Sometimes, even when we try our best, things just don’t work out. Personalities don’t mesh, the resources aren’t there, living situations change, anything can happen. Things just don’t work out the way we want them to. Sometimes we have to return or re-home a dog. And it’s okay.
I had to re-home my boxer Basil. We made it through the issues he and Tyler were having for the most part. We would still have the occasional scuffle (thanks to roommates who didn’t respect the rules), but 90% of the time things were peaceful and happy. But then life happened.
When I had Tyler and Basil, I was 19 years old. I was living outside of my parents house for the first time and working two jobs to make ends meet. I worked six days a week, fourteen hours each day and in all honesty, getting a second dog was a horrible decision on my part! I’m glad I got to share some of my time with Basil, and I learned so much from him, but in no way was I prepared for a second dog in my life.
After a little while I lost my second job. I was actually pretty excited about it as it meant I would be able to focus more on the job I was much more passionate about, and on my studies to become a trainer. However, the loss in extra income was certainly a blow. Between the loss of my second job, and
ongoing roommate drama, I ended up moving back in with my parents. Unfortunately, due to my mom’s allergies, the dogs weren’t able to come with me.
Fortunately, I had a pretty great support system in the kennel I was working at, and was able to board Basil and Tyler at work while I searched for another living situation. But as the search dragged on and on, they ended up living in a kennel for two long months and started showing the behavioral side effects of such long term kenneling. Tyler got increasingly irritable with other dogs and soon had quite a few that she couldn’t be around at all, and Basil started leaping out of his kennel run and playgroups to go looking for me. It wasn’t a good situation for either of them, and I was struggling hard to find a place I could afford that would accept both of them, especially with Basil being a “bully breed”.
As time dragged on I found myself at a bit of a crossroads. My parents were open to letting Tyler live in their house as she is small, low shedding, and has never really bothered my moms allergies too much, but that wasn’t an option really for Basil. His boxer drooliness had always been a big issue in setting off my moms allergies and he somehow always shed like crazy. They were both having an increasingly harder time in the kennel and I knew I needed to get them out, but I just didn’t have the resources to house myself and both of them in a good situation. So I made a hard decision. I chose to re-home Basil so that we could all have a better life.
I reached out to the rescue I had adopted him from, and partnered with them to find him a new home. I fostered him during the process, and the rescue found and vetted potential adopters. It was very difficult for me and involved a lot of tears, but in the end he found an amazing family. They sent me updates for a few months after the adoption and he seemed very happy. This also allowed me to bring Tyler home, which made the both of us much happier as well.
So why tell you this story? While not all situations are quite as dramatic as this (and some are more dramatic), sometimes adding a family member legitimately doesn’t work out. I want to share my story so that you can see that it isn’t always a perfect fairy tale ending, and that there is no shame in making the decision to re-home a dog. Sometimes it is the right call. Not every home is the right fit for every dog and it is important that we recognize that and respect it. It is not a shameful thing to not be the right fit.
When I look back on this time in my life I can now pinpoint all of the things I did wrong. The biggest one was adopting Basil in the first place, but that isn’t the only one. I can also now look back and recognize that in the end I did the right thing for everyone involved. I tend to think of my time with Basil as a foster situation now, as that’s really what it ended up being.
If you ever feel that you are in this situation, that a dog is just not the right fit for your family, reach out for help. I would never recommend to re-home a dog all on your own. Austin is packed with incredible rescue organizations that are here to help dogs and especially if you are willing to foster your dog through, they are typically willing to help. Especially if you adopted from a rescue, it is usually part of your adoption contract to go back to that rescue if you need to re-home your dog.
If you are on the fence and unsure, reach out to a training professional to help you evaluate the situation. We may be able to make things better, or to give you an outside perspective and help you make a decision. One of the best things of how large the dog community is in Austin, is that you are never alone or without resources.