the shelter told us he was good with cats just to get us to adopt him. Out of fear we decided to give him back to the shelter we got him from, and despite his encounters, it doesnt hurt any less and we can’t forget how wonderful and loving he is. I have been crying nonstop for 2 days thinking about how he seemed so grateful to be adopted and how he is now back where he started. It is killing me that he went from sleeping on top of me at night or leaning on my shoulder to sleeping in a cage by himself. I keep thinking about how, if i had the means, i would take him to a place where just him and i could live together and be so happy. He deserves so much better than being in a shelter, and deserved so much more than our home could offer. I just hopes he finds himself a home so great and so loving and so giving and so free that he won’t even miss what he had with us. I will always miss my sleeping buddy and my running buddy and the little pup who got so excited to play with me in the snow. It just wasn’t in the cards for this to work out and I am so sorry.

  • Rachel

    Max, Maximus, Maximilian, love bug, poopie but, booty boy, maxim, boo,

    I’m so sorry for the way everything ended between us. I never wanted to see you go. I wish I could have gone back in time and walked into the new condo 5 minutes later. I knew you were selective when it came to other pups. I just wish that stupid incident hadn’t happened. I want you to know that I understand you were just defending you’re own territory. You were protecting me. You have no idea, or maybe you did, I don’t know… I’ll never know for sure, how much you meant to me. You helped me survive. You made me believe again. You made your dad realize how much he needed you in life. You made him so happy. Because of you I got to see a much deeper side to him, a side I knew was there, but hadn’t been shown for a long time. You made my relationship have even more meaning. I remember seeing your beautiful face sulking in the corner of your cage at the SPCA. When I walked by I immediately fell in love, and when they brought you into the room where we could spend time with you, you jumped into that chair and licked my face then fell over and on your back belly up smiling at me. You filled the void. I wasn’t alone anymore. I found happiness again. It was all because of you. I miss having you in my bed keeping me warm and snoring in my face. I miss your paws digging into my back pushing me off the bed. I miss hearing you dream. I miss seeing your face when I wake up, and I miss giving you kisses at the stairs as soon as I come home. The last few years have been the greatest I’ve had in a very long time. Your dad and I just want you to know how much we love you. It killed us to have to rehome you. I fought for hours to get the landlord to allow you back in the building. You sat so quietly in the car with me for hours that dreadful day. I hope you enjoyed the hotel bed and the McDonald’s we got you for our last night together. We found you an amazing home. Your new mommy and daddy fell in love with you instantly. I’m so excited you have two younger sisters to keep you entertained! And I cant forget that big fenced in backyard too. I heard you took real well to your new Dad quickly, I’m so happy for you bud. I knew you had figured out what was going on when you turned to go in the wrong car when it was time to leave. I just hope you forgive me. And that you show your new family as much love as you had shown us. We never meant for this to happen. I don’t know how long it will take for me to get over this. If I know you Max, you’ve already forgotten. Probably all curled up in your new bed dreaming and snoring away. Just don’t forget me, or your dad. Maybe we will meet again someday, maybe that day won’t be till we both pass. Thank you for all the memories Max. You’ll forever be in our hearts. We love you so much!

  • Emily

    My fiancé travels for work. Before we got together he had a dog and I had two dogs. I told him if we were going to make this work we had to figure it out with three dogs. We were committed.
    Eventually he decided it was best to give his dog to his mom. She really enjoys having the dog since she lives alone. He’s an older doggy so traveling was getting hard on him.
    I think my fiancé gave him up to his mom because he didn’t want to deal with dogs anymore.. Now that he has me.
    Fortunately for my fiancé, his mom was fine taking his dog and now he gets to still be in our lives.. Rather than go to a complete stranger.
    Now there has been an argument between us about one of my two dogs. He is a pit bull lab mix. I got him from the shelter as a puppy. I worked really hard on his training and making sure he got plenty of exercise and socialization. Unfortunately when my fiancé had to leave for work.. I made the mistake and left my dog with family to be with my fiancé… Thinking soon enough I’d be the position I could have him again. I was able to bring my other dog as I have a doctor’s note for her. She’s a very laid back dog whereas my pit mix doggy is a bit higher energy.
    My fiancé is intimidated by him. He thinks all pits are aggressive and destructive. This is really upsetting for me because my fiancé seemed fine with my dog until we spent time apart from him. I’m a firm believer that pit stereotypes are complete b.s. I love pits. My dog has never shown any form of aggression. My fiancé is basing his opinion on my dog solely off of stereotyping.
    My family can’t keep my dog.. I don’t have friends looking for a dog.
    So I’m stuck between giving my dog up to a stranger and seriously trusting they can give him a better life than me..
    Or leaving my fiancé.
    This sounds extreme but we have been arguing over this for almost a year now.. And it never goes anywhere. My fiancé refuses to let me keep my dog and live with him… I see it as “you’re willing to let me go because you don’t want me to have my dog” and he sees it as “you’re willing to leave me because you can’t give up your dog for my comfort and peace of mind”
    I just don’t know what to do and I’m completely torn. I’m so broken.

    • Josephine

      I’d leave him, I’m sorry your going through this situation I’m pretty sure it hurts seeing that you put a lot of time and effort into training and caring for him but as a fiancé he should want nothing but your happiness. He has no right to expect you to get rid of your dog just for him to be at peace . If your dog has never been aggressive then he needs to get his head outta his ass. I hope you make the right decision in choosing your dog.

  • Eliana Bental

    Last Christmas(2017) my parents surprised me with a dog who we later named Dunkin. I was so happy because I have been asking for a dog for as long as I can remember, and it finally happened. We got him toys and a blanket that says his name on it. The dog was previously with a college girl who couldn’t take care of him anymore. The dog instantly fell in love with us, like how I had with him. He is so sweet and cute. Yesterday was his birthday even. Recently, my mom realized it wasn’t the best idea to get him. Dunkin is very needy and he cries everytime we leave him in his crate to go out to the store or anywhere else. My father is going back to work soon, and my mom is always running errands. She doesn’t want to be held down by the dog if we want to go somewhere. I have school. No one would be able to take care of him. Even though we love him, it is best to rehome him. I’m going to miss him so much. Even though you peed in my room twice… I don’t know, but I still feel bad if we give him to someone else, we got so used to him. Like I said before I finally got the dog I had been wanting for years, but we have to give him away. I fear I will feel empty inside after we give him away. I fear will feel awful and sad. I will miss him. I wish it would be easier to think of giving him away, like he was never there. He is a part of our family, so it won’t be easy. I just need to keep in mind that whoever we give him to, they will be the perfect fit. I’ll miss you Dunks.

  • Lucy

    Dear Chewie, it’s been 9 hours since you left and you have left the biggest hole in my heart.. You and me chose each other 8 months ago when you fell asleep on my lap that day. You were beautiful and the dog that I had dreamed of, with one blue and one hazel eye. You were there when I felt lonely in the days and kept me company with your crazy antics. But you needed so much more and as much as we tried we couldn’t give that to you and you deserved it, you deserved a home where you were centre of attention and could be walked a billion times a day with a massive garden to dig holes in. I’ve never had such a clever intelligent little dog who knew every trick and had such energy. I will never forgive myself for what I’ve done, my eyes burn from sobbing so much, I hope you forgive me lovely girl and find a loving family because you are so special. I wish you hadn’t left but it would be selfish to you to keep this going when you need attention I can’t give anymore. I miss and love you so much little one, please dont be sad xx

  • MayaNads

    Diesel. The day we decided to pick you up literally saved my husband’s life. Some may think my reasons behind your adoption were bad, but I will always believe adopting you was the best decision we made. You were 16 months old and some told us you were too old and socialization could not be properly done, and some had told us to wait and get a baby. Not even a few months before this decision, my husband tried to take his life away because he felt abandoned by his family for such a long time, so I was living this immense amount of pain for him and wanted to quickly find him a friend for life. You were him. You made him so happy. I was not fond of dogs but you quickly grew on me… and in size! Being a purebred German Shepherd, you grew big as a horse, but acted and played like the adorable puppy and doofus we loved. Unfortunately, only him, our daughters and I got to see this beautiful playful side of you and we are so thankful for that. Even though we attempted to socialize you with hundreds of other friends at the park and on the roads around the neighborhood, you quickly showed them a whole other side that scared me. My husband didn’t mind – he loved that his boy was defensive of our family, our pack. However, this love blinded him from seeing the dangerous side of it all. Because you have so much severe anxiety and have behavioral issues which you’ve most likely acquired from a bad working line of dogs being bred, or maybe we were just not strict and hard enough with you, you became aggressive. When I walked you, you would snap and lunge at cars, children or other dogs and I was afraid you’d get hurt or worse, hurt someone else. And when we brought you to the vet to get a sprained leg checked, you had to wear a muzzle which absolutely broke my heart and you still attempted to attack the technician. I have young children that are my pack and to keep you is scaring me to death now because I don’t know how far you’ll go. We can’t keep you indoors because it’s unfair for you. You need to be happy with a new pack, a big yard to run in and new owners who will pay the thousands needed to have your behavior checked and give you training to fix this aggression – because if we wait, and I am not willing to risk more time and more chances for you to hurt anyone – soon, it’ll be too late. Soon, we’ll be told that you can’t be rehomed and would have to be euthanized. Or worse, if something happens and you find a way to get out of the yard and attack someone on the road, I won’t be able to live with myself. With the guilt of having waited to see “if” you could be rehabilitated just so my husband gets a bit more time with you. My health is taking a hit from this additional stress. I’m already living a horrible situation where one of our daughters needs open heart surgery and battles her own problems every day and I need to help her get through this… all the hospital visits, learning disabilities, crippling anxiety, suicidal thoughts… and even though my husband doesn’t admit it, he’s still not okay since October 2016 when he attempted to take his life away from us. He has changed,,, and I have to be there for him, but I can’t do all of it when I also need to take care of you when you have so many problems that need to be addressed, and deserve to be taken care of now before it’s too late. I’m so sorry we have to do this. This upcoming weekend will be absolutely horrible, but at least we still have a few days to still cuddle and let you know that you are loved, and will always be loved and that even though you would only have been with us from March 2017 until now, you have change our lives forever. I just hope and pray that the fact that you’ll be leaving will not destroy my husband more because I can no longer take more pain and worry. I really hope you find peace in your heart one day and not hate everyone around you so much. We love you so much. We have cried for 3 days thinking and dreading for Saturday January 13th. The 13th will definitely be a bad day for us this year – but my hope is that our family can heal and get better, and for you to be happy, because you will never entirely be happy with us, and for my husband to selfishly keep you with us without thinking about your well-being would be the worst decision we would make. I pray that one day, you will forgive me. That he will forgive me and my daughters forgive me. I love you Diesel.

  • Mayra Saavedra

    Dear Orek my beautiful boy !!!! It’s only been 1 day and it feels like a lifetime. I hope you understand that we didn’t want to let you go but we had to. Our landlord said your breed was dangerous and neighbors didn’t feel safe. You are the sweetest pitbull I’ve ever came across and I’m so blessed to have had your unconditional love. You loved my kids with everything you had and I will forever be grateful for that we are all very sad to have let you go. But me and dad made sure your new family with love as much as we do and will take care of you and take you for your walk and take you to the dog park. They are great people and they are very lucky to have you. You will forever be in my hear and hold the best dog award. I’m just scared that you hate us we promised you a forever home and could give it to you. I’m so so sorry Orek. I hope you remember us in your dreams. You helped dad so much and now it’s time for you to help and be there for another family. I will for ever love you love your family !!!

    • lia

      I can’t believe I feel connected to all the people writing here and what they are saying and feeling!! I can’t say much yet I am exhausted with excruciating pain from rehoming my baby girl puppy I have had since 5weeks old. I rehomed her although I kept changing my mind at the time and WISH i hadn’t and keep thinking about this and what I should have done to keep her. I was pushed into this as a couple and their daughter wanted her and they pushed me and I was too vulnerable and not ready. I had other pressures and could not think clearly. I have read so many feelings I feel, the first is I want her back.!! I have tried this and asked the nrw owners and apologized saying I made a mistake a rash decision. She is my assistance dog and my doctor and psychologist tried to get her back for me by calling too. But these new owners won’t reply except to say she’s there’s now. I do not know what to do. Please help! Please be there others like me, I feel less alone. I finally feel understood!! For the first time. God rhankyou I’m in so much pain. Lia.

      • Kathy

        Lia – I know EXACTLY how you are feeling!!! I kept changing my mind as well to rehome our almost 2 year old yellow lab and so did my daughter. She too felt pressured and pushed to give up our girl and it all happened so fast that none of us knew what the stark reality would be until we realized she is now gone. It’s almost been a month now and all I can think about is her and that I wish I had given it more of a chance and how badly my heartache is when I go home and realize she is not there anymore. I am so sorry the new owners won’t consider giving your dog back. Our dog was an emotional support for my daughter as well but she has since moved so we were left with the choice of rehoming because I felt like I wasn’t being fair to the dog because I am not home that much and she spent too much time alone or at a doggy day care. I think she is probably happy and receiving lots of attention and has another dog there who is now her buddy. I just wanted to reach out because I feel your pain and I miss her terribly. Sometimes I even say goodnight and good morning to her even though she’s not there. I wish there was something you could do to ease your pain but I do know this website is a great tool to at least get your feelings out there. I wish you the very best and know you are not alone. 🙁

  • Sarah Hagberg

    Our family made the painful decision to relinquish our recently adopted rescue. She was and is sweet and affectionate, playful and cuddly. Of course, there is a “but” here. She displayed a tendency to nip at guests and extended family members and was territorial around food. All manageable with the right level of separation at meal times and when company visited. Sadly, our beloved new dog also reacted nervously when startled such that she reacted instinctively and scratched our child’s with her teeth. Our decision to relinquish and rehouse her is the right decision for us since we were already on notice about her potential aggressive behaviour. So why oh why does this feel so wrong? If we had kept her and worked with her, we might have made progress but would always be in fear that we might not be so lucky again and those scrapes might result in a more severe or life altering injury. Returning her to the shelter was one of the most traumatic moments of our family life. To think she is back in a shelter, even though she is warm and fed is heartbreaking and why we decided to adopt a cast aside shelter dog to begin with. But we know now that she needs a calm house without young children and we couldn’t risk a repeat incident. Still, my heart and head just ache to think that she is back in the shelter. We feel guilty because we are guilty, yet what logic would permit us to keep a dog that could harm our child? I have always advocated for rescues. We did not make our decision to adopt and now to relinquish lightly. I just don’t think the grief, guilt, sadness and loss will abate. I’ve read articles for and against giving up on pets, and know only this – I will never assume all people who relinquish pets are unkind or unwilling to try. Sure, there are those who are able to walk away and not look back. That is not me nor my family. We are just so terribly sad and sorry that our story doesn’t have a happy ending although we hope for our sweet yet unpredictable dog, it still can.

    • Kathy

      Sarah, my heart breaks for you and your family. I was so sad when I read your story and yes, I have my own. I too am struggling every single day and night with the decision to re-home our dog. I have NEVER ever had to make this decision and I am completely heartbroken. We had a beautiful yellow lab who will be two January 29, 2018 and we got her as a pup. She is a wonderful, loving, obedient, affectionate and smart girl. She was originally my daughter’s who lived with me at the time we got her but my daughter has since moved to Oregon and is trying to get established there financially. It was not an option to fly the dog to Oregon. I have been taking care of her but I work full-time and am not home as often as she needs someone to be around. I tried the doggy day-care but she gets overwhelmed in large groups of dogs. I would take her on some wonderful walks in the summer but the winter months are too hard here to give her the appropriate exercise she needs at a young age. We just re-homed her to a wonderful family who have a dog and are home during the week and have a camp at a lake. The two dogs have hit if off and they are best buddies now. You would think that we would be happy that she has an ideal home now but we struggle everyday with the decision to let her go. I cry almost every time I walk thru the door and she is not there to greet me. I am thrilled she is not sitting on a couch all day or penned with other dogs at a doggie daycare but it still breaks my heart. I completely understand the heartache, guilt, sadness, doubt etc. that you are feeling so just wanted to reach out to you. My thoughts are with you and hopefully as time moves on we can recover and know that we put our dogs needs first. I pray your dog finds the ideal home situation and thrives and is happy!

  • Lisa

    I am currently considering rehoming our 9 month old bullmastiff puppy. We’ve had him 7 months… Since he was a baby. Hes a great and sweet dog and ive been back forth with the idea of rehoming for a couple months. The problem is my 3.5 year old daughter doesnt like him. She used to love him but i think now that he is so big she is intimidated..he would never hurt her but she screams every time he comes up to her to say hello. She is not this way with older much smaller dog. I never thought his size was going to be an issue for her. Ive tried working woth both of them to respect each other..for him to keep his distance and teaching her to not hit kick and scream at him when he comes near her. I’ve been trying but nothing has changed. Im crying as i right this bc i dont want to rehome him. But i dont know what else to do. I dound out i am pregnant now so i am now also worried about him with a baby on the floor. He doesnt respect boundaries and i fear he’d unintentionally hurt a baby just due to his size and his desire to be nosy and get into everything. I hate doing this but i really feel its the best decision for all of us.

  • Karen

    I rescued a dog lost on the road. I spent months looking for the owners. I couldn’t understand who would just give up search on this sweet and loving German Shepherd Dog we called Tommy. He had no tags and after several ads in three different counties (social media, newspaper, flyers) no one claimed him. We decided to keep him and give him a loving home. After a few weeks he adjust to our family and loved to follow my kids around, (not sure he thought he was one more kid or being protective?) Everyone loved Tommy including my neighbors. Sadly after a confrontation with a no dog lover neighbor and knowing how spiteful this neighbor was, we decided to rehome Tommy in fear that this neighbor will poison our three dogs. We thought it was best to remove Tommy to avoid having another confrontation with this neighbor. We knew this neighbor was going to be impossible and wouldn’t ever stop. The day we gave him away several neighbors came to say goodbye to Tommy. We gave Tommy away to a family friend who wrote us back saying they were grateful to us for our sacrifice and that they had gotten the best Christmas gift. Tommy adjusted well with the new family. The night before we gave Tommy away, the new family made a trip to the pet store and bought everything from food, leash, collars, cage, bed, toys in preparation of the arrival of Tommy. As soon as we handed over the leash the new family said they were in love with Tommy. We saw how much love they had for Tommy instantly. Although it deeply saddens me to give him up we are giving Tommy a new opportunity to life without this bitter hateful neighbor. He has a chance to live free and we may have a chance to avoid further confrontations with our neighbor. We will always remember you Tommy. Hope you may continue to love being sweet and open your heart to unconditional love for your new family.

  • Eunice Angel

    My family had to give away our 21-month old black pom. He was with us ever since he was born. His name is Prince. We gave him to a family friend who loves dogs and have many dogs in their home. I was there when we left him, just earlier today. He was growling to the new people that they had to cage him first. I felt so sad coz we never caged him. I hope he behaves well so that he can walk outside the cage. He was barking when we were leaving. I was crying in the car. I am still crying right now coz I miss him so much. I look and pass through his usual spots at home and it just makes me remember him more. I fear tomorrow coz no one will scratch my door, climb up my bed, and wake me up. I might cry tomorrow. I might cry until I get a chance to see him again. I just can’t seem to let him go. We had to give him away because of compound orders. All my neighbors had to give their dogs away as well. I feel so sad. Prince just gives off this energy and happiness that I am always willing to receive. I miss him. I hope he is fine. I want to believe you that dogs adapt fast so that I can be at ease. But I hope my dog doesn’t forget me and my family. I hope when he sees us he’d be as excited when he was still living with us. I just can’t stop crying. I am heartbroken. I hope he doesn’t forget us, that’s my only wish.

  • Calum Motteram

    My mum didn’t know how hard it would be to have and care for a dog but we have to give her away after Christmas.porridge pepper ready your article helped but I can’t stop crying Italy 5 days till Christmas and this happends 5hankyou for your help bit how do I know when it’s OK cause something could happen and I won’t know cause we had to give her away cause we couldn’t cope this is horrible I’m in tears I can’t say goodbye

  • Neelia

    Thank you so much for this. I recently found I was pregnant but its a high risk pregnancy and I was finding thay taking care of my 7 year old fur child Teddy was becoming more difficult. He is an indoor dog and hos pee and poo was making me feel nauseous to the point where i became dehydrated and hospitalized. My husband and I had decided to let Teddy stay with my mother until I had the baby but i quickly changed my mind because I was going to miss him too much. When my husband took him out for a walk, tragedy struck and a big pitbull attacked my little poodle shih tzu mix, my Teddy. We quickly took him to the pet hospital where they told us he suffered from a broken arm and needed extensive care and surgery. This had been the second time Teddy suffered something this traumatic as Teddy had ran out and got hit by a car causing him to lose an eye ( this happened while I was on my honemoon). So with a broken heart my husband and I decided that Teddy could not longer continue to suffer. He wouldnt get my full attention as I was more concentrated on my pregnancy, his smell was causing me more trouble, at times he would go on to be asleep all day because we both work, we wouldnt engage him much but he would follow us. All these things made me realize that Teddy needed a more loving him (not thay i didnt love him, i raised him) but a home where someone could play more with him than I was. So when tragedy struck and told the Vet about our plans, it was as if God sent me an angel. The Vet decided to adopt my beautiful sweet boy Teddy and agreed to pay all of the fees that were required. She promised me she would care for him and if someone loving wanted Teddy, she would let him go with that person. I made sure she reassured me of this because I didnt want Teddy to be placed in a dog pound. My heart aches and I cant help but feel torn over this decision but God knows what he is doing and this was Teddys destiny. I love that your article talks about dogs being survivors because thats what my baby was and is, a survivor. His memory will live on but I know he’s in better hands. I couldn’t have asked for a better and more suitable person to care for my Teddy than a Vet. The fact thay she didnt let my husband and I euthanize Teddy meant alot. It meant that she cared and that she would do anything in her power to ensure Teddy lives and continues to be happy. I just need to learn how to cope with this so that I can move on and be able to raise my child without the guilt of my fur baby.

  • T

    Thank you for this article!! I had a one year old pitbull I rehome this Saturday and I’ve been crying so much. I honestly could not ask for a better situation he has human siblings and fur siblings and acres to run on. My apartment did not offer that and my HOA was not fond of dogs over 35 lbs (biggie was 80). I know he is happy and I needed to read how other people got over it. Thank you!

  • Emma :(

    My mum put my guinea pigs on for sale this morning, about one hour later somebody wanted to look at them.. I didn’t get time to say goodbye! I can’t stop crying I don’t know what to do?? They are 2 females and are 4 years old, I wasn’t good at looking after them as I am alregic but I loved them so bad! They said that there was a male guinea pig which they already owned but what happens if they don’t get along or if one of them gets pregnant and I won’t know , I am very upset and are thinking of all the bad thoughts , what if they die suddenly, what if she drops them? , I am going to miss so much of their lives and I don’t want to , I want to make time go back and look after them! I know they are probably happy and I am over thinking but I am a 14yr old missing her guinea pigs! I am so upset I know I was terrible at looking after them but all I can see in my head is thier cute little faces , I didn’t want them to go !
    My family isn’t sad at all which makes my heart break even more, I think they feel bad because I have cried all day my heart is Broken , how do I get over this before Christmas?
    Good bye Patch and Pic,
    I will miss you so so much, you are and were my favourite furry friend and I am praying that you will be safe and happy wherever you are. I will continue to love you with all my heart.

    Reading other comments is making me feel better, I just want my friends back though :,( :,(

    • Emma :(

      just noticed it says I have stayed up this late… I haven’t this must be American ? I live in New Zealand but I just wanted to say incase anybody thinks my parents are bad … I just wanted to say to anybody who has lost a pet without them knowing or without warning, it is very hard at first, mum is thinking of a fish or frog because then I am not allergic but I am not sure if I should feel bad for my guineas , I am moving on from them already and I feel horrible but I am also jealous of the little girl who was so excited to have them, I feel horrible for thinking like that but I think it’s guilt for letting them go to easy, she was so happy bouncing up and down saying how she had a male one, I had to listen from the window because I was too upset to look at her, I was crying the moment it set in that they were not mine anymore , they were somebody else’s Christmas present. Should I get tropical fish or a tree frog? I am trying to think of positives so I don’t cry anymore

  • G

    I am rehoming one of my dogs tomorrow. We got him as a wee puppy for my birthday last year but a month or two later I found out I was pregnant. He is a very high energy dog and I just couldn’t keep up with his exercise needs. He’s a menace but I love him so much. My heart is breaking. I know it is in his best interests that he goes to a family who will be able to walk him everyday and give him all the attention he deserves but I feel like I have failed him. Especially since we have chosen to rehome only one of our dogs and keep the other. He is so attached to me and has been since the minute I brought him home. My poor baby loves me so much and I am just going to hand him over to a stranger

  • G & K

    Max- Even though we only had you for a short time, we loved you so much and you were such a good dog. I don’t want you to ever think you weren’t and it’s because we loved you and wanted the absolute best for you that we had to find you a new home. We weren’t able to give you the time and attention you deserved with a new baby on the way, also our small home wasn’t enough for your big energy to run around. Now you have such a great family and a giant yard for you to play and get all of the love and attention you deserve. I know you will be happy and probably forget us but we will never forget you. Thank you for allowing us to love you and show us love in return. Maybe we will meet again some day. Love you to the moon and back my maxie!!

  • Kathy

    We recently had to rehome our beloved yellow lab. She is a fantastic yellow lab who my daughter raised from a puppy. She will be two years old on January 29, 2018. I still can’t believe she is gone from our lives. My daughter moved to another State across country and my son is in college. It was just me left to take care of her when they were not home. I have a full-time job and tried to get out and walk our dog as much as I possibly could but many times she was left just sitting at home all day alone. I would try to take her to a doggie day care but that also felt wrong because she would be in a small space outdoors with other dogs and would sometimes get overwhelmed by that. I have some wonderful memories of trails that we would walk on weekends or after work when not dark out. She truly helped to get me out and exercise and I will always treasure that time I had with her. I am heartbroken that this decision had to be made and I feel for my kids who are also feeling the same. She is with a wonderful family who have lots of woods to run and another dog to play with. She has a new brother now as well and she will be living all summer with them at a camp on a lake. Does not get much better than that! I have never been faced with such a difficult decision and have raised other dogs from puppy stage right thru their senior years. It is such a sad situation that nobody could have predicted. The guilt and grief are so intense and the feelings so constant. I cry when I get home at night and she is not there to greet me. I know we made the right decision and sometimes life choices are very difficult. Thank you for this space to write our thoughts and share the experiences with others who have had to deal with the same sorrow.

    • Mariusz

      I know exactly how it feels. I also have a job that keeps me from spending time with my dog. I am very happy to hear your dog found a great home! I do hope mine will find one too. I am very attached to her and many times she has been the only one to help me go through tough times.
      Thank you for sharing your story.

      • Kathy

        Thank you so much Mariusz for your nice comment. There are so many times when I just want to pick up the phone and ask the new owners if we can have our dog back. This was the toughest decision to make. We are going to love and miss her forever. They truly are man’s best friend (and woman and child). I hope your dog finds the perfect home as well.

        Best to you,

    • JailisA VArgas

      Oh my god, i gave away my dog 2 days ago and his name was max also…. he was barely 5 months. We also had him since a tiny little baby. My heart is broken but i feel you on a personal level. I’m so sorry that u had to give him away as well. 💔:,(

  • Mariusz

    Thank you for creating this page. I just left my dog at training center for evaluation. I am leaving her there for re-homing in 2 days. Although I read that my feelings are something to be expected, I feel crushed.
    I have had her for almost two years. I feel guilty that I did rescue her. If I had not, she may have found an appropriate home. I live alone. At the time I rescued her, I had more relaxed schedule, just bought a house, and thought life will be all good. I was not thinking.

    My schedule changed. Long hours of work and my dog which turned out to be fear aggressive. I couldn’t trust her to be around a stranger to walk her. She spent the whole days at home. I was afraid to walk her because she got into fits of rage against other dogs and people. My neighbors started talking.

    I paid for an intensive training for her. She came back much better but I still had to leave her home for 10 or 11 hours. I woke up at 4.30 in the morning to give her a long walk and spend time with her. I bought a treadmill, so she could use her energy. Bought a bicycle, so she could run next to me. I came back home exhausted but still took her out for one hour walk or run.

    After 3 and a half month I am emotionally and physically exhausted. She still gets anxious around people and dogs although she is much easier to control. I do not imagine I can live like that. My whole life revolves around her. I finish work and the first thing I do is check the time to make sure I can catch my train home (I live next to Boston). I cannot have friends over. I cannot renovate my house. I only know two people in the town I bought my house in. They will not take her for the day. She is a strong muscular dog. I spent renovation money on her training. I keep buying new toys and maintain good health insurance for her. I have not been happy for a long time. Neither has she.
    I love my dog, but I know she is very dependent on me. She is scared of other dogs and she attacks. She knows she is strong and she prefers to attack first rather than ignore. I spoke to the trainer at the center she was at before and I am going to board her there for three weeks hoping they can help me find a home for her. I had realized there is nothing else I can do for her. I do not trust her to have a regular dog walker. I know how to handle her. Her trainer does too. I would not risk that she would break loose or bite the walker. I have no idea what else I can do for her. The only last thing would be to quit my job. lock myself in the house with her and become a recluse. I have felt like I was in a nightmare without hope for waking up.

    I feel very guilty. I miss her already although she is away only for a day today for her evaluation. She trusted me when we left the house and I left her there trembling. I saw she was scared. I cannot stop thinking that I did a cruel thing and she will be lost without me.

    Thank you for reading my post.

  • Tracy

    We are 4 days past now after rehoming our patterdale terrier to their rescue centre. We rescued him almost 8 months ago from a different rescue centre, he was in very poor condition physically. We nurtured him back to a healthy and bright boy. Our plan for care of him whilst we worked failed almost immediately. We struggled with dog walkers as due to his breed, he couldn’t regularly be on/off lead, which they required. We have managed with the help if our neighbour which has been great . Our boy was always a wee bit tetchy but had never snapped or bitten. That was until a few months ago, his behaviour changed towards me and he would go for me, sometimes for no reason. Other times it seemed to be when I touched his fur, I avoided petting him. Then it was when trying to put his collar on to walk him. Afterwards he would come to bed and be right next to me under the covers, he did I this every night which we both loved. So unpredictable, so we took him to the vet to rule out anything physical, our boy had spasms in his bag legs which we got pain relief for. By that time we had made the decision to rehome him. The car journey down was so distressing for him and us, I will never forget his wee cries and whimpers like a baby, this made me so sad and feel so horrendous about myself and what we were doing. We handed him over to the rescue, as we walked away he was just standing there looking at us. My boyfriend had to go back to the car, just devastated. I waited a few seconds longer to tell our little boy “it’s ok, it’s ok, on you go, be a good boy” before turning my back on him. He absolutely adored my boyfriend to within an inch of his life, his welcome home from work were unbelievable! I feel I’ve let them both down. My stomach is constantly churning worrying how he is, if he is warm enough, has he bonded with anyone, are they being kind to him……and so much more. Right now my guilt is overwhelming, hopefully it will ease in time. Love you little boy.

  • Nina

    Today marks a week that my handsome boy Harley ( basenji chihuahua)has been away from me and with his new family. I’ve had Harley since he was 6 weeks old and he’s now 5. The dynamic has changed over the years and we ended up with 4 dogs one being our husky we adopted from the Galápagos Islands. Since we’ve had him these past almost 3 years they have not gotten along because they were both so possessive of me. I’ve always known that Harley has needed to be the only dog but it got worse with the husky. My husky attacked him 2 times and it just became dangerous for him to be here. Amongst other little things I’d known he needed a different environment for him to be there her Harley he could be . It has been the absolute worse feeling I’ve felt besides losing my father .. I’m filled with regret , guilt , sadness , feeling like I let him down and most of all today the feeling that I chose the husky over him has got me feeling so overwhelmed I can to take it. All I’ve done is cry and stare at his pictures and just feel so bad .. I started looking up webites on trying to get him back and then came across this one on how to cope and I think that’s what I need more than ever. The people who took him loved him the moment they saw him and came over to meet home. I know he will be absolutely spoiled and loved but somehow that hurts a little too in A weird way .. like they have my baby boy now and they get to love him now and I don’t .. 🙁 just thought I’d share my feelings with those who get it because all I keep hearing from people is well at least he has a good home … lol yea I know but I still have my feeling they can’t relate to . Thank you for listening.

    • Nina

      Not to mention they have already changed his original name . I think that hurt the most.. he’s had his name for 5 years now it’s just like he never existed.. Idk just feelings

      • Elisabeth

        Hi- Try to focus on how much love he will have, knowing you laid a great foundation of love for him in the first place. We successfully adopted a puppy from a local rescue after we had to regime a wonderful dog we only had for one week, as she repeatedly attacked our 8 year old dog. The puppy is no angel, but he likes our 8 year old and therefore we are all set. After all we went through with acclimating to two dogs, first rehoming one, then helping our 8 year old feel special while we house train and play with a puppy, I am not sure I would adopt two dogs at once again. I think it can be so hard for one to adjust when they’re not adopted together. It really sounds like you’ve done the right thing, the selfless thing, giving up your own happiness to be sure your little guy gets the attention he needs. Try hard not to beat yourself up!

    • Emma :(

      I know how you feel, my guinea pigs got taken away and I didn’t get a say in it, it makes me jealous knowing that somebody else will love them, I sound stupid but she has probably re-named them too! I had my pigs for 4 years, (since I was 10) and I loved them dearly but I wasn’t the best option for them , I am scared to find out what could happen to them but I think I am over thinking. We have to move on and they will enjoy their lives! At least you have other pets, my life is empty of other furry friends and I am so so upset. Don’t worry things will get better

  • Michelle

    Today is eight days since I rehomed my Siberian huskies. I adored them but came to the realisation during my six years as a dog owner that we didn’t have adequate space for them and that it was plain selfish to keep them confined. It took almost a year for me to manage to get the guts to do what was right and I ended up asking other people to help me give them away because I was far too broken to do it. Not a day passes since I gave them away that I don’t wonder where they are, what they are doing, if they are being treated right. My heart skips a beat every time I see a Siberian husky in the road … I know I did the right thing but I miss them terribly. I haven’t managed to sleep properly since I gave them away. On the bright side they are probably far happier now. Knowing them once I’m out of sight, I’m out of mind. They operate a bit like that.

  • Lindsay

    Today is day 5 without my beloved dog Charlie. I can’t stop crying, I miss him so much. I got Charlie when he was a puppy, me and my husbands first “baby”. Since having Charlie we have gone on to have 2 children. Our son just turned 3, our daughter is almost 1. Unfortunately Charlie became aggressive with our children and has bitten both of them, on more ham 1 occasion. I would never label Charlie as an aggressive dog, he’s just not used to kids. Young children have a different presence about them, and Charlie was always scared around them. It took me a long time to find the right home for Charlie, but when I did find his new home, I knew it was perfect. I felt good about taking the time to make sure he was going to a proper home. The lady told me I could add her on Facebook to get updates on Charlie and see how he’s doing. Well tonight she posted a picture of him laying on their couch getting belly rubs, just like he used to, before we had kids. I’ve never felt this way before. I’m SO sad he’s gone, but I’m SO happy for him. I know his quality of life is way better in his new home. They love him like we do, and that’s all I could ask for.. I’ll always love my beagle, Charlie.

    • Cindy

      Feels like we have similar situations with rehoming our pets. We just rehomed our Dixie yesterday; had her for 4 years, but she wasn’t adjusting to our son and he’s now one and becoming a lot more mobile. Snarling/growling at him out of nowhere was too much for me to handle. Wasn’t going to give her an opportunity to harm him. Not a life for her either to be put up and away from everyone. I miss her so much, but I know she’s in a wonderful home now.

  • Julie

    I had to bring my sweet girl back to the shelter after 4 months. She developed such severe separation anxiety that I couldn’t leave her alone at all, and we tried everything, and I could not keep affording day care. I also have mental illness and wanted a dog to help but was making myself even worse. I am worried she won’t find a good home because of the anxiety. i hate being alone at home because I get so sad and start bawling and hyperventilating. I think I did the right thing but I won’t know until I see her get adopted. I miss her so much and I am so sorry.

    • Mary

      I understand a little of how you feel Julie, I brought up our puppy, as a gift to my son and for myself, as a single parent I wanted a dog to walk and keep me and my son company. She was perfect but needed a lot of focus/time/energy! My hours at work were increased and I began to feel huge stress juggling my son, work, walks and a house that needed (still needs) lots of work done. I gave her away after a year to a new home 6 months ago. In one way I was glad, as I could work more hours comfortably and have time and energy to do lots of work on the house which was desperately needed. But I still miss her deeply, and even worse so does my son. I wish I had been able to keep her, or had someone to step in and help for a short while, while I got myself together, but I could not afford day care etc. and have no other support. I still regret it and wish she was here. I have to keep coming back to this article to remember at least she will be happy! But struggling with mental health and finances etc is a very sad reason to surrender a loving dog 🙁 best wishes to you and I hope you feel relief soon.

    • Terri Burnett

      Julie, I know exactly how you feel. I rescued a dog from being put down. Had him for 5 years. Love him so much. I had to take him to a no kill shelter, 2 weeks ago. I cry daily. And , check the website daily to see if he’s been adopted! He started attacking my other dogs. Took him to the vet to make sure nothing was wrong. Gave him 7 chances. It truly sucked leaving him there.

      • Julie

        Thanks Terri. I was incredibly sad and it triggered a major depressive episode that I finally came out of a couple of weeks ago. I did not realize how lonely I would be in addition to the guilt. I also check the shelter’s pages every day and she is still not posted, I emailed them and have heard nothing. I don’t think I will be fully better until I know she has a good home.

  • Audrey Gibson

    We adopted our dog 13 months ago. We fostered him and after 2 weeks adopted him. On our first walk together, my husband told me “this dog is going to be a project.” Within the first 3 months he jumped and broke two windows and ended up in the vet’s office for stitches, ate coffee and chocolate and we had to take him to the vet to induce vomitting, he bit our older dog in the ear out of jealousy. My husband and I have rescued 4 dogs before and never had any of these problems or concerns and have always been able to train a dog. We sent him to a 6 week inboard dog training program (not cheap) and set up stronger boundaries in the home so he wasn’t allowed to roam. Everything was copacetic for about 6 months. We were so happy. Then, my daughter gave him a bear hug while he was sleeping and he bit her in the side of the face. A month later he bit our senior dog again for no apparent reason right in the face (more stitches) and then a month later, I went to give him a good night hug in his crate and he bit me on the forehead and finger. I couldn’t believe it. You’re probably thinking, “This dog sounds like a nightmare.” He happens to be so sweet and loving most of the time. He loves belly rubs, nose kisses and butt scratches. Only wants to be where the people are. He’s like glue to me. Falls asleep standing with his head on your lap or falls asleep across your toes. He is always under toe and just wants to be with you. Happily the league we rescued him from is helping us rehome him. He leaves in less than a week and can’t help but to second guess this decision all of the time. But, my husband will not allow him to stay and the behaviorists we’ve worked with believe he needs a more calming environment, more predictable and to have a playmate his age to play with. I’m completely outnumbered and know it’s for the best but I can’t help but to feel so terribly sad and grief stricken over it. I feel bad for him. He has no idea what’s about to happen. Your thoughts and or support would be appreciated.

  • Valerie

    Thank you for your post.. my ex and I recently split up and he left his dog behind with me. I have enough guilt leaving this amazing boy locked up in this apartment all day with no one here to let him outside or play with any more. I don’t always get home at the same time and he just wants to play and zoom and go outside to be outside. It’s not fair to him and I can’t keep doing that to him. My ex absolutely refuses to take him back. My ex rescued him in November 2015 as the dogs previous owner passed away. I feel like a horrible human being, but I know that this dog could have a better, happier, more fulfilling life in someone else’s home. It’s so heart wrenching.

  • Marnie Humber

    Thankyou so much for the read. I gave up my girls to the spca and i feel guilty and always crying. I love them so much. They came into my life when my Mom died and they got me through it. I am leaving the province and i cant take them. It breaks my heart but i have no other choice to give them to spca. I know they are being looked after but it just hurts so much not seeing them and wondering if they are hurting too.

  • Jessica

    I will be taking my 8 month old Black and Tan back to the rescue that I got him from tomorrow. As I’m writing this with him curled up next to me, I’m bawling my eyes out and it feels as though I let him down. He has become too much for me to mentally or emotionally care for him in the way that he deserves. Your article has helped me come to terms with it more so than before I read it. Thank you so much for it!

  • lam

    Had to give our Maltese up had him since he was born twelve years. My jo Closed made twenty dollars a hour. Then going to making 11.57 trying to pay bills and also his medical needs he had severe allergies I paid about a thousand dollars over the last couple, months and he did not get better because who I trusted to give him medicine didn’t give to him and he was suffering I love him so much I’m in a one room apt. So he stayed with family, as I checked on him called everyday asking are you giving him his medicine found out it wasn’t done. So instead of hm suffering I surrender. I tried to get him back but they sold him.

  • Julie Tu

    Hi, I’m struggling with giving up my 3 month old pitbull. The house that I am renting refuses to let me have him. He’s so gentle and lazy it’s freaking adorable. But with the reputation that pits get, it’s difficult winning people over. I feel like the worst person in the world right now. Thinking constantly of what a horrible person I am for giving up such a great puppy. I don’t know if I will ever get over this feeling of guilt, but when I stumbled on this article it made me feel as if I’m not alone. Please continue posts like this!

    • Via

      I had to give away my 7 month pit bull too it broke my heart and with everything I wish she could come back, back I have her to a relative I’m not so law with the realities though I just hope to see her again.

  • Kate

    My kids and I just surrendered our hound dog to the humane society for surgery. We can no longer afford the medical care. She had a terrible case of “happy tail” and needs to have her tall removed tomorrow. Today, I wrote a long letter to the prospective owners about Grace’ s character traits, likes and dislikes. I left my personal information on the letter and pray to hear from them someday. Grace adored me. She waited for me to get up in the morning and she waited for the sound of the garage door when I arrived home. Nothing made her happier than my high pitched “Grace” tone. The guilt is huge. She loves me so much. I don’t know if anyone can treat her as well as I did. With Grace, we brought all her toys, her teeth supplies, her food bowls, leashes, nail clippers, brush, essential oil calming spray etc. As my son and I turned to leave with sunglasses covering our teary eyes, Mary guided Grace into the dog kennel with the other loud, barking dogs. Grace yanked her leash, and attempted to crawl back towards us desperately. We looked back at her and then we walked away. I cannot forget that monent and I’m so sorry for her. What a sweet soul. 🙁

  • Shelli travers

    Hello, we are in the process of trying to re-home our two Great Dane James P Sullivan and mike wazaski sadly I have to come to term with we can’t afford them I have had both of them since they were babies and it breaking my heart to even think I have to let them go. But the vet bills are adding up along with my back injury I can’t even go on walks with them it hard for me to even love of them.. the amount of grief I have that I am doing this and the depression I have over this .. I keep telling my self that it’s just excuses that you have but they need land and room to play and a life other then being inside and no walks I hope they have a better life.. I am personally trying to find someone to take them along with the lady that I bought Mikey thru she is helping me .. I just want them to have a better life then I could give them .. we also have a jack Russell’s she is not being re-homed just cause I can deal with her a lot easier then the two boys .. I feel like the worst person in the world .. that I should be re- homes not them ..

  • Mary

    Thank you for your article and for all the comments, they are really helpful. I re-homed our loving 1 year old spaniel 4 months ago and I am still very much haunted by regret and grief, I feel it much of the day and still have sleepless nights over it too. I genuinely wish I hadn’t done it, even though it made so much sense at the time. I regret not sharing how hard things were with my wider family, as they have since implied they could have stepped in and had her for me on a temporary basis until things got easier at home. I wish I had gone down that route. Life just feels so hard sometimes, it really is a roller coaster! and its so sad that stress can become so overwhelming to make us have to make such heartbreaking decisions. She was a huge part of our family as it is only myself and my son, we both miss her terribly. I did ask for her back while she was still in foster, but was declined and now she is adopted in her forever home. I know she will have missed us, but I also know she is in a very good home. Reading the article has given me hope and reassurance that these sad changes can be for the best even though it doesn’t feel like it. I hope I am able to move on and rescue another dog one day, once the sadness and stress has subsided 🙁 I wish everyone well, and hope you don’t make these decisions alone as I did.

    • Elisabeth

      To try to give some hope for the future, we had to rehome a very well-behaved sweet dog after just one week, due to her aggression toward our other dog. We were lucky, and, like you learned, she was adopted into her forever home after that. We now have rescued a 4 month old puppy, who we have had for 2 weeks, and it is going so well. While he is wild and keeps us BUSY, he is fine with our other dog, so we have had success this time around. There is hope for you to find that right time to rescue again another time in the future. Hang in there!!!

  • flemy

    To my fur baby Coco,
    Its been 4 beautiful years since you’ve been there in my life. You were 6months then…I still remember how you used to follow me around..shadowing me…. sleeping right next to my legs… how I will miss those days. I’m so sorry baby I couldn’t keep my promise to take care of.you forever… I’m sorry I didn’t fight for harder…. I’m so sorry baby…as you lay down dreaming about chewing your favorite treats and chasing cats, not knowing this is your last day with mamma, it breaks my heart to think this is in fact your last night with me. I hope and pray the new family loves and cares for you as much as I did..and even more…I will miss your licks and wet kisses…how u like being carried round like a baby…I will miss how you run to hide under the bed before a shower..how you are such a good boy when my hands go into the doggy treat jar.. how you are so alert and makes sure no ones messes with the house…or me.. momma will love you always…you are and always will be my ray of sunshine…xoxoxoxoxo

  • Heartbroken

    Well I talked to my landlord and I’m going to get one back–the female who is more emorional and small enough for me to handlel. With only one left they said they will probably be able to keep him but I’m going to keep tabs to see if they do and I made her promise me that she would find the male a good home. They are nice people but they really only wanted one dog in the first pkace, took the pair and got more thAn they bargained for.

    • Elisabeth

      This sounds promising for you and you dogs. I hope it works out. You really seem to be in a tough spot and no one could possibly think you’ve done anything wrong with so much turmoil- you’ve been trying to do the right thing for your dogs so please know that and keep looking ahead.

  • Heartbroken

    My husband had a sudden heart attack a week after Hurricane Irma. Our home keeps flooding and is unsafe so I had to move. I’m disabled so I could not take care of the two dogs on my own. The bright spot in my grief was that a nice family adopted them as a pair. I visited and brought new dog beds and treats and was okay until today I found out the new owners can’t keep them after all and my home is going back to the bank so I’m helpless to take them back. I’ve asked every friend and acquaintance and no dice. I’m crying so hard as the family as I knew it is gone And I can’t take them back. Having the dogs was a two person endeavor after I became disabled a few years after rescuing the two and o never thought my husband would die at only 53 years old. A few weeks before he died we said no more pets so we could grow old with the two dogs and not worry about leaving anyone behind. The family who took them promise to re home them well but I’m in agony over this as I was ready to lfinally let go as I thought they had a forever home. The grief for losing my husband, my dogs and my home is horrible.I.feel guilty and awful.The new family really seemed to love them but there’s a financial and time issue after 3 weeks. O offered to send money but the woman said that’s okay and she promised to rehone them well I saw their photos on Craigslist and sobbed for hours.

  • Kayla

    I’m rehoming my 9 month old Siberian husky today . His name is Steele . I’m so devastated . He is me and my boyfriends first dog and we grew attached instantly . He was going to live with my grandparents until we got our apartment in January but after one night of him being there they wanted him gone because he barks at night and is too strong for them . My boyfriend cried his eyes out last night because it was the last time he would see our dog . I wish we could keep him but he has no where else to go . We’ve only had him for 4 days . I just wish things could have turned out differently . I love you Steele 💔

    • Corina

      This sounds so familiar on what I have to do.. Me and my boyfriend got our first puppy together easing our way to a kid lol. Her name is Stella i got her at 9 weeks and now she is 9 Months. We had to move from our apartment and where I live Stella (German Shepard/Husky mix) is too much for the others when im not home. It made me have guilt like im not doing enough to take care of her or spending enough time with her because of work. I am beyond attached to her but I feel like she deserves a bigger and better home with another dog that can keep her company. So i met someone and they will be taking her this Saturday im definitely fighting with myself over this one but i know how happy she will be with land to run on and another German Shepard with just as much energy as here,

  • R Fog

    Thank you for this article. I have owned at least one dog for the past 26 years….rescued all of them. I never ever ever thought I would re home a dog. But…alas…it happened and I feel just awful. Three years ago, I rescued a 3 year old shih tzu with severe anxiety issues. She was as skittish as they come. After about 12 months, she finally came to trust me. Was my sidekick. Always by my side to the point I didn’t really even need to leash her. She never left me out of her sights. She got a little better with her anxiety, but we all knew trash days were a problem so she had to be crated to prevent her from slinking off into a corner or under a car or pacing pacing pacing pacing pacing in fear.

    This year we had to move to a different home because my elderly mother needs to move in with us and our former home was not going to work. This new home is near a highway and close to a main street…..can you guess what happens next. The constant drone of traffic noise, and trucks on both the highway and main road has sent my little one into a complete tizzy. So now we potty in the house. My husband is NOT happy and never was on board with having a second dog in the first place.

    I have a second dog who has adjusted well to the move and goes with the flow….but the new place has not boded well for my shih tzu. I tried for 2 months…giving her time to adjust…trying different things to make her relax outside…but she just was miserable. Which made us miserable inside because she could never be trusted. EVER. She ended up having to live in the laundry room so we could contain the messes….but my husband and daughter finally held an intervention.

    They claim…this dog is needs a quieter environment, someone who can give her a quiet place outside, and more attention inside than I will be able to provide now that my mother is moving in and I need to refocus my attentions.

    I never ever ever imagined this happening. One never knows how our circumstances may change and how a beloved pet may not adapt. I returned her to the rescue group foster mother I got her from. This woman took her, understanding the situation. She did ask what I had tried, and when I explained to her, she made it clear she was an animal behaviorist, and I was not. You know, I’m a CPA, but when people struggle with their accounting or taxes, I never ever ever say stuff like that to them…well, I’m an accountant, so I know how to handle it. Clearly this was painful to me, so I just felt even more like a failure. I left the place reminding myself that the important thing is that the little one get a quiet and loving new home that didn’t freak her out. I am concerned that the ‘behaviorist’ claimed she was going to get her anti anxiety meds…..well, I am not opposed for things like storms and fireworks, but this dog was a mess on the daily. She was a nervous wreck all the time. I didn’t want to have to drug her all the time…when all she needs is a quieter place.

    I hurt, I feel like I failed, and I’m afraid. I will keep my household to the well adjusted dog I have and leave it at that for now. But someday….my fear is that I’ll adopt and have failure again, when in my heart I love dogs so much, (more than humans).

    Heart broken and sad…and yes guilt. I know I did what is best for the little one. But my heart is broken.

  • Syleena

    I love you more than anything.  You came into our lives at 9 months old from a rescue organization in Mexico.  The moment you came off the plane and the lady unzipped your carrying case, you jumped out with excitement and started attacking me with kisses.  I fell instantly in love.  We drove an hour back home and mummy spoiled you rotten over the next year.  You were and will always be my baby boy as I always called you.  You are so warm and soft and loving.  You would lick my tears away when I was sad and look at me with concern.  You would snuggle up to my pregnant belly every day and just sleep for hours with your head resting on my belly.  You loves your baby human since the day he came home.  You were so excited to see mama and the new little person I brought home with me.  I bawled my eyes out when I came home from the hospital and saw how much you missed me and how sweet and gentle you were with the baby.

    We found out we were pregnant with your baby human brother Noah just 1.5 mths after we brought you home.  I knew having a new puppy and a new baby would be hard but I didn’t realize how hard.  You are such an energetic and playful lil’ guy.  A few mths after baby was born I noticed we were having to put you in our bedroom or in your bed more often because you’d be getting into mischief while daddy was working and I was with the baby and it wasn’t fair to you in the slightest.  You deserved more attention, & exercise.  You deserved more.  You’d only act out and chew things because you were bored and wanted stimulation, play time.   It wasnt your fault Captain, it was ours.  This why we decided to find you a new living family.  We couldn’t be selfish with you anymore.  You deserved the most in life and we love you so much that we had to put you first.

    I’m so sorry that you may not understand why we took you on a nice car car rude and left you with a lady you’ve never met with other dogs, goats etc. But I know you will fall in love with  forever family again, I know you will love another family as much as you loved us.  I will never, ever forget you.  You were my first dog as an adult and there will always be a preprint on my heart from you. 

    Be happy Vinny, that’s all you need to do ❤❤

    Love always

    Mummy, daddy, Daemon, Mykaila and Noah.

  • Tamara Summers

    I have a 16 yr that is having a hard time coping with the 4 dogs that was surrendered to animal control. She has been emotional and feel she has gained weight this last past week. Tomorrow makes 1 week.

  • Alex

    Last Sunday, our beloved American bulldog mix, Jethro, was down at the park with our daughter, when he got excited and lunged at a child. After talking with the kid’s family, they decided that they did not want to euthanize him or rehome him. Of course, we still had to deal with our homeowner’s insurance. This incident happened right around the time the closest town decided to put a Pit Bull ban into place. Our insurance company told us to get rid of the dog or they were dropping us. Apparently, there was a list of most aggressive dog breeds, and our sweet Jethro was on it. He was labeled as an “aggressive dog” and we were now “high-risk” clients. We tried calling every insurance company within 100 miles, but this seemed to be standard policy. We had no choice but to surrender him back to the rescue group he came from. Jethro was in our lives for only 10 months, but that doesn’t mean we never got attached to him. The minute he rolled into our lives my kids knew he was the perfect dog. He’s never been aggressive towards anyone, except for maybe a few loud barks. My kids have been crying nonstop, and haven’t been to school in 3 days. My daughter feels extremely guilty because she was the one in control of the leash when he bit the child. I’m just wondering if anyone has been in this type of situation and has any advice for us. We miss you Jethro.

    The Hartons

  • Elisabeth

    I have been reading as much as I can as my family adopted an adorable 5 year old terrier/chihuahua female last week, only to have to surrender her back to the no-kill shelter within 7 days. She is such a sweet and smart dog – housebroken, loves walking on a leash, enjoys our fenced-in yard, doesn’t destroy anything in our house, LOVING and the most cuddly dog I’ve ever met, can sit and lie down on command, and playful yet rests well too. The issue was that she was incredibly jealous of our first dog, an 8 year old male Maltese-American Eskimo mix. He accepted her right away, and she seemed fine both at the shelter meet-and-greet and initially upon joining our home, yet every few hours, would curl her lip at him. By day 2, she started lunging and snapping with growling/snarling. By day 6, she attacked him twice within one hour, apparently over me, even though I was not showing either of them attention at the time. The 2nd of these two attacks left my male an absolute shaky neurotic mess. He would not stop crying and shaking for 2 hours, then spent the entire night in our room, nervously staring at the closed bedroom door. He has never had an accident in our home, even though we got him as a 9 week old, yet this night after being attacked, he had multiple loose bowel movements in our bedroom, threw up, and screeched when we tried to lift him. The sweet rescue girl was also nervous. She wanted to sleep in our bed too, but we obviously could not have them both in there with all of this going on, so she whined a bit as well. We know she belonged to a single woman for most of her 5 years until that owner surrendered her due to losing her home with its fenced yard, and the dog started having accidents in the apartment. The next owners had a slightly larger male dog who was not happy with her being in home and he started attacking her. For 2 months, their fights escalated until one of the owners reached her hands in between them and got bitten by the little girl in the process, so they surrendered her. The shelter had her as safe with other dogs in the home because she was deemed non-dog-aggressive at the shelter (she spent an hour daily in a group with 4-5 other dogs her size and was fine). We got immediately attached to her and hated leaving her at the shelter. It’s been 3 days and I am continuously crying and thinking about how disruptive this was to her little short life. We are thinking she needs to be the sole dog in the home as she seems much happier when we would pet her alone; obviously, we wanted to keep her but feared the worst. Especially after the last home, where, instead of the fights getting less and less, they escalated and intensified. I could not risk my male dog being hurt or her being deemed dangerous if she developed so much of a habit to attack him, so we talked to shelter and all agreed she needs rehomed as the only dog in her forever home. I adore my 8 year old dog and he is very good now – I am still so very upset by leaving our little girl who we only knew for 1 week. I almost feel like I need to talk to others who have had this kind of awful experience -bonding with a pet after a short while, then having to rehome him/her, so I know I’m not alone. The shelter has been AMAZING -they feel awful they didn’t anticipate her dog-aggressiveness being home-specific, after her 2 months of constant fighting in her last home. They are waiving any future adoption fee if we decide to try with another dog, but I am so very terrified to do this again; she was, after all, ideal in EVERY single other way, and I am worried we may find a dog who gets along with our boy, yet has a host of other issues. We adopted her because I was feeling like I wanted to rescue an adult dog as my dad’s beloved dog suddenly passed away and we used to dogsit him in our home about 2-3 months/year, so it was like I lost a pet when he passed. Our boy really got along well with that dog and seemed happy and more energetic when he was here. I fell in LOVE with the rescue girl immediately and felt she was “the one.” Now, I feel we should never get a 2nd dog and just be content that our 8 year old is safe. Did you all feel this crushing sadness and guilt even knowing it is likely best for both dogs? I know she would love tons of petting and adoration from people and doesn’t want to share it…but I still see her sweet face, huge eyes, and trusting expression and cannot hardly live with my decision. Everyone I’ve spoken to said this was the type of situation that wasn’t going to improve, and even if we hired a dog behaviorist, she may have been too traumatized before. I did take her to the vet, and she is very healthy.
    I wrote a letter to her future owners and the shelter promised to pass this along and to be sure she is in the exactly right home this time:
    I want to sincerely thank you for being so kind to my husband today when he sadly had to bring Gracie back to your shelter. We got pretty attached in a week, and it makes me so incredibly sad that we had to give her up. I stayed up the entire night crying and have pretty much cried all day too. I know we did what we had to do to protect our dog, Brody, but it doesn’t change how much we all immediately adored her. I cannot imagine anyone not loving her at first sight, as she is just so very sweet and cuddly. I know you’re all very understanding about Gracie’s need to be the only dog in a household and I am sure that type of arrangement will provide her with the dedicated attention she really wants. Around 3:30-4:00 this morning, I sat and just pet her 1:1 and her sheer happiness and relaxed nature while she didn’t have my dog nearby to distract me, told me this has to happen for Gracie’s happiness, and definitely for Brody’s safety.

    Please feel free to let her future forever family email me or call me as I will gladly tell them what an absolute joy she would be to have as the single star dog in their home. In case that’s against protocol, here are things they need to know about Gracie:
    She loves stuffing-free floppy animal dog toys
    She adores sleeping in bed with a person and burrowing under the covers
    She knows how to sit on command and will gladly do it for a treat after coming inside
    She will lie down if you firmly ask her to “lie down, Gracie”
    If they don’t have a fenced-in yard, I hope they will get one; she loved being out in our fenced-in yard and can run REALLY fast
    She needs walked daily- my son and I did a mile every evening and she was so happy walking on her leash; she will wiggle all over with excitement when she knows her leash is about to be attached to her collar
    She let me hold her while vet cut her toenails and examined her- on only my 4th day with her, she trusted me that much; as her new owner, please do not betray that blind Gracie-trust and please be deserving of it
    She is 100% house-broken- she asks to go out once she learns the door location and she knows phrases like “want to go potty?” And “outside?”
    She is a serious cuddle-bug and wants to cuddle and happily greet all adults who come in the home
    She loved my 13 and 16 year old sons and slept several nights with the 13 year old in his bed
    She is smart- she will sniff and learn about her new home very quickly
    She deserves a home where people are home regularly- and should not be in a crate as she is very good running loose in the house
    She enjoys tiny milk bones and Caesars soft dog treats
    She loves nylabones and pounces and plays like a puppy- please play daily with her
    Please LOVE her and don’t disappoint her like I did- she deserves better than that
    If her prospective owner is not 100% smitten after a look in her big soulful eyes, they do not deserve her
    She needs lots and lots of love and deserves better than yet another temporary home-if we did not have another dog who was here first, we would not be in this predicament as we would still be Gracie’s forever family.
    She has a piece of our family’s heart and I hope that she can hold onto some of that love from her week with us, between now and when she meets her permanent, super lucky future owners. If you’re allowed to update me on her placement to let me know she has found her home, please feel free to call or email me.

    Fiercely missing Gracie,
    PS -if you live in Central Ohio and want a PERFECT dog and can give her the right home, please reply or go to CHA Shelter.

  • Grace Hofferica

    My husband and I just had to rehome our first dog Koda. He was a 1 1/2 year old bernese mountain dog but he was small for his breed. Koda helped us with our depression and anxiety. He was our unintentional emotional support dog. I remember finding his litter on a Facebook “no rules” yard sale page. I begged my husband for him. We picked him up and he slept in my arms all the way home. He was the first thing my husband and I ever raised and loved together. We loved him like our first child. We walked him twice a day because we lived in a quaint 1 bedroom. We watched him grow. Then we both lost our jobs. We had to move to my husbands parents’ house. Koda was there to get us through. One weekend in January. we traveled back down to the area to my parents’ house for work. We only packed for the weekend. Then our sister-in-law commit suicide. It was devastating as she left behind 3 daughters (1 1/2, 3, and 5). We’ve been down here since then. Grieving and helping my husbands brother with the girls. Koda was there to let us hug him and cry into his fur. When things were just starting to feel normal again, Koda bit my dad. My dad was always somewhat abusive towards Koda. So it only made sense that Koda finally fought back. We were in the ER until the early morning. We were all shocked. It was so unlike him. He is a goofy boy that runs into objects because he’s so excited. He cuddled like an actual human. It always looks like he’s smiling. My husband and I wanted to try training. Even though he wasn’t an aggressive dog. We just had to do something. But my dad made us surrender him. My parents have a lab that has bitten my mom and I, has the worst food aggression I have ever seen or heard of, and growls if you look at him wrong. My heart is so broken. He was our baby. He was a good dog. He was our emotional support dog. The 3 of us fit so well together. It feels like he’s been ripped from my arms. He was so good with children so we were so excited to have kids with him there. We planned the future and he was in it. I miss him with everything I am. I just want him back. We weren’t done. I miss you Koda.

  • Kevin

    My wife and I had to rehome our dog Bella yesterday. We got her about 2 years ago. I made the decision to rehome her because we didn’t have time to care for her. We have a 3 month old daughter and we both work full time, so she spent a majority of the day in her kennel. Before adopting Bella, I was suffering with anxiety attacks, and they almost immediately stopped as soon as we brought her home. Giving her away was the hardest thing I have EVER done. She whined and cried as I left her new home (she hates it when I leave her sight). I’m gonna miss waking up on Saturday morning to her kisses and wagging tail, I’m gonna miss her cuddling up to me during a thunderstorm, I’m gonna miss telling her “want to go to the car?”, and she get so excited, I’m gonna miss her laying on her recliner as we all watch TV, I’m gonna miss her get excited with her toy squirrel. You were my best friend, and you brought me out of my darkest times. As I try to deal with my guilt over this decision, I know that it was the right one to make. I try to comfort myself in knowing that she will bring her new owners as much joy as she brought us. I love you bell.

  • Mireya

    I had to give my dog away today, his name is Max. He is so sweet, smart and loves to cuddle. Unfortunately I had two options, put him up for adoption and let him be adopted within 3 months if not he will be put to sleep. That honestly broke my heart and couldn’t let that happen.. little did I know my neighbors mechanic recently lost his dog, and his name was max as well. He was happy to know we needed to rehome Max, he right away said he wanted him. Days passed by and Monday got here and had to get rid of him due to apartment rules 😡 He got picked up today, but seeing Max bark and go back not wanting to go with his new owner broke my heart and burst into tears.. It’s so hard.. a dog has so much meaning to you, I’ve only had him for 3 1/2 months, but he is my baby and I love him so much!!! I just think about how he is feeling, what is he doing.. does he think about me, about us.. I am reading this article to learn how to cope with this descion our family had to make… I hope Max is not mad at me, and knows I will always carry him in my heart and he will be my screensaver forever! LOVE YOU LOTS Max! I will always love you and miss you! Be good, and love your owner as much as you we love you and you love us!!!!!

  • Reese

    I had to give away my sweet poodle Finley who I had for over 3 years. My parents made the decision and I didn’t have any say, but he was ruining our house after we got a cat and was causing my parents so much stress. We all loved him very much and for the past 3 days I haven’t stopped sobbing. He originally went to a rescuse to be trained with the intention of being brought back to us after 2 weeks, but the rescuse found an adopter in that time and I never got to say goodbye to him, which is the worst part. I don’t even remember the last time I saw him. He went to a very nice family who have more time to pay attention to him, and no cat to set him on edge. I have my other dog Lola who is 9 years old to keep me company but I still feel like I am missing part of my heart. I regret that I didn’t work harder to play with him or swim with him when he wanted me to. I can’t believe I will never see him peak his head through the front door before I opened it, or see him run towards me as I called him his nickname- “Mr Fin”. And it kills me to think he might not understand why I never said goodbye. I want him back so badly, but he is already in his new home and my parents said it is better that way. I hope to be able to reuinite with him when the time comes, but it hurts to know that will now be another families same wish. I have asked them to send photos and updates of him but all I wish is that I could see him one last time. I hope this grief goes away, it honestly feels like he died. I know he is probably very happy in his new home, but I just have a dreadful feeling that he doesn’t understand why we left him. I love you, Finley. Forever.

  • Elizabeth

    I had the most beautiful pug puppy which I just couldn’t keep. I can’t go into details but it has broken my heart. Every time I see a dog out for a walk it upsets me so much. I am not sure I will ever get over this.

  • Belinda Blunsden

    To my fur baby… after so many years together we are about to part. Sammi you came into my life during a time when great healing wad needed. We both needed to heal. You were so little. So tiny I could fit you in the nook of my neck. And we.learnt that you were a big personality in a little body. You licked my tears when I cried. You sat my me when I was sad and I inturn was there to give you support and love. I helped you grow into a confident strong dog. You are headstrong but I wouldn’t have you any other way.
    I feel overwhelming guilt because you have trusted us from a tiny 12 weeks of age and now 9 years later I am passing you on to someone else. I wonder if we are doing the right thing. Am I being selfish. I feel like I have let you down and you never love me again. But I want you to know I will always love you. I will try and remember our fun times. And I pray you and I can be reunited someday someway. I’m so sorry my precious baby. I’m so sorry. My tears fall for you. I will be lost without but a greater need calls now. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being so loyal. I did give you my heart and I promise it will always stay with you. My bed won’t be the same. The furball ready to wake me up and give me all the unconditional love in the world. Thank you Sammi for accepting me for me. I will always treasure that about you. I pray this pain stops. I want to be happy for you. I want to find joy in the special moments we had.
    You made me laugh and cry. You made me kinder and more sensitive. Such a big role you filled but you did it with such ease.I will always remember the brown spots on top of your black legs. The feel of your fur that is so soft when trimmed. The way you get on your hind legs and sit up to be for food like a meerkat. The way you would gather socks and treat them like your babies when feeling fragile. And of course the precious lambsy who became your nurturing pet…. the piece of lambswool you have had for 9 years and sick on for hours. I know lambsy is your best friend, not me..hahaha. what a treasure you are.
    Forgive me beautiful girl. I love you….. this is my letter to you…… my little Black Terrier. My Sammi.

    • James murphy

      I am crying my eyes out reading this . I have a 12 year old Jack Russell Lucy . I feel like I can’t look after my dog anymore . I suffer with severe depression and I’m actually squatting at family home at the moment so I have to find a new smaller place. I can’t give my girl the time she needs anymore or the attention and I feel so guilty all the time . I’m her second owner I got her when she was like 9 weeks old and we are so close and bonded but it my love for her that is making me want to to go to a good home for the last years of her life we are holding each other back in life and it kills me . I just don’t know what to do .

  • Elizabeth

    I recently found this page. I am suffering from the guilt and pain even though I am just in the process of rehoming my 11 month old puppy. We got the dog from my sister 3 weeks ago and it has been drama with my family ever since. I took in Bonnie because I thought I was only fostering her for a period of time but that was a lie. Also they lied that she was potty trained, crate trained and didn’t destroy anything. I feel horrible that we have to find a new home for her because all she wants to do is be with me 24/7 and she hates being alone but I have to work and she has to be home by herself for 9 hours. I feel so sorry to her that I failed her and that I have only had her for 3 weeks. Instead of being supportive when I asked for help with her my family were so negative to me. Every day they told me to suck it up and deal with it. I love Bonnie so much but she is causing so much drama and I am currently not speaking to my family.
    2 months ago I had to give up a dog I just adopted because I felt I wasn’t good for her and this broke me. I was not over giving back Ava. And I wasnt ready to get a new dog but i thought i was helping out my family.

    I cry everyday and I dont want to do anything anymore since this is happening again.

  • Kayla


    I just wanted to thank you so much for this article. I came into a young husky puppy (5 weeks old) whose mother pushed away and left him by himself. I brought him home thinking I’d be prepared (I have been preparing for a dog for almost three years) and had a very solid plan on what to do with him when I was going to school full time. Within the first week of having him, I felt so overwhelmed and unprepared, but it slowly got better as we both got used to each other. He is so sweet and possibly one of the smartest dogs I have ever met. As university began, I realized leaving him home by himself all the time wasn’t ideal even with me coming home very few hours to let him out for a pee and a short play. I considered having a daycare look after him, but I couldn’t afford it. it was becoming something that I would obsess over, not being able to focus on anything else, just thinking about him all by himself, even if it was only for three hours. I felt horribly guilty every time. My boyfriend’s family really loved him and wanted to keep him, so I re homed him with them. I know that he will have the most loving family and as long as my boyfriend and I are together, I will have access to seeing him, but I feel so guilty and torn. I feel like I should have tried harder and longer to keep him with me. I just don’t want to regret my decision.

  • Lena

    Thank you so incredibly much for this article. I am in the process of rehoming my 11 year old pug. I find myself asking where I failed her, I have had her for her entire life but when I got another pug four years ago she began to proggressively get more and more aggressive to other dogs including her new pug brother. Four years later and a divorce and new home with another dog has proven to be a rough road and now she tries to attack one of them daily. She cannot live the rest of her beautiful years separated because if you know pugs at all, they do not do separation well and its not fair to her. It is also not fair to her brother and new sister to cower and be afraid of her daily as well. She doesnt just attack, she goes until you can break her grip and leaves the other dogs hurt. I talked to vets, have her on pain medication for her arthritis and nothing we have tried works. She really just wants and needs to be the only dog. It is the one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make and it is tearing me apart. I had to remove myself from the situation to understand that she deserves to be happy with a family or person that can give her all the attention and showering of love without any other dogs. The pug rescue site posted her photo and they are great and will foster her and then find her an adoptive family and will never euthanize her. The problem is, I decided to read the comments and other peoples judgement about this incredibly heart breaking decision and that was pretty harsh on top of the grief. This article is what I found after crying my eyes out. Sometimes the best thing we can do for them is not be selfish and give them the best life even if that means it is no longer with us.

    Much love to all of you who feel this immense pain too. We are not alone in this. I wish you all healing and a lessening in your grief.

    • Elisabeth

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I just posted mine up above as we fell in love with a 5 year old rescue girl and only had her for 1 week before some serious dog-dog aggressive tendencies showed up. She was very jealous of my 1st dog (8 year old male) and the attacks were escalating. The shelter promised they would only adopt her to a home without any other dogs as I can tell she also would rather be the only dog in the home. I have had 2-3 dogs at a time previously, and know the dynamics can be complex, but I also know the warning of escalated aggression and could not risk something awful happening to our 8 year old. I think you did the best thing you could and I understand your heartbreak 🙁

  • Stephanie

    Dear Rocket,

    You became someone I love without being mine. I came in to your family a stranger, but you never treated me like one. From the moment we met I knew you were special. Despite being neglected by most of your family, you were so happy every time I saw you. Happy to see them through the glass you once lived inside of. Happy to hear the children laughing. I am not sure if you understood that the youngest child got sick, and you were moved outside for his health, but you were okay with it anyway. But I believed you deserved more. Your humbled heart is what made me want to give you more. So I stayed. I tried. I got lost. Between school and work. I existed. My Mother always tells me I cannot save the world, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. When I offered to foster an abandoned kitten found at work, I lost track of my initial goal of helping you. I became yours without you being mine, but I left you to save the world. And when foster kitten turned new family member, I am sorry I stopped coming to visit you. Sometimes even when I was at your house. I left our moments short when I did. Not like before. Like when I bought you your bed and we napped for hours under the patio. Fill the bowl, fill the bucket, head pat, repeat. I’m sorry I left you lonely when I knew you wanted a friend. It wasn’t my job, you weren’t mine but as your friend I left you behind. I love you so much. I wish I got my life together sooner so I could of had a place of my own for you to stay. When I spoke to your family about finding you a new home, I was nervous but hoped they would see you deserved a better life. When they agreed I was ecstatic. When I got the call from your new Mom I was devastated. I listened to the voicemail. Left it for an hour or so, and contemplated calling back. She sounded nice. My prayers were answered, a new home for you! How did I even think twice? I spoiled you one last time. Spa day, hugs and kisses. I got to see your new home. You running through the grass. Your new human brother talking your ears off and making plans with you. It all went well and it was time to say goodbye. I’m not sure you knew what was going on but for a moment you were mine. I hid and waited to see how you would be with your new family. If you looked back. But you followed them, unsure but intrigued. I was happy to hear an hour later you already had your nap with your new human and that you would get the love you truly deserve. The love you always gave. I will remember you always.

  • Rosie

    Andy is a Chihuahua/Yorkie/terrier with a huge personality. I was absolutely in love with this little guy and I still am. My life has been crazy for years now and it just seemed like one thing happened after the other and I am juggling my own mental illness, not to mention that I am only 16 and can’t seem to get a job no matter how hard I try. Andy developed separation anxiety because of all the times that I was hospitalized and hardly ever ate. I tried my very hardest but it was just so much, I didn’t give up though. Then my dad was sent to jail and I couldn’t take Andy with me to my grams place so I left him with my dad’s girlfriend, some I thought I could trust… But when I was at my grams house, his girlfriend took him to the animal shelter as a stray and just… Left him… She didn’t even flipping tell me afterwards, I had to find out from my father and he liked to me and told me that they knew about his separation anxiety but they DIDNT!!!!!

    I went to my favorite animal shelter and had the lady search him up but she couldn’t find his name. I told her what kind of dog he was and she showed me a picture of a tiny frightened baby dog and I just felt every thing in me just completely shatter. I asked her for the shelter name and I walked away, I couldn’t even hold it together. I sobbed on my friends shoulder. I swear I thought that was going to be the worst of it but no. The worse part was not finding out that they had no clue what his name was or about his anxiety or seeing his face. The worst part was coming home everyday. Walking through that door expecting to see him there and jump on me and greet me but he’s no where to be seen… There is no one there who loves me as much as he did. I was alone. The worst part was going to bed at night and not feeling him under the covers cuddling me. Not being woken up by him every few hours when he switched from under the blankets to over the blankets over and over again.

    I cried everyday for months. I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed so I skipped weeks of school. I would just lay there and cry and when I couldnt cry anymore I would stare at the wall. It was absolute hell. It was like I wasn’t even alive anymore, there was nothing. I was empty. What sucks is that no one even tried to make me feel better. I was obviously broken yet no one seemed to give a shit.
    It was a couple of days until the shelter was open. On that day I packed a bag full of his toys and clothes and his bed, and I rode my bike all the way there. The bike ride was horrific but I was determined. I was not going to go down without a fight. Once I got there, I told them his name and they had me fill out a paper describing him and if he had any issues. I told them everything. I gave them his stuff but they wouldnt let me say goodbye because I was a minor. Though it did make me feel better about the situation. At least they knew more about him and knew that he was majorly loved, even if it was just by me…

    But it’s been getting harder lately because I don’t know anything. I don’t know if he got adopted or what. Or who adopted him. If they are making sure that he is with someone at all times or if they are helping him with his separation anxiety. I don’t know if they are hugging and kissing him every day or if they are telling him that they love him. If they let him sleep in the bed with him, if they are mean or abusing him… My thoughts just keep wandering and it’s driving me crazy. I’m going to call them tomorrow to find out what’s up… Hopefully they will tell me because I don’t think that I can handle this anymore. I love him so much and I just can’t seem to cope without him. I’m just hoping that he is coping without me. I don’t want him to be hurting. I want him to be happy. That’s the main thing that keeps me a little positive about this because I know that I couldn’t give him everything he needed. I know that just my love isn’t enough. I know that whoever he is with most likely can make sure he has a healthier life. I just miss him so much… I should’ve tried harder. I should’ve done more… But it is what it is…

  • Unknown

    Dear Scooby,
    I am sorry that my apartment space was not big enough for you. You deserve a farm, a ranch, a pasture that you can run endlessly on. You are a loving loyal companion who is always by my side, and you are and always be a very sweet dog to me. Even after a two mile run and six walks in a day, you still wanted to be outdoors and I am sorry that I was unable to provide that. I only hope that you will soon be placed in a forever home of someone who will allow you to run to your hearts content, to herd hogs, and above all to love you and never give up on you. I wish that I could have enough time and a pasture of some sort so that you can do what you were meant to do, my lacy dog. You will be dearly missed, Scooby Doo.

  • Sarah Unkovich

    My beautiful border collie was given to a new home by my husband, I was so against it and I feel so betrayed by him. She has a wonderful new home and I keep in contabct with Edens new mummy and Eden is so happy, but the grief and saddens I feel overwhelms me, it doesn’t help that it was my husband who made the decision. And I had terrible anxiety and depression and she really helped eleviate it, and helped me to cope, and now that I no longer have her I have terrible anxiety again. I just don’t know how to get past this.. I still feel like maybe one day I’ll get her back even though I know it’s not possible.. it just hurts so much.

    • mark dalnodar

      My wife made me give away our dog of 7 years today. She fought me for months over it and I just couldn’t fight any longer. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I miss my little buddy and hope that time will ease this hurt that I’m feeling.

  • Monique

    I rescued a Saint Bernard from a horrible situation, I wasn’t planning on even taking him but he was skinnand bones so I had to take him! Even tho I wasn’t moving into my place for two weeks, I took this dog from his evil owner and kept him in a puppy hotel and visited everyday. I thought you know I can do this! Juggle my autistic toddler and him. I feel horrible that I couldn’t, Attikus ( the dog ) had works, fleas, anxiety, bowel issues and wasn’t house trained that well. I had to walk him every 1-2 hours all day and night trying to juggle my son who is extremely hard! I spent so much money and time on this Saint Bernard but at the end of the day I couldn’t handle both him and my son.

    He diarrhea in my son’s room twice and the breaking point was having to walk him constantly and getting my son to walk was horrific, he wouldn’t hold my hand and would take off. He’s 50 pounds so too heavy to carry him. Anyway one day he let go of my hand and took off I was trying to pull Attikus and he wouldn’t budge so I had to drop his leash and take off. Cory my son was missed by 5 feet of a car backing up and I just started to cry I can’t do this! I cried and cried and cried I loved this dog! So I started leaving my son inside our apartment by himself to walk Attikus. That wasn’t safe or good either. I had to face reality that I couldn’t handle two babies. So I contacted Sunny saints rescue and they came out to get him, he wasn’t sad just hopped in and they left, to take him to a foster home. I cry everyday because I just got him barely a month ago and I’m angry at myself for not being able to handle him. I miss him and cry daily! But all I can do is remind myself I saved him from being not fed and sick to getting him back healthy and to a forever loving family.

  • Laure Cook


    You were my trusted and loyal friend for 9 years. You moved with me to the other side of the world. We added a baby boy to our family. You loved the baby boy. You loved the movement in the house, the new excitement. We moved house and you became great friends with the big dogs next door. You are a tiny Chihuahua but so brave and fierce.
    Then comes the moment that we have to move country are you are not allowed back into our home country because we currently don`t live in a rabies free country and we don`t have the labo here to prove it. I got help from so many sides to try to arrange things but nothing worked.
    Now we are leaving in three weeks time to move to other side of the world, back home. But there is no WE because it will be without YOU.
    We are all looking for a loving family to take care of you and I still trust we`ll find one.

    But i`ll miss you so much. You are a part of me, a part of our family.
    I`ll never see you again because we`ll be 10.000km away.
    I hope they treat you well my sweet boy.
    I`ll cry every day knowing that the end of our life together is coming to an end.
    I am so sorry. I tried everything I could.

    • Belinda Blunsden

      Thank you for your words. We are about to move overseas and can’t bring our baby we’ve had for the last nine years. I am feeling absolutely broken and so guilty. She has been my rock and I feel I have completely broken her trust…

  • Isabella

    Dear CoCo,
    We loved you for two weeks, it was the best two weeks anyone could have asked for. Both your mum and dad fell for you instantly. We knew you had a sad past and that’s why you were always so anxious when we left you. It made it harder how attached you were to us.

    When you attacked our housemates dog when we patted him I knew you were trying to guard us. Unfortunately your aggression towards the other dog didn’t protect us but pushed us away from you. We sadly couldn’t keep you because it was to dangerous to have you around him.
    Please know we never wanted to take you back, we tried everything we could to make you settle in and not be aggressive. I wish you could have gotten along with him. You are the perfect dog but you came in to our lives at the wrong time. I think of you tonight as you sit at the shelter waiting for your new family. I hope they are kind to you. I hope they let you sleep on there bed, give you loads of cuddles, take you for long walks and let you be the best you.
    I’ll never forgot you CoCo. I hope one day we meet again. We will love you forever.
    Mum & Dad

  • shruti mehta

    We adopted leo 2 weeks back but our landlady has issues with pets and we are unable to move, hence we decided to give leo to another family.. they will take him by next week.. the guilt is killing me.. why didnt i think this through.. why didnt i cleared out everything before getting him home.. he is just 2 months old.. he will adjust pretty well anywhere.. i used to own a lab for 15 years he has been my bst buddy.. now he rests in heaven… i cnt get over the pain of losing this one again but the issue cant be solved.. i specially feel bad for my husband as this is his 1st pet.. i cnt get over this guilt amd i cnt stop crying

  • Sue

    I gave my 2 dogs away 7 weeks ago an feel bad but had to be done for personal reasons at lot of the comments on this page has helped me feel a lot better an hopfully will stop making me feel so down

  • Kimberly

    You were the greatest joy to come into my life. I remember walking out of the bathroom and your dad had plopped you on the bed. I fell in love with your beautiful eyes and your fun personality. I remember taking you to the park and you were running around like crazy. You were so clumsy and kept falling. As we walked back to grandmas house you couldn’t get over the curb and ran into it. You got right back up and kept going. You’ve always made me laugh these past two years. Chasing daddy around the house when playing hide and seek with him. Burying your face into a blanket just to sneeze. I’m gonna miss your kisses and just laying with me when I am sad. I never understood why you would bark so much every time we left the house. We always came home to you. Every new apartment your separation anxiety has gotten worse. We have tried so many different options and nothing has helped you. Since we live in apartments, people live all around us and didn’t like you barking. I hated leaving you, but we had to go to work. Over the past two years me and daddy have gave up doing a lot of things in our lives just so we could stay home with you because I knew you were more comfortable that way. And I would still do that for you. But mommy and daddy have to go to work. And I know you hate when we leave, that’s why you act out. And I’m sorry we couldn’t find something to really help you. I am completely heart broken that I couldn’t find you a new forever home. And I’m so so sorry my baby. I love you more than you will ever know. I’ve always looked down at people who had to take their pets to shelters. But now as I’m faced with the same decision, my heart is being ripped out of my chest. I will never feel ok with having to give you away. But I don’t have any other choice. You’re the most amazing dog I’ve ever owned. I am praying you find the most amazing family that loves you so much and can help you more than I ever could. I’m so so sorry baby.

    • Paul


      I 100% understand what you are feeling. We had to rehome our Yorkie bc of separation anxiety. It was heart breaking. We had tried everything including meds. We worked from home as much as we could too so she wouldn’t be alone. Just know that you did your best. The behaviorist we worked with had told us that separation anxiety is one of the hardest things to treat. It gets easier but I still cry once a week bc I miss her. Keep your chin up and and know you did everything you could.

  • Laurie Post author

    Thank you for being here, and for sharing how bad you feel about rehoming your dog. Those feelings of guilt, pain and shame can last for a long time! I think the grief of giving your dog away never disappears completely….but you can learn how to let go of the guilt, pain and shame.

    I wrote an article about forgiving yourself; it may help you let go of the past:

    How to Stop Feeling Guilty and Ashamed About a Choice You Made

    If you’ve been struggling with this for a long time, consider talking to a counselor. It really does take more energy to keep fighting your negative feelings than to finally deal with them! You don’t have to live with this guilt anymore…but you will have to do a little work to forgive yourself.

    How are you doing today?


  • anonymousAN

    Dear Mika,
    rehoming you wasn’t a decision that came easy to me. I have cried every night for a month now and cannot sleep until the early hours of the morning because the guilt and grief is eating away at me. I hope that you are happy in your new home and enjoying your fresh start in a different place, I also hope that you understand rehoming you wasn’t because we couldn’t handle your clumsy behaviour, or that we were tired of training and spending the day with you, it was because so many things started happening that if we had kept you your life would have become miserable and perhaps painful too. The fourth month of you being gone is approaching and as I count down the days my heart feels heavier and heavier. Iv’e tried to look at buying other animals but nothing is giving me the same feeling as when I had you and I cry whenever I see dogs of the same breed as you. I hope one day we meet again, until then I hope you know that I think of you every day and will never, ever, forget you.

  • Liz Diamond

    Dear Toby,

    I had to rehome you. It was one of the painful decisions I ever had to make. I had you for four years. You were always the wrong dog in many ways for two elderly people, one of which has very frail health. You grew so big and were always so agile, so bouncy, like you had two big springs for hind-legs. You were always so hyper and excitable too, in love with the whole world, and I took such pride in joy in your beauty, in your exuberance for life, in your playful antics, even in your naughtiness. Everywhere we went you attracted such admiring glances and looks; everyone wanted to touch you, which wound you up, but I had trouble stopping them. You were beginning to settle down, to grow more manageable, but then your dad’s health became worse and I thought he was going to die, so I had you rehired through your breed rescue. It broke my heart. I nearly changed my mind but I knew that if I did I’d only end up in the same place a year or so further down the line and I wanted you to have a chance whilst you were still young enough to adapt and learn other ways. We had spoilt you a bit and I knew you needed more training. I had no support, no one to look after you if I went away and your dad was too ill, too frail to walk you ever. I will never forget watching you drive away in the back of the car. I have missed you so much it was like losing a limb, losing part of my self, so painful. But i am told you are happy, settling down in your new home, getting on with your new (lady) standard poodle companion dog and your new mum and dad. I pray that they will love you as much as I did, that they will always keep you. I pray that they will be there for you, holding you and comforting you at the end, as I haven’t been able to. Living without you is hard, but knowing that you are happy and thriving does help to ease my broken heart. Know that I will always love you, always remember you, always want the best for you. Goodbye, beloved dog, Toby.

  • natalie

    you’re amazing and all these comments make me feel much better.
    I am currently thinking whether to give my pet away… and it’s awesome to see that so many people are dealing with a similar situation..
    Peace and Love to everyone!

  • Jade

    I had to rehome my dog almost 2 months ago and I’m having such a hard time with it. Is there anyone that would be willing to talk to me about it. I don’t know how to deal with it.

    • Rhemy

      We gave up our dog years ago and I still cry about it every night. I still don’t know how to deal with it:( never had anybody to talk to about it.

      • Jade

        Thank you for your reply.
        I miss her so much. It’s been so much hard the last month or so. My life isn’t the same without her. I wish I could just hold her again and tell her I love her and how sorry I am. I wish this pain would go away 😞

    • M

      Hi Jade I had to rehome my dog eight months ago, it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I still cry about it. I miss my dog everyday, she was my best friend.
      I’ve been told that she’s happy with her new family, which makes me happy and sad but mostly happy that she’s settled in and happy again.
      The first few weeks she mourned for me too, wouldn’t eat and settle and was sad, the took her to the vet and they told her new owners that dogs grieve too just like humans.

      I still find it hard to cope with my decision to rehome my best friend, but I was in an impossible situation and there was no way for me to look after her anymore.
      I found that writing the letter to my dog actually helped me a lot but besides that I’m sure it’s just time that heals those wounds.

      • Jade

        Thank you so much for replying.
        I just feel lost. I talk to the people around me but they don’t really understand how I feel.
        I’m so scared my Sadie felt like we abandoned her and didn’t love her anymore. Which is so far from the truth. My heart breaks when I think about her.
        I’ve been told she’s doing so well with her new family and just like you it brings me so much happiness but also so much heartbreak. It’s so strange knowing my best friend has a new life with new parents and I may never see her or be apart of this chapter of her life.
        I wish I could hold her and tell her how much she means to me.
        Has it gotten any easier on you?
        Thank you again for replying it means a lot to me

  • Amy

    Dear Cooper,

    Hey buddy. I hope you’re doing well, although I realize you probably aren’t. I want you to know that I am so, so sorry. I know we knew each other for a very short time, but I want you to know that I love you so much and that you’re forever in my and your Daddy’s hearts.

    Daddy wasn’t in a good place emotionally when we adopted you. He thought, growing up with dogs, that getting a pup would help him manage his life by giving him someone to take care of. You know our cat is pretty good at taking care of herself. I was all for the adoption as well, with the idea of the perfect family in mind.

    I want you to know that you were perfect. Really, I promise. Daddy just wasn’t as ready as he thought he was, and threatening the cat as often as you did scared us too much. I know you saw the two of us crying for days before we finally took you back to the shelter. Our hearts were both breaking, and I’m sure parts of them will never heal completely.

    I am so sorry for what we’ve done. We took you from the shelter, we gave you a bed and a couch to sleep on for (probably) the first time ever and humans to cuddle with, we gave you a new life… and then took it all away from you in the blink of an eye. I can’t help but think about how scared and upset you must be. But we still love you. We love you so much that we broke our own hearts in order to give you the chance to find a family with a big backyard, where you can be the only pet so that you can get all the love and attention that you deserve.

    I hope that you’ll forgive us. I hope that you can look back fondly on our time together and not resent us. I love you so much, super cooper. Please remember that.


  • Lisa

    Today I had to rehome our little toy poodle. As tears r streaming down my face I decided to google ‘how to cope with giving your dog away’ and came across this site. I felt like u wrote it for me. Thank u for the encouraging words. I am agonizing over the decision I made.. was it really the right one?? I still don’t know.
    Anyhow, It’s comforting to know others share this sadness and guilt and grief. Didn’t really expect to feel this way:-(

    • breana

      Lisa I’m in the same predicament as tears rolling down my face I searched google on how to cope this is breaking my heart it feels like a loved one died. When I’ll still get updates and have asked for them all day long. I really hope I made the right decision rehoming my puppy we had him for 6 months didn’t feel very attached but now I’m learning how attached I really was

      • Olivia

        This is exactly how I was feeling I had to regime my pup and now I feel like I was so attached and wish I had just payed more attention to her

  • amanda

    Dear Paulie,

    When I held you in my arms when you were 3 months old, I was the happiest I’ve ever been. You were so kind and loving, always there for me. I live alone in an apartment and I couldn’t ask for a better roommate. I love you. So so so so much. So much more than I realized. I’m sorry I had to let you go :”) But taking you with me to Indonesia would’ve been too stressful for you….I’m sorry I had to leave. I hope you’ll be happier than when you were with me. See you again sweet boy. Mommy will always remember you.

    With love,

  • Melissa

    I’ve been looking around for a while to help me cope with the idea of surrendering our dog. I had to surrender him yesterday and my heart still feels so heavy. I’m glad I found this site so it can help me grieve and help me understand what he may be going through. Here’s my open letter to Eugene.


    When we first saw you 3 years ago we fell in love with you because you were beautiful! We were a brand new family that was excited to have you in our lives. You would love to snuggle and be the perfect company whenever I was alone in the house. I’m sorry my attention turned to our new baby girl and then eventually to our son. I’ve tried to be so patient with you but your jealousy started to show and I was tired of cleaning up after you when you decided to make your human sister’s room your potty room. Thank you for being so patient with her whenever she would play on you and let you chase her whenever she grabbed one of your toys.

    The reason I decided to surrender you is because I know there will be another family out there who will love you unconditionally and give you the attention you deserve. It was unfair to you and your anxiety to keep you locked in a cage all day while Daddy and I were at work. This is the good bye that I didn’t get the chance to say as the shelter was taking you in the back and I’ll always remember that and regret not giving you one last hug. Please forgive me and enjoy your next life with another family. I only wish for your happiness. May we meet again.

    I’ll never forget you,


  • Leann

    I had to send my dog to the pound after he chewed my daughter’s brand new car u like a chew toy chasing after a cat.hes a white German Shepard 2 years old size of a small pony becoming too much for myself and my 65 year old husband we bit off more than we could handle but I am feeling so bad I am getting sick He survived parvo when he was a pup and I can’t let this go I feel as though he waiting for me to save him again.He was a very bad dog he scratched the whole hood of my bmw too.I thought it was a freak accident and begged to keep him. Only to go do this …..devestated how will I get over this .?

    • Leann

      I miss my dog chance but I had to do it he was not the right dog for my family …I am so sorry chance but you will get a family that is suited for your pony size and spunky bad boy behavior.we love and miss you.Smile today and tomorrow will bring happiness.

  • Rachelle


    We’re so sorry we had to rehome you. You made our lives happier for the first year and a half we raised you from a pup, and it’s heartbreaking that you decided to start fighting our old dog who raised you like her own pup. I don’t know what happened in the dog laws of nature for you to turn violent cause you are so sweet when it’s just you. There was never a competition sweet Mack. We love you all the same. Know that we have babies at the house as parents we can’t allow for the possibility of a dog fight near them. We love you and found you a home where you will be the only dog they love . You were scared when I left you and to be honest I was too . I will miss you but I know you will have a better life with the new family we found . Accept their love and be their best friend. Love and miss you always!

    -love ur old mom

  • Lexi

    Thank you for writing this. I had to give up my best friends Callie and Cami today and the tears have not stopped flowing despite the fact that I know they are going to a good home. My constant fear is that they will think that something they did cause me to rehome them or that they will be scared or feel abandoned and my heart is shattered into a million pieces. This post helped me tremendously, and even though I’m crying as I write this, this post gave me reassurance that they are going to be perfectly fine and happy.

  • KM

    My dear sweet babies, Beez and Ollie,

    I am so so sorry to have to give you up. We love you so much, but we can’t give you the life you deserve. In the old days we used to play and go on walks and snuggle all the time. You were the most joyful part of our lives. Watching you wrestle and play always made us laugh. You were our constant companions through all the changes seven years can bring. Now with our new baby we aren’t able to give you what you need to provide you with the best dog life. Having to keep you away from the baby means we have to keep you away from us. We no longer have the time to play and go for walks. We haven’t stopped loving you, we just want the best for you. I hope you will end up in homes where people will give you the love and attention you deserve. Where someone will appreciate your sweet and silly nature and stay by your side til the end. I hope you are not scared or anxious and that you settle in quickly to your new life. We love you forever and will never forget you!

  • Kiara

    I had to rehome my beloved Lola and the decision was agonizing. I would never wish this kind of grief on dog mommies and daddies. It would have been easy to keep Lola because she is the best dog in the entire world. However, her life with me was not what she deserved. She was rehomed into a family that she adores (and they adore her in return), where she can run around unleashed in the garden for hours. There is even another dog for her to play with. Doing the right thing has never been harder. I think of her everyday and hope she does not feel as if she were unwanted. I rehomed her because I loved her too much to give her a mediocre life, but I miss her so much it feels like there is a hole in my chest.

  • Oliver

    I Still Can’t Get Over Losing Not One Pet But 3. None Of These Pets Are Dogs, Cats Or Birds, But GuineaPigs. After Reading This I Still Cannot Get Over It. Whenever Someone Mentions Them I Start To Cry.

  • Susan

    These few words helped me so much last night when I couldn’t sleep, dealing with guilt and depression after taking a dog named Oliver back to the Vets after
    office for rehoming.
    “At some point, you have to realize that some Dogs can stay in your Heart but not in your Life”
    I am so grateful for this site…..thank you, Susan (70 yrs old and the owner of one dog Dino 11 yrs old)

  • Jenny

    There is comfort in knowing I am not alone with this emotion of guilt and grief of having to rehome our dog. Atticus joined our family about three years ago and he is a sweetheart. He helped me overcome anxiety and depression and he is always willing to offer a hug. He is the best heater in the world during the cold winter months and he is a great dance partner. A few months ago, he became nippy with our toddler and it was recommended to baby gate him. Since then, Atticus has become miserable. He howls most of the time behind the gate and longs to be back in close proximity with humans. He still becomes nippy with our toddler and he has lashed out at our other dog. We have come to the realizard on that he cannot live with toddlers or other alpha dogs. It breaks my heart to acknowledge we are no longer the right home for him. It hurts more because we did not anticipate this behavior. He was always the sweetheart of the family and we felt he would be the best family dog. I am not sure if I am confused, angry, or saddened by this decision. Either way, I need to remind myself, Atticus deserves the best. He deserves a warm, loving hone without a baby gate. We have found such a home.

    In a little over 48 hours, one of the hardest moments of my life will happen. I will say good bye to Atticus as he goes to his new home. I pray I will shed the tears in the next 48 hours and simply accept this decision. Remind myself this is best for you. For us. For the kids. For your new owner who already has a warm bed waiting for you. I am sorry we can not watch you grow old. I am sorry we are not the best fit for your needs. I am sorry for the times I yelled at you, like when you broke my keyboard. I am sorry this is happening. But I am not sorry to find you a good home. You will be loved. Know there are many people in this world that love you. One day, I pray we will be reunited and you will remember me. We will dance again my sweet boy. Cuddles from your momma. I will miss you forever.

  • Jessica

    Dear Cowgirl,

    It’s been two weeks since I had to give you up. I’m still heart broken after it. I’m crying writing this. You were the last dog someone was giving away when you were just a little pup. You were scared at first but you warmed up to us and became part of the family. Then we suddenly had to move and we couldn’t take you with us. You were the best friend I have ever had. I cherish the memories we shared. You always protected me and I always protected you. You always sat and watched movies with me and we would play games. You would keep me company when I was lonely. Whenever I would cry you always came to cheer me up. Now you get to do all those things you did for me for someone else. I know you’re happy with a nice new owner. I know she pampers you like the princess you are. You’re such an amazing dog, Girl. I’ll always have a place in my heart with you in it. You were the best companion I have ever had and you know how much I cry for you everyday. I miss you so much and I know you are doing well. I hope one day I can see you again. I love you so much Cowgirl and I know you are happy and I’m thankful such a nice lady is taking very good care of you and is showering you in as much love as I loved you. I’ll always think about you, my best friend. <3 I miss you.

    – Jessica

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Angel,

    I’m really sorry you’re dealing with guilt and grief — rehoming your dogs is difficult enough without receiving angry letters from people who don’t understand what you’re going through! You don’t deserve to get those letters, and you are NOT a bad person.

    Don’t let angry, hateful people tell you who you are. Instead, base your self-image on the truth: you are a kind, compassionate, caring woman who had to make a difficult decision. I know you’re a good person because only the good people come here and share their struggles with guilt and grief after rehoming their dogs!

    Take a deep breath, and start learning how to forgive yourself. It is a process and it will take time — especially erasing those hateful people from your mind — but you CAN do it.

    Start here:

    7 Practical Ways to Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes

    I hope this helps, and will keep you in my prayers!


  • Angel

    My husband and I had to rehome two very large dogs after he lost a well paying job, which in turn led to us having to sell our home. No apartments would allow us to bring them because they were both part Rottweiler. We had reached out to someone whom we thought was a friend to help us find them new homes. We did succeed in having them adopted elsewhere and they are ecstatic. I have felt heart broken ever since and extremely guilty. To make things worse, the so called friend works for a rescue and got a bunch of her colleagues to write horrible letters to us, telling us how rotten we are. We were able to rescue two smaller dogs from abusive homes, but it’s awful to not only be in a position where you have to rehome your pet, but to be villanized as well. I thought about fostering and volunteering, but I feel like I am unworthy to do so after the backlash.

  • Alyssa

    Sydney and Sandy
    I am really sorry that we are rehoming you. It doesnt seem fair that all of a sudden, you’re lives are to be disrupted because mom and dad are moving down south. I wish I could take you two to my college dorm, but the university doesnt allow pets. Sandy, we saved you from an abusive home when I was just 8 and now I am 23! You are so frail and old as it is, I hope that the woman we are giving you to gives you a lot of love and attention in the final part of your life. It didnt seem right to put you down just because we were moving, I was the one who talked mom and dad out of it, and found you this wonderful home to live in. Sydney, we rehomed you from a woman who was being drafed to Iraq, I dont know where she is now, but I remember being so happy i was around 12 when we got you and I remember you loved up to me a few hours after being in the house. I know that you will quickly get comfortable there.

    I love the both of you so much and It seems so silly that I am a 23 year old woman crying over giving you away, as silly as it sounds I dont want you to hate me! I only hope that you have fond memories of you’re time in the house! Mary said I can come visit whenever I want so I am so excited to see you two when you finally get situated in your new home.

    I love you more than words can describe.

  • Ollie


    I love you so much. You are laying beside be now asleep while I weep and write this. We have been together 6 years. They were filled with ups and downs but you were always my constant. I adopted you when you were a year and half and your life had been filled with so much absuse. I know the scars are still there physically and emotionally but we have worked through so many. You have loved me so much. You bonded instantly with me and never wanted me away from you. That is what makes this so hard. I worry you will feel abandoned again and unloved again but I love you more than I can say. I know I am not the right family for you after getting married and having a baby. You had a hard enough time adjusting to Wyatt but when Whitt came along you have gotten so sad. When he was born you didn’t even look at me for two weeks. You lick and chew on yourself constantly now and you crave all the attention that I can not give. I want better for you. I want you to be with older people who can pamper you and love on you all day. That is my prayer. I want you to feel not one more day of pain in your life. I could not bear you hurting Whitt or another baby if they grabbed a sore spot on you. I am doing this for my husband and baby but I am also doing this for you. I love you and I weep for having to part with you. I dread the day soon you will leave us. I don’t know if I will have the strength to take you. I hope you soon forget me. I hope your new home is so wonderful that I will fade away in your little mind so quickly. I hope you bond with them the way you bonded with me. I know that you are melloncally when I leave on longer trips and I hope that emotion does not last long. I feel shame for the moment you realize I am not coming back to get you. Forgive me for letting you go. I love you my sweet boy, My Olliebear

  • Diana

    I just gave away my dog Prince. He is a Lab mix and I had him since 2nd Grade and now I’m in 7th. I loved him so much since the very first day that My parents surprised me with him after school. We moved this summer to Florida with him. We got a house but they didn’t allow certain kinds of dogs and Peince didn’t match the rules. So now we have to rehome him and I am really sad and weeping. At least we can visit sometimes and we’re sure he will be happier there since they have 3 dogs and we will all be leaving for work and school here and he would be alone all day. This article really helped and I will make letters for him and visit him as much as possible.

  • Jamie York

    Dear Diggy,
    I remember the excitement of finding an ad in the Pittsburgh Pennysaver with dachshund puppies. I eagerly awaited your birth and for the time and day I could go get you. I still recall the owner asking me if I was sure that I wanted the little scrappy boy lol. Of course I did! Who else could have held their own with the kids but you? That first summer was trying. Puppy breath, potty training and you destroying multiple rolls of toliet paper. We managed to find our groove and to learn to always keep the bathroom door shut. You are the most funniest weiner dog ever. You never gave up an opportunity to make us laugh or try to steal our food. I loved how over the years you became the co parent keeping the now teenagers in line. I thank you for being the best watch and guard dog while we lived in that ghetto neighborhood. I’m so sorry you weren’t adjusting to the new apartment. I know you were used to that huge house and someone always coming right back. The apartment is closer to work and we are free from that bad neighborhood now. I thought you would love the peace and quiet in your older age but I could tell that you hate this apartment. You missed the backyard and roaming free in it. I’m sorry that none of us has the time we used to, everybody works now. Nobody is home anymore. You were lonely. I could see it in your eyes. It was a very tough decision surrendering you to a shelter. I tried but no one I knew could take you in and take care of you. The kids act like they hate me now. But deep in my heart I know it was both the right and best decision for everyone. Please don’t ever forget us. As we will never forget you. Please love and protect your new family. The are answering my prayers by adopting you. I’ll miss you Diggy Von Weinerstinzel. You be a good boy. I love you forever and always….

  • Paul

    It’s been a day now and I’m still a wreck. We had our Yorkie, Chloe for 5.5 years. She was our first child. She was spoiled beyond belief. She was a fantastic dog as long as she was never left alone. Her separation anxiety was on a different level. My wife started to work from home a few months after we got her so she would not panic all day when left alone. That worked for awhile but any time she even thought you might leave she would panic. We tried everything training, crates, drugs and a behaviorist at Ohio State. Nothing seemed to help. After all of this we had made the call to put her to sleep. The behaviorist had told us finding a home for a dog with her level of anxiety and resistance to drugs would be impossible and that she would get returned after people saw what she was like long term. When we reached out to ask for help in making the arrangement to put her to sleep the Vet said that she had talked to her husband about it and that she would take her. I’m a grown man and I wept like a little boy. All the guilt for even thinking about putting her to sleep was killing me. I know that Chloe is now with someone who can truly help her full time. This is the best chance she has at being able to find calm when she is left alone but the hole I feel in my heart is huge. I weep until I can’t breath. I know we did our best for 5.5 years but I still feel like I failed her. I’m so grateful for the time I had with her and to the Vet who saw the amazing little jem I always saw too in my Chloe. Daddy loves you forever and always baby. Be a good girl and always know I love you.

  • Tasha

    If you had to rehome your dog, how long did you wait to get another? I love dogs and have always had them. I have to rehome my sweet, sweet Fiona because with my work schedule and space, I cannot satisfy her high energy needs. She needs a huge yard and to be worked, but I just can’t do that for her. I have done daycare, walks, and runs, but she needs more space on a daily basis — she loves to just run alone in a huge yard and I won’t have that for many years. I think it’s something I always knew needed to be done, but I kept thinking that I could make it work. After hearing from several sources that Fiona would do better with a big yard or on a farm, I knew that I wasn’t putting her needs first. It breaks my heart to let her go, but I know that it needs to be done. It will be weird to not have a dog and I can’t imagine not going on walks… I want to get a new dog but it almost feels like I am wronging Fiona or that others will judge me for rehoming my previous dog then getting another one…I know that I can give an amazing life to a dog, but I just have to find a more fitting dog with medium to low energy. I know there is no perfect time, but I am just so lost. I never in my life thought I would have to give up my sweet girl.

    • Elisabeth

      I had to rehome a dog this week who I’d only had for 1 week and it was horrible. We have another dog and the one we had to rehome was becoming increasingly aggressive with him so it wasn’t fair to either of them. At this point, I am trying to tell myself to just stop thinking about her sweet face and eyes and to enjoy my one dog, so I don’t think we’ll even be attempting to add a 2nd dog anytime soon, if ever. I previously had an awful situation where my 10 and 11 year old dogs were ill and I was working 3 jobs after a divorce. Those boys were so good and needed vet care that I could not afford. It broke my heart and I took them to an older dog rescue organization that rehomed them safely. I waited 4 years to rescue another dog as I wanted to be 100% financially prepared and make sure I had time to spend with a dog. I also searched desperately in case either or both of my prior dogs were still alive and needing a home. I assumed they passed away by that point as would have been 14 and 15 and both were large dogs. I wouldn’t even consider another dog until I felt strongly neither of them was still out there alive and in need of a home again. I hope you are doing better now.

  • stephanie thompson

    My sweet Ringo. My god do I love you. You came into my life when I was having a very difficult time. I was only a few weeks sober when I decided it would be a good idea to take you home with me. You made me feel so loved and were always there for me when I was feeling lonely and scared. You were always there for me and got me through a very scary time.

    Ringo you are the most precious creature I have ever met in my entire life. So gentle, sweet, and goofy. I felt as though we were made for each other.

    The longer I was sober the more I started seeing how much damage I had done in my life. How blind I had been. I had a lot of cleaning up to do and realized how unfit I was to take care of you the way you deserve. This was a very hard decision to make but I wanted you to have the best life possible and I needed to clean up mine. I gave you to Michelle because I thought she would be a perfect fit for you. She would be able to discipline you the way you would respond well to. She has a big house and a sunny backyard that I knew you would love to frolick around in. She is home all of the time so will never be left alone. She is a strong woman and that’s what you deserve. I am now working on becoming the woman I wished I could have been for you.

    Please know I think of you every single day. I would love to know how you are doing and get videos and pictures of you just being your giddy self but I know I lost that right when I handed you over. I still keep your leash and pictures in a drawer.

    Ringo I promise I am becoming a responsible woman and something like this will NEVER happen again. I see now how crucial choices and responsibility are. And how it deeply affects others. I am so sorry you were affected by my irresponsible decision making. You deserve nothing but the best. I pray for you often and want to be a better women because of you.

    I love you deeply

  • Buddy's Mom

    My sweet Buddy,
    We have been together for 12 beautiful years. I knew from the moment I saw you in the pet store window that you were my dog. You were an absolute treasure. The best dog in the world and I miss you terribly. I gave you away to some really nice people who have another older female (he’s a ladies man) dog and several cats (whom Buddy loves). Plus they live in the country and have a large, beautiful property for you to play on. I still can’t believe you’re gone and I miss you like crazy but I know you will be happier and healthier. I will not be confident until I hear from your new owners and they tell me you are happy and have adjusted well. And I see pictures of you, playing with your new lady friend and your new cat buddies. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make and I pray you are happy. You won’t have to be alone anymore. I will love you forever…..xoxo Mommy

  • Katharine

    This article was very helpful. I’ve been overwhelmed with guilt and grief for 8 months now after re homing by beautiful BF, Bella. I found myself unable to take care of her after losing our home and moving in with my sister who didn’t put her stamp of approval on Bella’s joining me. Bella went to a good rescue which saved her life. She was adopted in December, 2016. I only wish the organizer of the rescue would update me about Bella’s progress in her new home, but i guess this may not be an option. Does anyone have a heads up as to whether or not rescues are updated after adoptions…?
    Taking it one day at a time, but life will never be the same…i just try to trust that she is in a good place as initial adoption pics showed.

    • Julie

      Maybe you could call and ask them, tell them you’ve not been able to rest without knowing. I rehomed my bf a month ago, it was the hardest decision I’ve had to make. It was with a local charity and the foster lady kept me updated for the first 2 weeks. I know he has a new home already in a weeks time. Ive haf to stop myself texting the foster lady all the time and asking about him.

  • Caitlin Thiede

    Dear Hugo,

    I already wrote my letter to you after giving you away in February. I miss you so much. I think about you every day and know I will for the rest of my life. My heart hurts so much because I so badly wish I kept you. But, I know I had to make a choice. I know you are better with your new family. And I know my heart hurts because I miss you, but I know I may never have been able to offer you what you are getting now — enough money for vet care, a best fur friend, a big yard..I was so happy when I saw the picture of your adoptive father put your head to yours the same way I do. I know you will be loved the same way, if not more then I loved you. This is exactly what I prayed for, Hugo! I prayed for a family that could take you outside exploring and hiking, for someone to be home with you all the time because that’s what I did, for kids to grow up with you, and for another dog. You got it all! My heart is sad, but I don’t feel guilty. I know I made the right choice because you are better off even if my heart hurts so much. I love you, Hugo!

  • Daisy

    Dear Rb and Honey,

    It’s been 5 months and 19 days since you were rehomed and I have thought about you every single one of those days.

    RB you were my little mate. We drove a long way and picked you up when you were just 5 weeks old. I nursed you through Parvo soon after and didn’t know if you would survive. But you did, my strong boy. For over 8 years I took you on long walks, took you to the beach, threw your ball for hours on end, fed you the best food I could afford and took you to vet appointments for cancer surgery. I loved you to the very core of my being. You were silly and clever and loyal and I feared losing you when I ended my marriage, it’s the only reason I stayed so long, you and your sister, Honey.

    Honey you were 12 weeks old and the runt of the litter. I came home from my sisters birthday to find you on the front step with a bow around neck. A present for me but an even bigger present for RB. You were sweet and gentle and demanded more affection than I had time to give you. I loved you equally as much as your brother and gave you everything I could. You were my precious Honey-Bun.

    I had to leave, not you two, but “him” and I tried so hard to find a home for us, a safe home for a single girl, 2 dogs and 2 cats but I couldn’t. I tried to find a friend or relative who could take one or both of you so I could still see you but no one had the space.

    So “he” rehomed you, thankfully together, but I never knew where you went and I still don’t. I started dating someone new and he got a puppy 6 weeks ago. I look at this puppy and I think of you two. I remember little quirks you guys had and I have recently tried mentioning you to new friends.

    It’s so hard, I cry a lot. So I go on Google and I research grief for lost pets. I read article after article almost obsessively, looking for the key to letting you go so I can remember you fondly without the guilt and here I am hoping a letter will help.

    I crave a time when I can stop rewatching old video recordings of our last day together. When I can stop focusing on the times when I didn’t walk you or when you didn’t get many cuddles or when I yelled at you or became frustrated with you. I wish “he” would tell me where you were so I could go there and maybe catch but a small glimpse of your beautiful faces.

    But I can’t so here I am, desperate to find peace. Hoping to one day find closure to this awful period of my life. But it’s been so long and the pain I feel has not lessened. The tears still roll down my cheeks.

    You live somewhere else now, so close to me yet so far away. In my heart you’re both still there waiting for me to turn off your night-night light so you can curl up together and fall asleep.

    You’ll be 9 and 8 years old this year.

    I will NEVER forget you.
    I will NEVER stop loving you.
    Night-night my babies, sleep safe.

    Love always,
    Your human Mama

    • Katharine

      omg…i feel so alone in my grief but see now that others have gone through the same thing. I rehomed by beautiful girl Bella in October – she’s since been adopted and i received updated pics too…i am still in deep grief but have to remind myself that she is in a good place with her new family. Prayer to you and thank you for your post.

  • Josie

    Dear Petey, I hope you know that you were the best dog I’ve ever had! I never knew I could love an animal as much as I loved you and I’m so sorry that we had to give you a new home I know they will take care of you and you will have a blast with all of the kids there! I can’t help but cry and cry and I hoped this will make me stop but so far I’ve just cried harder I love you more than you’ll ever know and I hope you are enjoying you’re new home ! I love you my Sweet Pete and I’ll never forget you as long as I live

  • Helena Yu

    I had Milo for exactly 20 days. He was our first pet. I never thought that I was allergic to dogs. After three days he was brought to our home, I started to symptoms which became increasingly severe. We tried to make it worked, medications, eye drops, removed carpets, restrict areas for me, etc., none worked and I felt miserable. For health reason, we decided to return him to the foster mom at the rescue center. I did not know this is so hard! I see his image everywhere in the house, on the paths that we walked together, the way he liked to be pet, everything and everywhere reminds me of him. I cried whenever I think of him. The foster mom said that it would be confused to him if I go and visit him because I really want to. I should wait until he finds a new home and settled down there for a long while then maybe the new family will be nice enough for me to see him again. I am so sorry and so shameful and so very sad right now…

  • Breanna

    Today we had to give away our two puppies to an adoption center. We could no longer afford to have them living with us. After leaving the center I’ve cried for 3 hours so far. I didn’t know that I had grown this attached to them. I feel guilty for the little time we had and it hurts when I realize that they wont be at the door greeting me anymore.

  • Kedc

    We are having to rehome our 2 cats and it’s horribly painful for my whole family. I know this post is about dogs but does anyone have experience with this and cats? I don’t want them to be sad and confused- I know they’re a lot different from dogs so I was hoping some of this still applies. So much grief.

    • Kaly C

      We just rehomed one of our cats an hour ago and it was a dull sadness. No tears, no heartbreak, but a sense of “I wish things could’ve gone different”. We had that cat for 10 years. But we just weren’t able to give her the proper care she needed anymore. As a family, we changed over the decade. We got older, get jobs, graduate from school, college, etc. We will never forget her and we wish her eternal happiness in her new family. They seemed nice and humble.

      I won’t dwell on the issue. We all need to move on and focus on the future. The ride up was more gloomy than the ride back. I feel nothing nut relieved.

  • Jazz

    May 16 the hardest day ever at first it seemed so easy. I gave away my chihuahua beagle mix dog named Noah due to me being pregnant working part time and my fiancé working 7 days a week we just couldn’t take care of him anymore. For the last day we took him to the park played with him he jumped into a fountain at the park and got soaked and just slept in my lap while we drove to meet his new owners my fiancé is so sad he cried all night and I feel so bad I couldn’t take care of u anymore Noah the new owner was so excited to meet u she picked u up kissed u all over and u didn’t even cry nor bark. I know she will be able to offer u a better home with a backyard and give u the full attention u deserve. I hope ur happy in ur new home Noah because we miss u so much I am writing this post just balling my eyes out. I hope u never forget us because we love u so much and we will never forget u. U were out first dog and though u were a little bad at times u were just the cutest little thing in the world.

  • Julie

    Ive never felt so much pain in my heart. My Joey. I helped deliver you into this world on my birthday. You were the one in the litter crying all the time and i was the one one that soothed you to sleep. You was the one we kept for ourselves out of the litter. You were my shadow, if i was washing up you were at my feet, if i was on the loo, you were there too. When i was sad you would do your daft things and make me laugh.
    I can’t stop crying, theres so much pain and guilt. i bet my family think im losing the plot. Its taking a lot for me right now to run back to the foster home and tell me ive made the wrong decision.
    But there was no magic wand to stop you and you dad fighting. Life was great, 6 humans, 4 dogs and 2 cats, all got a long great, its a mad house but it worked. Then out of nowhere, you and your dad decided you didn’t like each other. And over the course of 2 months, got to the point you couldn’t even look at each other without wanting to fight. Our home became so stressful for all of us, humans and animals. I had to make a choice.
    You aren’t like your mom and dad or step brother, you were special. I know you are the one that would get a great new family unlike your dad, who can be snappy to strangers on the odd occasion. I never gave you to them because you were bad or I didn’t love you, i hope and pray i see you again one day, even if its from a distance. I still cant belive yout not here. Im sorry xx

    • Tara

      So sorry that you also must go through this. I said the same thing to my puppies when I had to send them to a rescue. That they did nothing wrong to deserve this . That I love and miss them so much. This is my 1 week anniversary of losing my babies. The tears don’t stop, and nobody really cares it feels like.

  • S

    Dear Alice,
    I just put you away and gave you your nightly treats for the last time. I know a nice lady is picking you up tomorrow evening. I am bawling my eyes out right now, and have been for the past 24 hours. I know I can visit you, but it seems so nightmarish. I want to be able to see you on your first birthday. I know you may not remember me ever in the future, or our hour long cuddles, or that I was always your favorite.I know you will be in good hands and this is for the best, but what if you forget all about me, and love your new family even more? I will always love you, no matter how spastic or crazy you are. Please never forget me, and live a long and happy life.

  • Michelle

    Dear Tyson,
    I know you’ll never see this, but I pray that somehow, where you are right now, you can feel how much I love you. The house is so quiet without you here, and my heart is broken that you aren’t here anymore. This sadness is overwhelming. I know that you will be ok, and I hope that you really are adapting to your new environment. Hear me tell you that I love you bubs…I miss you, Krisy misses you…we all miss you.

  • Brooklyn

    I recently had to give away my 5 month old mastiff mix on Sunday. It was the hardest decision I have ever made. My ex boyfriend of five years and I got her a few months ago and when we broke up I had to move back home. I couldn’t keep her when I moved back to my parents. When I was walking her to meet her new family I bawled like a baby. Luna was so attached to me. I stayed at my parents one night and she barked and cried the whole time I was gone. Every time I would leave a room and she couldn’t go with me she would cry. When I went to leave her with her new owners, she cried and howled and tried to get away to get to me. It was the hardest thing. It’s only been two days but it feels like a lifetime. I loved that dog with everything in me and I had to give her away just like that.

  • Lewis

    I’m having to give my whippet up today in like 1 hour and it’s the harshest thing, I’m sat here feeling like I’m waiting to be hung, this dog is my dog and I love her I’ve had her since she was 8 weeks old and its just killing me, she has to go because me and my partner have just had a baby girl but we live in a 1 bedroom flat and the hairs get everywhere all over the baby’s clothes and its just hard to keep on top of while I know it’s the right decision for our daughter I am absolutely destroyed because I love my dog, this thread is the only thing giving me the strength at the minute to still answer the door at 11 and give her away, I did not know they adjusted so well so Thankyou for that reassurance.
    But scout just know I love you you were the best little whippet a guy could ask for and I’ll never forget the time we’ve had together you’ve got me.through much and you never did anything wrong
    I love you and am going to miss you

    • Melinda

      Hi Lewis, I know that your heart is breaking. I am so sorry that you are going through one of the most difficult times that you’ve probably experienced, ever. I just wanted to share a little story with you because I also did not know that our furbabies adjusted so well. My Foreman was trained for service. He lived indoors and went everywhere with me. Unfortunately, he did one aggressive act. For that reason, he was no longer able to be used for service. He is good for working, but not as a service dog. I had him since he was 12 weeks old. I had to give him up when he was 2 yrs. Since he is a well-trained canine, he is being housed at the training facility and his new handler will go through a series of screenings. I went to visit him a couple of times. The trainer had me watch him from a distance. He was totally content, up until he saw me. I’m told that they live in the moment. However, they will never forget you or your scent. I hope you find comfort in knowing that they don’t dwell on loss like us humans do. Take care!

  • Olivia

    Thank you so much for writing this, it has really helped me.
    My beautiful furbaby is going to her foster home tomorrow and my heart is hurting so much. I’ve had for for 6 1/2 years, since she was 8 weeks old and I love her to bits, I donmt know how I’m gonna cope 😔

    • Melinda

      Hi Olivia, I know that rehoming isn’t easy. That being said…I think that it’s one of the most unselfish acts that we can do for our furbabies. I felt so much guilt having to rehome my Foreman that I decided to go back and pick him up. By the grace of God, I found this site the morning before I was going to take the 1.5 hour drive to pick him up. I would have only done more damage to him by taking home and then having to give him back. I hope you find comfort in knowing that you gave your furbaby much love and a beautiful life. May God bless you and keep you embraced in His arms as you face the pain and difficulty of rehoming your furbaby. Take care!

  • Valerie

    To chubchub and chirp chirp
    Pleasr forgive mama for not able to be with you till the end and only paticipate in your puppyhood. These 2 months we bonded really well and you two were such useful alarm clocks in the morning that sometimei wish there will be a snooze button on you
    Please forgive me for rehoming the both of you as i did not regret rescuing the both of you from the construction site back than.
    I am really glad that the 2 of you will be adopted together so you will have company of each other for life.
    Mama will always remember you two darlings and i hope you will remember me as well.
    While you are adjusting to your new surroundings mama will be strong and continue to rescue and foster other pawkids like you.
    Hopefully we will neet each other at a dog cafe or dog run in the future
    Mama love you and miss you😭

  • Melinda

    Thank you so much for this article, Laurie. I am in the process of rehoming my Syberian Husky. His name is Foreman. He is currently being housed by my trainer, awaiting adoption. I cry all the time and feel extremely guilty because of the circumstances behind everything that transpired. Foreman was purchased for my son. Foreman was able to withstand the pace and distance when running. My son lost interest in Foreman, got a girlfriend, and then moved out, leaving Foreman with me. A family divide was happening in my home and the only one there for me was Foreman. I had put him up for adoption. The day that I was taking him to do the meet and greet, I fell apart. I lost my son, my husband was leaving, and now I was going to give up this boy that would sit there, and dry (lick) the tears from my face as I wept. I was packing his things and he sat there watching me. He had a ball with a rope through the middle. Whenever I would pick up that ball he would get excited and run towards the back door. This time he sat there and looked at me as I put it in the bag. The look in his eyes was almost as if he was asking me not to give him away. I couldn’t do it. I was feeling more pain than I could deal with at the time. I sat on the floor crying and Foreman stayed right there as I cried and prayed in anger. I unpacked his things and he immediately got excited about his ball. Then we went outside to play. We stayed in our home. The nine months that would follow we became inseparable. It was just the two of us in our pack. He started training to be a mobility service dog. He was about 2 months away from being certified for service. Life just felt so right and things were looking upward. I had made amends with my husband and son. Then things took a turn. My husband came back and my son came back with his girlfriend and a baby. Foreman loved the baby. The problem was that he wouldn’t let anyone near the baby. He bit the mother of the baby. My life would be taking another turn. I called his trainer and Foreman had to leave our home. He was also cast out of getting certified for service. I would go visit him and he would cry when I would leave. Whenever I left, the goodbye’s would become harder and harder. My last goodbye was March 31st. My heart still aches and the guilt is still there. On top of that, a piece of me feels resentment. Thank you for letting me share.

  • Thalia Amaya

    I am currently in the process of rehoming my 7 month old lab pup. Nina. I went to Chile, and found her on the street, deserted by her mother with a broken leg. I took one look at her and completely fell in love. I took her back to Canada with me and got all the surgeries she needed with a little extra TLC. As you should know, I turned 18 not too long ago, my family wanted nothing to do with her because we already have 2 large dogs. So i took on full responsibility of raising a new puppy. As she started growing healthier and stronger I never felt so proud. I thought “finally I’m serving a purpose in this world” I saved a life, and I did it all on my own. The bond and connection I have with Nina is something I’ve never felt with another dog. She’s my child. As the months went on money was getting tight and my parents needed me to start working to help around the house. Taking care of a puppy is a 24/7 thing. And I couldn’t ever leave her unattended. I don’t believe in cages so that was out of the question. The stress Nina gave my parents was always a problem and I was never able to do much outside of the house unless Nina was with me. We’d do everything together. But now I am giving her away in 2 weeks and my heart is broken. I feel broken. I know this is the best I can do for her since I can no longer care for her. I know she will eventually forget all about it and be just as happy as she was with me. But why does this heart so much? … I hope you remember me Nina. You will be in my soul and heart for eternity.

    • Bridget Archer-Kenney

      Hi. I know the feeling! I just rehomed my daughters pit bull. He is so gentle and loving but his looks are intimidating with that being said, my daunghtern is having a hard time finding somewhere to live that accepts pit bulls. I took him in from florida 2 years ago and my daughter took him back to florida to find out that pit bulls were being banned in her area. She tried everything she could to keep him and the landlord was going to evict her. My daughter ended up moving back home to richmond with her dog. Long story short, she was leaving a bad marriage and was unexpectantly pregnant. Well i retired to keep baby/ babies and dog/dogs of other my daughter. I became solely responsible for them due to my daughters work schedule and her baby. He needs atfention and we couldnt give it to him properly so we decided to give him up. My daughter couldnt stay to see him leave so i had to take that on too. It broked my haert and i cried when he was getting picked up. I feel like king doesnt understand and is looking for us to get him back. And wondering why we still have the other *two dogs. They are small and they are very low maintenance. I get what you are feeling and we just have to trust and believe they will get over us. I rather for them to bounce quickly into new home , then i know they are okay. Good luck!

  • Susan Moore

    Hi. I had to re-home my beautiful Bearded Collie due to my mobility issues getting worse so quickly, my Landlady now moaning, Neighbour complained about his barking. Even though other dogs opposite barked more.
    Also having rescued him from my Daughter in law at his age of 6months. I absolutely love my Boy. He has gone to a couple who lost their Beardie just short while ago. They are just perfect for him. They just sent me picture of him in their garden he is content.He should be in our garden. I cannot go in my garden now. I am distraught now he’s gone. My home is no longer a home just an empty shell. Deathly silent shell. I know he only went today but I feel I want him back. It’s making me Ill . I’ve had palpitations all day. Never stopped crying. Shouting to myself. What have you done. Why did you do it.

    • Melinda

      Hi Susan, I am so sorry that you had to give up your boy. Your story runs parallel with mine. I also refer to Foreman as “My boy”. I think that you did the right thing. When it comes to the point that we can no longer care for our furbabies, I think that it’s to their benefit to go to a handler that can. Your pain is real. I’ve had dreams and it seems like every time that I go to a dog website there’s a Syberian Husky that looks just like him. There are reminders everywhere. It was so hard for me to walk down the street because of all the memories. The one thing that I try to tell myself is that Foreman served his purpose. He took care of me when I was going through a difficult time. Now it’s time for him to move on to help another. I am still trying to forgive myself. I wish you peace. God Bless You!

  • Jennifer Gugliucci

    I just found this thread and as I’m reading this I am sitting here sobbing once again. I had to give away my 2 puggles this past Monday. I am completely broken and devasted. My heart is broken and I am filled with guilt. My 4 year old daughter has a sever allergy to dogs. I had blood work done and a skin test done and her numbers are extremely high. I have had to bring her to the ER twice this year for asthma and every month she’s on steroids. I have brought her to 3 specialists and they had all told me that she can not live safely around the dogs. I did everything I could. Dander shampoo, groomed once a month, didn’t let them up to the bedrooms, cleaning service twice a month, my daughter started taking singulair and her pulmoicort and her asthma seemed so much better until last Friday when she almost wound up in the hospital again. She was put on the nebulizer, oral steroid, and benedryl. I stopped the singulair because I was afraid of all these drugs going into little body. I looked up the side effects of singulair in toddlers. Anger, aggression, tantrums, nightmares and hallucinating, my sweet baby experienced all of those and I didn’t even realize what was going on. I took her back to her asthma specialist and he told me the dogs had to go. So here I am 5 days later, still sobbing, still a mess, still wondering if I could have done anything more. I miss my dogs terribly, they are at a no kill shelter in Brooklyn called Sean Caseys. I know they take great care of them until they are adopted. It’s taking everything in me and my husband to not jump in the car and go get them. I pray they stay together, I pray their new families love them, and give them attention, walk them, bring them to the park, let them lay in front of their fireplace, play hide and seek with them, all the things they loved to do. But to be honest it was difficult for me to always do with them. I have 5 daughters, my oldest is 6 and my youngest is 1. I hardly get to shower some days, so it was hard sometimes to give them everything they needed. I’ve had them for 10 years. They were there before I was engaged, married or had kids. They moved we us, were there for every holiday, protected my house and my family. I had them so long and I’m so depressed that I won’t be their end. We deserved their last days to be with us and we were cut short of that. Again I have to remember that I am doing this because of my child but it sure does hurt like hell. There is such a void in not knowing where they will be. I also pray that by some miracle the shelter will pass my information on and the new owner or owners will allow me to still be in their lives. Maybe send pictures or even allow a visit once in a while. I am sorry for going on and on but I am truly lost. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from this traumatic loss. I love you Joey and Milo and I’ll forever be sorry.

    • Melinda

      Jennifer, Your thought’s and wishes for your furbabies sound a lot like mine. My boy is still awaiting adoption with his trainer. Foreman was only 2, but he sure did bring me through one of the toughest times in my life. A huge part of me feels like I betrayed him. The circumstances didn’t give you much of a choice. I pray that your heart finds peace in knowing that you gave them an extremely loving life. I can feel the pain in your letter. God Bless you.

  • Bonnie Laniohan

    I just stumbled on your web site tonight during the many nights of insomnia all associated with grief and guilt I feel giving up my little yorkie
    It’s been the hardest 3 weeks of my life. I find myself crying different times of the day. When someone mentions her name I will tear up, when I watch a cartoon with a dog in it I start to cry.
    My B/P was 144/104 yesterday., was diagnosed was TMJ from the stress
    We are sure it’s all from losing Our Bella. Your words of encouragement made a lot sense to me. And I am sure she is doing a lot better than I am in her new home. She will always be my fir baby she will forever be in my heart…but with all this being said…it still hurts so much …..Bonnie

  • Claire

    Hi, I am 15, and I had to give away two 10 month old little boys. It’s been really hard to raise four dogs with school,sports etc. (of course I wasn’t taking care of four dogs by myself) I had my family with me. But potty training a dog is so hard especially when it’s my first time doing something this consistent. because of school and my crazy schedule, ace and Toby were in a play pen a lot. Ace was my little baby and Toby was my brother’s and he’s 11. My parents wanted this to be a learning experience for us but, it ended up causing a lot of pain. I want my little boy to go to a wonderful loving home because he deserves it 100% I read this article seeking some help because I have cried and cried and cried while my other two dogs just look at my like I’m crazy… but thank you for writing this, it has put some guilt off my shoulders.

  • Noemi and Adolf

    Today my husband and I gave our dog up to a young family who has a child. Duke was the right dog for them. And i know that they were right for Duke. It was a transition of a few days because we wanted it to be easy on Duke; the change of being in another home is what i mean. My husband was working in another state and he wanted to spend some time with him too. It hurts to let go , but wee did what was right for Duke. I read your article and it gave me some relief. Thank you for your comforting words.

  • Linda

    Hi, Our baby Sparky is two years old and two months. My husband is crippling with rheumatoid arthritis. I have fourteen autoimmune diseases, two lung conditions and four heart conditions. Five months ago the neighbors saw her chasing a cat. They said I’m going to shoot her. So, we get this small kennel and walk her on a chain in and out of the house all day. Now, very weak and tired of walking her but love her so much we decided to rehome her. I listed her on our Facebook yardsale page. Two minutes later I got a message from a young woman who said, do you think she could be a service dog? I said absolutely because Sparky is very smart. Two days later after working all the details out we take her to her new home. We get there, four kids and mom n dad come out to meet her. Everything went smooth. Lots of love in the air. After about an hour of telling the kids what to do and what not to do we left. By this time our hearts began to beat faster. I get a call two hours later and Sparky had already calmed the five year old boy down after having two seizures. The slept in the bed together two nights now. I’m feeling blessed because Sparky is so loved. Our agreement was that they could have Sparky but we want to visit her occasionally. Meanwhile, my husband and I go into a huge depression. Still happy for Sparky but miss her so much. Day three is today and we’re just exhausted from crying because we missue her. The little boy she will help has adrenoleukodystrophy, coats plus and will eventually be blind. Sparky, goes to be registered for school to be a service dog on the first next month. She used to know when my heart was acting up. We were blessed to have her as long as we did but have to find a way to be comfortable with just us 24/7. Thanks for listening to the ramblings of a mama missing her baby. Linda

    • Fiona

      Hi Linda, you have done an amazing thing.
      The little boy will cherish her and she will always love you as mummy number 1!
      You are so lucky to be able to visit her- we have to rehome our dog and we won’t see her again as it’s too far away.
      The rehoming takes place in 4 weeks and I can feel myself wavering in the decision but my dog sometimes growls at us and has bitten hands twice (once was the postman…once my husband) and we have a two year old child. Our dog needs to be back to basics trained by people who know how to handle a working breed with some issues.
      Still, it hurts so much to lose her and I feel an epic failure right now.

  • Joanna

    I had to rehome my baby girl mishka a huskh cross beautiful with blue eyes lovely dog however as much time i had less for her the size of the house and garden not enough energy and the fact she was raised with other dogs and now she was talking this away she was acting stupid around dogs jumping twisting my ancle ripong my knees i undertood shes not very happy here as i though i rembered her growing up with dogs and thats she wants to play with them so much shes acting crazy and i undertood not only we dont have money fir her and time to take her out i have to make a choice to give her away even though i met her new family very friendly family man working at night so always have time fir her as she sleeps a lot at night and a cery gery hig house garden and its more country side witch perfect for the dog i just cant cope as i love her so much and i just miss hugging her and givig her kisses even when she made eveyone angry with her stubborn and naughty habbit if stealing food i feel like i wont be hapoy again i keep crying all the time its been before my birthdays actualy few weeks ago it was so painful i do not enjoy my life after that even tho i have other small pets thags i am able to own as they do not require loads of space and attention i would feel the same after all of them next time i defenetly thing about literaly everything before i get a dog if i ever do after that i did not have her very long enough fir at last me getting used to her i know she is happy and she will have a little humans soon as a friend i just cant belive shes nit with me anymore even i know she is happy and all her needs are met i just cant cope with this

  • Prissy

    I’m sitting here bawling my eyes out. I had to rehome my dog 4 weeks ago….I broke down as soon as he left but I find comfort in photos I get of him playing with all his new human siblings. He loves the baby especially. I hurt because he’s my baby….He was supposed to be with us forever until he was old and gray. I’m missing him so much tonight…he wasn’t just my dog…he’s my fur child, it’s like a part of me is missing. His dog mom lives at my moms and of course she’s my princess, I love that old girl and she can tell I’m sad…it breaks my heart when she looks in the house because she’s looking for him. Deciding to go back to school is what I need to better my future, I just didn’t see my future without him….unfortunately he wasn’t allowed to live in my apartment (moved out of our house, back to my moms, then to an apartment)….I feel like I failed him, I was supposed to be his forever…I’m glad that he’s happy though. Luckily I know his new owner, I know we will get to go see him again one day. I love you Sammy. My Sammys, mommas babes. You’re the best dog I’ve ever raised. I’ll love you forever.

  • Rachel

    Dear copper,

    Hope you know I love you so much. I still remember when I was on the couch and you came running outside and jumped in my arms. No greater feeling. I’m sorry I felt too overwhelmed your reactivity to give you a better chance. Two months was not long enough but I felt if I kept holding on we both just miss each other more when I gave you back. I wish I could take back the decision. I miss you so much and I’m even coming up with wild schemes to have one of my friends go back and adopt you so I could have you back because I don’t think they would even consider giving you to me because I broke everybody’s trust.

    Nova misses you too even though she won’t admit it. I know she growled at you sometimes because she wanted the couch all to herself but you two played so much and I miss watching. I wonder if she’s looking for you on walks and smelling you.

    I’m sorry I let the fear that neighbors would report me for your barking get the best of me. Sorry I couldn’t properly handle training you and my other dog at the same time while on walks to not be afraid of strangers. I’m sorry I let you get to the UPS guy in the first place. It’s all my fault. Please find happiness in your next home and be good! Youre such a good boy with so much love to give.

  • Nikki

    So heartbroken. There are no words to describe how I feel right now. Marmy unexpectedly became sick and theres a problem with his bladder, he cannot urinate. We brought him to the vet on Wednesday night at 7pm and the doctor said that there is something wrong with his bladder, so they did a procedure to try to fix it hoping that no surgery will be needed and it didn’t work. Cary was there until 12am waiting just to find out that procedure was only a temporary fix, by tomorrow his bladder will fill up again. So we decided to go ahead with the surgery, even though it was expensive ($3,000+) in hopes that our boy will be fine again. Everything was set and we were just waiting for the surgeon to arrive. By around 11:30 pm they said they couldn’t find a surgeon and that the doctors that works there have never done that kind of surgery so they will have to refer us to another animal hospital. The vet said it’s very crucial that he gets surgery within the next 24hrs. By the end of the night we ended up paying $600 for everything. Thursday he went to the animal hospital that the first clinic referred to us hopeful that our boy will get operated. But now they want to charge us another $800 on top of the $120 consultation fee, but that $800 procedure is again just a temporary fix. They wanted to do the same thing that the previous hospital already did to him, which was put him to sleep do some X-rays, more tests and empty his bladder again. We were going to go through the surgery but now we find out that they are charging us between $5000 to $6000 plus the $800 we still had to pay. How can it go from 3k to 5-6k?!!! We got our hopes up by that first clinic saying that they can operate him for 3 grand. What can we do, where can we get that kind of money up front?!!! We were prepared to pay the 3 grand but we cannot afford to pay another $3000+. We had to act fast because the vet said he has to get operated asap so we had no choice but to give him up to the humane society in hopes that they could do what we cannot do for him. At that time that was the only way we could think of to save our boy and we couldn’t think of any other solution plus nothing made sense anymore. I know some of you would probably say you didn’t love your dog enough cause you chose to give him away in the end. You’re wrong, we love him so much that we couldn’t bear to see see him in pain so we chose the best thing for him and that’s to give him up so he can get the help he needs. It breaks our heart but we really have no choice but to give him up. It all happened so fast just a few days ago we were walking downtown since the weather was nice and now he’s gone.

    We miss you so much my boy. I hope that’s our surgery went well and that you are doing well in there. I know you’re lonely, confused and hurt all at the same time. I am sorry that we have to give you up. I’m sorry that we couldn’t help you. It’s so lonely here at home without you, I keep calling your name asking if you want treats, I keep hoping that this is all a nightmare and that I’ll wake up soon and you’ll be here. Our hearts hurts so much, you must know that we love you so much that it was so hard for us to let you go but we had no choice. I hope that you will find a good family to look after you, and love you as much as we love you. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

    • Tara

      I am so sorry that you had to surrender your dog, but you didn’t have any other choice. You did the most unselfish thing to make sure that your dog got the help her needed. I blame those who gave you the run around, and tried to charge you so much that you had to surrender your dog just so he could get medical attention. Shame on them not you. With reading all of these letters I feel like we belong to a great support group for all who had to surrender our sweet babies.

  • Trish

    Hi we just had to give up our little boy. He is a six year old havaneese it hurts so much we brought him to a rescue. We found out he has diabetes we both have medical issues and cannot take care of him
    But we love and miss our dog it’s only been a week and we feel lonely and lost.We all love our animals.

  • char

    Dear Blakely,

    I remember the first time I saw you on Mr. Vickers website. Your name was lover boy and you were the apple of my eye. I paid the deposit that very night, and I drove 3 hours to pick you up. The first time I saw you in person, I cried and asked if you were really mine lol. You were scared, but I promised you that I would always take care of you, and that you had a wonderful life waiting for you. You road in my lap the entire way home with your head in the steering wheel. We bonded instantly. I come from a family that is terrified of dogs, but the day they met you, all of that fear went away. Everyone you encountered fell in love with you. The reason I adopted you was because I was in a new State for my job and I had nothing or no one here with me. At times, all I had was you and God. When I was sad and would be crying, you would lick my tears and just cuddle with me. Even when I fussed at you for your terrible bathroom manners ( he is a yorkie by the way), you still loved on me like I did nothing wrong. You were my first child and the love of my life. When I adopted you, life stopped being about me and became about us. I never thought I could love a something as much as I loved you. You turned a year old on September 21,2016, and mommy threw you the biggest birthday party. But, as time progressed and my work schedule changed, I had less and less time for my Blakely Boo. I could see the hurt in your eyes everytime I had to drop you off at a sitter, or leave you alone. You had to adjust to a new person in our lives as well as less of my time due to work. The day I talked about rehoming you, I broke down at the very thought of losing you. Your nana was furious at me but I knew in my heart what was best for you. Your nana found you a wonderful home with Ms Traci and her baby girl yorkie Abby. She is all about you two and I knew that she would give you all the love, attention, and time that you deserve. We chose her for a reason. She lost her yorkie boy to old age and when she saw you, she fell in love just as I did the first time I laid eyes on you. When the time came to rehome you, I just wanted to tell Traci, I am so sorry , but I cant, but my heart would not let me hurt her like that and I knew she would be the best mommy for you. I am crying writing this because my heart literally grieves and hurts because I can still feel you licking my tears as I was preparing to take you to your new home. I hope to never feel pain like this again which is why you will be my first and only dog. Traci is taking great care of you. She sends me pictures of you and Abby often, and her parents and neighbors truly adore you. That gives me great comfort at nigh. I still wake up an hour early every day to realize that I no longer have you to feed or play fetch with before work. Your nana, granny, and aunts are still hurting at the thought of not seeing you when I travel home to visit. I did what I knew would be best for you and you were a blessing to me. Now that I am in a different place in life, God has allowed me to bless Traci and Abby with you. There is not a day that goes by that I do not cry for you and wish this was all a big dream. Mommy loves you to the moon and back, and I just hope you’re adjusting and loving your new life.

    • Catherine Renderos


      Today marks one of the saddest days I’ll ever have. Today is the day you went to live with your new owner. It hurts me to even think that I broke my promise to you. I promised you I would take care of you and that you’d be a part of my family forever. Maybe I promised you wrong, I should’ve promised that you would forever be in my heart. I miss you and I’m sorry I didn’t have enough time to spend with you. You are such a special dog, and special little dogs like you require lots of time and attention to play fetch with. You brought so much joy into my life, you always stayed up with me when I wanted to binge watch my favorite t.v shows and were always so excited to see me each morning. I know you didn’t mean to chew up all of my computer chargers, or my shoes, you just wanted to play and that’s not your fault. I loved how sweet you were, you always cuddled with me if I was feeling lonely and needed extra loving. You were my sunshine and I was always excited to get home so I could play with you.
      I hope that your new owner and you are getting along well, and I hope that you two give each other lots of joy. I know this is what’s best for you and I. You will be very happy in your new home and I’m sure you will miss me at first, but you will start to enjoy your new best friend. I hope I see you again Maggie, my sweet little Maggie. I hope that you have lots of new adventures and that you remember that everyone misses you so much and we just want you to be a happy little dog with lots of attention and love. I love you my little baby, I am so grateful I got to meet you and enjoy my time with you.
      Thank you for giving me all your kisses, they were just what I needed! I will always love you..

      March 22, 2017

  • Lorie

    Dear Shaq,
    You stole our hearts the second we seen you. You must have felt the same because you just cuddled and loved us the minute we picked you up. Yesterday we had to take you back to the shelter and hope for you get a home that will love you as much as we do. I am so sorry, you did not want this and we didnt either. You thought you were in your forever home. Well, lil bud, so did we. You know why this had to be, and i hope you know that it was the hardest and most heartbreaking decision i have ever had to make. You deserve so much more than we could give you. In the end i did this for you, i would have kept you forever, but i know you needed so much more time, play, and space then we had to give. I am so sorry i couldnt give you all that. You deserve so much more. I know we only had 9 short months together but i was long enough for you to be part of our little family. You have such a loving sole, you never met someone you didnt like, you were my best bud, my big (60lbs) cuddle bug, my protector, and helper when i was full of anxiety. There was not a day that you were not there. you gave us such joy and some frustration, but it was worth every grey hair i got. You will always be my baby boy. Your new family will be so lucky to get such a smart, lovable and adorable guy like you. you will forever be loved and missed. You be good and dream of me giving you my hugs and kisses.
    Love always my Shaqy boy!!!
    Love momma

    • james

      My beautiful Basil
      Its only been a few hours since I left you at the rehoming centre. They said it was just an assessment today, but because places are few they recommended you stay, I miss you already. I’ve been on our usual walk this evening down the country lanes and through the nature reserve, sat by the pond where you used to swim.Im so sorry that my circumstances changed and we have to move abroad for work. You are a wonderful dog and I will always remember you with fondest memories of the 6 years we had together. I know you will make your new family very happy. The coming days and weeks are going to be hard on me, including the move, and there will be moments that I’ll think of you and struggle. But know that I love you, and you will forever be in my heart, my first dog, Basil boy x

  • J

    Dear Lucy,
    My heart is breaking. I love you so much and want nothing but the best for you, sweetest fur covered and rascally angel. You are going to place where you will be top dog! Plus, there are trails to hike and sheep to herd! I can’t wait to see pictures of you with a real live sheep! But I will miss your soft fur and happy smile and ice blue eyes. I will miss your optimism and always coming to greet me. I love you so much, and feel so much guilt and sadness for re-homing you. I am the rescuer not the rescu-ee, and this is just an unfamiliar and bad and sad feeling. I think we have the perfect home for you. May the Lord watch over you as you fly to another state. May the lord watch over you and your new family always. I love you!

  • pat coyne

    this is the night before we rehome our 10 month old pup,we have her mother and 2 terriers,she had been very destructive around the house but very close to her mother,one her mothers pups died unexpectantly recently and we are giving her to that family, i know she is going to a good home and probaly for the best reason but i am lost thinking about her

  • Tasha

    On 2-18-17 my world was turned upside down. My husband and I currently rent our home and we are very friendly neighbors. We befriended our neighbor when we first moved in a year ago. We soon realized that our 4 year old boxer for whatever reason just didn’t like her. We always took precautions when she would come over like put our dog in his kennel to avoid both of them being upset. A little about our dog Boulevard. We got him as soon as he was able to leave his mama. He was always real skittish around anyone who came to the house. Heck even with my husband if I was home. He was supposed to be my husband’s dog but in all reality he was my dog. When he was 2 I got pregnant and that is when Boulevard started to change. He was no longer skittish but in fact very protective which some would mistake as aggression. After I had our daughter it was very clear that she was his baby. He didn’t like certain people getting to close to her. As she grew the developed a great bond. My baby could jump on our dog, pull on him, climb all over him and he would just look at her and offer the occasional lick. Fast forward to now and well our neighbor came over to sit out front with us and visit both our dogs were in the back yard. Well apparently the gate wasn’t latched all the way and both dogs got out. Our neighbor was holding our daughter. At first all he did was sniff around and then when she saw him she put the baby down, started screaming and threw herself out of the chair. At that point our boy started her way but not before stopping and checking on the baby and then he charged her. I had to tackle our dog to get him off. Now his bite never broke skin it was bruising and a scratch from his nail but that did not matter. I called the police and also contacted our landlord to let them know what had happened. My husband and I are still newlyweds with a 18 month daughter and my 19 year old daughter in the home. We have a plan in motion for buying a house in another 3 years but we just can’t afford it right now. Our neighbor contacted our landlord as well and said she doesn’t feel safe living next to our dog. He thought he was protecting his baby. So we had to surrender our dog to a shelter yesterday after his bite hold was up. My husband had to take him because my heart couldn’t take it. Do you think my boy knows how much I love him? My heart hurts and I am having a hard time dealing with this. Any advice?

    • Morgan Watson

      Hi Tasha,
      My fiancé and I are going through a similar situation and we would love to know how you guys are handling it. Long story short, we have two pitbull mixes and they are so loving and great with people but are really bad around other animals, one of them recently killed a cat and our land lord is making us give up the dogs today. Its been absolutely horrible and I’ve been crying nonstop for 3 days, any advice? I’d love to hear how you guys are doing.

      • Tasha

        Hi Morgan.
        I am so sorry you guys are going through this. In all honesty we are still hurting. I myself just keep telling myself he is happy and he has a huge yard to run around and really good people to love him. I had a friend that works with a pet rescue facility out here help us find a home for him. He lives on a farm now and if it wasn’t for that I believe it would be worse. I have gotten updates on how he is and how he is adjusting which makes a world of difference. Are you taking your babies to a shelter or to a friend? If by chance it’s a shelter ask them if they would be willing to give you updates and when they get adopted if they would ask the adoptive parents if they would be willing to give you updates. Knowing they are okay will definitely help put your mind at ease. Ny husband grieves a little different than I, so he decided to get another boxer. We pick our baby girl up next month. The only way I would agree to another one is it had to be a female this time and any color except a brindle. Would remind me to much of Boulevard. I hope this helps a little and I am here for you if you need me.

    • Melinda

      Hi Tasha, You gave up your boy for the same reason that I had to give up mine. He was possessive over my grandson and he scraped the mother’s skin with his fangs. For the safety of the baby and anyone else, I had to give him up. He is being housed by my trainer awaiting adoption. My trainer explained to me that when a dog becomes possessive, they will eventually bite. They live in the moment and adapt quickly. It’s their instinct. He will never forget you. For that reason, he knows how much you love him. It brought some peace to my heart to learn that they don’t dwell on the loss like we do. They are amazing creatures. I wish your heart peace in knowing that you did the right thing. God Bless!

  • Priscila

    I want to say thank you very much for the article and you’re a very sweet loving person, I miss my Skyler, She was my dog since two months old until she was almost two Skyler is a mini husky with blue eyes to me she is the most beautiful and smart dog I ever seen, I live w my mother and she got allergic to Skyler due to the shedding I was also dating someone at the time and was never home my mom called a friend who was interested in Skyler and we decided to let him keep her he promised he would let me see her after a while he was making it difficult for me to see her and it was putting a toll on me to keep begging to see her, even on my birthday I asked him if I could see her he said she wasn’t there, so I decided to stop begging to see her bc he would just keep making excuses and I didn’t want to be a bother and figured I could move on (not the case) it breaks my heart I’ve cried but I feel horrible because I know Skyler loves her mommy she even barked I love you to me when we were talking about her speaking she can say I don’t want to, no and I love you she flat out said I love you it was the cutest thing, (he has to give her treats to make her say it) I was able to see her one day when the new owner wasn’t around and she was able to let me know how she felt she laid on the floor sad and would close her eyes I felt it instantly she was saying she was sad, his girl and I took skyler for a ride and for some reason we both forgot to let him know she was w us and he came home and freaked out after that said I wasn’t allowed to see Skyler anymore, that was the last day I saw my baby we played like we were two little kids she would bite my hands playing and ran as if she was saying tag youre it and had a smile on her face, here’s what’s killing me alive I’m okay with the pain I feel but I can’t get over the fact my baby misses me and thinks I abandoned her when I wish nothing more than to have her back it’s sad to think she’s sad because if I took long to visit his girlfriend would tell me she was being mean and get angry I feel horrible about this I made a horrible dicition and I can only ask God for one thing when I leave this earth I can have my skyler back in heaven that’s I want, when you can ask for anything and all you want is your dog back that just tells you how special those little cuties are they truly are a humans best friend!

  • Kristen

    Dear Molly,

    First and foremost you’re a great dog and don’t ever doubt that. You are as much a member of this family as any of us and we love you more than we could possibly say. I know that this must be very scary, sad and confusing for you. We did this to save you and Lucy and had it not been today, one of you may have ended up in the Puppy ICU.
    You have always greeted us with love and affection. We will miss your happy bark and your race to back gate to welcome us home.
    We were so blessed to have you as a part of this family and please know that we tried everything we could to keep you both. We made every arrangement we possibly could as you and Lucy began to grow apart. Lucy loves you and what has happened is all in the past now.
    You have been so kind and gentle with Peyton and Madeline and they will miss you jumping into the bath with them and eating the bubbles. They’ll miss sharing snacks, playing chaseies in the yard and having you help clean up after dinner time. You are a truly selfless and loving companion always quick with a lick and a cuddle.
    We’ve taken you to the safest place we know. It is the hardest decision we have ever had to make and the emptiness that it has left in our home is heartbreaking. I wish we had gone on more adventures together, more walks, more car rides.
    The people looking after you are going to find you a forever family. They won’t let just anyone walk off with you. It will be someone who will love you as much as we do.
    Don’t be discouraged Molly, you’re the best dog any family could ask for, keep your tail held high. We’re so sorry we couldn’t fix this. We never thought that our story together would end like this. Just remember we love you, you have left your beautiful paw prints on our hearts. If you’re ever lost and frightened we will always be here with love an schmackos.

    Thank you for Loving us,

  • Charles

    Nothing I could say or write would make a difference. This article and comments are great for most who have had to remove their dog. My situation is a little different. Long story short my sisters ex was abusive to their dog, when she brought the dog to us lelu was afraid of men and ran away. After a few months she was found and while skiddish she did attach to those she saw every day. I had made mistakes so financially I wasn’t set where I wanted to be, my parents filed bankruptcy I had to move and took lelu and myself to a friend’s. Lelu was skidding and afraid and felt the couch I slept on was her comfort zone and when his mother in law went to grab lelu to get off the couch lelu snapped at her. I was told she had to go. My only option was to take her to the humane society hoping she would get removed but fact is I knew better. Lelu probably would be put down at some point as she took a while to warm up to people. I cried when I left there knowing I had effectively gave her a sentence. I can’t forgive myself and unfortunately never will. I dwell on it obsessively but I can’t go back and change it nor could I go back and switch places. Call me what you will fact is it is my pain to bear. This article is great for those who remove giving a better chance to their pet. As hard as it is. But not for me

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Simin,

    I’m sorry you had to rehome your dog – I know how painful and sad it is. You only did it because you had no other choice, and I believe your dog will be happier in her new home! She has another dog to romp with and she won’t be home alone all day.

    When I asked the SPCA if I should visit my dog after I had to take her back, they said not to see her. They said that she’d get confused, and think she was coming back home with me. Back then, I was hurt and a bit angry because I really wanted to see my dog! But now, I believe they were right. I think my dog would have been confused if I visited her.

    I think that it’s good to give our dogs a chance to adjust to their new homes and people, and not go see them after we rehome them. I think it’s better for them to focus on their new lives and environments, and not be confused by seeing their previous owners. It may make you feel better to see your dog in her new home, but it may not be the best thing for her.

    What do you think?

  • Simin

    I read your article and I just keep crying to read your dog letter😔. I rehomed my lovely puppy 4days ago. She is a mix of doberman and rotwiller. She is amazing. I had to rehome her, because my work schedule changed and she was alone 6-7hours/day. She is now in a farm with a nice owner, who have a 8 years female doberman. I know she is happy now and she find her real home.
    The new owner send me email every day and explain about her situation that how every thing is well. But I feel so bad, she was like my kid. I feel sick these days, I can hear her breathing sound, her steps in my condo, her eyes that follow me every where.
    I have incredible hard time.
    I have a question now: if I go to visit her sometimes, is it bother her??? It means, she feel nurvous each time that she see me?? Because I think if I can go and visit her, I feel better. Please answer my question.thanks

  • Amy

    I’m a new mum and I’d had my little dog charlie for 10 years but when my little boy came along charlie still wanted all my attention, sat on all his stuff and the long walks we used to do together which I was unable to provide. I made the decision to rehome him to our friends but still goes round in my head “what if” or “I could of” but I know deep down I’ve done the right thing just hurts me inside. This article has helped me know how to cope with the loss of charlie just miss him so much but still struggling without him but he will always have a place in my heart, my friends said I can visit so at least he’s not gone forever. Just hope that the experience I’m now going through will become easier over time and I will be able to move on.

  • Rich P

    We are a family of 5. Me my wife a 7 year old girl, a 4 year old boy and a 11 year old wonderful lab. For years my wife has been asking about adopting a second dog and for years I resisted, but it was hard. We are absolute dog lovers but, our lives are a little hectic. Beside I couldn’t imagine a better dog than my lab. But in Jan 2016 my wife asked again and I said yes, to her surprise. She saw a small terrier/lab mix at a local rescue event at a local pet store. He was curled up like a little ball, fearful and shy. He was rescued from a kill shelter in SC. I believe he was abused because of some scars he had. I wanted to do right by him and share our loving home with him and teach my children we have a responsibleity to help when we can and to stick to your comments. We named him Bodhi. I had some minor success with training him. Fast forward Jan 2017 his fearful anxiety has not gone away. He attacked my wife 3 times this past week, all when I was at work. He’s controllable when I’m home. 90% of the time he’s OK. It’s the 10% that scares the hell out of me. The last time he drew blood and bruised up my wife. My wife is scared of him now for herself and our children. I can’t have that threat around my family. I have a profession that I must be unemotional and in control at all times. But, right now I can stop crying. I feel I failed my my wife, children and especially Bodhi. The rescue I got him from will take him back, but after a year of bonding my heart is breaking. I may be able to have him undergo a board/training program, but that is no guarantee and it’s a big risk to my family. My head says to rehome him, but my heart asks for one more try.

    Thanks for letting me vent and thanks for the blog… It helps

    • Amanda

      I am in a very similar situation with my shepherd mix, Charlie. When around me and the people he is comfortable with, he is the perfect dog. He is affectionate and listens to me and, like you said, is obedient and controllable 90% of the time. The other 10% is an issue though. If I’m not around to watch his every move, I do not trust him around other people and especially not around children. I had completely rearranged my life to avoid putting him in situations that may cause a problem, avoiding family/social gatherings/etc. He has bit several people, mostly just warning nips but one time he did bruise and draw blood. At that point, I had already tried two trainers but decided to try another intensive course to focus on fixing his aggression. After this training, Charlie had another episode where he nearly bit a neighbor. For nearly 3 years I have been managing this aggression to the detriment of my mental and emotional health and trying every solution offered by these trainers but he is still unpredictable around certain people. As much as I love him and as broken as my heart is I just made the decision to give him back to the rescue I got him from. I hope in me heart that it’s just my living situation (small quarters, not enough outdoor play time) that has made him this way and that there is a better owner out there for him with lots of land, no kids, and space to roam where he can feel comfortable. I can’t stop crying either and know how you feel, but sometimes training can only go so far. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

      • Dawn

        I too am in a situation with a dog who is very sweet most of the time. He is a Taiwanese dog, we thought he was part lab, but he isn’t. We’ve had him 8 months and he barks and growls at people who come over. He will settle down, but he even barks and growls at my husband and kids at night. I’ve had dogs all my life. I have never been afraid of what a dog may do until getting him. I thought that getting a 5 month old rescue dog would avoid bad behavior, but it looks like his breed is too overprotective. I am absolutely torn up but I am so concerned about if he actually bites someone. My 16 year old daughter is furious that I am saying the dog may need to go. Anyone have thoughts/experience with teenagers and having to rehome? I am really thinking that I need to contact the rescue we got him from.

  • Rebecca

    My husband and I are in the position where we need to rehome our two wonderful furbabies. We’ve hit a financial crisis and are unable to care for them as needed. On top of that, we had to move into my parents house and it is a safety hazard: there is too much for them to get into and eat (that shouldn’t be), they have stray cats with roundworms, and one family member takes enjoyment in staring our one pup down. He hasn’t attacked her (yet) but he growls and bares his teeth at her. We know that even though he is the biggest sweetheart imaginable (he would cry when his Mr. Bill toy went “oh nooo!”), that all it takes is one time for her to challenge and/or threaten him or his sister. He would get the blame and we do NOT want that to happen. I have also recently developed allergies to them to where I break out in hives and can’t breathe (meaning I can’t even touch them).

    We have been able to find families with experience with each breed (Great Dane and American Bulldog) that we will be meeting up with. I’m trying to stay strong and I know they will have wonderful lives and will thrive. I’m going to miss them so much. I appreciate reading this article and will probably continue to read it over and over.

  • Helene

    SPCA is the worse option for rehoming a pet. You should find a suitable interested pet lover yourself. You have no idea the kinds of things they are exposed to and how they are really treated there.

  • Collin House


    Your daddy and I fell in love with you the day we found your photo on petfinder. We drove 3 hours to meet you and bring you home. I loved you from the very moment I met you. In the year you have spent with us, you have shown me and daddy so much love, my favorite thing is when you stand on your back legs and just whine at me for loving. I know you and Flash never got along well, from day one you two always had a dominance issue, it’s not your fault or his. Some people just aren’t meant to be together. It’s been so hard for us to make this decision. So incredibly hard, the 100% hardest decision I have ever made in my life. Know that your sisters Odelia and Sophie love you unconditionally, they always will, and my hope it to have upcoming play dates! I know this is a little premature as I have only just begun speaking with a foster home for you. But taking this step and making this decision has been the hardest thing ever for me, emotionally. It doesn’t make it any better that I am leaving daddy, Odelia, Flash, and Sophie on the 31st for Army Basic Training. But I couldn’t leave this for daddy to handle, he’s going to be a wreck over the loss of both of us. I know your going to move on with your new family and that your going to love them unconditionally, just know I will never forget you. And that daddy and I made this decision with your best intentions in mind.

    Much love,

    Your Daddies.

    (Phoebe is a mini Dahshund who didn’t get along well with our oldest male mini. After a long year and many behavior classess with no improvement, we have made the decision to rehome our beloved baby.)

  • Autumn

    Dearest Bre,

    You will forever and ever be the reason that I am still here today. You reminded me that even when I feel like I am incapable of being loved, that In fact I am loved very much. You gave me companionship and love when I needed it the most and you were always there for me no matter what. I’m so sorry that I decided to move to Florida and live with people that would, and still won’t ever know how much you mean to me. This was never my plan, me and you, we’re soulmates. We were a great team, you and I. From your love to running to your separation anxiety, we were in sync and there for one another. I’m sorry that at my sisters, you had to be an outside dog. It killed me every night to know that you weren’t asleep under my bed, keeping away all the things that go bump in the night and lying comfy and warm in your little cave. Even when you were at pops I would get anxious and wonder how you were doing, if you were happy or not. I felt much better with you there because you were safe inside and you gave pops the companionship that you gave me. Going two weeks without seeing you always tore at my heart and I always became anxious and sad. Just ask Vic. I talk about you all the time. I’ve always talked about you all the time. You are my light and joy in this dark world and I wanted to share that with everybody and anybody who would listen. Vic tried her hardest for us. To keep us together. She’s great isn’t she? She wept on the phone because she knows how much you mean to me. She thinks that she failed, when what she was trying to do was the greatest declaration of love that there is. I’m sorry that I failed at being your best friend/mommy/protector. If I could go back in time oh boy would I. I would change so may things and do everything so much different. Our stars aren’t intertwined any more Bre Bre. My last promise to you is that I will find you a great, loving forever home. Maybe even one with a little kid, eh? I’ll never ever forget you and I will love you forever and ever baby girl.
    P.s please don’t worry about me. Vic will take care of me and I will live a happy life relishing in the fact that I got to be the mommy to the greatest dog ever. I won’t ever forget you.


  • Blanca

    Dear Ozzy Bear,
    Yesterday I had to make what I felt was one of the most hardest decisions of my life. It hadn’t hit me til today how much I terribly miss you and how much guilt and regret I have. I feel this is my fault as I should’ve put more time n effort into training you but you were getting to the point of pooping on the sofas. I should’ve gave you more time, maybe you’re not a fast learner and needed more time. I tried to get get you back I can’t bear the pain. I didn’t realize how attached I was to you. I’m sorry I failed you. I’m more disappointed in myself for not giving you the chance you deserved. I hope time heals my wounds and I find solace in knowing that your new owners already grew attached to you within a day and that you are well taken care of and have 2 new fur buddies. I hope from time to time you still dream about me. I know how much you loved me and because of that love I had to give you away to someone that would take better care of you. You deserve all the happiness in the world and I want to thank you for showing me just how great a dog’s love is. I love you so much Ozzy and I wish you the best live you can live.

  • anndei

    dear Dre,

    i miss you so much. i’m sorry we had to take you back to the shelter but we could not risk you killing any other pets. you are still a good boy to me and even though you maimed my poor Smelly i know it was not your fault. you are an animal and we should have taken more precautions when leaving you home alone. i wish there could have been another way. my heart physically hurts knowing that one week ago you were sleeping next to me in bed and now you’re probably back in a kennel. you were home. it may have only been for a month, but this was your home. i love you so much. i’m sorry. i hope your new home and your new parents treat you well whenever you find them. you are my precious boy and i will forever be sorry that we had to give you up. i hope you have a nice dog friend to keep you company and that you go to the park all the time. be good baby boy. i love you so much.


  • Lishe

    Dear King Zho,
    I miss you so much bubby. I’m up at 4:00am thinking about you (crying of course because you know how sensitive I am lol). I’m so sorry that I had to rehome you man. It was just so hard at the time; getting kicked out the apartment, the roaches in the furniture. I think I let myself get caught up in the then instead of focusing on the changes that could have came in the months to come. I remember when I first held you in my arms at 6wks old. I was sad and depressed because of grandma dying and I had just dropped line. It was so hard for me. Then you came into my life and made me feel special like I had purpose. Even though right now I feel like I didn’t return the same love to you. After 3 years of fun walks and funny moments like that day at the skatepark lol you were so silly and full of life. I graduate in May Bubs can you believe it, because I can’t. I wish you were going to be with me to witness the changes. We have a new dog now, which I wasn’t particularly ready for but I love her just as I loved you. She’s a catahoula mix with pit bull. She’s brown instead of that beautiful grey. Her name is Sarahbi like the lion king with a twist lol. I hope you’re being a good boy for you new family. I hope they are giving you more love than I ever did. i just needed to write you to tell you that I’m so sorry and you didn’t deserve to go. I hope you don’t think you did anything wrong. If your dreaming about me bubby I want you to know that I dream about you too. I love you King Zho and I will never forget the love you gave me, the tears you licked off my hands when I cried, the smiles you returned while running in the fields, and the loyalty you presented over the years. I love you man and stay young.


  • sandra fowles

    I have just taken my dog to be re-homed last Friday. It is hands down the most selfless heart wrenching thing I have ever chosen to do.
    And there is the issue – i have had to ‘choose’ between my 2 dogs which is to go. Our older dog is 7 and since we had Sadie 5 years ago she has made his life stressful and unhappy by constantly dominating him and ignoring his signals to leave him alone. This has resulted in physical fights leaving us stressed and bewildered as to what to do.
    Eventually after trying so long we realised with others’ input that for the wellbeing of both dogs they would be happier in one dog only households. My partner was adamant the older dog was going nowhere so it is me that has had to ‘sacrifice’ my little girl. my best friend.
    It is 5 days since we handed her over. I have panic attacks and now a depression is sinking in. I can hardly function and feel myself withdrawing. I know that my relationship with her fulfilled so much that I couldnt get from anyone else and I have given her away…
    I cannot find peace in anything. There is a no contact policy to wherever she goes and for me this is harder than ever.
    She herself was a puppy rescued from a chaotic family and I worked so hard on training her and loving her that I am left with a black hole for a heart. I even resent my first dog – how is that fair on him?
    I really need some words of comfort right now and maybe an insight into how things might be further down the line after someone has given their beloved pet away for their good rather than the owners.
    Thanks for listening and I wish all of you who are going through this my heartfelt wishes of peace and self acceptance. x

    • Anonimous

      I am so sorry you had to go through this Sandra. My heart is completely broken too, I know how you feel. I lost my little girl a few days ago. I am pregnant and she did not like th changes. She started attacking me. I got afraid for the baby. We had to let her go….My life is darkness now….my best furry friend is gone and abandoned….I don’t know how to overcome this. I just want to say to you, be strong and patient. This is what I am trying to do.

  • Uma

    I miss you Snoozy, I am sorry I had to let you go…You will always and forever remain in my heart … Thank you for being a part of my life … I will love you always my Snoozy boy💖…

  • Alford

    Dear Hannah,
    I am crying now just writing this. Thinking about giving you away tomorrow breaks my heart but I know it is the best. I’m sorry I can not give you the home you deserve. I didn’t choose to get you but after your first owner, my dad, kept falling down and having to go to the hospital you couldn’t stay there anymore so I took you in. Now he is in a facility that takes care of him but they won’t allow you to live there. I have so enjoyed the time I’ve had with you. I’m sorry I’ve yelled at you and messed with you to have a laugh. I should’ve loved you more. I’m not going to know what to do when I come home to an empty house, you won’t be here to be so excited I’m home. I know how much you hate being left alone though and my life is getting so busy I’m not home for much of the day. I hope your new owner has a bedhigh enough you can sleep under it like you are mine right now. Knowing that I won’t have to get up in the middle of a show right when it got suspenseful to take you out because your jumping at the door or refilling one of your bowls because you are picking it up and dropping it to let me know it’s empty. You have such a unique personality, it is going to take me a long time to get used to you not being here. I love you so much, I hope your new owner’s hands taste as good as mine do you sure do love licking them. My best wishes to have the happiest rest of your life possible. Good bye my dear friend and family member.

  • Ruth jones

    Dear Benji I love you with all my heart the way you use to be so affection to me and even when I stopped at the rehoming centre and you came up to me in the car seat and I put my arm round you and you kissed me good buy was like you under stood you were leaving us. My heart is broken and I can’t stop crying over the hard decision I made to regime you I wanted to keep you but you an my youngest child could not get on an you needed more than we could give you I deep down want to come an get you back but I know that is not the answer I will always love you an I hope you find a family who will love you and give you all the attention and love you need all my love an I hope you have a great life because you are a great dog the children miss you and love you to an we will always remember you I just wish things could be different xxx

  • Kristin

    Dear Mishka, I love you with all my heart and can’t imagine my life without you. I’m heartbroken that in a week I’ll be saying goodbye forever. I’ve had you since you were 2mon. old & your now almost 7. Unfortunately you’ve become too much of a safety risk to our family. It’s not that your untrained or a bad girl but a typical Malamute. I wish you were more careful & not clumsy & careless about your size & strength. I wish you wouldn’t have had all these accidents that I believe you didn’t mean but we’ve gave you one too many chances & can’t afford another injury. I’m going to miss you dearly. I’m going to be so worried about you but feel like your going to a good rescue that specializes in your breed that’ll make sure you go to your 2nd forever home. I hope you’ll adjust and be a good girl & be happy and won’t forget us. I hope your new owners are wonderful and you’ll be safe. I hope I can move past this grief & guilt. My kids come first but my love for you is just as strong. I can’t keep you separated or muzzled 24/7 just to prevent the unpreventable. Walking on egg shells & what if’s. This is so hard. I wish we didn’t have to go through this. I’m so sorry. Love, Mom

  • Mechela

    Dear U.B.,

    We are so sorry that we had to give you a new home. It has broken our hearts into a million pieces and I feel as if mine will never heal. I feel guilty, ashamed, and as if we made the wrong choice. I know that ultimately it was the best for you. Your daddy is much stronger than me but misses you terribly. It wasn’t fair for you to be cooped up all day and not even have a yard to run around in or sunbathe like you liked to do at my parents. I know you hated being left alone and that it made you anxious. It also made us sad to see you freeze up when we had to take you outside to use the bathroom. It almost became impossible to get you to a grassy area to use the restroom. Despite these issues, you brought us so much love these 3 1/2 months. I hope the rescue pairs you up with a great family now that they know your quirks and what type of home will be best for you. Just know that we will always love you and you will always be our boy. We will miss your long nose and antennae ears. How chill you were when home with us and your rooing when you got excited about something. Even your stinky breath, no matter how often your teeth were brushed. You will be in our hearts forever and I know whatever family you are placed with, that they will love your handsome face and beautiful personality.

    • Ruth jones

      Dear Benji. My heart breaks as I write this letter to you the day we all saw you we fell in love with you . I am truly sorry we had to rehome you the day we drove you to the rescue centre I could hardly drive for crying I handed you over and cried as they walked you up the path we felt this would be better for you as we could not give you the time you needed and you an my youngest child were not good together. I hope and pray you find a family that have no children and can give you everything you need you will never be forgotten and always shall have a special place in our heart’s all our love the Jones xxx

  • Deirdre Herrmann

    Hi Laurie,
    Thank you for your website! I have to re-home my beautiful Chester, moodle, after 6 years. My husband hasn’t fully adjusted to having him. The importance of ‘full acceptance’ of an animal came into sharp reality when Chester killed our 3 baby chickens, while we were away and the friend hadn’t called in to do the morning “hello”. We were all devastated, I got to bury the chickens, one by one as he pulled them from their storage spaces. My husband is a calm man, but that day I saw how angry he was with Chester. The problem became clear, Chester had no idea that he had done anything bad and if the same choices were to come again, he would have done the same thing! Your article has helped me heaps: I needed to know that he would quickly adjust, it is Summer Holidays, so his new family will have time for him to settle in; that he is going to the next best home where he will learn even more dog skills- very important; that my mental health will mean that the grief could bring different challenges; other family members will go through their own grief and so I will be able to point them to your pages; our marriage was being deeply affected by keeping Chester, it isn’t good that Chester finds himself in the middle of a dispute, just because he is a dog. Thank you again. Deirdre

  • Katharine

    I had to rehome my two dogs, Bella and Dinky. The hardest thing I’ve ever done. My partner left us without any money for bills and we were evicted. I was able to move in with my sister, but she made it clear, she could NOT take my dogs…): Thank goodness for my long stint in transporting and fostering animals, because some rescue friends stepped up at the 11th hour and found a wonderful rescue to take them in – much better alternative than the shelter. My Bella is now in a new home and i receive updates!! Dinky waits for his new forever home but is safe for the time being.
    The guilt is tremendous. The “what ifs” and second guessing, along with legit anger at my spouse for abandoning us overwhelm me at times. I do know that time will heal, but the loss is excrutiating for now after spending many years with them. I was their mommy after all. I raised Bella from 9 weeks old.
    After reading this article, i am comforted to know that they are both more than likely doing very well as dogs live in the moment and are survivors. I believe my dogs will never forget me, but i want her to be happy, so i send prayers and good energy energy. I’m so grateful for the time i had with them, the memories we made, and the opportunity to contribute to their lives while they were with me.
    I wish none of this had ever happened, but we never know what tomorrow brings. My deepest sympathies to those who have had to rehome their pets too. It is the most difficult thing to do and the guilt remains along with the feeling every mother must feel when she gives her child up for adoption. After all, all dog parent knows, they ARE our children in every sense of the word.
    I would like to also add that rehoming is a kind of death for the survivors. Even though we know they are safe and alive, we will, most likely, never see them again. There is no grave to visit, no finality. Questions are left as long as our dog is alive. This knowledge and living this reality compound the grief, really. I hope, though, one day to be able to let them go in faith knowing that forces greater than myself are directing their lives too and perhaps is what led them to their new homes.

  • Eleni

    Dear Bella,
    I never expected this moment would ever occur to know that after I leave work i will be driving home not only to pick you up but to take you back to the rescue I got you from. I have been trying to avoid the idea of having to give you back because I promised myself I would never give you up. But I never thought my illness would take full control of my life. It is not fair to have you by your self when I am in and out of the doctor appointments. I see you face and the ball in your mouth when you try to play with me. An I can’t sometimes because of the nerve pain in my hands and medication side effects kick in making me dizzy that it can hard to stand up. You are the best dog I have ever owned. You rescued me in a dark time in my life giving me so much joy on our cuddles and times outside. You always knew when something was wrong just like that day i had a seizure like episode and fell. You were right beside me licking my face. You were by my side through break ups and by my side when I was sick. But now this battle I have, I cannot have you by my side as much as I wished. It has taken over my hands and feet. makes me hard to walk and drive. You deserve so much better then what I can offer to you. Someone who can take you for walks and love you just as much as I do. I know I am going to be having a hard time letting go of that leash as I gave you away to your new owner who will be picking you up today. But just know I love you so much.

    [Rescued Bella, Pit Bull Terrier Mix. She was my finishing touch after I bought my house at 28 years old. My first house needed a strong guard dog and she fit that description. We had a great year together. Until September I fell and got sick. To the point I had to move in with my parents and my roommate luckily was watching her. But it wasn’t fair anymore. I cry as type this because I don’t want her to go.] But I know she will go to an amazing home. Thank you for writing this article. I really needed to vent and this so happened to come up on my search engine.

  • Dominique Da Silva

    Dear Luna,

    I never made the decision to adopt you, as you were just there, a surprise from my sister for Christmas. when I first saw you, i cried because of how beautiful you are and how tiny. I didn’t know you were coming, but all the same. my heart melted and i instantly fell in love with you.

    you are such a gorgeous and sweet little girl, and more than anything I wanted to give you the home you deserve and raise you into a good and well-trained girl. But i couldn’t because of how small my home is and how I am unable to take care of such a tiny little baby when i cant barely afford to take care of myself. My sister never discussed or asked me if i could take care of a pet in my circumstances, and it falls on me that i can’t take care of you, no matter how much i love you already just after a short time.

    my baby Luna, i’m so sorry. But i wont be gone forever. Luckily, my mommy has opened her heart to taking you in for me. she can take care of you. and one day, when i am able to take care of myself, i will come get you and bring you back home. im sorry i cant take care of you. im broken hearted over my decision to give you away while you are still a baby. it makes it harder because you are so little and i let you into my heart so quickly.

    I love you my new little baby, Luna, and I will not forget how easily you climbed into my heart.

    All my love,

  • Sarah

    Dear Bill, You jumped into my car on that first day and then into my heart forever. We have been together for four months and in those four months we have hiked more mountains, chased more squirrels seen more damn sunrises and cuddled more than I have with anyone. I cant control that my roomate is allergic to you and i cant move homes at this time. I am going to go back to school next year and I may be on call for days at a time. The other night I was called out on an overnight medevac and I was more worried about you than the patient (they were fine)! I never want you to be at home waiting for me to get back. I dont want you to have to contain your pit bull duck toller spirit to the confines of a two bedroom small apartment in an area with no off leash parks and then in a move off to Toronto. I know your new family already loves you and you are going to a farm on the west coast where you are even allowed to chase the chickens. You will be surrounded by streams of salmon, forests of giant cedar and you will have a family that comes home every night and takes such good care of you. I never ever ever knew that you could love anything this much-the most unselfish thing I ever do will be to let you go because it is truly for you and definitely not for me. You healed my heart in the most profound way and I know I will never, ever get over you. I pray for all the folks out there who are in a similar situation, and I pray for the healing of your hearts and for your dogs too.

  • Eileen

    Dear Binks,

    I miss you like I could die. I remember when we came to get you from the rescue group, you came running towards us like you and we were meant to be. You are the sweetest most loving dog and we fell in love with you instantly. I was your mama, and we saved you from your old cruel life and gave you a loving family and a safe home and we swore that we would always protect you. And now it has been 3 days since we had to give you away and I feel like we have betrayed you. If you hadn’t bitten Emma, I would still be holding you right now and giving you cuddles. I know you are with a good family now who do not have kids and they can give you all their attention. Everyday I wonder about how you are and what you’re doing and if you’re missing us. I think about me not being there if you ever get sick or sad and I feel so guilty for not being there for you. I do not know how to move on without you in our lives. I cry everyday, I hurt everyday. I want you back so bad that I begged your daddy to go back to those people and bring you home. But he said we have to do what’s best for Emma, and what’s best for you. I love you my Binky girl, please do not forget me, see me in your dreams giving you your belly rubs. I wish you could be with us, I wish I could be your mommy again. I am in pain and I am deeply saddened by your loss. I love you.


  • Jade

    My babies:
    The morning you were born was overwhelming, exciting, and exhausting. I helped your beautiful mom deliver all ten of you into the world, and as each of you were born, a part of my heart became more full. I was suffering from depression, and suddenly there were ten new little lights in the world to make it a little happier. Each of you was a miracle and hand crafted by Heaven. I worried that not all of you would make it, especially you, my little Peanut. As the weeks have gone by, you have brought both frustration and incredible joy into my life and our home. I’ll never forget wrapping you in blankets, looking into your eyes, and watching you thrive and become mighty puppies, and future giants in the lives of the lucky people that will get to love you. I can’t believe I’m losing all of you in two days. I’m going to miss you so much, and worry about you. I don’t want you to be sad at night, especially in the beginning, missing your mom, dad, your siblings, and me. I hope your lives are so happy and that you get steak and chicken all the time, long walks, and hugs every day. Someday I hope you’ll meet me at Heaven’s gates and tell me about the great lives you lived. Please be happy. I’ll love you forever. Love, Mama

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Amanda,

    My heart breaks for you and your family. What a tough situation – it’s such a painful experience, to have to say good-bye to your dog. I can only imagine how you and your daughter must be feeling, and I’m sorry you’re going through this.

    The grieving process after rehoming a dog is painful…but it is a necessary part of healing. Your daughter is crying for healthy reasons, and it really is how we heal. She is processing her grief; a natural way to respond to loss is to yearn for the thing we lost to come back to us. Most of the time it’s not possible for the person or dog or thing to come home, and we have to learn how to live with joy and peace even though we have a hole in our lives.

    I don’t know if the answer is to bring your dog back home to live – maybe your modifications will work and your daughter’s health will be good again.

    But if you decide you can’t bring your beloved dog home, learn how to grieve your pain in healthy ways. Get books on saying goodbye to someone or a dog you love. Allow your daughter – and your family – to cry and wail and talk about how awful it is not to have your dog at home anymore.

    Here’s a book that may help – and do check out the resources in my article above.

    Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet

    I wish you all the best as you decide what to do. May you find wisdom and strength, healing and comfort as you work your way through this.

    – Laurie

    • Amanda

      Thank you Laurie for your kind words! We are still having a very hard time and hoping time heals. We are also still thinking of bringing him home for the rest of his life as he’s almost 10 and keeping him to one section of the house. It’s been very hard

  • Amanda

    We had to give out 9.5 year old toy poodle away this week. I have cried like I’ve never cried before. My daughter has severe asthma and allergies and we have been at specialists and ER this whole year, no amount of medicines or keeping her away from the dog has helped. She was highest allergic to dogs than anything she was tested for. He’s with family but we miss him here at home. We have cleaned all week and are even getting rid of our cloth furniture that may hold his dander to see if it improves her asthma. My daughter keeps crying asking when he’s coming home, he’s been here her whole life. He was an emotional support dog to me, I loved him to the point of everyone made fun of me that it was abnormal. I am considering g modifying the back of our home and trying to bring him back and keep him sectioned off to one side of the house. He will have access outside that way and my daughter has agreed to not touch him if he comes home, any thoughts on this? I’ve had him since 8 weeks old, he’s older and I just feel bad like he’s in distress. We are in agonizing pain here too.

    • Eileen

      Hi Amanda,

      We had to give away our 6 year old yorkie the day afyer Christmas. Amd I have cried everyday all day this week. We also had to give her away for the sake of our daughter who is 2. Binky had a hard start in life so there’s trauma in her. And my daughter being 2, she doesn’t understand that she needs to be gentle with her. Binky bit her twice already and with another one on the way we thought it best to rehome her. I feel your pain. I wish we could have given her to family but there’s no one who could take her so we had to find someone who’s unknown to us. But that also means we will never see her again. It is so hard.

      • Amanda

        I am so sorry!!!! It’s still very hard on us, my daughter is crying every day and even showing signs of depression (at just age 5) to the point were concerned about her. I hate to say it would’ve been easier dealing with his death because she thinks it’s her fault he’s not home. I’m so sorry you have been crying, we have been too and it’s hard. I look were his food bowl used to be or his toys and I still look for him sleeping on our couch and I just cry. Even dropping food by accident and him not being here to rush and grab it is hard. I know that all seems silly but daily reminders are very tough to deal with. I hope all gets better for you and with your daughter being just 2 that it doesn’t cause her too much distresss.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Mr Barry T Petcher,

    I’m sorry you had to give Jet away. It’s a painful and difficult decision – I know you are not taking this lightly, and it is heartbreaking to have to rehome your dog.

    Hold on to the fact that you are making the right decision. Sometimes it’s the “most right” decisions that are the most difficult and the most painful. Why? Because they really are the best decision under the circumstances.

    About getting rid of all traces of Jet…I found it easier not to have memories of my dog around the house. But I also know it is extremely important to grieve and honor your loss. When you put away or give away your dog’s toys and stuff, make sure you take time to really say good-bye. Don’t quickly push everything away so it is hidden and can’t be seen – including your feelings of guilt and grief for giving your dog away. What you suppress and try to ignore will come back to haunt you.

    May you find peace and healing, and may you make the right decision for you about when to give your dog’s stuff away. You might also consider donating his things to a homeless shelter — they often serve clients with pets, and they may be able to use extra dog toys, food, blankets, beds, etc. And the local dog shelter is also a good place to donate Jet’s stuff.


    • Mr Barry T Petcher

      Thanks for your words, But I can’t stop thinking about him, I cannot concentrate or get motivated to do anything, All I want to do is curl up and die

  • Mr Barry T Petcher

    Dear Jet,
    I let you go today, It was the hardest decision I’ve had to make in a very long time, I hope you forgive me for my action but I had no choice. I will love you for the rest of my life and will never forget you.
    I will always remember the walks we went on together, and the look in your eyes when you lay on the couch just looking at me for hours.
    I hope you find a beautiful home and a new MUM & DAD who will love you just as much as I did.

    Love you always DAD

    • Mr Barry T Petcher

      On a foot note.
      Should I just get rid of all traces of Jet, or keep something that reminds me of him, I have no intentions of getting another dog as this is breaking my heart and I couldn’t go through this again?

  • Maria

    Dear Leo: I’m so sorry about giving you away, I thought it was the right decision but I made the worst mistake of my life, my three kids are devastated and crying for you everyday. I rushed things and was supposed to fight to the end to keep you here. Now I’m paying what I have done to all of us and have fallen into anxiety and depression. I begged the person I gave you two days after but she won’t return you to us since she is rich and she says we are poor and not able to take care of you what isn’t true, you were well being care with us. We will never forget you boy. I ruined my kids Christmas and traumatized my kids. God forgive me please!!!

    • nancy

      I feel the same as you. I wasn’t coping with the puppy, and got rid of him on Dec 18 I wish I knew the amount of heartbrake my 3 kids are going through. Wish I could have him back and just figured it out. Have never seen my kids like this. I wish you all the best. I’m hoping that someday they will forgive me.

  • Hannah

    Dear Biscuit,

    It’s been almost a year since I gave you away. It was my decision because our dog Lucy had just got hit by a car and I didn’t want to risk you getting out of your cage and getting hit too. You were living in a pin oitside with 2 other puppies and I thought you deserved to have a yard to play in or a house to be in. You were already 7 years old and had spend all your life with me but now you’re gone… I have no idea where you are today because the new owners won’t contact me. I hope you’re okay and hope that you know I’m missing you and still loving you more than anything. I’m so sorry Biscuit 🙁

  • R

    Dear puppy,

    I am so sorry we were not the right home for you. You deserve so much better. My heart feels broken that I was not able to be the perfect dog mom to you. You started becoming aggressive and despite my best efforts I am no dog whisperer who could get you to calm down. I’m sorry I was afraid. Your toys are still on the floor and knowing you will never fling then around the house again kills me. This sucks so much. I’m sorry pup. I wanted it to be different. When I look online it seems like everyone wants to tell me that I didn’t do enough. I cried everyday bc I wanted it to work. I trained you everyday but nothing worked. everyday you became more distant and so did i. I want you to have better. You deserve an owner who can put all their effort and energy into you. That’s why I gave you up, because I truly believe that you deserve better than me. It would gave been selfish for me to try to tolerate you and whatever that consisted of. Dogs are not meant to be tolerated. They are meant to be loved and treasured. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I know you don’t understand. I wish you could. I don’t think you are a bad dog. I’m sorry.

    • Bianca Aaliyah

      Today we gave my English Bulldog Charlie away he was only 11 months old…. 😢 we didn’t even celebrate his first birthday… my mom couldn’t watch him because she was joining military my step dad (mom’s ex) doesn’t want him so no one couldn’t watch him I’m to young 15 and can’t take care of him. After seeing so many people wanting him on Facebook it hurt my heart but I was happy people wanted him…. we joined TAGS and they found him a loving home… We dropped him off and said goodbye I began crying with my mom, the new adopters comforted us telling us he was in good hands.. Oh… the happy look in Charlies face when he sat in their car It made me smile and made me cry… He was the type of dog who would bite and play agreessively. When I tell him no he still goes wild… But, I still love him and miss him already… I just… want him back… they said that the organization said if the adopters change their minds they will move him to a foster home and not to us… oh Charlie I hope you have a happy life with a big backyard and your new brother and sisters.. You will always be my fat little twinky until the end of time.. you might not remember me when you get older nor miss me right now.. you probably think your on vacation rn but it will be a long one.. Love you Charlie and I hope I get to see you in the future

  • Bren

    I miss my dear puppy (a poodle mix), Tobey, so much. I am in a strange situation: I am a co-owner with my mother but she is unwell and having trouble looking after him; she also gets mad at me constantly because she has accused me of “abandoning” him and “leaving her to do all the work”. But I also have chronic health issues, and sometimes I cannot do certain things due to pain and fatigue. I also don’t live at her home anymore (since she kicked me out/a psychiatrist advised that for my own mental health I live away from her). However, I just wish I had more help (my family is very fragmented) so we (or I?) could keep Tobey. I have offered to take him full-time, but she believes I am not “responsible” enough – which saddens me deeply. She keeps threatening to re-home him (which would really break my heart), and because I live away and I am admittedly afraid of my mother’s wrath, I cannot “be there” at my mother’s home often – not without being subjected to verbal abuse. I will need therapy to cope (with the estrangement from my mother, and also with really missing Tobey every single day). But if anyone had any advice, or words of comfort, it would help me a lot.
    In hindsight, maybe my mother and I should have thought it through more carefully before adopting Tobey; just a few weeks prior to that, we had to put down our 13-year-old sweetheart dog due to illness. We thought getting a new dog might help with the intense grief. Now, I feel I am mourning losing Tobey too – only in a very different and completely unforeseen manner. I really need help, and would appreciate it very much. Thank you so much in advance, and to all who are suffering from re-homing a dog: you are not alone, you did the best you can, and your dog can feel your love even from a distance. (At least, these words help comfort me just a tiny bit – I hope they do the same for you.)

  • Cath

    We rehomed our two year old beautiful Golden Retriever almost 16 years ago. I was pregnant, newly diagnosed with fibromyalgia and my husband was away with the forces. Our dog wasn’t getting the exercise she needed and we felt she would have a better life in a different home.
    We rehomed her through Golden Retriever Rescue and she went to live with a couple who had recently lost their old retriever. We received a letter that first Christmas with photos of our dog saying how happy she was in her new home. She looked very well and was clearly loved.
    Almost 16 years later I still wish I could turn back the clock and keep her. I still feel guilty and miss her.

  • Izzy

    Dear Cooper,
    I Love you so much and i didnt want them to take you because you would never hurt anyone on purpose and id never seen you do a thing but the thing is you could hurt sophie by an accident and then youd have to be put down.
    I remember when we got you and how happy i was and i walked through the door and i saw you and it was one of the happiest moments in my life. I loved how you were stupid and it always made me laugh and you were the only person/dog i could talk too that wouldnt judge me and im going to miss you more than words can explain.
    I hope they give you a good home and daddy can keep a good eye on you because he can use the computer systems at work. But youll be happier and you dont have to share your people.
    i remember when you were little and you used to sit on my lap next to the fireplace and tried to eat my marshmallows and how you loved to chase bubbles.
    But maybe these people have more time on their hand to spend more time with you and walk you more often. It was hard with mummy and daddy both full time and me at school and then football most nights and when we did have spare time i had to look after ella and sophs. Im crying to much at the moment my cheeks are stinging but just remember i loveyou baby boy and youll always be my puupy no matter how big you are. I LOVE YOU COOPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • rob

    Dear Sarah
    I miss you soooo much. You were my little buddy. I woke up every day and saw you smiling at me. Some days I was hung over and you were always next to me. We went for walks and hung out all the time. You were my best friend and I can’t replace you. I miss you soo much. I am soo sorry for this, I can’t afford a new apt. i wish I could keep you. We had soo much fun together, everyone loved you. i loved you. I loved you for being the best host when I had parties. You greeted everyone at the door and hung out with them, you made everyone feel special with your love and compassion. I miss times that we were just there hanging out and I knew you would understand what I was going through. Past 10 years, we have been through it all, relationships, jobs, friends, lovers. You were the one thing I would look forward to coming home.

    I am sooo sorry for giving you up. I was in tears all day Sunday and I feel awful. I am so ashamed of my grief and guilt. You were my everything. I had hundreds of pictures of you through the years. Everyone I know loved you sooo much. people are going to be soo hurt and angry with me.

    Please forgive me. please forgive me. I know you will be ok. You are a survivor and destined to be a rockstar. please know that I will always love you even if our paths don’t cross. Please understand that you were my all, my everything and the only good thing in my life. I am sooo sorry I can’t afford a new apt with you. i wish i made more money, i wish i was able to afford new rent with you. I never wanted to hurt you. Please forgive me. I will always love you. love your smile and how happy you were in the morning.

  • Beatrice

    Dear Lyra,
    I miss you: my heart pounds and my stomach is so full of acid that I feel constantly hungry, my stomach is swollen like a balloon as I try to recover from handing you back to the farm you came from.
    A long story. Images, self criticisms, flash through my mind. Did I choose you through lack of understanding? Yes. Because your owner was on TV? Yes. Because I couldn’t think of anything else to give my partner? Yes. Through naivete? Yes. But I gave you everything I could think of, became so full of love for you, and now you are gone, beyond all rationality, I want you back. I just miss you. My little being.
    We had to have you on a long line all the time. I had to learn to be different – more assertive than I really am. You ignored me. You didn’t come back when called. You were aggressive when you were tired, it scared us. We didn’t want to put in your eye drops on the last day because we were worried about you biting us: we were glad someone else would manage that for us. I keep thinking if only we were better….different….better trained…but we weren’t. We didn’t know. We got lost. You deserve clever caring knowledgeable owners.
    A hard bit is that we never, until it was too late, found a great trainer. When we did, we learned fast about boundaries and you learned to retrieve to hand and I started to feel our relationship building. Ah, the tears come now. By the time we did find her though, it was her view that while she’d support us either way, her hunch was that we’d all be happier if we rehomed you. If only…if only…if only… we’d known what we should have done.
    I miss you. But you are with people who won’t get stressed by you, obsessed by you, or tolerate being bitten by you. We hope that we are right and that your strong working instinct is going to be put to excellent use as a sheepdog: we hope with all of our hearts that you will be in your element.
    I can move on. I can build some other life. I miss you. You are so beautiful and like all dog owners I think you are the only one.
    For me, selfishly, I want to stay your owner, look after you until you die, even if I’m not that brilliant and it causes me stress. Love. I feel so much love and attachment to you. Letting go and knowing someone else will make those decisions: imagining the what ifs… especially what if you are rehomed again… could you end up with some horrible farmer who is cruel to you: but I have relinquished the right to choose how you are taken care of. I have chosen what I hope is a better home: now I have to trust and also to know that I can’t know.
    It’s really hard. I miss you. I’m sorry. I hope you do forget us: I hope you live out your days at the farm, I hope you have a wonderful time with sheep.
    I love you. A part of me is breaking and I must breathe into it so I don’t wither and die.

  • Jacqueline

    I found your blog today while searching for info on “rehoming a pet”. I cannot tell you how hard today has been for my husband and I. We have 3 cats and 1 dog. After many months of training, coaching and even hiring a behaviorist our dog is still terrified of men – including my husband. He behavior has regressed and regressed. I had to make the difficult decision today to call the rescue group and ask if they could find him a better home. I cannot stop crying-mostly because my dog adores me (not my words-my husband and everyone are kinda surprised how well he took to me and is my “little shadow”) I feel like the worst mother because I worry he will be confused, sad and scared to go back into the foster care system. I know that this is the best thing for him. After reading your articles I was comforted. The rescue group has been very nice and will try to find him a suitable (female only) home.

    I just wanted you to know that I was very grateful for stumbling onto your writings today. It gives me some peace. My husband and I are mid forties without kids. Our cats and dog are like our children. (don’t worry…I don’t dress them up in cute clothes, even if they would look ADORABLE) I just want what is best for them. I adore each of them and all their quirks.

    I won’t ramble on but just wanted you to know that I appreciated your article very much. Thank you!

  • Stacey

    Hi Laurie. Thank you so very much for this article. Thank you so much for your beautiful words of love, understanding, forgiveness, comfort and encouragement . Thank you for your wonderful advice. You don’t know how much I appreciate it . You don’t know how much I needed to hear it I’ve had 4 dogs – Bonnie, Clyde, Carabella and Buddy. I am so incredibly grateful for all of them. I love them and they all brought me and my family so much love and joy. Bonnie, Clyde and Carabella had nice long lives. They passed in 2005, 2006 and 2009 respectively. I kept their ashes. My grief for losing them is so different from the grief I have for “losing” Buddy. I never gave away a dog before I gave Buddy away. I miss him dearly. I hope and pray that he is incredibly happy, healthy, loved and well cared for. I pray that for all of our animals. I wish I could go back in time and choose not to give him away. I wish I could someday get him back. However, after causing him so much pain and uprooting him once how could even think of putting him through that again. Buddy was the only one of my dogs that I got to name. Bonnie and Clyde were 5 when their previous owner gave them to me. Carabella was 10 when I got her from the shelter and I didn’t want to change her name. Buddy had been abandoned outside my vet’s office when he was 2 in December of 2009. None of us knew his name. I just know I let him down and made him feel so unloved and unwanted when I gave him away in September of 2015. I just hope he doesn’t remember any of that. Now, I don’t feel like I deserve to get him back. I don’t feel like I deserve to ever have a dog again. Thank you again for giving me – for giving us – a place to go for help. God bless you all and all of your families including your dogs – including your animals . 🙂

  • Erica

    We got our dog last November 2015. It was one of the happiest days of my life because I was going through depression and he brought so much joy to my life. Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant but that wasnt any concern to us at all. I was at home with him everyday any where we went he went. Then the baby came in April. He showed some signs of jealousy which was normal. Things started to look up come July this year. We gave him the attention he needed. Unfortunately our baby becamr sick and needed all of our attention. We kept our Max (the dog) but things started to turn for the worse. He was being neglected and started showing us how he felt about that. Started peeing and pooping in the house etc. we tried everything to make him stop but he didnt. We had to do the unthinkable and rehome him. He went to a family friends house. By the looks of it he seems to be enjoying it there. He goes for 2 walks a day has a backyard to run around in and even sleeps in the bed with his new owners. I know it was best for him but I do sure miss him 🙁

  • Jordan sansome

    I need some advice, I’m at university so my dogs at home with my parents but they both work full time, I need help should I give my parents some time so that they get used to living with two dogs and I’m not their to help, or should I start to think about rehoming them I just don’t think it’s fair I want them to be happy and I don’t think they am, please help any advice is welcome.

    • Stacey

      Hello Jordan. I’m not sure if I’m the best person to help you but I definitely understand what you are going through. It is a very agonizing and emotional decision – choosing whether you should rehome your dogs. First, I would suggest you try to see if there is any way you could keep your dogs that would be good for your dogs, good for your parents and good for you. Talk to your parents about it and see what they say. There are also organizations out there that have programs that help people keep they’re pets. I’m in Brooklyn, NY and the local animal shelter has such a program. However, if you choose to rehome your dogs as I rehomed my dog Buddy (I wasn’t aware of that program at the shelter at the time and if I had been I don’t know if I would’ve been able to use it) please do not do what I did. I suggest you take the time to find a nice family who will give them a very loving and caring home. Hopefully, you can keep them together. Otherwise, I’m sure you could find two loving families. A friend of mine found a reputable animal rescue organization who found homes for both her dogs. It was my intent to find a loving family for my dog but while I was recovering from my hospital stay another friend of mine who didn’t know much about dogs took him to the local shelter. She was unaware that shelters often put dogs to sleep. I was able to follow up and find out that a rescue organization from Connecticut took him there. Thank God he was adopted by a family in Massachusetts. I hope I was of some help to you. I’m sure that whatever your choice you will make sure your dogs are greatly love and we’ll cared for. May God comfort and keep you, them and your parents now and always.

  • Ruth

    Lady, tomorrow you’re going to start a new life.You’re going to live with your brother and his owners who will be your new owners. They are such lovely people and they’re going to look after you so well. You and Bob are going to have so much fun going for walks and mucking around in puddles. I know they’re going to give you lots of cuddles and all your favourite treats. I know it’s for the best .. it’s not possible any more to make arrangements all the time when I need to go away or go to work now that Steven and Naomi have gone. You’ve been spending too much time on your own and that’s not been good for you. I will miss you so, so much .. you cannot imagine… you are the dearest dog.

  • Maggie

    We are considering rehoming our oldest dog, Axel. He has 2 bigger but younger “brothers” Odin, and Titan. Axel has had some trouble with strangers, and strange young kids, as well as with Titan. We have 3 young kid of our own, so there is people and noise in our home or outside all the time. It makes Axel very anxious. His self-esteem is low, he is fearful, and he uses that fear in an aggressive way. Though Axel is very loving with the human members of our family, and Odin, I don’t feel as though he’s as happy as he could be in a home with no other pets, and no children. He wants nothing more than to just sit on the couch with you, alone, and watch Netflix all night. He is someone’s perfect dog.

    I feel as though we failed Axel, like we didn’t train him right, or we should have never gotten the other 2 dogs. It doesn’t seem fair to choose the others over him. I’m not sure what pushed our sweet loveable and curious Axel over the edge, but we just don’t have the time to devote to caring for his needs.

    I’m having a hard time convincing my husband that this is the right thing to do. I have already made this decision twice before, and we never went through with it. I have grieved the loss of this dog more times than I can bear. For me and for Axel, I think it’s finally time for him to be happy in another home. We have a wonderful local dog rescue that will take time to rehabilitate Axel, foster him, and make sure he gets to the right owner(s) when he is ready.

    I’m sorry to everyone on here that has had to rehome a pet. My thoughts and love are with all of you. Thank you so much for this article, Laurie


  • Marisol

    I recently moved to Minnesota from Cali and had to send my Roscoe the magic Aussie back to the farm where he was born. The good thing is that he will be with his mother,father,and brother. It’s killing me though because I love him so much. He’s my best friend in the whole world. We did everything together. We ate all kinds of junk and watched t.v together, slept together and listened to music. His favorite thing in the world was to go on car rides and his favorite ice cream was strawberries in cream. His favorite meal was lentils and bacon it’s rice and chicken vegetable soup. His favorite chips were lemon lays and he loved running off to the neighbors house and saying hi to all the neighborhood dogs. My mom would be like darn Roscoe ran away and I would walk outside and he’ll WAAAAASSSCOOOOOO and he would run straight to me. Sometimes he would b gone for hours and I would come home and my mom would tell me he left and than I would go looking for him yell his name and bam their he was. Love that guy so much. He was my only friend and it’s been almost two months and I’m not over losing him, it’s killing me so much I cry everyday. I’m sure he’s loving where he lives but I still miss him and I hope he misses me to.

  • Terry caldwell

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

  • Gasner

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

    • Sinny

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

  • Melanie

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

  • Kevin Gedes

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

  • bashar al tark

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

  • Laurie

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

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

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

    7 Practical Ways to Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes

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

    Take care of yourself,

  • Tanya

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

  • Lauren

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

  • Renee

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

  • Ashleigh

    Dear Preston,

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

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

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

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

  • LilMama

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

  • Vanessa

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

  • The

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

  • Cheri

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

    • Mala

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

  • Lee

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

  • Ellen

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

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

    Mamma n Papa

  • Eva Webb

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

  • Angela

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

  • sherry

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

    • Sarah

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

  • Henriikka

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Laurie

    Dear Rhiannon,

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

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

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

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

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


    • Rhiannon

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

  • Rhiannon

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

  • Andrea

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

  • Monica

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

  • Shagun vats

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

  • Jules

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

  • LH

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

  • Samantha

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

  • Anna

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

  • Nicole

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

    • Gaby

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

  • Trudi

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

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


    I love you Moo Moo
    Love Granny

  • Laurie

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

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

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

  • Liz

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

  • Tanya

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

  • Callie L

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

  • Margo Channing

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

    • Stacey

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

  • Sheila

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • LJ

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

    • Cabrisha Lyons

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

    • Danielle

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

  • Laurie

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

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

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


  • Yess

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

  • Makenzie

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

  • shivangi

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

  • ruby

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

  • Amy

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

  • Lj

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

  • Ashley

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

  • lyle

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

  • savanna

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

  • J

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

  • Laurie

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

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

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

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

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

    In sympathy,

  • Samantha

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

    • Lou

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

      • Samantha

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

    • Kelsey Chubb

      I know exactly how you feel. I am taking my fur baby to my mom’s sometime this week and it gets harder and harder. Packing up her things. I’ve tried everything I could but my dog is a pit bull and that is always a restricted breed. Good luck! If you wanna email or even text me you can! It would be great to have someone to talk to about it! Kels.lynn1994@gmail.com 8432460796

  • Jesse

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

    • Shannon

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

  • Justin kutilek

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

  • Dot

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

  • Kate

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

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

  • Jan

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

  • Laurie

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

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

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

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

    • Norma Jean

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

    • Gasner

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

  • Jess

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

  • Kerri Hassan

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

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

    • Chandra

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

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

  • Maddie

    Dear Skyla,

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

  • Deborah

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

    • Karen

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

  • Laura Salazar

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


  • Frank

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

    Hi K and V

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Laurie

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

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

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

    Choose peace.

  • Cassandra

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

  • Lauren

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

    • Karyn

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

  • Kim S.

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

  • Michael

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

  • aryaz

    Dear Sadira,

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

    Love you always and forever,


  • Heather

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

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

  • Heather

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Monica

    Dear beloved favi,

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


  • Harper

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

  • Lydia

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

  • Lori

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

  • Karen

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

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


  • jo

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

  • Alex

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

  • Laurie

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers,

    • Karen

      Hi Laurie,

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

      My warmest regards, Karen

  • Karen

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

  • Naomi

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

  • Nora

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

    • Beejust

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

  • Terri

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

  • Kelly

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

  • Liz

    Dear Baby Blue,

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

  • becky

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

  • Matt

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

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

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

    • Sinny

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

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

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

  • Gina

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

  • Sarah

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

  • EW

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

  • Jack

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

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

  • Kate

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

  • Andrew May

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

    Dear Stella,

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

    love always,

    Andrew May

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

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

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

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

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


  • Jen

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

  • Kira

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

  • Michael batten

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

  • Kaitie

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

  • Lilac

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

  • Paige

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

  • Rachael

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

  • Laurie

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

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

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


  • Laurie

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

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


  • Amy

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

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

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

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

  • Kayla

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

  • Holly

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

  • Andrea

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

  • Theresa

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

  • Meredith

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

  • Faith

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

  • Paulina

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


  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Karen,

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

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

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

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

    In sympathy,

    • Kathy

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

  • Karen

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

    • Heather

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

      • Whitney Locke

        I currently have a puppy that I’m thinking about rehoming, I work 12 hr shifts and I’m about to move in to a place by myself so I won’t have my family to help take her out. It breaks my heart, I’ve had her since she was a little puppy (she’s currently 6 months old) I just keep looking at her little face knowing that I can’t give her the time she needs. I wish this was easier.. but I know it’s for the best and Im just trying to figure out how to do. I get so sad at the thought of giving her away 😭😭😭😭