• Daisy

A Dog is for Life, Not just for Christmas.

A Dog is for life, not just for Christmas – Thinking of re-homing your dog?

Like many people, you might think... people know this phrase and most people don’t just get a dog for Christmas?! Well here’s a statistic from the Dogs Trust (UK Charity):

Every 6 minutes The Dogs Trust receive a call from someone wanting to give up their dog.

This statistic alone is extremely saddening to hear. I can understand that some dogs do have to be re-homed, such as people who pass away and there is no-one else to look after their dog.

To me, there is no other acceptable circumstance for a dog to be re-homed.

I wanted to go through some reasons which people give- and hopefully- enlighten with some practical solutions.

First off, I can totally understand that we all have ever changing lives and it can be extremely hard work to bring up a well-rounded puppy. Our jobs change, or family commitments change, we could get seriously ill, we may have to move home… one thing which should always be a priority through these changes, is your four-legged friend. To this friend you are his world, all he may have known, and all he lives for. From your cuddles when your sad... your dances in the kitchen with when your happy, getting soaked wet through on a wet autumn walk, and those head out the car window pure happiness every day moments.

To me and Darren, Ralph is our everything... we prioritise his happiness and have adapted our lives to be the best pawrents (this should totally be a thing). We knew our life would change when we were looking to get a puppy and we weren’t totally prepared... I mean we knew the commitments to the walks rain or shine, the feeding, the training. The Obvious bits of pet ownership- We were happy with that. I hate to break it to you, but it’s SO much more than that. Every day, we want to make sure Ralph has THE happiest life he can, from the varied walks we do, the people he spends time with (Dog walker while we are at work, and family).

The most important message from my view is that Ralph is a member of our family, we give him the same love, care and respect that we would if we had a child, or any other member of our friends and family. He’s can’t tell us if he’s not happy, but we sure know what does make him happy- not leaving him for hours on end, a happy, loving home environment where he can relax and play with us, sleep, watch me cooking, watch dad cleaning the car outside the front of the house. Every waking moment of every day counts. Cuddles when he wakes up, a sneaky slice of food while we are preparing meals (food he is allowed like chicken, veg etc), talking to him while I’m cleaning... every moment with us- he is happy and content.

Family Selfie :-D

So here are some reasons that people give when they are thinking of re-homing and what I would suggest as a solution.

We are having a baby: Great, how exiting. but your first baby was your four-legged friend, remember when he was teething and when you first taught him to sit? Having a baby is not an excuse for re-homing your fur baby. Yes, it will be difficult- but having a baby is difficult- you have to adapt to that lifestyle anyway, why can’t you involve your first baby? Walks next to the pram with you, a reason to get out of the house when you might feel the parent pressure. Genuinely, having a baby is just an addition and it can work out for the better, its proven that children growing up with pets learn to be more caring. Pets teach them about responsibility and kindness.

Here is a link to a PDSA article on helping pets prepare for their new arrival.

We don’t have time anymore:

Like I said earlier, people have commitments, maybe you now have to care for a relative or are out of the house longer due to work commitments. That’s understandable. There are now so many people setting doggy day-cares and walking services, I would highly encourage for this to be your first point of call, especially if your work commitments change suddenly.

If this happened to me, and I wasn’t fortunate enough to have a job where I can work from home if I need to. I would think of any possible way to make this change easier on Ralph:

· Can I take him into the office- its 2019- there are lots of workplaces which have dog friendly offices?

· Can another member of the family or a friendly neighbour have him for a few hours- I would offer to pay- but you may have a lovely neighbour who has dogs and one extra for an hour a day wouldn’t be any hassle!

· Can you sacrifice some other time to ensure he is happy? .. maybe you spend lots of time with friends, socialising or on another hobby. Remember to your dog you are his best friend and all he wants is to spend time with you.

Behavioural problems:

He doesn’t listen to you, he chews everything, he doesn’t re-call, he’s too hyper. maybe you’re at your wits end with him running circles around you, wrecking your house, running off and generally being a naughty pup. It’s hard, it takes a lot of patience, you thought it was cute when he used to do some of these things, but it might have developed into something dangerous or something you just can’t take anymore.

I would advise first off setting ground rules in the house- with other members of the family. You all need to be consistent for this to work effectively. Make time to do some training, get some canine behaviour books, read and research as much as you can on why he is behaving as he is.

If this doesn’t work- find a professional behaviourist or go to group training classes. Surely you want to help him learn how to behave, just like you would teach a kid?!

If you give him up, what’s to say the next people who take him in, won’t give him up... would you be happy you knew if he was passed from home to home and no-one wanted to bother teaching him how to be a good boy? I’m sure you are capable, or you know someone capable of helping train him.

You can’t afford the vet bills:

This is a tough one, I’m sure you want to make sure your dog is healthy and cared for. Maybe you forgot to renew your pet insurance, maybe the treatment he needs isn’t covered in your policy… Whatever reason, you genuinely can’t afford the bills.

Can you ask the vets to spread the cost? Can you lend from a family member? How about your dog’s breeders... is it a major op that is essential to his quality of life, maybe the breeders could help out or lend the money? I understand it’s not nice to ask other people for money- it’s a sensitive subject. But giving your fur baby away isn’t fair, he needs you most at this time, he wants to feel that you are happy. Imagine how confused he would be... he’s hurting, your sad and he gets put into a strange place. He doesn’t understand what’s going on, and could get extremely depressed, possibly not recovering from the illness altogether.

Whatever reason you can think of for taking your dog into a shelter, just think if this is honestly the absolute best option for your dog? Is it guaranteed he is going to be happier than where he is now?

Loves and Hugs



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