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Posts: 6
I am beside myself over the decision I have made to surrender my beloved dog, Jammer. I don't know where else to turn and thought this might be a good place to come and grieve. We are taking him to his foster home this Sunday. We hope he will be adopted into a forever home very soon. The details are complicated. Here is the message I sent to family and friends in an attempt to find a new home for him (names and personal details omitted):

Dear friends and family,


My husband and I are heartbroken that we have a need to write this message. We have decided that we must find a new home for our beloved dog, Jammer. We adopted Jammer from a local shelter four years ago. He has been a loyal, affectionate and loving pet during that time. We’ve spent a great deal of time working with him on obedience and training. He’s an exceptionally obedient animal. Unfortunately he has become so fearful of our daughter that we are afraid we can’t trust them to coexist. Because we’re expecting an addition to our family in a short time we realize that his life with us will become even more marginalized. He is such a devoted family member and hates being separated from us as our situation demands. He’s far too sensitive to be a “yard dog.”


I’m writing to all of you today because I’m hoping that you may either have room in your lives for Jammer or know someone who does. If you think you know a family that would be a good fit for our sweet boy I hope you’ll pass along this message.


I feel it’s important that Jammer be in a home without children. He is also not a fan of cats. He would do well in a house or apartment. He is a very low maintenance pet. Requires little grooming, exercise or much of anything but a warm spot to nap and a kind word. He would love to be someone’s lap dog. We believe that he is about six years old and is some sort of spaniel mix. We’re working with a wonderful organization called San Diego Spaniel Rescue. Here is a link to their website: They are helping us to find a home for Jammer. He will live with us until he has a new family or I have this baby- whichever comes first! They will be screening all potential adopters to make sure that he is a good fit and never ends up in a shelter again. Follow this link to see pictures and read more details about Jammer:


I am available to answer any question that you or anyone you know may have about Jammer. Feel free to contact me on my cell phone or by email.


Thanks for reading,



My message does not convey how destroyed I feel about giving up my friend. I feel such guilt over not providing Jammer a loving home for the rest of his life. I can't stop crying. I know this is our only option, but I don't know how to deal with the feelings of loss. I keep thinking about how confusing this will be for him.


I can't stand that I have had to choose between protecting my children and providing a loving home for my pet. We truly have explored all of our options. We've tried for 2 years to have our daughter and Jammer coexist. We believe this is the best option for him given the circumstances. I'm here for support, not suggestions. Thanks for "listening."




Posts: 180
Hi, Kscakes,
I just want to say how impressed I am with how much you have done to insure that Jammer gets a good home after you tried so doubly hard to make him work in your family.  Most people may feel guilty about surrendering a pet, but I've never heard of anyone going to the lengths you've gone for Jammer.

I can  imagine how awful you feel about this.  We were forced to make a similar decision about 20 years ago.  We had to put down a healthy, 6-year old cat because he was actually attacking people without warning and causing serious injuries.  We had a 2 year old daughter at the time (who he hadn't yet injured) and no one else would take a cat who was so friendly yet so dangerous.  Looking back from 20 years down the road it was the right decision, but it still makes me sad. 

I also wanted to add how much of a blessing you may be bestowing on someone by working so hard to find a good home for Jammer.   About 6 months ago someone was forced to surrender a 2 year old Chinese Crested dog because that person was terminally ill.  She said it was the hardest decision she'd ever had to make.  We are a family of crested lovers who had been looking for another dog.  It's a very long story, but this dog ended up in our home only 2 weeks after she surrendered him.  He has totally bonded with us and is a joyful addition to our family.   His previous owner was able to learn that her baby had a loving new home and an older brother before she died.  What was a great sadness for her has turned into a joy for us and an iron-clad forever home for the dog.   It is quite likely your efforts will result in a similar case of happiness for another family and Jammer.

Bless you for caring so much and working so hard.

Posts: 594
I'm so sorry that you have to give up your Jammer boy.  Your love and devotion comes shining through in your words.  You really are doing every thing you can to ensure that he finds a wonderful home.  I completely understand and am praying for you and your family.  You are truly in a no win situation. Please let us know what happens and I wish you the very best with your new edition.

ConnieV(Jakie's forever mom)


Posts: 11,059
I can understand the pain and anxiety you are feeling over Jammer's move.  It is sad that he has to leave, but you have been very patient and did everything you could to change the situation.  My heart goes out to you.  I will pray that Jammer will find a loving home, without children, and have a good life.  I hope you will keep us posted. 



Posts: 6

Thank you so much for all of your sweet words. I feel comforted just knowing that you have seen my story and can sympathize with what I'm going through. I know that my guilt and sadness is very different than someone who has lost a pet after caring for them for a lifetime. Thank you for treating me with love and kindness.


Posts: 1,982
All I can say is what a wonderful, loving Mom you are to "all" your children.  You tried so hard to do the very best for them and they know that.  I'll pray with you that Jammer finds a loving home, there is so much love out there for these precious babies, I know it will find him.

Posts: 6

I just wanted to check in and give an update on Jammer. He went to his foster home on Saturday. My husband took him. I was too emotional and upet to actually drive away from him. It has been a very difficult few days. Our home feels empty. I feel like he is still here, but he's gone. I keep thinking about him in his new home. I wonder if he is feeling betrayed or abandoned. I can't stand the thought that he may think we don't love him or want him. My husband is grieving pretty hard too. I just want to know that he's ok. I hate the thought that I will never see him again. I miss my boy.


Posts: 1,821

i am so sorry you are having to do this, i know that it seems a small comfort now - perhaps later it will be, your decision spared Jammer. Had you decided to keep him then his fear may have eventually accelerated to aggression and that would severly restrict your options. Depending on how badly things accellerated it could end very badly. As painful as this is, it gives Jammer a chance for a happy long life - and he will always love you for that.

Your loss and grief is as real as anyone's is - yes the reason is different - but then everyone here has a different story, the common bond is we have lost a beloved furbaby

Posts: 1,523
I totally agree with Ghatten. Timing was everything and you made the right decision at the right time. I pray for Jammer to find a home where there is all the Love he can hold.  God bless.

Posts: 195

I'm so sorry about Jammer. I will keep your family in my prayers. You are a wonderful Mommy to both Jammer and your children. I hate that you had to make that decision. We are all here to support you. (((HUGS)))


Posts: 70

Your story sounds familiar, but I was on the other end of it. Three of my cats and both of my brother's dogs came from owner surrenders. My Maine Coon boy Bickford came to me after the woman who had him for 8 years could no longer keep him. He didn't like being around her young children and her husband turned out to be allergic to cats. He thought nothing of swatting and hissing at the kids. Her mother took Bickford's brother but wouldn't take him because she thought he would be too mean. But I found her plea for a home on a cat chat group and took him in. He's actually tolerant of my other cats, and he's come around and actually let my 7 year old niece pet him! (He's still not fond of my 4 year old niece, but hopefully that will change.) You've done all you can do - don't beat up yourself over it. And maybe someday there will be another dog in your life. Your experience with Jammer has opened you up to giving more love.



Posts: 139

How very sad. I feel so terrible for Jammer. It didn't sound like he snapped at your daughter, so I guess I can't fully understand your decision to give him away? That said, I can see that you are heartbroken. I'm very happy that you worked with him and he is a sweet and obedient dog. Let's pray this foster home falls in love with him (it sounds like he's very loveable!) and just keeps him. Take care of yourself, you did what you felt in your heart you had to do. Candice


Posts: 6
Candice, Jammer has snapped at, growled at and otherwise threatened my daughter. He is a rather unpredictable dog. He never injured anyone, but keeping him seperated from the family was hurting all of us. I feel such loyalty to Jammer that I find it very difficult to write the truth about his bad behavior. However, the rescue placing him knows all about his history and will find the safest, best home for him.
I heard from his foster dad yesterday and apparently he is getting along just fine. I still can't help feeling guilty and sad. Thank you all for your support and kind words.

Posts: 6



I don't know if you are still on this board but I had to join as I am right now going thru exactly what you did with your little Jammer.


In August 2008, 2 weeks after the death of our Yorkie, were-homed/rescued our Maltese from a family that neglected him and didn't want himanymore.  He was left in a room with awee-wee pad and a bowl of kibble. He was never walked, was not allowed upstairs,or in the bedrooms and was basically ignored. His owners did not have him on flea or heartworm prevention, they didnot have a routine or anything in place. 

We took him in and gave him nothing but love, love, love. We feltlike we saved him and that he saved us.  We had no children at the time and we were struggling to conceive. Hewas the center of our universe. We took him for walks, we played with him, andwe gave him tons of affection. We called him our ball of white fluffy love. Hejust loves to give you kisses and have his belly rubbed. It’s just never enough…he wants more, more and more.

My boy is very loving andaffectionate.  He will sometimes justsneak attack and give you kisses   If you ask him to show you his belly, he willroll over so you can rub him.  He doessit on command (most of the time), he DOES NOT stay.  He also loves to lick your feet when youcome out of the shower.  If you say ALLDONE he will usually stop whatever he is doing. And if he is sitting on your lap, if you say Up, Up, Up… (usually) hewill walk off.


That being said, since the birth of my son 2 years ago..with my husband and I working full time....he has not gotten the same amount of attention, and his behavior has taken a turn for the worse.  He started to have accidents, on and around my babies toys, he snaps at my son, visitors, neighborhood children, other dogs, us...and I just don't trust him anymore around my child.  I can't sit around and wait for him to seriously hurt my baby.

We had a behaviourist come to the house, but the amount of time that is needed to help rehabilitate our furbaby is just not there. 


He also has some health issues that will require surgery and in this economy right now, we just can't afford it.


So, I found a rescue and they are coming to get him on Saturday.  They promise me that they will love him, take care of him and arrange for his surgery.


I have been beside myself with grief and guilt and worry that my furbaby will be sad, and lonely, and wonder where his mommy and daddy are....will he be scared?  will he be loved?


I know in my head we are doing the right thing, but my heart is breaking.


Reading your post, was like reading my mind.


Please tell me this pain will go away....every day that I know I have to give him up, is a day filled with many tears, anxiety and sadness...



Posts: 374
Please don't worry- you are doing the right thing for everyone. 

Many years ago I found a stray and named him Bear. I took him home and we were inseparable. When my son was born, he loved him and stayed by him...until my son started to crawl, and poke, and pull. One morning Bear retreated under a table but my son crawled under after him and Bear snapped and lunged- I almost didn't get there in time.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and my parents were able to give Bear a loving home until the end of his years. A tragedy was narrowly avoided...and you have made a decision to avoid tragedy as well. 

Jammer and the maltese (sorry I don't see his name) will be loved and will bring joy to a new family in a safe place. This will be a happy outcome- please celebrate the time you had and know you made the right decision.


Posts: 1,910
How very tragic this is for you.  You have come to the right place: this is  You have lost a beloved furred one.  Not through death, but for reasons which you tried for years to help Jammer overcome.

Decades ago I "lost" two stepchildren, then ages four and six.  In many ways I had a closer bond with them than with their father, my husband at the time (who got jealous of how happy and calm they were around me, so punished me by sleeping in a different bed).  I had to drop out of their lives so that they could adjust to their new situation with their mother and her new husband.  But for about 10 years after that, I'd have dreams about them, and I still have two pictures that they drew. 

Jammer will always live in your heart.  And he knows that you didn't get rid of him or give up on him.  You have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that he finds a loving forever after home, even though doing that has broken your heart.  Every furred one should be so fortunate as to have someone like you in their life.

Posts: 1,541
Go with your gut.  You are doing what is right for Jammer as well as your daughter.  Remember that.  Good Luck.  YorkieHeidi

Posts: 1
Hi everyone I found this site when I was looking for ways to cope with surrendering my dog. I had a beautiful yorkie for almost 7 yrs. she was my first baby girl ever. I got her in 2006 she was my everything. Over the years things have changed, I was blessed with a beautiful baby boy in 09 and in the summer of 2011 my full time telecommute job suddenly turned into an office job once again. My total commute time is 3+ hrs a day roundtrip, leaving me gone from the house for sometimes almost 12 hrs/day, same for my husband. My dog suffered from outdoor allergies, and also became blind in one eye. She needed more attention than she was getting and i struggled for almost 2 yrs with the decision of surrendering her to a rescue. after reading about the rescue one thing kept jumping out at me, "you have to put your own feelings aside and think what is best for your dog". So as hard as it was I did just that. I talked to the shelter, told them abut my situation and the dogs history. I took her to the shelter in July and I still get a knot in my throat when I look at her pics or think of her. She is still with the foster (and 3 other yorkies) as her allergies went into a flare so she was being treated for them. They are now under control. The fosters have been great communicating with me and answering my emails sending pics etc. however I fear she may not be adopted because of her medical history. One thing I can say is I see how happy she is with the other dogs and that makes me happy. I thought by now it would be easier but I still find myself crying at night thinking about her and if she thinks I abandoned her because I didn't love her, which was so not the case. This was by far one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and I am just wondering when it will be easier and if I will ever stop feeling guilty. I will always love her. Reading all your posts also brought tears to my eyes. My heart goes out to all of you who have faced a similar situation with your pet.

Posts: 12
I'm in a similar situation right now, that unfortunately is not going to have as good a resolution as these other stories.  Tomorrow I have an appointment at the vet to have my GSD humanely euthanized. 

I adopted my girl, Sabrina, in February when she was 15 months from a Rescue.  She had been a stray so they didn't know her background, however, they also didn't tell me anything about her from their observations (even though the rescue owner claims to be a trainer).  Unfortunately, I didn't know what questions to ask.  At the time she didn't have any obedience skills, had little people socialization and no canine socialization. More importantly, she was dog reactive and environmentally reactive.  I got a trainer and she learned her skills very well, but I continued to have difficulty with her behavior.  Over the last few months her behavior has beome worse.  She reacts to everything in the environment, whether it's real or just perceived in her mind.  Even worse, she bit a friend in my home, unprovoked. I spoke to experts, including her veterinarian about what to do.  Her vet's opinion is that Sabrina is "mentally unhealthy" and that it will not change.  He was rather firm in his opinion that my only option (particularly in light of the bite) is to humanely euthanize her.  He went on to say, as did one of my trainers, that she should probably never have been adopted out in the first place.  So, here I am one day away from having it done and feeling sick to my stomach about it and about to cry again.  Everyone tells me it is the right thing to do, but it just makes me feel so bad that there isn't some other way to go. 


Samantha - 2007 - 2012
Lily - 2000 - 2012

Posts: 2
I have never felt so heartbroken in my whole life until we made the decision to give up our dear Charlie.  We had him for two years but he became more and more aggressive.  Most recently, on Saturday he bit my forearm pretty bad causing me to need stitches.  All because he smelled a brownie in a trash can.  We decided it was the safest thing for our family because we have a 10 year old and are planning on having another child.  He attacked our 10 year old on Sunday when he went to pet Charlie and to say his goodbyes.  Luckily, I was there and was able to grab Charlie in time before he bit our son's face.  I know we are making the right decision, it just tears me up inside.  I can't seem to stop thinking about how scared he must be at the shelter and how he is looking for us.  We have had him since he was 8 weeks old so we are pretty much all he has ever known.  We tried all sorts of training with him and nothing seemed to get him over his food aggression.  He became most aggressive when he smelled sweet human food (which I thought was strange since we never fed him any human food).  I miss him terribly (especially when I get home and he is not running up to greet me, tail wagging and all). 

Posts: 2
I am going through this now. My dog actually bit my son. =( I just love her and when we rescued her two years ago I never imagined I would have to send her back to the rescue. I am devastated and have sobbed everyday since it happened 14 days ago. My son went to the ER and got 20 stitches in his cheek and ear because she nipped him..bad. It was just a warning..andI cannot risk it happening again. My story is here ( )  if anyone has any advice or comments for me. I am grieving hard, and will be driving 2 hours to bring her to a kennel in 3 days. I have to look out for my son. I LOVE this dog- Child Services comes over every day to see if she is still here =(

UPDATE: She spent the weekend in a kennel...we have tried to talk to the rescue about going to get her until they have a trainer/home for her (kennel life is not for her!) but they have declined stating it would be more confusing. Now I am depressed and so regretful of dropping her there and I am struggling. I am really struggling. I feel like I shouldn't laugh, or smile or enjoy anything knowing she is suffering. I feel her pain and I wish I never sent her there. 

Posts: 2
These really resonated with me as I am going through a very similar experience and it is painful. On Sunday we rehomed our beloved 4yr old female Staffie Macy. It is now Tuesday and I feel I am on a nauseating roller coaster of grief. It really is hurting my heart. Back story is that she wasn't coping with having our 15month daughter around. She didn't like her near her and wouldn't only sometimes tolerate her near her otherwise she would run away/avoid her. Btw, our daughter was never rough with Macy, we taught her to pet her gently and we worked on all sorts of things like that. Macy just begun to growl at our daughter for reasons that didn't justify a growl so we made the hard decision of rehoming her. I could see Macy was anxious and stressed and I felt she needed a different home environment. I didn't want to have to go through the rigmorale of separating them etc, Macy liked to be near is and I couldn't bear the thought of her having to be outside all the time. Anywho, she has gone to a lovely new home and I expect her to be happy once she becomes attached to her new owners however me on the other hand, really really hurting. I also hold so much regret and guilt, for how I've managed Macy in these last few months. She was becoming so over the top with her need for affection and attention that the easiest thing to do was be tough on her and get her to lay on her bed until we were able to give her cuddles. She would get cuddle us and she'd knock over our daughter and get over the top. I'm feeling a range of difficult emotions. Sadness, guilt, regret, depression. I loved and love Macy so much and this is a truly painful time.

Posts: 6
I so regret that I haven't checked in on this site in so many years! Reading back all these heartbreaking messages has me in tears all over again. I'm so sorry that so many have gone through and are going through this painful choice to surrender an animal. For me, giving up Jammer (7+ years ago now!) was the right thing to do. I was assured that he ended up in a safe, loving home. Neither of my daughters remember him, but we tell stories about him anyway. As it turned out, my youngest daughter is allergic to dogs! She has gone through immunotherapy to treat her allergies and just last year we added a non-shedding dog to our family. Bringing Winnie into our home as a puppy has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. She is amazing and we all love her so much. I still think about Jammer almost everyday, but now there is much less grief and much more sweet memories. I send my love and sympathy to all the parents who are dealing with this awful choice.

Posts: 3
I just joined the club of folks who have to deal with the awkward loss of rehoming a beloved dog. And it's quite honestly the worst pain I've felt outside of a family member passing away.

Loomy came into our lives through a rescue organization back in April. He is a high energy mostly lab mix, and was only 3 months old when we got him. He's always been a sweet pup, super friendly, and loves people. But recently he had developed food aggression if the kids got too near to him while he was eating. It was always just a growl, though. We knew he needed training to help with this, among other hyper puppy behaviors, and were looking over the options to get him into some sort of boarding program after the new year.

Unfortunately, last Monday night, I put him in the living room with his big Kong to eat - it keeps him occupied for longer than a regular dish - while the kids were sitting down to eat in the dining room. My son got up and walked into the living room to get his water, and the next thing I know Loomy jumped up and snapped at him, and my son was on the ground crying. Loomy had got either side of his jaw - it wasn't a deep bit, mostly superficial cuts, but it was scary. An inch or so lower, and he would've had his throat. A couple inches higher, and he could've put out an eye.

My wife and I weighed our options that night, but we knew that even if Loomy had aggression therapy, we couldn't risk our children's safety. We made the difficult decision to contact the rescue organization we got him from, let them know the situation and that we couldn't keep him any longer. They understood, and set up a foster home for him while they figure out next steps.

I feel like our life was almost perfect. Two happy, healthy kids, a loving dog, and we're moving into our dream house this week. It has a huge back yard, which leads right into a wood area that Loomy would've loved. And now it feels like a huge part of our family has just been ripped away.

I took him to meet the foster and dropped him off this morning. I had been dreading this moment for days. I cried as I gave the foster a list of his likes/dislikes, his toys and treats, a personalized stocking we had made for him filled with more toys and treats.

The one consolation is that the foster is a very sweet lady and has been sending me updates on how he's doing and adjusting, and he seems to be enjoying himself. If he's happy and doing well, I can at least feel a bit at peace.

But I'll never get over the fact that this lovable pup has lost the forever home and family we had planned to give him. I just hope the next one really is forever.

Posts: 1
Hello, everyone. I'm glad to have found this page. A year and a half ago, I had to give up my Sammy. I'd adopted him four year previous.  He was an energetic, big, beautiful, brown lab/pit mix, and he was my best friend. Like, absolutely the best friend ever. But I'd started a new job, only had a studio apartment, and I was leaving early and coming home late, and the poor guy was barking all day, untrained in an apartment setting, and he started to become more subdued with me. I was hurting him by not offering him the best home possible. He needed to run free. He needed other dogs and kids, and the fun a dog with that much energy really needs. And these aren't excuses. They're the truth. But the truth behind these words doesn't relieve my guilt. Because, even over a year later, I realize how much that event of giving up Sammy changed me entirely. He was who I came home to. He listened and cuddled and could chew through a rope toy in less than a day, all smiles. He had the biggest heart and the sweetest soul, and although I know he's with a great family, he'll always be mine and it quite literally breaks my heart to be without him. 

I know this sounds silly. I know I don't really have a right to know how he is, to feel sad over his loss, but I do. And the thing is, guilt can continue to eat at me, or I can move past this. So, this is the first step I needed to take. I needed to talk about how guilty I feel, about my grief. 

So, thanks for listening.

I feel like you all love your pets so much and that you understand that there is such a very different grief that comes from giving up a pet, who is, in essence, a best friend, a family member.

Posts: 3

You're absoulutely right - it's a very different kind of grief, but it's still grief nonetheless. In some ways, it's worse than a pet passing away. At least in that case, there's a sense of finality in knowing they're at peace and not suffering. But now, in addition to losing my dog, I'm also worrying about his future. Is his next master going to love him like I did? Are they going to take good care of him? Is going to be happy? Does he look out the window every time a car drives by wondering if it's me finally coming to get him?

You're not silly at all, and I feel absolutely the same way. No matter where Loomy goes, or who ends up, I'll always love him, and he'll always be my dog.

Posts: 3
It looks like Loomy is going to be all right... I heard from the foster that he was actually adopted the morning of Christmas Eve, then my wife got an email from his new family yesterday - they found her email in some of his paperwork from from our vet and reached out with some questions they had, specifically about his DNA profile we had done a while back.

We found out he's now got a HUGE fenced in yard to play in, and they have two older kids whom he loves to play with, but he's sticking to their daughter like glue. We told them to keep in touch and feel free to follow up with us if they have any other questions we can answer.

I still miss him, but I feel like I can let go now - he's with a nice family that is going to take great care of him. He's got everything he needs, he's happy, and he's got a new favorite person. Everything I wanted for him has come true.

Posts: 1
I'm so glad I found this thread. I'm bracing myself for having to rehome my beloved Millie, a 9 year old shelter rescue. She's an absolutely core part of my life, my heart and my family, and my husband and mine's first baby. But she's never been a kid person and when we had a kid a year and a half ago we hoped it would be different and she'd accept Emma as part of her pack. It was ok for the first 6 months but as Emma's become more mobile things have escalated and three times now Millie's gone for Emma's face. The last time she caused a cut on her eyelid. We've been doing our best to minimize the triggers and closely watch their interactions and Millie's body language to catch problems before they happen, but it only takes one second of being distracted or too much going on. We've now resigned to keeping them completely physically separated and our daughter who's miraculously not afraid of Millie doesn't understand why she can't be with her. Meanwhile Millie's separated from the family she loves as most of the time my husband and I are with Emma and Millie's in another part of the house. I call her my "shadow" because she will literally follow me back and forth all over the house just to be close to me, and I can tell she feels lonely and ostracized now that she can't. It's not fair to either Emma or Millie to live like this. 

But I keep walking around the house imagining her not being there and I start to break down sobbing every time I think about it. It's not her fault this is happening. We knew she didn't like kids. She was our baby first and our promise to her was to keep and love her forever. She trust and loves my husband and I so fully and loves us with all her heart. She's always slept in our bed, shared our food, watched movies with us on the couch, gone on outings in the car just because she wants to be with us. At the end of every day when I arrived home from work Millie would run and jump into my arms and her little body would shudder all over with joy of having me home. I can't imagine being more attached to her or her to me. Millie has been my comfort and source of unconditional love during some of the hardest times in my life. She's so sensitive to my emotional state that she used to run and hide under the bed if she saw me crying! 

My heart is breaking and we haven't even started looking for a home yet...just made the decision yesterday. We went to a dog trainer to get help and she recommended finding Millie a new home where she can once again be the center of attention and not have to live with the anxiety having a kid in the house causes her. I already knew in my heart this was what we had to do before we went to the trainer, but she confirmed my fears and made the dread real. I know it's the right decision for Millie and my daughter. Eventually we will get another dog that loves kids and that Emma can grow up snuggling with, sharing treats with, playing with and forming a bond with as strong as the one we have with Millie. My hope is we can find a family that will let us visit and take Millie for walks, and this combined with time will help me heal, but right now the idea of saying goodbye to Millie feels like inviting a gaping hole into my heart that will never quite heal. 

Posts: 1
Glad I found this group/thread. We sent our 5 year old dog back to his breeder a while back and I’m still heartbroken over it. I keep thinking about him and wondering what I could have tried to make it work with him. I did a lot of soul searching and realized that my career took over my life and this sweet dog didn’t get the attention he deserved and in turn it showed in his behavior and made him very difficult to live with. This guilt I feel is worse than anything I have ever felt.

A while after we sent our dog back to live with the breeder, we decided to get a second dog for our family and our 7 year old dog and found one (different breed/breeder) that really fit in. The breeder of the dog we sent back found out about our new dog and she and her family who I was friends with cut me out of their lives which made me feel even more guilty. This entire experience has taught me a painful lesson and which is to never put your career/job before your family. I consider our pets to be part of the family.

I recently did some investigating and found our rehomed dog has a new family that love him so much. That makes my heart happy but I’m guilty beyond words and I don’t know how to get past this. 😒

Posts: 5
I know what it feels like I had to give up cat Maura because my roommate did not want him he was here four years after my grand father pass away it was his cat she took to me after he died that was the hardest thing I had to do I misd here a lot

Posts: 1
I'm so happy to have found this thread and not feel so alone. My husband and I had two dogs that we've had together for almost four years who were no longer getting along, mostly due to food guarding all of a sudden. This has been going on for about 10 months. We've been to a behaviorist and tried extensive training because other than the incidents we've had, our dog is an angel. He is snuggly and relaxed and loving and has never so much as raised a lip at a person. However, the stress that this has created in our home was getting unbearable. I can't even believe I'm about to be the person who says this, but we're also expecting a baby in October and the thought of my kid accidentally carrying a piece of cheese into the living room and being in the middle of something or if I'm holding the baby and can't break it up like I usually do is too much for me to even think about. We have lived and breathed our strict crate and rotate schedule for the past 5 months and worked with a trainer weekly while muzzle training and desensitizing, and still the progress I was hoping for was not there. I also started to develop horrible anxiety at just the thought of them being out together. We started reaching out to rescues, telling them our situation and just trying to get some direction and they shamed us, saying we hadn't done enough. Honestly, I don't think you could find a single person who is more heartbroken about giving up their dog than I am right now. He's my best friend and this is just the worst. Since the day we found him on the street as a puppy and he snuggled up on my chest so happy to be safe and warm and loved, I knew I had found the animal that changes your life. I love our other dog but I don't have the same connection with her as I have with him. Last week, we rehomed him to a girl who knows all his history and has decided she wants to dedicate her time to loving him and continuing his training while also letting him be himself, an anxiety filled big love bug who wants to be the king of the castle. She's also agreed to keep in touch for the rest of his life if we want. She's been in contact with us all week trying to make the transition as smooth as possible. She sends pictures of them snuggled up together and videos of him playing his favorite games with his big goofy grin! He looks really happy. She's a true angel and I'm so glad we found her, I really do think it was meant to be. But I can't help being absolutely heartbroken. My house feels empty and I am so lonely without my shadow. Does he know I tried to do what I thought was best and safest for him? Does he know how much I love him? Does he know I didn't mean to abandon him? I've had a very lucky life, I've truly never felt grief and guilt like this before. We tried everything, but no one was living their best life in our house. Who was that fair to? I just don't know how to get past the guilt and sadness. 

Posts: 3
I needed to find this message board. I’m so thankful for each of you posting your story. As much as I would never wish this pain on anyone else, it is comforting to know I am not alone. I adopted Jax over 1 1/2 years ago. He is such a smart dog and, over the time I’ve had him, has improved so much (in health and behavior). However, the more attached he became to me, the worse his separation anxiety became. Even after behavior training, calming aides, etc, it steadily worsened. A few weeks ago, he started injuring himself. Although the injuries weren’t life threatening, the jump to self-injury scared me for him. I called the organization I adopted him from and they said I should surrender him (not what I expected at all). I ended up realizing it was in his best interest to be with someone who could be at home the majority of the time- something I could not provide. He deserves to be happy. Despite this knowledge, I have had overwhelming guilt on top of the heartbreak. After two weeks with the organization’s behaviorist, he was posted on the website today. I just want my baby back and hate that he stuck in a room not knowing what is going on.

Posts: 93
I'm so sorry for the situation you're in . It is so sad. It's clear you love the dog.
I have no experience with this situation. But the only idea that popped into my head was that maybe while you're at work all day you could have someone like a dog walker come and visit him and play with him. There is doggie day care too. I've heard that a tired dog is a happy dog. Follow your instincts.
I hope I've helped at least a little .
The best of luck to you.

Posts: 1
I am feeling so bad but I know I am doing the right thing but it still hurts. We rescued Anna about 3 years ago. I don't even know where to begin. But the problems started right away. She has never been a fan of my husband but we figured she would warm up. But no the barking and running away went on for about 2 years. I really feel that she would jump out a window to get away from him if she needed to. It's actually really sad. Now heading into the 3rd the barking has stopped but she still runs from him and acts like he has done something to him. Which he has never he has never been able to get close to her. Which this has also been causing issue with our relationship over the past few years. I can hear her crying now. I will get to that in a moment. So we have a older lab Lola she is 10 slowing down in her years but always been the best dog. Today they got into it over a toy ( which I know happens) but Lola isn't able to protect herself like she has in the past. I had to end up taking Lola to the vet who needed to get some stitches. This all happened with my 4 and 6 year old in the room and now they are scared to be around both dogs together. So to get back to why Anna is crying she is locked in the basement/family room to keep the dogs desperate since Lola is hurt. Which I can't do that forever because it isn't any kind of life for a dog. I think Anna needs a family that will keep her busy and maybe be the only dog in the house. Anna likes to play and Lola is getting to old for that and I know it is best for both if we surrender Anna back to the rescue. The only other thing I am worried about is that we moved out of state so we would have to transport her back. Which isn't a issue I will do what is needed to get her a safe home but it will just be another worry and I would hate to think of the stress on her. In the end it needs to be done and it is what is best for all and I am hoping she will find a loving home.

Posts: 2
Thanks for sharing your story. 8 years later is giving us some comfort as we are about to surrender our boy of 7 years.

Posts: 1
We adopted our Murphy 7 years ago and he is the sweetest big guy ever..he is just a mixed breed..but such a sweet boy..
8 months ago I had my first baby, a boy. At first Murphy loved it..but when my son started moving around crawling, pulling up on the sofa and standing, Murphy started getting agitated. We never left the baby and Murphy alone just in case..

Well, a week ago, unprovoked, Murphy knocked my son over and snapped his face, very close to his eye..his eye was very swollen and cuts from the bite..I had to take my son to the ER to be checked out and my mom took Murphy to the shelter...

I feel so many emotions..sad that it happened, relieved it wasn’t worse than it was, distraught that I had to give up Murphy, I get upset thinking he must be so confused..he has only ever been with us..he is older dog and I think the baby moving around just scared him..I feel so guilty that he is alone and afraid and confused...I didn’t get to say goodbye to him because I had to take my son to the hospital after the accident happened..

The shelter is assessing him for aggression and to see if he could be adopted out..

I contacted the shelter today to see how he was doing and if they thought he would be eligible for adoption..and they said more than likely not and that he may be euthanized...I am so upset over this..I don’t want him to go through that alone and they won’t allow me to be there if they do put him down..

I don’t know how to deal with this pain and wondering how sad and confused he must be...

Posts: 1
I am glad I am not alone in how I am feeling. A few months ago I had to rehome my 3 year old working cocker spaniel, Phoenix.
I've had him since he was a puppy and first got him when I was living with family. We stupidly didn't research the breed and were totally unprepared in how to cope with him. He was totally nuts, needed endless exercise on a daily basis, was totally food obsessed and destructive but such an amazing dog. After a year my mum told me he had to leave or I had to find a place of my own. I decided to take Phoenix and for a year and a half I struggled on my own with him. I stayed in a small flat and only worked part time which meant I had time to give him as much attention as he needed but also meant I wasn't coping financially. I was getting more and more into debt and struggling so much looking after him on my own. I would take him out for hours every day and it still wouldn't be enough for him. A few months ago I finally managed to get another job which meant I would be out the house 6 days a week, I also had to move back in with my mum because of money problems which left me with no choice. I tried to rehome him with someone I knew but noone could cope with him, he has such a crazy personality, has behaviour issues and needs constant attention.

I decided to contact an organisation who deals only with Spaniels and he was placed in a family foster home with other dogs and had acres of land to run about on. I know he will be happier there and it's more than I could ever give him but i am totally heartbroken. I have never felt this way before and feel like a piece of me is missing. I cry constantly about him and can't believe I will never see him again. It is getting worse every day. I worry I made the wrong choice. I keep trying to remember how much of a responsibility he was and how stressful it was for me trying to manage him on my own but I miss him so much and feel so guilty, I can't believe it has affected me this way.

Reading your stories has made me feel better, family and friends don't seem to understand.

Posts: 3
He was (and is) your baby. I still feel extremely guilty and worried about the decision I had to make, but I have to remind myself that it would have been selfish for me to keep him. As much as it hurts me, he now has the opportunity to be in a place that better meets his needs.

You are right- family and friends do not seem to understand. For my case, that’s mainly because they are able to think more rationally whereas I am still operating emotionally.

And the guilt. It doesn’t help that there is such a deep stigma about returning animals and how horrible we are to do that. But it’s not true. Every single one of us on this board clearly loved our baby. This was not a matter of convenience or for lack of effort, but a matter of trying to give our baby the best opportunity. If it were anything else, we wouldn’t have made this decision. It simply wouldn’t be worth the pain and guilt unless it was for the benefit of our babies.

Preaching to myself. My brain knows this, but my heart still needs reminding.

Posts: 3
Thank you skmk for your suggestions! At the time of my original post, I had already brought Jax back to the organization at their request. Jax went to doggy daycare and had a dog walker on the days that he didn’t. Unfortunately, a dog walker tended to make the situation worse and daily doggie day care was not financially possible. On the days he went, there were no serious injuries, but his anxiety was still evident and he was still causing himself skin infections. The organization asked me to bring him back because even with being on medication, he needed his person to be home during the day. That decision still hurts, but I know it was the right one.

As I said, thank you for the suggestions. What meant the most was when you wrote that you could see that I clearly love him. You have no idea how much that meant!

Posts: 1
Every single thing I have found in response to having to surrender pets is always so judgmental and had a way of making us feel even worse than we already did. Thank you to everyone on this chain for helping make it more relatable. No one wants to say good by to their furry family members, normally the options we have are so limited.
My husband and I had a baby and our dog was completely comfortable with our newest family member but our 2 cats were not. One decided to start marking everything that belonged to our daughter no matter how many ways we tried to stop the actions she continued, even peed on me right next to our daugher... I hated to admit we had ran out of options with her and then to make matters worse our other cat had started to become aggressive. Towards us, towards the baby, towards the other cat and our dog. You could tell she just wasn't happy and our heart broke for her to try and help ease the stress. We bawled our eyes out for weeks after having to give them up. We had set it up where if they weren't adopted within a few months for them to reach back to us but they both found new living homes that hopefully were able to provide what they needed!!
Surrendering is never easy, it takes a sense of courage to admit you have failed your pet but dont want them to fail in life.
***oddly enough the song "happier" by Marshmello & Bastille helped me through the feelings of guilt.
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