I want to start out by saying, I will never judge anyone for having to rehome a dog. If you are here because you are wondering if you should rehome your dog, please feel comfortable knowing you are in the right place.
Sh** happens. Life changes, people get new jobs, get sick, pass away, dogs develop health or behavior issues. When adopting a rescue dog there are never guarantees. Heck, life is never a guarantee!
This blog has loads of helpful information that could help you through some health and behavior issues. If there is anything I can do to help you through this hard time, please feel free to contact me.
If you are unsure if rehoming your dog is the right choice, you may be feeling guilty that you cannot take care of her anymore. Or that you made a bad decision on adopting him in the first place. I can’t take away that guilt, but you can help yourself and the dog by doing some research before giving your dog away.
As hard as it may be to understand from the perspective of an outsider, sometimes a situation arises when you need to rehome your dog. As a volunteer for a local rescue, I see owner surrendered dogs all of the time.
In fact, our very first foster dog was a 10-year-old black lab, Silla, that was surrendered by her family. I admit I was confused as to why anyone would let such a sweet lab go. I didn’t know the family, but I do know they didn’t make the choice to rehome their dog lightly.
From what I do know, they lived on a farm and adopted two new herding breed dogs. The two new dogs did not get along with Silla and fights broke out. They felt that giving Silla a quiet home to retire in was in her best interest. Again, I am not here to judge. Did they feel guilty? I’m not sure, but I can only imagine how difficult that decision was for them.
So, let’s start by ensuring you are making the right decision to rehome your dog. Why have you decided you need to give your dog away?
An important note about rehoming a dog that has bitten a child or dog. Please disclose this information before giving your dog away. No matter how desperate you are, do not allow another child to be bitten. Do you really want another family to go through what you have?
If you are certain rehoming your dog is the right decision, where and how should you give your dog away?
No matter which option you choose, it’s important to be honest about all your dog’s issues and health concerns. Finding someone that is prepared to take care of all of your dog’s quirks, big or small, is important… or else he will just end up being returned to you or worse, euthanized.
If you adopted your dog from a shelter or rescue, start by asking them about taking the dog back. The rescue I volunteer for actually requires their adopters to surrender the dog back to them if needed at any time.
Some rescues will even post your dog on their website and let you keep him until you find a good home.
I recommend you start by asking friends and family, even co-workers if they would be willing to take in your dog. This way you know the dog will be well taken care of.
Posting a photo and your dog’s story on Facebook could be a great way to get the word out he needs a new home. I understand you may be afraid of being judged by your peers, but you’d be surprised how fast you could rehome a dog using social media.
Your vet may have adoption resources you could turn to, or maybe even know someone looking to adopt a new dog.
Adopt-a-Pet is a well-known online adoption website, and they have a rehoming listing service too! Adopt a pet makes it easy to list by simply filling out the form online and uploading pictures. Rehome at Adopt-a-Pet also has a ton of resources for you to try and keep your dog!
I love Craigslist, I use it to buy and sell everything from toys to furniture. But when it comes to dogs, it can be sketchy. Some very bad people lurk on the social selling site.
Let’s face it, we’ve all heard the horror stories of people getting scammed out of their houses, kidnapped or shot over a computer. And dogs being bought for reasons I’d rather not think of… bad reasons… for fighting and bait dogs.
There are also stories of puppy mills posting on Craigslist, so again, please do your research before buying or selling on this platform.
Now that I scared you, I have to admit something… we adopted our yellow lab Bear from Craigslist. Yup, that’s right we adopted an 18-month-old pure breed English Yellow Lab on Craigslist! We got lucky, the family rehoming him got lucky.
Bear grew much larger than the family thought he would… at a whopping 97 lbs, he was too big to live in a small trailer home with no yard. Plus, Bears’ previous owner was aging, had bad knees and couldn’t walk him. He was bursting at the seams with built up energy and was not a happy dog.
She realized this and came to the difficult conclusion that they needed to rehome Bear. She cried as we packed Bear’s belongings into our car, so I knew she cared very much for him and I am sure she felt guilty for letting him go.
A happy ending can happen, but you need to do your homework. Ask a lot of questions and meet the family before agreeing they can adopt your dog. Ask for a rehoming fee to ensure the new family is serious.
I’d say this should be your last resort. Dogs become very stressed when dropped off at a shelter. A shelter can be a scary place for any animal. And you have no idea how long he could end up staying there.
Call ahead and find out the shelters process of surrendering a dog. DO NOT just drop a dog off at the back door! Please no matter how desperate you are, this is not the right way to handle rehoming a dog.
The more information the shelter has about your dog before rehoming, the less stress for the dog, and the better chance he has for being readopted.
Please make sure you find a no-kill shelter. Unless your dog is truly aggressive, and you’ve tried everything… does he really deserve to be euthanized?
Over to you… please share your story in the comments below. I created the Rescue Dogs 101 community so we can support each other in times of need. It could help someone else in the same situation. You may be feeling alone right now, having to rehome your dog is not an easy decision, but please take comfort in knowing you are not alone! I am here for you.
Recommended just for you:
You love your dog, he is your family and you'd do anything for him, right? Then you owe it to him to learn his language.
Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, two dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.