I gave my dog ​​a new home and I have no regrets (2023)

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Adopting a pet is one of the hardest decisions a family can make, but sometimes it's the best.

I remember the first moment I saw our lop-eared German Shepherd puppy. He had a new husband, a new job, and a new house with a yard finally big enough for a puppy to run around. I remember our idealistic visions of life with a picket fence and late-night walks through the neighborhood and little kids playing outside with our dog. I also remember the first moment it dawned on me that we needed to move our dog "Lady", who we have all come to know and love for five years and three children, to a new home.

a common dilemma

What she didn't know was that, in the last five years, she would be among the 6.1 million households that made the incredibly difficult decision to adopt a pet, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). In their pet boarding study, this equates toabout 6 percent of families, most of whom had to move due to "pet issues" including behavior and aggression. Little did I know that he had made me enemy number one of the people my husband now begrudgingly calls "dog people." Having grown up loving and caring for dogs, we are definitely dog ​​lovers, but we found "dog people" to be on another level.

First signs of trouble

Our pup was adopted by a breeder after doing extensive research on quality, ethical breeders in our area. He's always been a bit wild, but we assume we "ask for it" when we have a 12 week old pup. A few large pieces of furniture and some new carpeting later, she was educated through extensive behavioral courses and was on her way to being everything we imagined. I distinctly remember trying to walk my 100-pound dog with a newborn in her carrier and a big scoop of peanut butter in a shell, as per the trainer's recommendations. I also remember the first time I put a newborn to bed and couldn't control my dog's barking - thisTips to win the bark fightcould have helped me then.

Take intervention seriously

The barking and slight aggression did not stop. during years. Did you know that a dog psychologist is a thing? Me neither until I hired one. Basically the suburban female version ofCesar MilanHe came to my house. Meanwhile, the dog scared the cat, pushing it into tiny corners and barking until the cat had accidents near our new home. He would bark during naps, during the day when he would go up the stairs, when he used aluminum foil (maybe the reflection?) and pretty much when someone walked in or out of a room. He wanted out, but he couldn't stay out long or the neighbors would complain. He also couldn't stay home when he knocked my 80-year-old grandmother down on Thanksgiving. At the vet's recommendation, we turned to a medication that seemed to have the same effect as asking a bull to calm down. At one point, he got so excited that he backed up to the bathroom cabinet and ripped it off the bathroom wall. He spent six whole months attacking the same tree in our backyard. We came to terms with the idea that she was "bad" in many senses of the word.

the emotional whirlwind

I started researching and asking for support for our "problem". Family members fawned over our "cute dog" and said things like "well she needs more exercise" and "sign her up for an agility class" and "she should go to puppy daycare" to which I usually nodded politely while did. inside he protested (OK, and sometimes loudly) "I have three kids. Two jobs. The dog runs two miles a day. How much more can I give him?" I calculated the price she took for my upbringing. I have acted frustrated with my children before, but in retrospect, I spent five years frustrated with an animal. He was starting to resent being home, especially when he was alone. Not being able to wrap leftovers in aluminum foil in peace, talk to my husband in peace after work, or have a company visit. I found myself telling friends who were having their first baby, "Don't worry, babies are easier than dogs." Easier than dogs? Really? I realized this must be one unlucky dog, but tried everything suggested by myself, my trainer, vet, canine psychologist, and various bystanders and advisors. I gave away my cat and I got lost. moments of peace with my children thanks to this mascot many times.

Weigh the pros and cons

I gave my dog ​​a new home and I have no regrets (1)Courtesy of Alexandra Frost

The decision to move to a new house was made after a vacation where we decided to leave her one more night at the Doggie Holiday Spa to "settle in" at home. Other dog-owning friends I knew couldn't wait to get back to their furry family members, but I was disconnected and terrified. That first night without her was life changing. For another two years, we thought about the idea from time to time, but feared the judgment of "dog people", family members and ourselves. In the end, we opted for this dog. Wasn't she our problem forever? Were we really about to become “those people” who give up when they get stuck?

The other difficulty that dog owners face when deciding on a new home is that it is often not the case.noBad. Similarly, we had some solid memories of Lady playing in the backyard with our toddlers, trick-or-treating, and even a time when she saved us from a rabid animal that barged into our backyard on an errand. We often thought we could never give her away because we had fond memories of her swimming in the doggie pool and playing distance with her retrieval ball. But the thought was still there.

The last straw or a piece of cheese

Our dog had never shown any real aggression towards anyone and she went through anti-aggression training exercises as a puppy to get used to children, other people eating in front of her and the like. Then one day, she'd grab a piece of cheese, the size of Costco, off the counter, and I'd reach over to retrieve it (I'd often retrieve something that she "borrowed" without incident). but this time she came to me. She fell, snarling, trying to bite me, the hairs on the back of her neck standing up as if I were the enemy. With the adrenaline pumping, I gathered my children and left the house not knowing what to do. For the next two days, she did the same thing to my husband and convulsed near my four-month-old son, nearly crushing her neck. She wasn't ready to wait for what came next. It's time.

lack of options

Were we really pet parents buying from breeders who end up turning their dog over to an animal shelter? Where would she go anyway? After some light investigation and a few phone calls, our fears were confirmed: not only was there no safe, loving place for them, but "dog people," particularly in dog rescue programs, made cruel comments. We were actively looking for someone who would know how to handle animals in her situation. A shelter was not an option for us, and German Shepherd rescues would not accept dogs that had shown such aggression.

A marvel

Miraculously, after I posted on social media, a police K9 handler contacted us looking for a dog to keep in his home to replace one of his deceased dogs. I wanted to train my dog ​​with his K9 unit and have him at home. I was so relieved that I cried, not because of the dog that I had sadly upset, but because of the burden that I had lifted and that I needed to heal for the good of my family. So I cried because I didn't cry because he missed her. I cried for my husband who spent a lot of time with her and for my young children who, despite her mischief, learned to love and respect animals.

The recuperation

After a very sad few days, I found a photo of my children's hero, Chase the Police Dog.paw patrol, and convinced her that he had become Chase. So I started to rebuild my life. For a week, I spent a lot of time vacuuming dog hair out of every crack in my house (check outSuperior vacuum cleaner for dog and cat hair🇧🇷 Reluctantly, I donated her dog supplies and bone scraps to a neighbor and slowly shared the news with all of our friends and family who loved her. I felt vindicated with them for the decision, even though it was the right thing to do for us. (Many of them hadn't realized how the shaggy dog ​​they frequented family dinners was devastating our day-to-day survival.)

take it

Why did I change who I was to avoid judgment on this issue? Because the subject of rehoming is so taboo in our dog-loving culture that I almost sacrificed my family's health, happiness, and safety. When "dog lovers" asked me how I could do this, I answered firmly, because my family is worth it. Maybe I made a mistake getting them, but keeping them would have been a snap. The night her new owner came looking for her, I slept through the night for the first time in five years and woke up to the sounds of my children playing peacefully in their rooms.

Before you adopt a dog from a breeder or animal shelter, you should consider these20 points first to make sure the puppy is a good fit for your family and lifestyle.

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